Chinese neutral points?

Are neutral points considered scoring or nonscoring under Chinese rules? If scoring, which side claims them?

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If neutral points means dame, yes, they score. To be claimed, they have to be filled.


You can’t fill all dame when there is a seki.


If nobody plays them, nobody gets those points.
With Chinese rules it is important to play all neutral points.
At the end of the game a player’s points consist of all points occupied by that player’s stones plus all unoccupied points inside that territory.


Technically, under the Chinese rules, any unfilled dame should be scored as a half a point to each player, but it’s fine to just count them as zero for both.

As mentioned, some dame may need to be left empty due to seki.

Other dame are often filled before ending the game. However, if all that remains on the board are an even number of inconsequential dame (i.e., dame that are not related to any seki, and where filling them does not force defensive territory-filling moves in response), then it can be possible for both players to safely pass without changing the outcome of the game.


This makes sense, otherwise it would break the half point scoring trick they do.


So dame points must be filled, and the stones are considered alive and belonging to the player who is chosen to have their score counted?

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yes, points that are occupied by stones are counted as alive.

Btw linking Sensei’s: Area Scoring at Sensei's Library

If the rules are not clear, maybe we OGForumites can try to improve the article :slight_smile:

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That depends on how the players mark the status of stones in the scoring phase. Stones are only dead or alive if both players agree (that is the case under Chinese rules as well as Japanese rules).


Every time I see a conversation about Chinese rules, I feel like I’m hearing about them for the first time and I think of that proverb “if you think you understand Chinese rules, you don’t understand Chinese rules” :joy:

I don’t think I follow the math here. Wouldn’t it still result in quarter-point scoring either way?

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Not necessarily. Dame that are adjacent to seki must be left open.

Also, one does not strictly need to fill in all dame at the end of the game. The players can choose to pass before filling in all dame to save some time. However, it only strategically makes sense to do so when there are an even number of inconsequential dame left on the board.

Consider a (contrived) game that has reached the following position

From here, reasonable players might choose to do one of two things:

  1. Both players each play another turn, each filling in one of the remaining dame points, before they both pass and score the game result as B+1 (if komi is zero).
  2. Both players each just immediately pass, leaving an even number of unimportant dame left unfilled. The area scoring result is again still B+1 (if komi is zero).

From the above position, if one player passes, and the other fills a dame, then there would be an odd number (one) of dame left, so the initially passing player should fill the last dame to preserve the margin.

If both players see that there are only an even number of unimportant dame left, they can choose to pass to avoid needlessly playing out additional moves. However, when there is not clear understanding of the situation, or if there is any doubt, players might play out the dame filling to be sure.


When you score Chinese, you count one players points. If it is below half they lose, if it is over half they win. But with seki points trapped in dame, both players would have less than half the total board in a close game.


In practice, you don’t have to actually award the half-point for each dame for using the half-counting method. Instead, people can just count the unfilled dame and subtract it from (361 + komi) to get the total number of points shared between White and Black.

I’ve never heard this one before. I think that area scoring rules are actually much easier to understand than territory scoring rules. I think the only tricky part, for Chinese rules in particular, is being aware of which cyclical patterns can cause a “no result” vs which are forbidden by superko (other area scoring rules, like AGA, NZ, Tromp-Taylor simplify this to just always applying a superko rule and doing away with “no result” outcomes).

By the way, under the Japanese rules, players are technically supposed to fill in all dame (except those that must be left open to preserve sekis), since the definition of seki depends on which stones “possess dame”, which is a phrase that has some degree of ambiguity.


Historical note: I give up trying to understand Chinese rules.

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Chinese scoring is easy to understand. Remove all dead stones.

Black’s points = Black’s stones remaining on the board + Black’s territory
White’s points = White’s stones remaining on the board + White’s territory + komi.

The rest is counting tricks if you play on a real board. If you play on OGS, you don’t need counting tricks.


personally i feel like chinese (or some other variant of area scoring) is the most basic of rulesets:

do you control more of the board than your opponent? if so, you win.


(barring seki) Chinese rules are much simpler IRL. You only have to count one side and subtract form 361!

In practice, this looks like:

  1. removing all (agreed upon) dead stones
  2. filling one color, usually black(?)
  3. removing the other color
  4. counting all the stones left on the board. Very easy because you can rearrange them however you want. Groups of 10 is nice.

Step by step illustrated


This can’t be right. Dame points are either unoccupied, or occupied randomly by black or white, meaning that the Chinese score would have a random component.

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