Friday, July 8, 2011

Go and Komi

In the game of Go, just like in Chess, there's a first-move advantage. To compensate for this difference, points (called Komi) are added to the second player (white) to offset this advantage. For the longest time, komi was set at 5.5. It means that the first player (black) has to win by 6 to win the game. Komi has recently been changed in Japan (2002). Watch the video below:

(Clip is from Hikaru no Go's anime series on hulu)

How would you go about deciding if komi is too high or too low? How many games of Go must be played before you decide with some confidence whether the komi is too high or too low? Is the first-move advantage static or changing over time? What are some sources of this variation?

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