Lines and Numbers

Posté par northlecale le 3 août 2016

The EGD has a Calculator to find rating(GoR) change after any tournament. At the moment, there are at least 2 variations of the rating system with regards to tournament results submission. This means that you can have a different exit rating depending on the country you play in. To show this, we will look at an improving player with an out of date rank – of course he could also be a total sandbagger. His last rank was 10-kyu so he enters at this rank, but actually he is 2-kyu online (about 1800?). Thus he smashes up his opposition – that is he wins 5 games out of 5.

Scenario 1 is the straight up normal mode of operation.

Round Opponent P.Change O.Change
1 1000 +35.6 -34.4
2 1100 +46.5 -42.1
3 1225 +57.3 -47.1
4 1350 +63.9 -47.6
5 1500 +67.9 -44.8

Thus our player (P) moves his rating from 1000 to 1271.2. Notice that opponent 5 loses less GoR than opponent 4. At first sight this seems illogical, but there is an explanation. This is because opponent 5 is in a higher rating bracket, thus his modifier is lower. The total loss in rating for the opponents is 216.

Scenario 2 is where either the Tournament Director, the EGF Member (e.g. Finland’s or France’s Go Association), or the EGD administrators themselves look at the results, decide that (P) needs his rating changed, and do it. Let us pretend his rating is changed to 1300 by one of these three entities before they enter the results into the database. That is, they alter the tournament data before submission.

Round Opponent P.Change O.Change
1 1000 +7.4 -8.3
2 1100 +11.9 -13.0
3 1225 +20.9 -21.4
4 1350 +32.8 -30.8
5 1500 +44.8 -37.5

Thus our player (P) moves his rating from 1300 (or perhaps 1000) to 1417.8. The total loss in rating for the opponents is 111.

Here I do not say which system is better. I only want to say that after all these years we should have only one system, i.e. one complete end to end method of working, in the European Go Federation. One system which we all accept and agree to use. If we do not, then the ratings between one country and the next might not be the same. That is inherently a bad thing for rating integrity.

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A few lines

Posté par northlecale le 4 juillet 2016

The following is a small representation of activity in the Irish Go scene. It uses only the European Go Database as a source for data, and thus it is obviously incomplete. We can add some further points, like 2016 being incomplete, some tournaments being split into 2 parts and myself not having the resolve to handle that, and perhaps some events never ever being submitted. Still, it might help to show a few things about the progress of Go in our country. To start with I should explain that Ireland is meant in the geographical sense, that is to say that we blown up the border between the North and the South for the purposes of this little chart. New players are not just those guys who are new to the game, they are also migrant players who happen to pop over to live in Ireland – which is incidentally a very good and proper thing to do.

Album : ActivityChart
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Given the lack of any other data source, you can’t make any great pronouncements about what you see here on this chart. I would say it shows that we had a boom in activity that started around 2007 / 2008. Although it hasn’t translated into membership numbers as much as we might like it have done, the blue line of new players shows us that we are still in a reasonably healthy state. Even if not all of us have as much time to play as we would like to, Go is still progressing into the country.

Key Definition
New The number of international players playing their first tournament in Ireland AND the number of irish playing their first tournament in a given year
Act The total number of tournaments any Irish Resident or Irish Citizen played in the given year
All The number of Irish (Resident or Citizen) playing a tournament in the given year

Publié dans Go | Pas de Commentaire »

Rational Play

Posté par northlecale le 16 juin 2016

Rather a depressing idea isn’t it? Reading an article such as Rational Play in the AGA EJournal leaves me wondering why they need to see a computer program in this light. Is it really so bad to have waved goodbye to some of the outdated ideas of the Edo period at the expense of home-taping killing the Music industry? (And by the way EMI, up yours something Rotten.) No. These days having longer than 15 minutes to spare for a game of Go is a rare occurrance. One way to continue playing is to choose an opponent who doesn’t mind if you escape. I have found that Leela is just such an opponent. Not being quite up to the standard of AlphaGo, and currently retailing for freem it lends itself to being rather a reasonable opponent for myself. So far, whilst sipping a coffee of a day in work, I have progressed up to the mediocre level of 2-kyu. That’s means I have managed to beat Leela when it gave me 7 stones. Not such a hard thing to do I suppose, but I am in no rush for the stressful levels that await me higher up the scale. After a while I might even get in some decent practice against it.

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Posté par northlecale le 5 mars 2016

I thought that it was worth taking the time to thank John Doyle for his newsletter initiative. You can read follow it on his own website CorkGo or on the GoogleGroup. He’s aiming to give everyone a summary of the upcoming events in Ireland for the next month. Hot on the list for March is the Confucius Cup, which my son decided we weren’t going to this year. Maybe he is right, he can enjoy the snow at home.

Rory Wales has also put together an archive for all the newsletters on the IGA website, I can recommend reading them for the nostalgia.

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Romanian History

Posté par northlecale le 9 novembre 2015

The reason I started this blog was to record the history of Irish Go. However here we have something a little different, a brief diversion to Romania in 1989. In other words, I have begun a translation of the work of Radu Baciu’s work Go In Competition. I suppose that this is a manual which would normally be left by the wayside as having little to no significant value in terms of instruction. Nevertheless it is historically a very important piece in the development of Go in Romania, and I at least find it quite an interesting piece of work in terms of thinking about the game. You can find the initial Version 1 here at It contains 7 contemporary games, an introduction and a glossary.

Publié dans Baduk, Go, gossip, RaduBaciu, Weiqi | Pas de Commentaire »

Obituary – Bernard Palmer

Posté par northlecale le 9 août 2015

Whilst on holiday with my family I learnt of the sad death of Bernard Palmer. To most people in Ireland he was probably better known as a Chess player. These days you can look through his game history with websites like or whatever, to get a feel of the length and breadth of his career, but that gives you little indication of what type of man he really was. At the Chess board, or even just debating about Chess Politics, he could exhibit a fell temper sometimes backed up by even worse threats. One can suppose that this relatively bad behaviour originated out of the very character of the game itself, for when playing Go, nothing of the sort could be seen. Most people remarked that he was a completely different and affable character.  I’m sure that those who have played Go in Ireland prior to 2008 will remember his larger than life figure, many might also remember Bernard for his role as a guide around the bars of Dublin. My first meeting with Bernard was inside the half light of the Pembroke Inn, when I noticed a large man drinking what was probably Carlsberg lager at the bar.  Over the years to come I remember seeing him playing Go there, and not seeing him playing Go there, several more times in the same circumstances. He seemed to have something of a natural gift for the game, for without displaying most of the skills normally associated with the calculating chess player, his positional instinct was powerful. Bernard was the challenger in the 1992 / 3 final against Noel Mitchell – you can see one of his games here. I believe it illustrates the fact that Bernard simply wasn’t up to the same level as Noel in the technical details associated with close quarter fighting. It also illustrates the perhaps forgotten fact that Bernard was one of the early powerhouses of Irish Go. He never progressed significantly beyond his level of 3-kyu he attained in 1992, which at the time made him one of the strongest players in the country, and the strongest player at Collegians. He was persistent though, playing in many further Top 8 competitions, and he ended up travelling to Japan twice to represent Ireland – once for the International Amateur Pair Go Championship, and once for the World Amateur Go Championship. The latter he was interviewed for by Peter Mioch. He was actually just 57 years old when he died, and with his passing we lose something of the history of Collegians Chess and Go Club.

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The year of unfinished business

Posté par northlecale le 2 mai 2015

We all know that feeling. Suddenly you notice that your eyes are sore, the primal energy seems to have gone from your body, tiredness is the only thing left, and you realise that, despite all your best intentions, you just didn’t get a thing done today. Somehow, 2014 seemed to go that way for the Irish Go Championship. It is not for me to guess as to why it happened, but it just never seemed to finish. To begin with, only 6 players actually turned up for the Top 8 that year. It was something along the lines of that one slept in, while the other just forgot about it. So, what with a quarter of the games out of the way, you’d imagine that it might motor along to a quick completion. Far from it! It is true the championship league was, whilst not strictly speaking finished within the period the rules allowed, completed well before Christmas. The 3-game final just simply didn’t appear. There was one game that was played, but months passed, 2014 turned to 2015, and as I sit writing here, despite promises to get around to playing it, we are into May 2015, and it just hasn’t happened. Both players are, strangely enough, still playing in the 2015 championship, which is still in progress, and nearly running to schedule. So we have to imagine that the final will eventually be played, it is just a case of when. For now, the record is a year of 17 months – how long will that run on for?

Postscript – the committee adjudicated the result on the 31st of May. (spoilsports)

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A personal history of Irish Go

Posté par northlecale le 13 avril 2014

I began putting this collection of Irish Go History together in April 2014. Over the years, I’ve had a few projects concerning Go, this is the second one of a real historical nature. The first was actually an Irish Game Archive, which started out on notepad because most of the internet was firewalled in work. The others will be touched on within these pages. This site aims to cover a few topics:

  • The Irish Championships, because everyone loves tables.
  • Player Profiles, to add some background information about the names who will appear here.
  • Special Events, well this is really only about the European Go Congress in Dublin 2001.
  • Ancient History, or rather the history of Go in Ireland before I started playing.
  • Personal History, my own recollections of Go in Ireland, together with what else occurred at the events I missed out on.
  • You may also find the links page to be of interest.

There are clearly other things which deserve coverage. Since I do not have unlimited free time, and I do not intend to spend all of that which I have on this project, those things which are of less interest to me have been cruelly cast aside. I suppose that you may wonder why I decided to write all this. It is true that I have always envied the Irish Chess Archive which was constructed by Mark Orr. Although that was one clear factor, there where several other motivational factors behind my decision, most of which concerned events which happened in a short sequence of time. I apologize for the morbid nature of this, but quite genuinely, the first was learning of the death of several players I had known. It is quite natural that the receipt of such news will cause one to think back, to remember again the past. One consequence of this was that I realised that now only a few of those who had taught me this game were still alive. The Tournoi de Frioul also provided a push, for there I had met by chance a man who wanted to record an interview with myself, and others, about the history of the game in each of our respective countries. That caused me to think what had I to say on the subject of Go in Ireland? Nothing coherent or impressive was most probably the correct answer. The final reason was that there is always this slight sorrow I have in losing track of the resources we used to have on Geocities, along with the aforementioned collection of games I used to maintain.

Credits: The following all responded to pleas for help, even if if they responded with nothing much of use :)

Guo Juan, Lucretiu Calota, Charles Matthews, Chris Meyer, Noel Mitchell, John Kenny, John Gibson, Michael Reiss, and lastly GoSWF

Status Notes: The first draft, which was very much a draft, was completed on August 3rd 2014. After a vacation in Bordeaux, on the 24th of August the changes from second draft began to be added. On September 17th 2014, occasional updates started again. After a special event in October 2014 a complete hiatus took place until May 2015.

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