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  Ando Meritee's Blog  
The old recording tradition overturned2008-04-30 02:43:12
I am writing this statement in the deep concern over the decision that the organizers and the referees of TWC 2008 made regarding the notation of thinking time on game protocols.

In the past, at least for 25 years (we have the game records with thinking time information back then, even before RIF was founded) the renju tournaments have used the standardized time information - "the spent time by the player during the game". All the game collections, books, and databases until now are all based on such information.

The main reason why a "spent time" has been used to mark in protocols and not "remained time" is the indicator of quality - from spent time we can see whether the game was serious and if players thought long and deep in the game. If there is just a "remained time" written on protocol, for example 3 minutes, then the readers will never know whether it was a blitz game, or a serious 5 hour game.

During all these years, even with the oldest clocks, it has always been a possibility (if anyone wanted) to write down the "remaining time", but the "spent time" has been considered more informative, and therefore the "remaining time" has never been used anywhere, even thought it could have been more convenient choice in the aspect of quick writing of the time (even from the old mechanical clocks).

Nothing else but laziness can explain why suddenly the players have started to write down the "time remained". The reason is this: when using the Fischer time rule, the player have to do a little math after the end of game, appending some minutes to the spent time by the clock, which equals to the 1/4th of the amount of stones played.

Furthermore, Owen in the TWC Chatroom even started to justify this manner by saying it is "more informative", etc. It is really funny because in the past 25 years, there had always been a possibility to use "time remained", and it would have been easier too, but the organizers have always chosen "time spent" for better information. I can take such argumentation just as an excuse for the laziness of making this simple effort of writing down the "time spent".

In the past, we have already had tens of thousands of game records that have proper time record of "spent time". Little by little, RenjuNet is recovering those old game records, and the database is growing, so the renju fans from all over the world can see the history of games, together with how much time the players spent on thinking. It is also possible to compare how the players thinking habit and speed has changed over the decades, by comparing the time information. Unfortunately, now the old game records are mixed with these new time records that do not represent the same kind of information as it used to be in the past 25 years. The database is now contaminated with this junk information because the different time measuring method is mixed together with the traditional method.

I have erased the time records from all the time fields of TWC games in Renjunet, and moved them to comments. I also acknowledge the fact that organizers of  TWC have no intention to continue the tradition of presenting the spent thinking time and do not wish to follow the traditions of 25 years.

Where can this situation lead to? Will the organizers always allow players write down the numbers what they see on the clock? So if there is a time rule 150 minutes main time plus 1minute/1move, then we will always see the time written in protocol, just some seconds, between 0 and 59. And what information will it give to reader? Was it a blitz or was there a 2 and half hours of serious thinking before that?

There are so many different possible tournament time rules that can lead to different "information on clock screen by the end of game". It is the duty of organizers and referees to make sure, that the information that the players write down has any sensible value and can be understood by the readers if these games are appended to other games of history.

This time, however, the convenience prevailed, and it was allowed to players to write down on protocol what they saw on clock screen. It is even more regretful that it happened in one of the most serious renju events in the world.

It is also regretful that the players expect other tournaments to provide proper information for better understanding, but themselves are providing this junk information, just because they do not want to spend 30 more seconds after the end of game on making the correct writing of the spent time.

The Fischer rule was also used in WC 2005 and TWC 2006, and there were no problems at that time to get the time written down in a proper way as it has been done for 25 years. What is happening now? I am really confused and disappointed.

I have expressed my view on this matter many times, but it has not been successful. It is so sad to see another long renju tradition been thrown away just because of the convenience of the time rule and clock model that was used for the tournament.

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