Counting Points without filling all empty intersection (Japanese Rule)

Hi, i’m double digit Kyu Player. In the real board (Offline). Sometimes I see in some kifu, the game is already over (not resign), but there are still places that have not been filled with stones (and in my opinion this could potentially not be a neutral point). Under these conditions how to determine territorial points?

Sorry if the Question is wrong :smiley:

It depends on the rules, but usually the game is resumed to settle any points about which the players disagree.

ow, that’s right.

Japanese rules are a mess, if you have a disagreement between both players. In my opinion, the relevant articles to such cases could be:

Article 7. Life and death

1. Stones are said to be “alive” if they cannot be captured by the opponent, or if capturing them would enable a new stone to be played that the opponent could not capture. Stones which are not alive are said to be “dead.”
2. In the confirmation of life and death after the game stops in Article 9, recapturing in the same ko is prohibited. A player whose stone has been captured in a ko may, however, capture in that ko again after passing once for that particular ko capture.

Article 8. Territory

Empty points surrounded by the live stones of just one player are called “eye points.” Other empty points are called “dame.” Stones which are alive but possess dame are said to be in “seki.” Eye points surrounded by stones that are alive but not in seki are called “territory,” each eye point counting as one point of territory.

Article 9. End of the game

3. If a player requests resumption of a stopped game, his opponent must oblige and has the right to play first.

Article 13. Both players lose

1. After the game stops according to Article 9, if the players find an effective move, which would affect the result of the game, and therefore cannot agree to end the game, both players lose.

Btw.: It could depend on how pedantic you are. @yebellz should be able to give a more precise answer, in case you need a pedantic one.


Have never heard this. Interesting.

The official Japanese rules of Go are extremely complicated. It’s not possible to concisely explain them, without being imprecise about what would happen in a lot of unusual cases.

@flovo quotes at length from portions of the official rules, but even those words are really not enough to fully capture what’s going on with the Japanese rules, since there’s a lot of ambiguity and confusing situations that are only explained via numerous examples in a much longer official commentary attached to the rules. Even after working through all of the rules and the commentary, some questions and doubts will likely remain.

In practice, the vast majority of people (nearly everyone except for professional players and the referees that oversee professional tournaments) work with vastly simplified approximations of the Japanese rules. Most players don’t even realize how much complexity they’ve simplified away, since at some point, in order to learn a basic idea of the rules, a simplified version of the rules had to be presented to them, and a lot of the complicated situations often don’t ever come up.

Luckily, the situations that create the most complex issues and differences for the Japanese rules are also quite rare. Some are so rare, that you will likely never encounter them. In the vast majority of games, something weird won’t happen, and it won’t really matter if one uses Japanese, Chinese, New Zealand, AGA, or any other common rule set.

However, your question is very ambiguous, and seems to be concerned about situations where somethings may have been left unfinished, which can produces some of the weird cases that are tricky to deal with.

Resuming the game to settle disputes by “playing it out” is widely practiced, even though it is not exactly correct to do so (under the Japanese rules, but this is the correct procedure for other area-scoring rules), and would produce wildly different results in some cases. The only correct way to settle many potential disputes is to carefully work through the technical details of the Japanese rules, for which there are no easy shortcuts that provide correct results.

@flovo seems to suggest that I can give you a precise answer. However, honestly, I cannot tell you how to correctly resolve every single possible disputable situation with precise application of the official Japanese rules. Their full complexity is beyond my understanding, and there are surely many, many positions that will leave me stumped.

I may have given others the impression that I understand the Japanese rules, since I have been writing another thread that works through some of the complicated situations:

@VicktorVauhn, if you want to dive down the rabbit hole, you might find the above link interesting.

However, please keep in mind that what I have written is nowhere near an exhaustive exposition of the complexity of the Japanese rules, but rather it is:

  1. A work in progress with several other topics that I plan to write about.
  2. Even when I am done, what I have written will only really show the “tip of the iceberg”. There is far more that I don’t really understand and hence won’t be writing about.

I don’t understand the Japanese rules. I just know enough to realize how little I understand them.


Is there any chance you could show us an example? Without going into the special cases intricacies, it is common among amateur players not to fill dames (neutral points) as if they do not threaten anything they are worth no points.

If you do not think all of the unplayed intersections were dames there are three possibilities I guess:

  • you are mistaken and they are neutral
  • the players failed to spot the points are not dames, in which case I would not be sure if I would study those games
  • the players were so good that they counted the difference in their heads / or lazy to record the last few moves, which is kind of lazy and unfair to beginners who would later study those.

Hard to say without seeing the games though.

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