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September 12th, 2005

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Komi changes seem to have helped

In the first half of the 1900’s, the Japanese began to introduce komi in their even games to compensate White for having to move second. In the latter half of the 1900’s, a komi of 5.5 was considered standard until the Nihon Ki-in decided that, based on Black winning too many games in professional tournaments (51.86% of about 15000 games in the previous 5 years), they would change komi to 6.5 from September 2002. Since a similar change was in progress in Korea at the time, this change was quickly adopted by most countries around the world that predominantly use Japanese-style rules.

At the time of the increase in komi, however, there were a lot of people suggesting that the increased komi would be too much for Black to overcome. The professionals have risen to the occasion, however: it seems a number of previously popular joseki variations have been abandoned for more aggressive lines, and this year Black is again winning more games than White in professional tournaments. However, the difference between Black and White’s winning percentage has dropped from about 4% to about 1%: Black’s winning percentage on 1042 pro games played in January-July this year was 50.52%.

Posted by Steve in News, Pro News

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