Komi is a Japanese
term from the game of Go
(aka Wei Qi
). It is provable
that ordinarily, the person playing black (Black plays first in Go
) has an advantage, in that perfect play from both sides must either result in a draw, or a win for Black. White must therefore be given some sort of advantage to compensate. Komi is a fixed number of points granted to White (or subtracted from Black - there's no difference) to compensate for Black's first move advantage. The number of komi points can vary from country to country and organization to organization, but most rulesets use a komi of 5.5 or 6.5, as those komi are generally believed to give equal players approximately equal chances of winning. The fraction
al komi serves the double purpose of also preventing a tie (except in exceptional circumstances like superko
Komi can also be used to compensate for a difference in skill between two players. The weaker player can be given the black stones, and White's komi can be reduced, or even made negative. This is only a good method of compensating for skill differences if the difference is small. See the Handicap Stone node for a more common method of dealing with larger differences in skill.