Byo-yomi - Who Needs It?

British Go Journal No. 62. July 1984. Page 29.

Francis Roads

How often have you seen the situation where the draw for the next round in a tournament is held up because one game has gone into lengthy byo-yomi? As often as not the game being awaited does not involve a prizewinner, bet its result is needed for tie-break calculations. Now consider the advantages of playing without byo-yomi.

The tournament director knows precisely when each round will end. Longer time limits can be allowed - for example in the standard BGA 3-round MacMahon event 75 or 80 minute limits would be reasonable instead of the usual 60 minutes.

I know the standard objection - playing without byo-yomi encourages the undignified spectacle of one player making kikashi moves inside his opponent's territory after the game proper is over, just to get his flag to drop. But if this happens it is the opponent's fault for not keeping a small allowance of time on his clock for such an eventuality. And is it any more undignified than the byo-yomi rip-offs that we have all suffered. Japanese players are quite used to playing without byo-yomi. Amateurs accept the idea as quite normal, and even professional players have to accept it in the lower reaches of the Oteai. We have, alas, become accustomed to playing with byo-yomi, and the first tournament director with the courage to institute a no byo-yomi event will doubtless meet with complaints. However, if only for the sake of variety, I hope somebody will try to break out of the "one hour plus 20 seconds" rut soon.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 62
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

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