Go Rule Dialects
Remark: the Game of Go is also known under the name Igo (Japan), Wei-qi (China) and Baduk (Korea).
A short, concise set of Go rules
Trivial knowledge preasumptions
- English language is interpretated in agreement :)
- the term 'player' is well defined
- the object 'stone' is well defined
- the attributes 'empty', 'white', 'black' are well defined, respectively
the term 'color'
- the object 'n times n Cartesian grid' is well defined for each positive integer n
- Two players, called Black and White
- Sufficient black and white stones
- A square (Cartesian) grid of size 19x19 is used as board which at each of its 361 intersection points
can have the state of either be empty or occupied by either a black or a white stone. Each of the grid line intersection points is referred as
a position or point of the board. The 'whole-board-state' is denoted as configuration.
- The players like to play a Game of Go and agree mutually of a komi which is an integer or half of an integer.
If this agreement doesn't take place the komi is defined to be zero.
- Further the player must agree whether they like to start with an empty board
or put some (black) stones, called the set-up (handicap), in agreement on the board before playing starts.
If any player violates the playing rules, the Game immediatly ends, he loses and his
opponent is declared the winner.
- Black starts playing as far as there is no handicap --- which
is considered as Black's first move --- else White is to start.
- Playing means: the players make their moves on alternate turns.
- Each move of a player is either passing --- the current board configuration is not changed --- or put a stone of his
color on an empty position of the board. The last option can result in a
removal of one or more stones of a color.
This removal of stone(s) occurs if and only if:
A liberty of a stone is an empty position on the board which is connected to this stone by a
vertical and horizontal path of stones all of the same color as the considered stone.
- there are either opponent stone(s) which have after placing the just played stones
no liberty, these must be removed,
or, if this is not the case,
- if own stone(s)
(necessarily including the just placed stone) still have no liberty,
then those must be removed.
- A move is forbidden if it changes the configuration and recreates a previous
- If both players pass in a row the playing procedure ends.
Determining the Score and the Winner
- If the playing ends with two passes, calculate the difference of white stones minus black
stones now on the board and add the komi. This is called the
score. If the score is positive White is the winner, if it is negative
Black is the winner and if it is zero a tie has occured.
- The sense of a game of Go can be considered as the try/aim of each of the players to take control of as much as possible of all the board points.
Here 'taking control' of a point means finally color it with the player's color.
(A different aim would be to gain (and define) control of empty points also or
even only of these, where the last case can be very complicated and in both
cases this would of course result in a different scoring and typically result!)
- Normally there are 181 black and 180 white stones --- in any case, sufficient many.
- The number of handicap stones serves to equalize the relative strength of the
player to give both an interesting game, respectively a 50-50 chance of winning it.
The positions of the handicap stones are either fixed on the star points or
free to choose by Black which has to be mutualy agreed. Formally, in the last case, the handicap can be regarded as to belong to the playing
procedure if it is agreed that White passes on his first moves when Black is
forced to put down his handicap stones.
- The komi serves also to equalize the players winning chances if these differ
only by a slight amount. E.g. for equal rated players, a komi of 4.5 - 7.5 is recommanded. Further, it serves as a noninteger value to eliminate ties in the score.
- It is considered impolite to play the first move not in the lower
right quadrant of the board in view of the Black player.
Variations and Time of Playing
Variations which doesn't effectively change the score, but shorten the
playing or the scoring procedure
- Instead of violating the rules during play, a player may 'resign' which
indicates that he immediatly lose the game.
- If the players agree in common for each empty point which belongs white, black
or noone --- as it would belong if they would continue the playing --- they can stop playing and count all empty points as if they
were colored by the agreed color.
- Further, if the players agree in common for all stones which of these can
be removed by further play and their positions are considered to be
occupied by the opposite color, their removal during play is not necessary
and the playing can stop. These stones will be removed immediately after the playing has been ended.
Variations which can change the score and need mutual agreement before
- Putting a stone such that only stone(s) of its color has/have to be removed
- Recreation of the some configuration is allowed as long as this
configuration is more than 3 moves ago. If this occurs and both players dislike
to leave the board configuration cycle by playing the same positions, the game ends immediately and is
either to be declared to be a draw or as to be not effective played. Which
possibility is to be chosen, has to be agreed upon playing starts.
- Passing is not allowed. At each move a player must put a stone on the board.
The end of the playing procedure must be declared by the players' agreement.
A deeper analysis shows, that in this case one needs to modify this restriction
such that passing is only allowed if the player to move returns one (earlier) captured opponent stone
to avoid the possibility that the 'true' winner is defrauted of his 'natural' win --- which else of course would be very inpolite.
- Instead of own colored points, only empty, but by own stones controlled
points count for the finally score. In this case, also the removed and removable
stones of the opponent add to a players gain.
- Special groups or configuration of the board can be assign a value number
in the scoring procedure instead of counting their belonging stones.
- Instead of a 19x19 grid, a rectangle Cartesian grid of any size can be used as board.
Time restrictions for play
- For each player a sufficient clock / time control mechanism must be in place
to indicate his actual time supply.
- A fixed base time for each player might be given for his playing procedure.
- Repeatingly, a fixed at most time might be given each player for a fixed
number of moves which repeatingly follow his moves made in his base time.
- A fixed time bonus might be given each player for each of his moves, immediatly after the move is completed.
- The real time a player spends on his move is subtracted continiously from his time supply. If his time supply becomes negative, he immediately loose the game.
- 'resign' is the polite art to violate the rules. It can be reformulated
as a legal move which aims at immediatly own loss, to shorten the game and not
to bore the opponent.
- The second and third rule variation, which doesn't effect the score, are used almost always today to shorten the end
phase of playing, because apart from bloody beginners, both players know then
which empty points are controlled by Black and which by White, respectively
which stones can be removed unconditionally in subsequent play by each player.
This created the word 'group-tax' for the 2 points (eyes) of each independent alive
group of stones which weren't filled in by own stones. The price of a shorter endgame is paid by a much longer formulation of 'agreement-phases' and 'resumption of play' in case of disagreement in these rule variations! Luckily, experienced players
almost always agree on the evaluation of the empty points.
But a warning: If the players agree, e.g. beginners, a normally death group
may be alive and of course this changes the result in comparision to the
original fill-in procedure in the end game! And even abstruser, they could
agree that some arbitrary selected empty points belong to Black.
- Rule variation 1, also called the suicide rule, is explicitly given in
the Chinese and Japanese rules --- because of traditional reasons.
- Also rule variation 2, the board repeation rule, is explicitly stated in
the Chinese and Japanese rules. But it occurs in practically play very rarely.
- Rule variation 3, passing during play is in some rules forbiden as it is regarded as extremly
impolite --- the opponent has made such a bad move, that I like to pass to show
him my regard. Typically pass is only senseful if this player has no senseful
moves, this happens normally only at the end of the playing procedure.
- Rule variation 4 is introduced in the Japanese rules and any rules, like
the current Korean, which directly springs of them. The origin lies in a historical
change of interpretation of the empty points on the board. Unfortunatly, this
scoring rule can arise serious problems to decide who owns a certain empty point.
- Also, rule variation 5 was introduced in the Japanese rules, from traditional reasons of interpretation. This happened often exactly then when such special
configurations arise the first time in important games during scoring and no
agreement between the players could be made. In practical played games those
configurations arise extremly rarly. The source of this need, lies in the
acceptance of rule variation 4. And it is highly probable that the bent-four-in-the-corner configuration was even known to the Go players when this rule variation 4 was adopted in Japan. Sadly, this is/was the source of more and more logical inconsistences of the Japanese Go rules.
- For beginners, 9x9 and 13x13 sized boards are common to shorten the game.
But also 17x17 sized were and are common in some locations. Larger than 19 are
extremly rarly used and even sized or non square sized boards are still rarer.
- The base time is the always-given-time if the player agree to play with a
time limit. It typically variates between 5 minutes for lightning Go, over 60
minutes for normal play upto some days in old professional games. But as long
as one doesn't play Go by mail, time is considered expensive and typically even
professionals doesn't play longer than one day for a game.
- The time period for a fixed number of moves after the player is run out of
his base time is called byoyomi. It's sense is to avoid a win by time if
possible in prior to force a player to quicker play. It is regarded as
unsatisfactory to win on time and not on playing skill. Typical byoyomi values
are 30 seconds each move or 20 moves in 10 minutes or similar. Playing with
time bonus each move seems to be most fairly, but it presumes an adequate clock.
Remark: the conditions 1.2, 2.2, and 2.3, as well as the alternative scoring principles --- effectively the slightly different aims of the game --- 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 might result in different strategies, tactics and results!
- Set-up (pre-turn phase)
- initial board configuration
- free handicap points to choose
- fixed handicap pattern
- even game
- empty board
- fair preset (symmetric if colors are exchanged)
- komi (value to balance the first move advantage)
- no komi
- 4.5 - 8 komi given white in case of even game
- 0.5 komi given white in case of handicap game
- Turn Phase
- clearify whether passing is allowed (putting a stone on the board is a right or an obligation?)
- passing allowed
- nothing to change in the whole game status
- give the opponent one of your own stones
- give back the opponent one of your captured stones
- passing disallowed (player must change the board configuration)
- clearify whether a suicide move is allowed
- generally forbidden (player is any move denied which only takes away the last liberty of own stone(s)
- single (only just played) stone suicide disallowed, but multi stone suicide granted
- clearify whether a move recreating a previous board configuration is forbidden
- always forbidden (positional super-ko-rule)
- only forbidden if the same player as previous to move and the same basic ko-plays are identical (situational super-ko-rule)
- only forbidden if it is two moves ago (ko-rule) else the game result is to be judged as a tie or 'no-result' (game to be replayed)
- End of the Turn Phase
- both players agree to finish turn phase
- if passing is allowed consecutive passes finish turn phase
- 3 consecutive passes started by the start-player (black) finish
- 3 consecutive passes always finish
- 2 consecutive passes always finish
- no legal move for the player-to-move exists (thus, passing disallowed) and then he is defined to be the looser
- a player resigns (polite alternative to violate the rules) and then he is the looser (no scoring)
- Board Scoring
- only colored points count (called stone scoring)
- colored and empty points may count (called area scoring)
consequence: removal of opponent stones in turn phase doesn't change later score
- some opposite colored stones are allowed to be emptied by agreement (if disagreement then turn phase restarts)
- the rule set defines explicitly who controls each empty point by
- empty points surrounded by both colors count for both players equally (modern chinese rules)
- empty points surrounded by both colors count weighted by the topology (SST rules)
- only empty points may count (called territory scoring)
consequence: removal of opponent stones in turning phase changes later score
[further consequence: a captured or 'death' stone has the same value as one empty point]
- some own colored stones are allowed to be emptied (Sun-chang Go rules)
- some opposite colored stones are allowed to be emptied (Japanese Go rules)
- the rule set defines who controls each empty point by
- status depends only on the color(s) surrounding topologically the empty point
- status depends on the local concept of live and death (explicite Japanese ruling)
The excellent, english writen reference I known is:
Mathematical Go / Chilling Gets the Last Point by E. Berlekamp and D. Wolfe,
1994, A. K. Peters, Wellesley, Mass. USA, pp. 113-168.
(also published as Mathematical Go endgames by Ishi Press International, San Jose, London, Tokyo, 1994 in Soft-cover)
which gives an exact, concise and detailed overview of more than 6 dialects of Go, including: Ancient Chinese, Modern Chinese, Japanese, Mathematical, and North-American rule set.
For further refinements or rules like the SST or New Zealand rule set see:
R. Bozulich / The Go Players's ALMANAC,
ISHI Press, San Jose, Tokyo , 1991
The abstracter but less ambiguous Tromp-Tayler rule set and
Robert Jasiek's collection of links to the topic Go rules is also noteworthy.
Also note, that exact stated Go rules are an achievment of the 20th century.
Before about 1930, there was spread only the traditional Chinese, the old Korean and the Japanese Go
rules, except same minor local variations --- the only excpetion of this seems to be
the Tibetan Go rules --- , and they all were given through oral delivery.
First we list these Go rules which has been played by very many (> 100 000) players:
- Japan: -- at least 3 slightly different rule variations defined by the Nihon Ki-in: pre-1949, 1949 and 1989
- Korea: -- the Hangook Kiwon (current Korean Go Association) rules are said to be equivalent to the 1949(?)-rule set
- IGS: -- In contrast to all other Japanese variations, empty points in seki count if one colored surrounded. They are implemented since 1992 on a so-called Go-server, a public (but now-a-day commercial) internet-resource
- Ancient played in Chinese mainland
- Ancient III: -- for many hundred years before the Sui Dynasty. Effectively the same as Ancient II rules, but played on a 17x17 board!
- Ancient II: -- for many hundred years until 14th century.
The common dialect in Sui, Tang and Song Dynasties (581-1279).
- Ancient I: -- for many hundred years until mid of 20th century. The common dialect in Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911).
- Korean: -- Old Korean
(Sun-chang/Sunjung) Baduk rules. Common in Korea before 1911 and played at least until 1937.
- Taiw: -- Common sense Go rules used in Taiwan before 1952
- SST: -- Mr. Ing Chang-ki's GOE/SST-Rules, 1991, 1986, 1975 (and 1974)
- China: -- Mainland China. Defined by the Wei-Qi Association, 1988 and 1975.
- NA: -- USA (American Go Association) and Canadian (Canadian Go Association) Rules 1991
- NZ: -- New Zealand, Official NZGS Rules 1978
-- Tromp-Tayler rules a reformulation of the New-Zealand rules by Bill Taylor and John Tromp in 1995.
Let the 'tedious phase' start when only 1 point gote moves exist, continuing the scoring procedure
and after this, lasts until the stones are again arranged in
two heaps of black and white stones as at the beginning of the game.
|subject / dialect
| Set up stones || no || 4 || 4 || 16+1 || no || no || no || no || no |
| handicap placement || fixed || non || non || non || free || free || ? || fixed || free |
| Passing allowed || yes || no || no || no || yes || yes || yes || yes || yes |
| Suicide allowed || no || no || no || no || no || yes || yes || no || yes |
| Configuration repeation cycle length || >2 || >2 || >2 || >2 || >2 || no || ? || no || no || board scoring type || territory || territory || stone || territory* || area || area || area ||area/territory|| area
| worst case of scoring procedure || difficult+ || difficult || simple || simple || modest || simple || simple || depends || simple |
| average time the tedious phase lasts || 10 || 10 || 20 || 12 || 15 || 19 || 11 || 10/15 || 11 |
*certain stones of the own boundary were removed.
+here the japanese rules variates with the history
Secondly we list these Go rules which has been played less players which is due
mostly to the fact that they are a modern invention (the earlier SST-rule variations count probably also into this category). Of cource this list can't be complete because Go rule theoreticans (mostly self-named amateurs) consider more and
more variations. Hopefully here are given the more important ones:
- Tibetan Rules
- Very old, probably the oldest delivered, but nearly out died (destruction of tibetan cultur respectively life foundation of monks by chinese politics and military since the occupation of Tibet in 1950).
Firstly, a special fixed 12 stone set up on the 3rd line is placed and a 13th
(black's first move) stone in the center, secondly putting a stone on an empty
point which was just emptied (by the opponent's previous move) is forbidden (no snap-back possible), thirdly a restriction where to place the next move in distance consideration to your previous placed stone, fourth
having colored special points at the end gives raise to extra values (and maybe some more we have no knowledge anymore).
- Mathematical Japanese/Chinese/Ancient/universal go rules
- In the early 1990 Elwyn Berlekamp, a profound mathematician game theorist, created these rules to approximate the Japanese, Chinese, Ancient I Go rules. The last named seems to be almost perfect approximated, say equivalent. In contrast for the japanese there this seems to be totaly out of reach because of many illogical scoring cases which needs interpretation by authorities.
One of these Mathematical Go rule variations considered by Elwyn Berlekamp seems to be the shortest and most elegant: here scoring is never necessary to determine the winner but needs the 'if one passes then one must give one captured stone back' clause.
In his high level mathematical research on best (end-game) play he needs to consider the effects of various Go rules on his theory and therefore created also the above mentioned mathematical variations of the go rules. He observed (and stated) that in the mathematisation of go rules, when it goes to scoring evaluation, the "2 point group tax" occurs naturally which indicates that stone scoring seems to be the simplest (and logical conistst) form of scoring.
Historical Development in Scoring Philosophy
In the philosophic development of taking control as much as possible of the board during playing, it is notworthy that in ancient times, the vacant points counting which is territory scoring stood at the
(historical delivered) beginning of Go. This was changed in the early Ming-Dynasty to the stone scoring philosophy but effectively used as area counting with 'group-tax' to shorten the endgame play.
This usage assumed the knowledge of the term 'group',
'eye', and 'seki'. Technically, it preassumes special knowledge about removable and non removable stones, but in practice each Go player has such knowledge.
In this the 20th cnetury this 'group-tax' was abolished by the Chinese in an
attempt to make the score similar to that of the Japanese and they introduced
The Japanese, whose Go-theory and Go-player strength was undoubtfully the
far highest developed upto the eighty-years of the 20th century,
kept their territory --- empty, but controled points --- scoring since the
introduction of the Game from China, via Korea to Japan. Effectively, it is
mostly still quicker than area counting, but
it can be only equivalently to area scoring if the passing player is forced to
give a stone to his opponent (because there can be (many) empty dame points occupyable by only one player) and if the second player puts the last stone onto the board --- both is demanded by the NA rule set.
Also, the japanese rules count only territory which belongs to an immortal
group (what is the status of bent-for-in-the-corner?) in contrast to points in a seki. All this indicates (and needs) a far higher level of
abstraction and historical influences than necessary for a simple Go rule set.
They (japanese Go authorities) changed e.g several times the status of
moonshine-life by current definition, which reflects
the controverse view on decisions based on local considerations versus global board configuration. See
also Robert Jasiek's detailed Scoring classification of different Go dialects.
It become evident in the 19th century by the Japanese Go players that black has a significant advantage by moving first in an even game. But only in the 20th
century komi was invented by the Japanese players to give white a fair chance
to win an even game. The Nihon Ki-in started with 4.5 komi, increased to 5.5 komi(around 1970?) and defined in the beginning of the 21th century a 6.5 komi for
Here is a nice pointer to Ancient Chinese rules and philosophy
Time scale of Go rule changes
In ancient times there were only the different chinese culturs, the korean and
the japanese cultur playing Go in a noticable number. Undoubtfully, the Game of
Go has its origin about 2000 B.C. (perhaps even earlier) somewhere in the
mainland of China. The first records of this Game describe it as 17x17 board
as well as a 19x19 board! Sadly, first game representations are only from about 200 A.D. Some
times about 500 A.D. the Game of Go must come via Korea to Japan. From the
very first game records in China upto the middle of the 20th century, a preset of
2 black and 2 white stones at the starpoints diagonal opposed was common sense
in China. In Japan this preset must have been abolished already in the Middle Ages.
The eldest writen complete rule set seems to be the Japanese of the beginning
These rules were first restructured and simplified 1949, because the until then
valid rules has been slowly, but steadily increased. They contained more then
fourty special configurations (e.g bend-four-in-the-corner) which needed
special score evaluation in the scoring if they arose. These rules were adopted
after world war II by the Koreans and the Taiwanese Wei-Qi Professional Association from 1952-1975. They were again reformulated by the Nihon Ki-in
(the eastern Japanese Professional Go Association) 1989, but sadly, they still have
logical defects (e.g. three-points-without-capturing).
Likewise was the development of all descents of the traditional chinese rules: They were officially writen down by the
new founded Wei-Qi Association in the People's Republic of China about 1955 and in the seventy-years the modern Chinese rules were invented.
The now valid Go rules in the mainland of China, propagated by the official Wei-Qi Association, were fixed 1988. The North-American Go rules by the AGA 1991,
the New Zealand Go rules of 1978 and all other Go rules not used in Easter Asia
are similar new.
Remarkable are the SST rules of 1986, redesigned 1991, which were invented to
convince up the world's Go players by a very rich taiwanese business man and Go
fanatican, Mr. Ing. His main aim is to avoid the 'whole-board-repetation prohibition rule', but to make the Go rules nevertheless logical consistant.
As similar as he, respectivaly his foundated GOE institutes, tries to spread his rules and philosophy of Go
into the world with the support of his money behind them,
each community favours their rather young, after 1950, --- except the current
japanese --- fashion of Go rules.
Starting around 1970,
computer scientists, who try to write Go playing programs and mathematicians who are interested in combinatorial game theory, enlightened the logical
foundations of the many Go dialects which now exist. Especially the mathematicians try to simplify the Go rules and make them consistantly.
Chronologic overview of philosophic opinions which results in Go rule changes
- Tibetan Go, before A.D. or probably earlier upto now
- Go board is 17x17 sized grid
- Immediate recapturing is forbidden (no snap back allowed)
- A preset of 12 stones, alternatingly black and white, on the third line, spaced 3 apart.
- Ancient Go, before A.D. or probably earlier
- Go board is 19x19 sized grid
- Passing seems ever disallowed based on philosopic reasons (Yin/Yang).
- Cyclic whole board repetation which is not an immediate Ko Recapture
is allowed and leads to 'games with no result'
- Always a preset of 2 white and 2 black stones diagonal opposite each other on the four star points to simplify the opening strategy
- Very old representations of Go board configuration were dug out in China,
which show stones placed on the physical edge of a 17x17 board,
hence effectively a 19x19 grid seemed to be used! This could indicate a change
from a 17x17 grid to a 19x19 grid.
- In the Sui Dynasty (581-618) it was common to use territory scoring rules like now-a-days in Japan. This lasts into the Tang and Song Dynasties (618-1279) and seemed to changed during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) into the traditional Go --- of cource in some local playes the ancient Go rules may be played longer.
- Traditional Go from the early Ming-Dynasty (1368-1644) into the 20th century
- Usage of a 2 point 'group-tax'
to accomplish the scoring procedure quicker, but not effect the final score in
comparision to stone counting.
- Japanese Middle Age Go rule changes
- Abolish the preset of the 4 star point stones at the beginning. Probably to get a
more variation-rich opening.
- Interpretation of the 'empty area' as the 'to-strive-for territory', survived from about 500 upto now. This forces to define
certain constallations for the scoring as death or alive. The number of such
configuration increases slowly, but steadily, upto 1949.
- Old Korean Go rules upto 1949 (?) but at least 1937.
- Territory rules like the Japanese, but not only death opposite stones were
removed in the scoring procedure, but also superfluious own stones to enlarge
the own territory, as long as the enlarged territory remained safely in respect to capturing stones directly by the opponent (no stones in atari allowed).
- This indicates a mixture of Chinese Area counting and Japanese
territory counting. Hence, it was costless to prove life-and-death status, but
it leads to a major tactic factor and a difference in strategy and of course result.
- Revisions and Restructure of Japanese Go rules 1949
- To get rid the need to define the status of many special configurations (37 until then) for the scoring procedure.
- And have the first writen defines Go rules (it is said, that it was upto
then not even clear, whether putting a stone on the board each move, was right or an obligation).
- The Republic of China Go Association defines it's Go rules 1952
- These Taiwanese Go rules are made in view of the Traditional Chinese rules and the dominating Japanese rules. They abolish the 4 stone preset.
- To have a writen set of Go rules and to indicate their independence from the
People's Republic of China.
- The modern Chinese Rules arises 1975
- After the Chinese Culture Revolution the Wei-Qi Association was founded in
China to have an official control of Go playing activities.
- These rules were invented as a compromise of the traditional
Chinese rules and the dominating Japanese rules. The 4 stones preset as well as
the group-tax was abolished. But they declared the 'super-ko'-rule.
Since 1980 Go was promoted stronly officially, even by inventing many Japanese
professional players. The modern Go rules were reformulated in 1988.
- The SST rules become the official rules of the Taiwanese Players 1975.
- A rich Go fanatician, Mr. Ing, dislike the 'Super-Ko-rule' and invented his
ING-rules for resolving Ko-desputes consistantly. Sadly, this results in a very long rule text. They were redesigned by Mr. Ing 1986 and at last 1991. After
his death his Goe foundation tries to popularize these Go rules.
- The New Zealand Go Society introduced a short, consistant set of rules 1978
- They allows explicit suicide moves and forbide any repetation of whole board configuration.
- Their rules, except for area scoring instead of stone scoring, are the
Go rules here recommanded.
- After 1980
- With the spread out of personal computers, many amateurs set up Go programs
which manage Go games or even play, of cource very weak, Go. This causes a
wider scientific research of computer scientists of the existing dialects of Go rules. Also new dialects, like the IGS-Go rules, were invented.
- Combinatorical Go rules around 1988
- This results in a further simplification in comparision to ancient Go rules.
- In the sense of the established combinatorial game theory which is used by mathematicians:
Passing is not allowed, but instead of this a player can return a removed
stone. So no scoring takes place, and the player loses who neither can put a stone
on the board nor have any more opposite captured stones.
- New AGA rules for players in the USA 1991
- To abolish the still then used Japanese rules, because of their unsatisfactory logical consistence. They look similar like the NZ-rules, but forbide suicide moves.
Remark: The abbreviation AGA in Go context can mean either
American Go Association, Australian Go Association or Austrian Go Association.
The first name is the organization of the USA-amateur Go players --- excluding
Canadian and Mexican players not to mention all the south american Go players :-).
Explanation of the Go rule development
Somewhere in the Chinese mainland Go was invented before Anno Domini. It is
uncertain when in the range from about 2500 B.C. until 500 B.C. the earliest
Go game was played. Also the first rule sets and the sense of this game are
unknown and gives rise to different speculations. Reconstruction
of unearthed boards and historical data indicate that as well as the Tibetan
rule set as also the Ancient III rule may the oldest delivered Go rules.
But it is sure that sometimes in the early middle age (about 500 A.D.)
it became more and more common to play on a 19x19 sized board in contrast to the earlier spread 17x17 (and even 15x15) size.
Shortly afterwards Go was brought to Japan from the mainland (and probably also the korean Go cultur branched off).
The Japanese abandoned early the 4 stone preset and started with an empty board.
Later, between 1300-1400, there took place a change in scoring philosophy in
the chinese mainland, which didn't spread into the far apart countries of Korea
and Japan. Also in the remote Tibetan area, the local Go variante could survive
for many centuries without change. This situation continued until the Japanese expansion began in the late 19th century.
Starting with the occupation of Korea they also brought their cultur to
parts of China and because the Professional Japanese Go players were
indisputable the strongest of these three Go culturs there was a lot of
pressure to adapt the Japanese rules as well as in Korea as in China.
In Korea the original Sun-chang Baduk died out completely until 1945 and
in China mixtures of Japanese and Ancient Chinese Go rule exist in local variations.
Then in 1945 the Japanese empire falls and next in 1949 the successful
communistic revolution took part which let Taiwan break away politically from
the Chinese mainland.
What followed was a definition of the Taiwanese Go rules in 1952 and a decline of Go in the mainland China until the end of the Chinese cultur revolution from 1966-1969.
After this Go was supported politically in China and the modern Chinese rules were invented/defined by a new founded Wei-Qi Association in the beginings of 70th.
About the same time, the small Taiwanese Go player community accepts the GOE-rules as their new Go-rules sponsered many financially by a Go interested business man Ing Chang-ki (he changed these 2 further times because of his unsatisfactory with the rules).
In Europa as well as in Northern America the Japanese rules were adapted since
early reports and cultur research journeys from the begining of the 20th century.
With the start of computer Go (around 1970) Mathematician and Go theorists
considered different Go rules. As a consequence new rule sets in New-Zealand (1978) as well as the AGA-rules of 1991 was stated. Also the Combinatorial Game Theory mathematized the different Go dialects geting principle insights in the
principle variation possibilities.
Collection of Internet resoruces
created 1998-02-18 12:30 UTC+01
updated 2003-10-21 17:32 UTC+02