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2.2 Difficulty of Formulation

Efforts have been made to rationalize and formulate the rules in a way that respects historical custom as far as possible. The greatest obstacle has been the definition of life, death, and seki. As this issue has been studied, it has turned out again and again that no matter how the definitions are formulated, you can construct a position that defies the definitions, and if you try to resolve that position, someone will come up with a further insolvable problem. Most rules theorists have therefore been forced at present to take the path of writing the rules without defining life, death, and seki. The best insight into this process can be gained from Shimada Takuji's book on the mathematics of go. The two editions of this book, published before and after the end of the Pacific War, are invaluable in revealing the shift in Shimada's ideas and the difficulty of defining life and death. Unfortunately this material cannot be presented here, but the examples that follow will give you an idea of the difficulty of defining life, death, and seki.



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