Chinese counting

Sounds interesting, but mostly my proposal was with positional superko in mind and “neutral” dame. It’s primarily a proposal about over-the-board counting, where you only have to worry about: did White use 178 or not? to see who won.

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Yes, I think that the core features of your proposal are achieved by Lasker Maas, thus my proposal to consider them :slight_smile: (As I think they are simpler / better defined because there is no need to formally define what “dame” is). That is,

  1. neutral dame [so, like territory counting]
  2. “Area-score-territorial-definition” (so, disputes can be explicitly played out until capture, bent-four behaves like chinese/aga rules, seki-territory and one sided dame actually count as territory. I am not sure how your proposal handles one-sided dames for example, since you need to define “fill a dame” within the rules, and there is a reasonable case to consider one-sided dame as actual territory instead of dame, as normal area-scoring rules implicitly do in a natural way).
  3. Positional superko (the original Lasker-Maas use positional superko).
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I’ll read into that too, thanks. There are some bullet points on how to consider a point as dame, but I would be very surprised if one-side dame or some sort of substantial tactic would actually be the last dame filled in a serious (or even amateur) 19x19 go game. The rule only pertains to the very last dame fill. It’s the same points that intermediate players leave alone in a Japanese scoring game when they pass.

Can you show me something that’s one-sided?

This is the classical example one-sided dame at Sensei's Library

Also, Torazu San Moku position behaves more or less as a one-sided-dame for black (that is why area-scoring-rules end up giving black 3 net points of territory there, the same as if white plays first). Torazu sanmoku at Sensei's Library


That’s a good example, but in the spirit of maintaining the Japanese idea of dame, I would say that it’s a normal dame for the purposes of the 178 proposal.

Let’s say all the competitive moves are made in these examples:

Game 1:
4 typical dame and 1 one-sided dame exist, with Black to move. Black gets more points for dame, but then White gets an extra Komi point (and it wouldn’t matter if Black filled the one-sided one first or last, since the idea is to be more like Japanese with regard to dame)

Game 2:
3 typical dame and Black to move. Black gets more points for dame, and White gets an extra point.

Game 3:
4 typical dame and Black to move. They each get 2 dame points, and White does NOT get the extra Komi point.

I see all these scenarios as fair.

EDIT: my comments are based on your first example. Let me read the other one… I think an odd number of “typical” and 1 one-sided would be the oddball, right? I’ll think about it.

So here’s Game 4:

3 typical dame and 1 one-sided dame. In that example Black tries filling typical dame first so that he/she can move twice in a row. Which is true… HOWEVER, with 178 rules it would mean that it’s a rare instance when White gets to collect TWO extra point stones (because White has to use the extra point stone when filling dame but not when passing). So it keeps in line with the whole “spirit of neutral dame/Japanese mindset” thing I mentioned.

I seem to share some of your preference, at least about long cycles. I find the rules attitude in the West ridiculous - current Western rules cannot even recognize professional games as a sequence of legal moves.

But go rules are not that easy, your proposal would not handle moonshine life correctly.

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You might be interested in the button go idea. Button Go at Sensei's Library

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Yes I am aware of the moonshine life difference. It is in fact the only “serious” (already very, very rare) difference that I could think of (of course, there are undoubtedly other constructed rule beasts which would differ).

A simple way that I thought moonshine life can be made to agree again as in the major rulesets is to use superko, but ONLY for the second phase (the area-rules phase). Since that second phase should already be very rare and used mainly to resolve disputes (or fill one-sided-dame / the territory in the last ko), using superko in that phase has minimal effect.

The downside is that basically, we are adding a different superko rule for the second phase, “only” to “solve” the very specific moonshine-life position. I always felt that “moonshine life does not void the game” is a very inconsistent part of actual Chinese rules (which typically void the game for triple ko, while still using “global life” at the end of the game).

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For the record, button go leads to the same result as Lasker-Maas with respect to “who wins”, although the precise victory-margin might differ depending on dame-parity. So even though it does not look like so at first, it is actually more or less like an “area scoring version” of the Lasker Maas rules.

Yes, superko in later phase is a valid approach and is one I’m considering for some time myself. Moonshine life, on the other hand, has significant differences to triple ko, both theoretical and practical, and there are good arguments behind the wide consensus to forbid it.

Allowing it the game could degenerate into half-game: one side could still win but not lose anymore (just start the capture attempt if fall behind), and many people find that unreasonable.


Well actually that depends on the game “variance”, or the score outside of the moon-shine life vs the score swing of the moonshine life. If the life / death of the moonshine-life decides the game, it will be void, but otherwise the side that is winning by a large margin can abandon it. This works both ways, there is no assymetry: If the side that “lives” in moonshine life is winning by a large margin, they can let the group die and win. If the side that “wants to kill” in moonshine life is winning by a large margin, they can let it live and win. This is like a “normal” triple ko: given the triple ko swing, if the game outside of the triple ko is close enough that the ko is game deciding, it will void, but otherwise one player can abandon it and win anyway.

The difference is that instead of ocurring during the “normal” main phase of the game, this repetition occurs “at the end” when one goes on to actually capture the dead groups. But in “pure” area rulesets where the definition of life is simply “everything that is on the board at the end is automatically alive” and the game ends immediately after two passes, there would be no such essential difference between “two phases”.

That one side can abandon is true for any shape and the whole game, for example, with 400 surplus prisoners you can stop playing on the board. But in reality, there is an asymmetry even in the terms you wrote earlier (passes in the cycle, first passer etc) since only one side can attack.

Yes you can manually count the stones and chose the most efficient way to do it. But it still has a requirement that common rules don’t have. I appreciate myself to not have to use a bowl of stones with the exact quantity of stones in it, and just maybe check in a blick of the eye if you have enough stones of both colors to play with.
There some more practical advantages, like being able to have 3 games running with 2 sets as there are usually enough stones with 3 full sets. And these Ing bowls are not “decorative” objects per se, they help for example to start playing quickly, useful in a tournament for example.

I dunno on what you base this feeling. All the studies i read like the ones mentioned here are written by players from the west, and i guess that there should be the same amount in the East too. One of the very first interest in the western go association was to produce unified go rules to use with respect to the diversity of them (which did lead to create the AGA rule, but not only). So i won’t show disrespect on this side.
If you were thinking of the players habits and such, i don’t see a difference there too. Chinese play with chinese rules, korean with korean… Westerners play mostly with japanese rules because japanese did the biggest part in introducing the game to western countries and i don’t feel that as a ridiculous attitude. Just history (and it’s evolving with bots and online go).


I meant specifically what I wrote after: choosing rules that change the game to an extent that professional games are not even recordable as legal move sequence. All this while it would have been easy to make the same rules honor the asian game, by at least keeping an option to relegate superko into dispute phases only.

The general attitude in the West - at least what I experienced so far - is to quickly dismiss the Asian game as some illogical mess of traditions, without even understanding the reasons behind various decisions in Asian rules.

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There is no general attitude in west. I mean a unique attitude that everyone has. Some are very deeply interested and wrote even articles or books to share their discovery and knowledge, some just want to play without having to care that much on things which are almost sure to never happen. And some have to make compromise between different attitudes. I didn’t see any difference in Asia by the way they are not more rules experts and they have the same difficulties when they have to fix rules in international go tournaments.

Just a little last comment

Isn’t it getting a bit outdated expression today? Go getting played a bit everywhere…


I simply meant Japanese-Chinese-Korean rules, ie. the original game with long cycle draws.

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For your information regarding moonshine life, I’ve just become aware that there are new “2016 korean rules”: Korean 2016 Rules

These ones judge life and dead locally (but notably, “locality” is not defined explicitly :), so one must intuitively decide what is “the local area”) but without any special ko-rule for hypothetical play (unlike the Japanese rules). This creates a distinction for moonshine-life: “self contained” examples of moonshine life, where the “double ko-seki” shape and the “ko-to-live” shape are part of the same group instead of being far away on the board, would be deemed alive according to that rule… as they can’t be captured playing locally with the normal ko rule. While the more “global” moonshine life examples are still dead, just like the normal bent four. This is an interesting distinction, which further shows that the moonshine life precedent is not so historically critical, as it is not only very rare, but it has changed through history (the first historical written record of Moonshine life has a Japanese monk ruling that the moonshine life group is alive).