A quick case for stone-count scoring

I don’t play many tournaments, only about four a year, and I’ve only been to a club a couple of times. Since I do all my playing online, where computer programs score the board for me, I am very poor at scoring my games on the board. This isn’t just inconvenient, it also makes it easier for scoring mistakes to occur since only one player (my opponent) is checking the scoring.

I’m sure there are a lot of other people, especially outside of Western Europe and East Asia, that don’t often get to play over the board and so have trouble scoring; not to mention beginners who have only recently learnt the rules of the game. The rulesets don’t make it easier: the strange amalgation of territorial and area scoring used by Western Go federations feels catered more to theoreticians than to practical play.

So, my case is for the international adoption of the simplest scoring ruleset: stone counting. The sequence of stone-count scoring is as follows:

  1. Remove all the dead stones from the board.
  2. Fill all of your territory with your own stones.
  3. Count how many stones are on the board. This can be done by rearrangement into two simple areas, paired removal of stones to see how many of one colour are left, or removal of all stones and counting in sets.

I would personally find this a lot easier; tell me if you would as well.


Congratulations, you’ve just invented Ing Counting :sweat_smile:


As @BHydden already noted, @bugcat’s suggestion seems to be very similar to Ing counting. However, another feature of Ing counting (that is missing from what @bugcat proposes) is that the each player should start with exactly 180 stones, which allows one to count the few stones left in the bowl (after filling in) instead of the many stones placed on the board. Ing even designed special bowls that help count the stones before the game (in order to ensure that each player starts with exactly 180).

Ing counting just provides the same result as area scoring, which can already be done fairly efficiently. See https://senseis.xmp.net/?ChineseCounting and the https://senseis.xmp.net/?AGARules method for using Japanese style counting plus pass stones in order to get the area scoring result. Although I have not tried it, I feel that Ing counting would be less efficient for me.

When I saw the title, I thought that it was going to be about a different scoring system altogether: https://senseis.xmp.net/?StoneScoring


The thing I don’t get about Ing Rules is that surely you’re sometimes going to need more than 360 stones because of long ko fights – there have been pro games over 400 moves. Are they going to supply more stones or call it a draw?

Just trade captured stones no? I give you ten prisoners and you give ten back.

Pretty sure this is what is done when you don’t have enough stones anyway (not anything to do with Ing rules specifically)


For this kind of counting (which is basically area counting), you don’t need to know how many stones each played captured over the course of a game. So captured stones go straight back to the players bowl.

A board has 361 individual points and since each player needs 2 eyes to live 180 stones per player are enough.


With ING/Chinese rules captures are just returned to your bowl. There is no need to keep track of prisoners.


It is unlikely, but still possible for one player to have more than 180 stones on the board, and that player could be in either a winning or losing position (if a lot of those stones are strategically dead).

In practice, if the players run out of stones, they would simply borrow more from another set. Although the Ing rules don’t explicitly say what should be done, this seems to be the only reasonable thing to do.


Just a side note. For all counting methods, the areas usually get rearranged to easy countable forms (mostly rectangles) to ease the counting process.

1 Like

Sure, that does take skill though when they’re not going into just two zones.