Old masters vs new masters rating

Till now the common opinion was that an old master was weaker as the ones from today if he could come back and play them.

Thanks to katago, this idea may be proved wrong by statistics.

Got this from a publication in chinese that i will try to link later.

But first any more sources or opinion?

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Unbelievable! Is the level of Li Changhao, Li SeDol, Gu Li, Ke Jie vs fan Xiping or Shi Xiangxia higher or lower?

New masters are standing on the shoulders of giant old masters, therefore it should be easier for the new ones to reach the level of the old ones.


It’s hard to compare old masters with new ones because:

  • Thinking times aren’t the same.
  • We may not have complete records of old games. Who knows if only the best games have been recorded, and the worst ones discarded?

Ke Jie>Guli>Fan Xiping>Shi Xiangxia>Li SeDol>Li Changhao

In this article. (2d and third are old masters in the study).
Automatic translation is not that bad working, just mind for ex that Li ShiShi is Lee SeDol in Chinese

By the way, this has been discussed in another forum:


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I certainly hope so. The old masters (from a century or more ago) played a much more subtle and elegant style of go. Not the brute force of modern times.
Hope that AlphaGo will soon become a footnote in the history of go.
And that go will become a form of art again.

Okay, I know, not likely to happen. I am just a hopeless old romantic.


Thanks for the link, that’s precious.
Took time to go through it and there are not that much debate about old vs new. More focused of these players old style between them only, fitting with the analysis.
There is still some commentaries about the poor performance of Lee ChangHao as that study focus less on the yose, although yose was far to be a weak point fot these old masters.

At the end of the L19 thread there is another link on another article (still in chinese, sorry) which provides more details on the methodology.


From what I understand, we have record of old, slow games where the yose looks like it’s nearly perfect, whereas in modern games, with much faster time-settings, the yose is always full of suboptimal moves.

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Could you elaborate on this please? Where can I read more about the changes in style?

don’t worry, just open some kyu games)

I don’t know where you can read more about the evolution of go’s playing styles. It is just my impression, but if you compare a game of Shusaku with one of Lee Sedol against AlphaGo you will witness some differences.
(I would also be interested in a book on this, but don’t know if it exists.)

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