Thoughts Regarding Komi Tie-Breaker

Does anyone else find it silly that the tiebreaker is applied to every score whether it’s needed or not? I’m pretty sure the internet won’t break down on account of all that superfluous info, but it’s as though the go world needs to believe that the imaginary half-point actually exists, or that repeatedly applying it will somehow make it seem more real. Well, in some sense maybe it does. I don’t know if there’s anything to conclude here. It just strikes me as an odd little quirk.

It reminds me of a scene from that film This is Spinal Tap where the veteran rock star is boasting about his bands’ amplifiers with the volume controls numbered one to eleven. They turn those amps up to eleven for a sound experience you supposedly won’t find anywhere else.

When the documentary filmmaker asks him why they wouldn’t simply number the controls from one to ten, making ten the loudest, the guitar ace is taken aback by the question:

“These go to eleven!”

Yes! And komi goes to 6.5!

( Please don’t take this for a request by the way. I do find the tiebreaker irritating, but as irritants go, it’s mild. )


Don’t quite understand what you mean?
Do you mean that’s it’s silly that friendly, casual games can’t end up as a draw, or do you mean it’s silly to have the .5 in komi when games end with huge winning margin?

If it’s the first one: yea i wouldn’t mind a casual non-tournement game ending up as a tie, but generally go is a game where other one wins and other one loses. But then again there are some EGF tournaments that don’t use komi for handicap games, and those games have draw as a valid outcome, so idk…

If you mean the latter: komi has to be determinated before the game, because having (or not having) those extra points does impact on actual gameplay and the strategies which both players choose, at least in higher levels. It wouldn’t make sense to play the game first, count the points of both players and only then start negotiating on how many extra points does the other player get.


I also think it’s kind of silly that there are absolutely no ties in go. Particularly since bots seem to have shown that 6.5 (for Japanese counting) / 7.5 (for Chinese counting) is slightly too good for white, while 4.5/5.5* is slightly too good for black. 6/7 seems a natural balanced komi, but this need for no ties in go unnecessarily favors white (currently).

I say let’s have ties in go. :slight_smile: If a tiebreaker is needed, play a blitz game or a 9 x 9 to settle the matter :slight_smile:

*This is the same as 5.5 Japanese / 6.5 Chinese since there are an odd number of points on the board.


Eh, at this point the ,5 point in komi is familiar. You could just not include it and say w wins ties, but that would mostly be against tradition.

Also, it serves a slight purpose in counting. The thing is, during games, I imagine it’s often easier to remember the .5 point than to remember “white wins ties.” For example, if you are 1 point behind a tie as white, then you might adopt the habit from most games that you need 2 points to win, when in reality you just need the one. However, seeing it as being .5 points behind, it’s far easier to conceptualize that you just need one more point without trying to remember more rules.


What I’m driving at here is that the tiebreaker is an entirely artificial and random arrangement, whereas the main komi points are based on an estimate, perhaps questionable but at least related to what happens in the game of go. I understand the rationale for a tiebreaker. I just think it could be used much more sparingly.

That said, it’s too trivial to become a significant issue. This is just an itch I was looking to scratch for awhile.


I guess I just find it distasteful to assign a numerical value to something so arbitrary. If we must break ties, okay. But give me our old friend the asterisk instead.


Yeah it is totally arbitary, i’ve used komi of 6.66 few times (cause i’m so evil) and i know some university games that have used tau (pi*2 = ~6.28) as komi. Doesn’t really matter, but having .5 to breake the ties makes kinda more sense than using .66 or .28.

But like i said earlier, i have nothing against game ending as “jigo” and it’s kinda shame that OGS does not allow ties. I know because i’ve tried multiple times to force games as tie, but it’s still b+0 here… example:


I never thought of this! :open_mouth: this is my new favourite komi value!!! :joy: Haha

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I like the link you provided. Now there’s a nailbiter for you, although I would pity the person who’s asked to do a live commentary. Hard to keep it fresh sometimes!

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In the Play Game screen, if you choose Custom Game you can set Komi value. I haven’t tried it but maybe you can set Komi there to an integer value, say 6 instead of 6.5. This would allow ties if that’s what you want. I am sure I have seen some historic games which were JiGo (= drawn / tied) so it’s not totally forbidden in Go.
Personally I like that there are no draws. Played too much chess in the past where 80% of games are draws.

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If you haven’t seen already. They tried that. OGS said B+0.

Here it is again:


yeah :disappointed: I will file a bug report


The thing to keep in mind… If white wins by 0.5 points with komi, then it was actually a tie game because the 0.5 gives ties to white.


Unlike the OP, I don’t find the 0.5 part of komi silly. I find it disappointing. I have played many komi-free games in real life where we simply adjust the handicap after three consecutive wins by either party.

It has been my experience that draws tend to occur when both parties have played well. Mistakes usually destabilise a game making a close result less likely. Therefore a draw is an honourable result and a worthy flag for a memorable game.

Some styles of tournament probably require a tie-breaker of some kind. For example, elimination tournaments. But for round-robins and friendly ranked games, a tie should be a valid, honourable and even welcome outcome.

The maths is also dodgy:

So using a decimal komi in an integer based game means that as far as meaningful results are concerned, 6.28 = 6.5 = 6.66 . In its usual use the .5 of the komi is a mechanism, not a number at all.

Ditto. I regret the absence of legitimate ties.

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What I find objectionable isn’t so much the tiebreaker itself as its indiscriminate use. I mean, if there’s a clear victory without any half-point, then why include the tiebreaker at all? I can see how this might appear petty on my part, but it’s just a bugaboo I have.

And, again, the mighty asterisk stands ready to soothe anyone who insists on full acknowledgement of a defacto tie. It’s there if we really want it.

( Dodges flurry of tomatoes.)


On the contrary I find draws absolutely stupid. Just look at international chess and the absurd amount of draws and I think it’s pretty obvious why draws suck. So much so that there is actually a strategy to DRAW and not win by simply stalling or playing safe. Draws in Go on the other hand are only by multi-ko which takes skill and a lot of luck to pull off.

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I really think that is a false equivalence. In chess it is relatively easy to draw, one can even play “better” than one’s opponent and still not win, or one can simply ‘play for a draw’, you can’t really do this in Go. Introducing proper draws in Go by removing the half point in komi would not lead to people playing to draw.


I see that @AdamR has opened a bug report for this.

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You’ll be happy to learn, if you do not already know, that your views on ties nicely align with many–perhaps most–theorists in the sport philosophy field. Although not relevant to go, these theorists particularly object to tie-breakers involving limited skills (such as goal shooting in soccer), when a well-played game involving the whole range of skills ends in a tie. In go, the tie-breaker is merely arbitrary. I have read that the modern aversion to ties in sports is largely an outgrowth of the commercialization of sports.


Isn’t the whole idea of komi in general arbitrary already?

I like the impossibility of a draw, since I feel that draws are a complete anticlimax at the end of a game. I’d rather lose than have the feeling that I “wasted” the last X minutes / hours on something that has no winner.

The only way to solve the bitter feeling of arbitrariness of komi, would be a jubango match (or even more games if needed).