Sunday, March 05, 2006

Taking back a move

No "undos"!

Sooner or later, while playing online, we all will have to deal with undos (i.e. taking back a move). It might be because the move was a misclick or because the move was a bad one. My understanding is that taking back a move would result in an immediate loss in a Go tournament.

I stick to three basic rules.
  1. It doesn't hurt to ask for an undo.
  2. My opponent is under no obligation to grant me an undo.
  3. If my opponent doesn't grant the undo, just play the game as it is.

This topic came up with a reader after an online opponent swore and cursed at him when he refused to grant an undo for a supposed "misclick". The correct move that the opponent wanted was five intersections away. In the end, the opponent escaped.

I've had a number of misclick incidents where my stone landed next to the intersection I was targeting; resulting in a hane, or kosumi, instead of a tetchu (and vice versa). Often, I just play the stone where it landed. A couple of times, I've asked for an undo and been granted it.

On KGS, I've since turned on the mouse anti-slip option. According to Sensei's Library, this works by requiring that your pointer be immobile by several milliseconds before the click is accepted.

I can think of a couple of reasons why one might want to grant an undo.
  1. It's only a game.
  2. The error would dramatically swing the game in your favor and make the match uninteresting or unchallenging.

I can also think of a couple of reasons why one might not want to grant an undo.
  1. Rated games should be taken seriously by both parties who should apply care and patience when placing their stones.
  2. "No Undos" was among the explicit conditions stated in the match.

Part of the reason behind "the great undo debate" is that Go servers calculate your rank based on rated games. In a certain sense, a rated game could be viewed as equivalent to a tournament match. Obviously, it's a lot easier to grant undos in unrated games, and most club games, where the outcome has no bearing on your rank.

In other news

Some of you had again inquired about ChiyoChan's artwork and we're flattered. Below are samples of her latest work. She recently turned eleven years old.

Based on the cover of the book, "Esperanza Rising".

Mew Sago from Tokyo Mew Mew

Cover for her series: The True Tales of Little Miss Muffet

Whimsical concept: "When Pigs Fly"


At 9:13 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Toastcrumb said...

ChiyoChan has cute artwork. :D

On the Undo thing: I tend to grant undos for things like self-ataris, and where its painfully obvious my opponent had no intention of playing there.

Undos do tend to get abusive though...I remember watching a friend play a game against a 7k (forgot the name x_X) who more or less requested undos for every single mistake he made. And requesting undos in things like life/death situations is also a bit... hopeful? Yeah..

Blah, I'm feeling incoherant.

At 10:11 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hey there toastcrumb! Thanks for the compliment on ChiyoChan's artwork!

I too had seen undo abuse while watching a game. It sometimes becomes painfully obvious that one player is taking advantage of the other's grace. You wonder why they didn't instead choose to play an unrated game.

Regarding moves like self-ataris, one KGS player offered a suggestion a few months ago. He instructed me to wait 10-30 seconds (as long as it isn't in a lightning game) to give the opponent a chance to ask for an undo after a horrible or suicidal move. Presumably, this would be enough time for most players to reassess their situation.

After those seconds have elapsed, it's your choice or not to ask your opponent if they want to stick with their last move.

Undos are dependent on the opponent's charitability; which may not always be forthcoming. The better solution is probably just to apply as much thought and care as possible before setting a stone on the board. The burden of good play should rest on one's own shoulders.

At 11:20 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger JMP said...

Fortunately as you get stronger your opponents in general are more respectful of the game and request fewer undos. I started becoming less charitable after I lost 3 games in a row because of allowing undos. In my hundreds of games on the internet I have misclicked only once (did not request an undo), it shouldn't be a common occurrence. Normally you can tell a misclick, I usually think "what a bizarre move" and then the undo request comes and in that case I usually grant it. Self atari I have no sympathy for, I have done it dozens of times and I just learn I need to count liberties. My favorite undo request was one that I granted, the guy thought for a minute, and then moved in the exact same place that he requested the undo. Besides escapers undos have to be one of the top aggravations of playing internet go (I luckily have not had to deal with an abundance of either).

At 11:57 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello JMP! Yes, undos can be aggravating.

In my earlier months, I recall one game where I granted my opponent an undo. I later asked for an undo myself and he denied it to me. He then had the impudence to ask for another undo - which I denied.

That incident began the process of hardening my attitude towards undos (at least against players who I'm not familiar with). Based on the number of KGS games with "No Undos" in the information input field, it stands to reason that other online players have had similarly annoying experiences.

At 7:14 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Krystal said...

I generally allow all undo's that are requested, unless it gets ridiculous. My rationale is that since I like to play slow games, and I don't get to play online that often, it's a waste of both of our times to ruin a perfectly good game over a simple thinko or clicko. I'll even grant them for silly mistakes, if they weren't misclicks. A win isn't worth the time I would be wasting by having played the game up until that point.

Also, Chiyo-chan is seriously talented :D I don't think I've ever seen someone so young drawing such natural-looking things. Especially the Tokyo Mew Mew one :D Did you help her any?

At 8:08 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello krystal! That's one of the most gracious attitudes that I've come across. I'm hoping though that I'll need less of a hardened sentiment as I continue to move up the ranks (per JMP's observation).

I can no longer take any credit (or blame) for ChiyoChan's artistic accomplishments. The young lady is all on her own at this point. I taught her some basics years ago and introduced her to using PhotoShop. She pretty much took-off on her own after that.

I had to buy her books from Todashi Ozawa's drawing series because my style of illustration was more traditional and Disney-esque. She's been developing her skills and style by reading tutorials on the web and copying the styles of other artists on DeviantArt like bleedman and queenofdorks.

Her artwork has developed a loyal following of sixty watchers (per my last count). Most of them don't know that she's as young as she is.

It'd be interesting to see how her skillset might expand if she was under the guidance of better teachers specializing in Japanese-style graphic arts (regular and digital mediums). I wish there was someplace that she could get formal training but a lot of the specialty schools don't take 11-year-olds. Even the occasional manga-drawing seminars that I've looked-up have a minimum age of about 13 years.

At 6:33 AM, March 07, 2006, Blogger JB aka JayBee said...

I continue to enjoy stopping by your blog. In terms of undos, for a long time I had it explicit in my games at KGS "no undos." I would occasionally make a click error (and frequent thinking errors) but I feel that overall undos are rude to ask for. Occasionally I will grant one... but usually I don't.

Best wishes and keep blogging.

At 3:51 AM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous XCMeijin said...

Hmm, so THAT's what the inverted pyaid under the goban is for: catching bloody heads.

There are two perspectives on undos, yours and that of your opponent.

Yours: undos are an area that can offer you an immense test of self-control. Whether or not you ask for an undo speaks volumes about your character. Personally, i try to keep myself from clicking that darned undo button. Most times i succeed. Where i fail, and they do not allow, i merely shrug and play on. When they let me, i thank them.

But it's important to hold back. Go is a lot like life. Real life does not grant undos. Play the game that way.

For your opponent: Whether or not you grant them an undo says something else. Empathy, understand, etc. It also depends on the situation. If teh game is very close, they make a mistake, then ask for an undo, do you grant it? If you do, you are defying a basic facet/ethic of life and go (no undos). If you don't, you deny yourself what could have possibly been a close, exciting game.

BTW, chiyochan's art rocks worlds. I have a friend whose drawings chiyochan may appreciate:


At 7:47 AM, March 10, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello John and XCMeijin!

I sometimes say to myself that my rank is a reflection of how I play in addition to how much I know. It doesn't matter how much tesuji, joseki, or fuseki I study if I don't engage my brain before setting a stone on the board.

When you look at it like that, rank becomes a more wholistic measure of your Go playing ability. Is one being sloppy or vigilant in their play? Is one taking a little extra time to assess the whole board situation rather than playing cookbook moves that are optimal to just one region of the board? Those and many other factors are reflected in my rank.

As noted in my latest post, I'm trying to change that.

At 11:27 AM, March 11, 2006, Blogger LeisureGuy said...

Re: undos. If it's an obvious misclick, why not? OTOH, when I've given my opponent a handicap, it seems a bit much for him/her to request an undo for a mistake: the handicap is in part to compensate for lesser knowledge = mistakes.

I will ask for an undo only for an obvious misclick. I've been offered an undo from time to time, but refuse on the grounds that accepting undos is addictive.

At 4:42 PM, June 12, 2006, Anonymous erislover said...

My philosophy on undo is to basically allow it. If we were playing a game in real life and the stone slipped from their fingers, I see no reason to suggest that the stone must be played where it landed (should it happen to land on a legal intersection!). I see misclicks as the same thing online. There's a few times I've noticed that people ask for undo when they just made a move they wished to reconsider rather than a misclick. It is a little irritating, but not especially so (and there is no way to know in advance if it was a misclick or not). I care about my play, and I want to test it against the best the opponent can give me, even that best move is in the often stark light of hindsight. ^^

At 6:25 AM, October 04, 2006, Anonymous jj said...

Sudoku wasn't invented in Japan.
It was invented in Indianapolis in 1979 by Howard Garns. It became very popular in Japan, and they named it.


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