Go Rules

go3There are basically two rules in the game of Go. These include the rule of liberty, and the Ko rule. However, there are additional rules that are also applicable in specific places.

Rule of Liberty

The first main rule is the rule of liberty, which states that each stone remaining on the board should have at least one open point (a crossing, called a liberty) in a straight orthogonal line (left, right, up or down), or should be part of a joined cluster that has no less than one such open point next to it. Stones or clusters of stones that lose their final liberty are removed from the board.

The Ko Rule

The second main rule is known as the Ko rule, which declares that the stones on the board must never go back to a spot previously occupied by other stones. This rule inhibits endless repetition of stone positions.

Suicide Rule

go4This rule says that a player cannot place a stone in such a way that its group instantly has no liberties, except when doing so instantly denies an opponent’s group of its last liberty. In the second case, the opponent’s group is seized, leaving the new stone with no less than one liberty. This rule is accountable for the very important difference between one and two ‘eyes’: if a cluster with only one eye is completely encircled, it can be destroyed with a stone placed in its single eye.

Scoring Rules

Two general types of scoring system are used, and players determine which to use before play. Nevertheless, the two systems score about the same results most of the time.

Area Scoring

This method counts the amount of points a participant’s stones fill and encircle. A participant’s score is the number of stones he has on the board, and the number of unfilled intersections enclosed by that participant’s stones.

After both participants have taken their turn, the stones that are still on the board but incapable of avoiding capture are removed. These are called dead stones.

Territory Scoring

This method counts the number of unfilled points a participant’s stones encircle, together with the number of stones the participant has seized.

As the game progresses, each player keeps the stones they seize. These are labeled prisoners. All the dead stones that will have been removed at the close of the game are the prisoners. The score of the game is given as the total empty points the player’s stones enclose, plus the tally of prisoners he has captured.

If there’s a discrepancy over which pieces are dead, then in the area scoring rules the participants mainly continue play to settle the problem. The score is figured out by means of the position after the subsequent extra playing period. In territory scoring the rules are significantly more challenging. However, participants usually play on, and after the standing of every stone has been decided, they go back to the point at the time the first two successive passes (turns) happened and eliminate the dead stones.

Since the amount of stones a participant has on the board is associated with the sum of prisoners their rival has taken, the resultant net score, which is the variance between the scores of the whites and the blacks, is matching under both rules. Consequently, the net outcome given by the two scoring methods seldom contrasts by more than a point.