Usenix 1984

The 1984 Usenix Computer Go Tournament was held on June 16th in Salt Lake City, at the Usenix conference.

The four entrants played a round robin, then the weakest (and slowest) program was eliminated, and the others played a second round robin with the colors of the first reversed. The time limits were an hour of CPU time each, then ten seconds a move byo yomi. Many games exceeded 400 moves.

Nemesis, by Bruce Wilcox, crashed once, but won all its other games big, including beating Jim by 155 points. The other three programs had been written in a few days and thus had no real understanding of the game.

Goanna, by Bruce Ellis, was the fastest and largest program around, taking 12 CPU seconds total for all of its games, and occupying about 140K bytes. It showed up excellently on the points/second ratio.

Ogo, by Peter Langston, was originally created to test the tournament referee program, and occupied only 34K bytes. It had the disconcerting habit of plyaing mirror Go whenever it could. In games against Nemesis, it wasn't until around turn 345 that the symmetry was accidently broken and Nemesis could work on winning the game. The way Nemesis won was to begin passing. Ogo, lacking an understanding of territory, filled in its own territory, and added stones into Nemesis's territory only to be captured. (A special patch has since been added to NEMESIS to deal with mirror Go players.)

Jim, by Hank Dietz, was by far the slowest, but its laborous thinking always came to naught as it attempted to commit suicide game after game. (Illegal moves resulted in the immediate forfeit of the game).


Blacktime usedWhitetime usedScoretotal movescomments
 Round 1    
Nemesis4:01Jim23:06~100242jim suicide
ogo0:38goanna0:0415½464mirror go
goanna0:02Nemesis7:23-175325Nemesis crashed
jim33:03ogo1:50160415jim suicide
ogo1:18Nemesis9:3685½375mirror go
jim12:18goanna0:01177 jim suicide
 Round 2    
Nemesis7:25ogo1:0485½375mirror go


1stNemesis4-1Bruce Wilcox
2ndgoanna3-2Bruce Ellis
3rdogo2-3Peter Langston
4thgoanna0-3Hank Dietz

This information was provided by Bruce Wilcox. It originally appeared as an article in the July 1984 AGA Go Journal.

Other computer Go Tournament results