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One further clarification

Posted By: Timothy Chow
Date: Saturday, 27 December 2014, at 6:31 p.m.

In Response To: Not reminding your opponent to press the clock (Timothy Chow)

The question "would you want to win that way?" may have been interpreted by some as "would you want to win on time by exploiting your opponent's forgetting to hit the clock?" I just wanted to point out that this is not necessarily the only interpretation.

Consider the following scenario. I'm trailing 13a5a holding a 4-cube. It's been a complex and unlucky match for me, and I'm out of reserve time. My opponent, however, plays extraordinarily fast and still has 20 minutes of reserve time. I'm playing a holding game and thinking that it's more likely than not that I'll go down 13a Crawford. Suddenly a roll a joker doublet that allows me to disengage and enter a race in which I'm only slightly behind. I clutch my head realizing that I may have a complicated score-based racing cube coming up that I will have no time to calculate. But I have no reserve time, so I disengage and hit the clock and start to count pips. My opponent rolls, makes a move, and then uncharacteristically forgets to hit to clock, perhaps distracted by my head-clutching and panicked expression.

As I understand it, the BG community consensus is that I am supposed to remind my opponent to hit the clock right away. If instead I were to use a minute of my opponent's reserve time to count pips, apply a race formula, and do a match-equity calculation before reminding my opponent, then that would be unsportsmanlike. If I then went on to win the match, with my opponent still having 18 minutes of reserve time left on the clock at the end, I should feel bad about having "won that way."

Again, I do not disagree with the BG community consensus. In light of the commentary I've seen so far, I would not hesitate to interrupt my own mental calculations to remind my opponent to hit the clock right away in the above scenario, since failing to do so is considered unacceptable behavior. My only point is that to "win that way" is not necessarily to win on time per se. In the absence of an existing strong community consensus that one is always supposed to remind the opponent to hit the clock, some people might not feel so bad about winning in the above scenario.

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