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Ko Rule!

Posted by on June 16, 2014

Ko’s a no-go in Go.

“Yes you are!”

“No I’m not!”

“Yes you are!”

“No I’m not!”

And so on, ad infinitum et nauseum.

Every parent hates back-and-forth fights like that. There’s no resolution, and everyone loses – including parents. I now have a name for that kind of nonsense, though, and naming is the first step toward taming, right?

OK, that cliche might be a bit naive, but I do hope that having a handy name that can be referred to in the heat of the moment will help end those fights more quickly and without parental yelling.

So, what’s the name? It’s “ko rule”. It’s a rule in the ancient game of Go.

ko is a shape (an arrangement of stones) where one player is able to capture exactly one of his opponent’s stones with one move, but after capturing the stone his opponent is able to capture (in one move) the stone that was just played again, creating an opportunity for his opponent to capture that stone in the same way again. One could capture back and forth in a ko indefinitely. This could be a problem and stop all progress in the game, so a rule was made to stop this from continuing.”

I’ve started playing Go with Alex (5) and Joel (4). It was easy for them to learn the basics, and both seem to enjoy it. As a bonus, I can refer to game vocabulary, and it provides a common frame of reference (even for Lily (3), who hasn’t played but has watched games being played). Now, when my kids get into a pointless “Rabbit season! Duck season!” fight, I can just interject with “Ko rule!”, and they both know it can’t go on. Things might get interesting if they ever figure out what ko fights and ko threats are, though. 😉