I think you might like this talk by curator Irving Finkel. He actually makes the point that the rules of ancient games used to be learned by observation, as in the game precedes codified rules and not the other way around (and that it wasn’t until the age of mass manufactured board games that rule books started to be used to define games).
On this line of reasoning, the document that codifies the Japanese Rules is merely a model, a guide of sorts, to understand how the game is played under different circumstances, but it is the spirit of the game what remains most important.
(I apologize if this is the wrong video, I’m not completely sure. It’s an interesting talk nonetheless)
It is a good thing to bear in mind. It’s also important that it doesn’t solve every problem without the need for adjudication. At some point, there will be a nasty situation like the one at the top of this thread, and someone will have to make a call.
It’s important (for those not merely viewing this as an exercise) to realise that this is how it works in practice.
That’s not to say we could not do with a clearer document saying how we think it works in practice
I understand that the original Japanese version of that document is the official version used by the Japanese professional go association for their sanctioned competitions. The document that we have been discussing appears to be a reasonable translation into English. Maybe somethings have been lost in translation, creating ambiguities where things may be clear in Japanese, but I believe it is reasonably accurate.
I believe the modern practice is that the written rules are authoritative rather than the historical precedent. Judges are occasionally needed to settle disputes, but I think they have to base their judgments primarily on the rules rather than tradition.
“Every commentary” and “nonsense” seems like too strong of a claim. I do not like the complexity of the Japanese rules, but I have not yet found any self-inconsistencies, indeterminate situations, or wild departures from the commonly practiced spirit.
I saw the “sekis due to unfilled dame” issue was brought up in the other thread, so I will respond to that point there. Besides that issue, where else do you feel that one needs to depart from the written document in order to adhere to the spirit of the rules?
I prefer using other rule sets, but if we are to follow Japanese rules, I think we should make our best efforts to understand and follow what is officially written. My question to begin this thread was an attempt to understand a particular position under that officially written document. The position is complex to judge, but there does not appear to be any ambiguity with respect to the written rules.
That’s good to hear. I was recently involved in a call about a Japanese game and it did take some digging and interpretation to get to a conclusion. But this may just have been the education process.
Perhaps “every commentary” was too strong, but the word “nonsense” came from here:
Why Literal Application of the Rules Creates Nonsense
In this section, it is shown what would happen if the Japanese 1989 Rules were applied literally. This would lead to nonsense. Therefore the conclusion has to be: The Japanese 1989 Rules ought not to be applied literally.
Nice bit of European Go history, especially considered that it encouraged the EGF to change ruleset. I think some people will disagree with me on this but the dispute seems like it was a really cynical ploy by Jasiek and not in the spirit of fair play.