Swedish Go Championship

Once every year the Swedish Go Championship is played, and the last two years it has been a strong tournament with the Swedish top player, Fredrik Blomback, taking first place. This year, in Linköping, it was expected that he would win again, although players like Anton Christensen and Charlie Åkerblom were in the race. In round 2 Fredrik played the Black stones against Charlie, and after a hard fought game with small margins, the players passed, and started counting the stones. In the end it turned out that Charlie had won the game with 0,5 points.


You can press the score-button, to the right in the OGS-interface, to get the result.

As you will notice at the end of the game, the record says that Black wins with 0,5 points, quite the opposite from the official result. It is not clear whether the reconstruction of the game went wrong, or whether a stone was lost at some point (in time trouble this is quite possible). Perhaps an intersection was forgotten. We do not know, but since the players agreed on a result after the game, this stands.

It feels strange that a Swedish Championship is decided in this way, but these things are not unheard of, especially when it comes to lesser tournaments. It is quite easy to make a mistake in the counting. The only way to make sure it does not happen is by recording the games as they are played, and in the “big” matches in East Asia, it is usually done by an arbiter (a rather work-intensive solution). In chess, it is obligatory to record your games when playing with “classical” time limits (more than and hour per player and game – I am not sure), but in go there is no such rule. Recording or not recording is up to the players, and only few do it for the whole game. One reason is that the time settings make it very stressful to record the moves in time trouble, since the board is so big. Perhaps the cheapest and best low-tech solution, in important games, in tournaments with less resources, would be to record the games with a cell-phone set on some kind of stand. A second way would be to extend the byoyomi with a few seconds and make recording compulsory. In the Facebook-group for Swedish players, Fredrik Blomback pointed out that Chinese counting (which I still do not understand), would make a mistake less likely to happen.

Whatever the mysterious result of the game, it is an interesting game that the players produced, and perhaps – as Fredrik, jokingly, pointed out – it would have been fair with a chess-like result: a draw. Personally, I believe the matter ought to be addressed. The Swedish Championship should not fall into the “lesser tournament” category. There are two ways to deal with it; either to accept that these things happen, that it is not a problem, and continue player for the love of the game, thinking that the result is not what it is about. Or, we decide that some tournaments are too important for this to happen, and then we find a solution.