Anyone interested in playing capture go?


I’ve often used capture go (also known as atari go) to introduce new players to the game. The differences from normal go are as follows:

  1. The game starts with a crosscut shape already in the middle of a 9x9 board.
  2. Passing is not allowed.
  3. The first player to capture a stone or a group of stones wins.

For new players, it’s good practice for recognizing atari and ladders. For experienced players, the game usually continues to where you would pass and count in a normal game of go. However, since passing is not allowed, you are then forced to play inside your own territory. The player with less territory will eventually be forced to fill in the eyes of one of their groups, at which point they will be captured and lose the game. In this way, the main strategy of the game becomes to surround territory, even though the rules don’t mention anything about territory!

My interest in capture go was reawakened recently by this app which made me realize that there is no need to start from a crosscut. This leads to much more variety in the opening, and I think a very interesting game even for experienced go players. It’s similar to go, but different in a few important ways: for example, see this problem. I’ve played a couple of games online in the app, but unfortunately it’s not very popular, so usually no one is online to play.

So if anyone is interested in playing this variant with me, just send me a challenge with “Capture go” in the title! Obviously capture go isn’t implemented on OGS, so we’ll have to follow the rules of not using the pass button and resigning if we get captured.


It seems like a very different game than regular go. Since it is impossible to capture many dead shapes without first throwing in (sacrificing) a stone, it becomes easier to live with outlandish invasions into settled territory.


Indeed! So if you want to make secure territory, you will have to be more conservative than in normal go (smaller extensions, playing more on the third line than the fourth, etc). An extreme example: I think you can invade under a 3-3 on the 2-2 point and live (or escape) :joy:


Someone else is interested in capture go:

Tournament starts in 3 days. :wink:


Hm, might be a bit of a problem since all tournaments are ranked, right?

Oh, wait, 5d+1d up to 1 week. Pauses on weekends. It’s never going to end :slight_smile:


That’s great, thanks for making me aware of this!


Interesting, they use this rule: “If no stones are captured during the game, then the game is scored like a normal Japanese game.” instead of banning passing.

That seems to change the game significantly. All those pseudo-alive groups would then be eventually counted as dead, and making late invasions to avoid filling in your own eyes is less effective.


Oh, I didn’t interpret it that way, I think all stones on the board count as alive, and you count territory as in a normal japanese game. See this game from an earlier tournament for example.


looks like a fun game im in :slight_smile:


It seems like strange wording then. It may be their intent to apply territory scoring with all stones assumed alive, but that hardly resembles the counting in a “normal Japanese game”.