I decided to try a couple of correspondence tournaments and am wondering about what’s considered OK when studying the game and preparing your next move. When I played postal chess years ago, it was part of the rules that you could reference books and setup your current position on a board and play through variations. Would this be considered fair play in correspondence go?
See the TOS:
No Cheating or Computer Help
You can NEVER use Go programs (Leela, Zen, etc.) or neural networks to analyze current ongoing games unless specifically permitted (e.g., a computer tournament). The only type of computer assistance allowed is games databases for opening lines and joseki databases for corner patterns in correspondence Go. You cannot receive ANY outside assistance on live or blitz Go games.
So yes I think what you consider is fair play. I guess the limit comes when you don’t play yourself but ask for advices, in that case at least you should seek agreement from your opponent.
Playing correspondence chess, the rules were:
- No asking other players for help of any kind during the game
- No consulting an engine to analyze lines during the game
- No tablebase use during the endgame
The following were allowed:
- Any study of openings/piece combos (such as Lucena of Philodor positions)
- Consulting a database of games
- Review of existing games
In the context of Go, I’d guess that it’s fine to study joseki/tsumego, or follow an opening pattern with something like ps.waltheri. Reading books would likewise be fine. Using the analysis board, or playing out the position on a physical board, are fine if the analysis board isn’t disabled. If it is disabled, I’d say that playing out the moves anywhere would be cheating. Asking a player about a position or looking at any computer analysis of the position would always be cheating, unless you agreed with your opponent that you want to play a computer-assisted match.
I found this in the Dragon Go Server FAQ:
Can I use aids while playing a game?
The Dragon-team would ask you to take the following to heart while playing a game:
- You CAN use all kind of aids by doing research of your own.
For example studying books, looking up joseki dictionaries, game databases, and analyzing your game in an SGF editor.
This aligns with what you folks have said, and with the OGS “No Cheating” quote @violaine provided.