Thoughts Regarding Komi Tie-Breaker

Nobody was “whining” about anything. If you can’t be courteous when you comment, then don’t comment.

I don’t believe theHeat was accusing anyone in this thread of whining or was being discourteous. I think they were pointing to a hypothetical situation where two players tied but one (or both) would whine that it shouldn’t have been a tie.

I’m not sure the point being made is terribly valid because I think that same type of hypothetical player would also refuse to acknowledge a .5 point loss just as easily as they would dismiss the validity of a tie.

Even though I disagree with the logic of the original comment, I don’t feel the comment was out of line.

Of course, my own solution for dealing with the sore-loser types of people that can’t accept a valid game result is to avoid future games with that player.


I’m talking about a hypothetical single game of Go that would have ended in a draw were it not for a stated tiebreak komi. A drawn result would be closer to the reality of play on the board; that is, it would be closer to the fundamental principles of the game.

Whether tiebreak komi is useful or not, the fact remains that – as I said earlier – it moves the game scenario away from the fundamental emergent principles (“the rules are what they are, so the result will emerge from play under those rules”) to a more artificial and prescriptive form (“the result should be this, so we shall modify the rules to ensure that result or set of possible results.”)

Agreed, but the problem is that we don’t have that in Go. What we have instead is “in the event of a tie, the white guy wins.” (pun intended in order to highlight the problem with the system.) What we have is a policy that, all things being equal, gives the white player a better chance of winning. And reducing komi by one point won’t make things even, instead it will give the black player a better chance of winning.

Someone above talked about determining komi through statistical means to make it fair, but that extra half point is fundamentally unfair.

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The problem is that any Game is defined by set of rules. What you are proposing, is to take a single rule out and call that a better version of Go. How to chose the rules we should ignore? Is triple-ko rule an artificial one? Should we remove it as well? Then we could argue that having games that take forever to finish is also a good thing.

If you are trying to base the argument on archetypical version of Go game, why not use Atari-Go ? The rules of that game are much simpler than any other form of Go. And in Atari-Go you never get draws!!

Even if you use the variation of Go rules, that you are proposing, i.e. take a standard ruleset and just remove komi and call it ‘a better Go’ there is a problem. Under Chinese scoring, draws wouldn’t normally happen because the Go board has odd, i.e. 361 number of intersections, meaning that both players cannot (unless specific seki condition) score the same.

Forgive me my bluntness, but to me your argument sounds like: “Go with draws is better, so draws must be a good thing”.

I wonder how many pro matches were decided by half a point.

What kind of argument is that? Are you saying that professional scene would be better if those results were draws instead?

You are assuming perfect komi (one where results reflect the strength of players) is 6.0 or 7.0, which has not been proven, and I have suggested testing whether or not this is true.

I’m not assuming perfect komi, what I am assuming is that perfect komi is an integer value (which I believe is a logical necessity.)

What this means is that we know for a fact that perfect komi is not a fractional value and so any fractional komi will favor one side or the other. If we want both sides to have a balanced chance of winning, then we must avoid a fractional komi. (Flip a coin in the event of ties may be more arbitrary, but it is absolutely more fair than a fractional komi is.)

It is a necessity for perfect play, but in the imperfect play of us humans, this is not guaranteed.

I still say there should be some research done before we assume perfect komi for human players is a certain way.

I doesn’t matter if the players are human, robot, or dogs. The nature of the rules dictate that correct komi, the points that must be given to white such that, everything else being equal will result in a draw, is an integer value.

The only other option is to say that if everything is exactly equal between the two players, the result will be that black (or white) wins, and neither of these outcomes are appropriate in tournament play.

That’s not correct. Value of komi is simply a constant derived empirically, which gives white and black similar chances of winning a game.

Perfect komi is a different thing, a theoretical concept, which is likely different from the practical value.

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The rules of the game dictate that such a value will be an integer, not a fraction.

And which rule is that exactly?

If statistically komi of 6.5 would give a perfect ratio of 50% wins for black and white, then using a komi of 6.0 would give black some undeserved draws, whlle komi of 7.0 would do the same to white.

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You keep saying this, and I’m not sure I know what you mean anymore, since the rules say that komi is currently 6.5 (Japanese) or 7.5 (Chinese).

I am saying that given the rules as they currently stand, it is impossible for a komi of 6.5 or 5.5, or 7.5 or any other fractional komi to produce “a perfect ratio of 50% wins for black and white.”

This is why for example that alpha go teach puts black’s chance of winning at less than 50% before the first move is made.

Again, which rule exactly are you talking about? You never explained that.

And let’s leave AlphaGo aside, because a komi that’s practical for AlphaGo may not be useful for human games.

I’m still not sure what principles you are calling on for this. I have suggested an experiment to test this, and your absolution seems to not be grounded in anything.

Which rule do you think I’m excluding when am talking about “the rules as they currently stand”?

I don’t understand. If you check OGS stats for a game with komi of 6.5, you’ll likely find that the wins by black and white are very similar in numbers. How do you know that its not close to a perfect 50/50 ratio? Suggesting that it’s because of ‘rules of Go’ doesn’t make any sense to me.

It’s funny how this discussion is rather closely following a 2.5-hour argument that occurred in the chat room about a year ago, where the leading contenders were @thought and Pan Piper. Thought also argued that the natural number for komi must be an integer, since go points other than the tie-breaker are integers. Of course, when trying to derive the number from a large data set, you will get a fraction. Someone said that analysis of a large number of pro games had yielded a number very close to 7 under Japanese rules. Since the 0.5 functions, in practical terms, as another full point in tie breaks, it has the effect in such circumstances of bringing the number up to 7. But as I understand it, the 0.5 does not derive from analysis, it is simply tagged on as a tie-breaker.

There is actually a small, OGS, data set that someone compiled, that shows odd variation in win rates by rank, which suggest that komi is a sliding scale depending on rank (see Win rate by players ranks in OGS). Like someone in the discussion above, I would like to see a large analysis of.wins by rank and color, which might establish a more realistic komi at different ranks (I talked about this here: New way of deciding Komi).

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