# Different Counting Method, different Strategy?

hi, sorry I’m still a beginner.

Does the difference in the final calculation method (Japanese and Chinese) influence our strategy when playing? I think like that because in Chinese counting the number of stones is also counted as points. This means that when filling neutral areas, points will also increase.

yes, in Chinese you do fill all dame (neutral intersections) at the end, but this usually only changes result by 1 point.

Other than that, no, not really

4 Likes

And to try and explain in more detail,

you have probably noticed, but in Go the point difference between the two players (not the actual number of points) matters. Therefore when filling neutral territory (dame) under Chinese scoring the result can differ by one point, depending on what player got the last move, until then you get 1 point for one dame, then your opponent gets one, and the difference remains constant because you both got +1.

Given reasonable moves (for example NOT filling your own territory, or NOT playing hopeless invasions while your opponent keeps passing) the result (win/loss) between the two rulesets will be the same under most cases.

6 Likes

Unless your opponent chooses to pass or play within their own territory.

– If there are 10 Dame on the board and you fill 5 and your opponent fill 5, then the dame are effectively not worth any points. Yes, each one is worth the point of the stone being played. But when you consider both players are filling Dame equally, then the scores remain even with each other.

– However, if there are an odd number of Dame, then whoever starts filling Dame first, will end up with one more point than their opponent.

– If there are an even number of Dame and one player chooses to play in their own territory instead of filling a Dame, then on that particular turn they are losing a point to their opponent. They lose one because they already own the territory and placing a stone there doesn’t give them any additional points.

Playing under Chinese rules is pretty straightforward. Under Japanese rules, you want to keep the boarders of your own territory in mind at all times, because playing in your own territory will cost you a point. The sequence in which you place stones can lead to situations where you end up playing deeper into your own territory, when defending yourself.

It takes many games before you get a strong feel for this. Understanding how counting works might also help.

• Chinese, a live stone = +1 point (for you)

Japanese, a live stone = 0 points (for you or opponent)

Note: At the end of the game, each stone you placed, that is not currently located in enemy territory, is considered “live”.

• Chinese, a captured stone = 0 points (prisoners are not counted during scoring)

Japanese, a captured stone = +1 point (for each prisoner stone you possess)

Note: When stones that you have placed are fully surrounded by your opponent’s stones, they are considered “captured”. Captured stones are immediately removed from the board and placed into a separate “prisoners” pile on your opponents side of the board.

• Chinese, a dead stone = 0 points (for you or opponent)

Japanese, a dead stone = 0 points (for you), +1 point (for your opponent)

Note: At the end of the game, each stone you placed that resides in enemy territory, is considered “dead”.

Chinese Note: Dead stones are removed from the board and placed back into your opponent’s bowl of stones.

Japanese Note: Dead stones are removed from the board and placed in your opponent’s prisoners pile.

• Chinese Scoring: Territory + Stones + Komi = Score

1. All Dame should be filled prior to scoring.

2. Live stones you placed on the board = +1 point each.

3. Prisoners you captured = 0 points.

4. An unoccupied intersection inside your territory = +1 point each.

5. Calculate the total number of your Territory and Live stones and add them together. Then add the value of Komi to that number. This is your final score.

Japanese Scoring: Territory + Prisoners + Komi = Score

1. Unfilled Dame = 0 points.

2. Live and Dead stones you placed on the board = 0 points.

3. Prisoners you captured = +1 point each.

4. An unoccupied intersection inside your territory = +1 point each.

5. Calculate the total number of your Territory and Prisoner stones, and add them together. Then add the value of Komi to that number. This is your final score.
2 Likes

But this doesn’t affect the score right so there’s no practical difference between the two rulesets. Maybe you can provide an example if I’ve misunderstood this.

I feel the answer the the original question is that for beginners (up to SDK/Dan level probably!) it makes no difference to your strategy if you are playing Chinese or Japanese. Until you are regularly winning or losing games by a single point then you have other things to worry about than the difference between rulesets.
I know there are edge cases with bent 4 etc but again for a beginner this is unlikely to be an issue and if it comes up then you can learn it then!

4 Likes

Even bent4 is almost always the same really… But very good to study thoroughly once you encounter it. It is an amazing situation

2 Likes

to sum up: there can be small differences in score, depending on how the game is counted, for example in case of an uneven number of dame. usually the outcome of the game (who won and who lost) is unaffected by that.

gameplay and strategy generally do not change. a good move is a good move!

(there are probably some extremely rare cases where a different ruleset changes the best move on the board involving board repetition, seki or suicide [allowed by korean rules], but likely youll play happily for years without encountering a relevant case [i havent, i think… ], especially since im not really sure those differences are implemented on ogs.)

6 Likes

When I wrote this I thought of one particular pattern that occurs fairly regularly in 9x9 games. I skimmed through the last 50 games in my profile, but I did not see the pattern. Hopefully you will know what I am talking about .

I’ve created a Demo board (Jump to Move 19) to show the concept. When you are defending at the sides, sometimes, because of your shape, you have no choice but to play within your territory by an extra stone (bottom example). Usually you can shore up the side with two stones (top sample).

When building shape, if you are aware of this potential pitfall, then you can prevent this from occurring, by placing your stones in a way that prevents this from occurring. It is one of the mistakes that I am trying to train myself to recognize and avoid. Still a work in progress .

i wouldnt call that playing inside your territory, but defending a cut . if its necessary to play a move then theres no choice anyway. not playing there would lose more points than just the 1, therefore you would always defend the cut regardless of the rules applied.

Well yes, in a world of perfect play, there will be no differences between strategy and tactics per ruleset, minus small side cases like suicide, seki, and rare ko fight configurations. But in the eyes of a beginner who is still prone to making a lot of mistakes, there is no concept of perfect play.

Which is why I recommend that they be ultra aware of their territorial border. Here is one example of how Japanese Scoring might be more difficult for a beginner to grasp.

1 Like

And if that beginner is basing move choices on the ruleset in use then they are not likely to make any fewer mistakes. However if they consider strategy and tactics without reference to ruleset then I think they have a chance to avoid beginner mistakes like wasting moves inside settled territory.

For the very beginner I would say that it’s a red herring to think about ruleset and instead you should focus on the principles of the game.

6 Likes

I think you hit the nail on the head here.

The primary problem I have noticed with beginners is that they do not spend any time studying the principles of the game. They have no understanding of right or wrong moves, good shape or bad, and even concepts like dead stones and territory can be a reoccurring mystery.

In this way I think that the differences between Area and Territory scoring can be significant. If the user does not understand the differences then scoring can seem unpredictable and be extremely frustrating. I’ve seen many discussions where this particular topic is attributed to why many people initially are turned away from Go.

Since counting with Area Scoring is easier for someone with little to no experience playing Go, I continue to believe and advocate that Chinese rules are more forgiving. If for not other reason than playing inside your own territory will never affect your score. Playing in your own territory instead of making a good move does affect your score, but they don’t understand this yet.

It is a very basic concept, and once you figure it out, it seems silly that you ever sweated over it. But for those who do not yet understand, it is often a big enough hurdle to discourage a person to flat out quit. Which makes the topic significant in my opinion.

No, the differences between the rules do not affect the general strategy of the game.

In the vast majority of games, the best play (at any particular point) and the final result of the game is the same. Even the score margin (difference between the players’ scores) is typically either the same or different by only one point.

The biggest affects from the differences between the rules only come up in very rare situations, such as those involving complicated combinations of ko and/or seki formations.

2 Likes

Woow, overall Really big thanks for all the answer.

I ask this because I have tried to find the discussion in an online forum but did not find a satisfying answer. But this time I can understand little bit more

Thank You,

this is an enlightenment for me

Got The Point,

1 Like

I believe this has been discussed at length in other places, but area scoring is in no way more forgiving. It is an illusion that playing in your territory does not cost you points and this is only really the case if you play in your own territory after the game has basically finished already. Playing in your own territory is just as bad under Chinese rules and under Japanese rules: it wastes a move and gives your opponent one extra point.

The extra point in territory scoring is in the reduction of your territory, the extra point in area scoring is the point that the next (living) stone of your opponent gives them.

Except for the difference in valuing dame points, there really is no difference between Area and Territory methods. That people seem to believe playing in your own territory is free under Chinese rules, seems to me to be a good reason not to teach Chinese rules to beginners.

3 Likes

Yeah, I keep trying to explain to people that playing in your own territory, while 0 points, still comes at the opportunity cost of not playing somewhere that gets you point, thus actually losing points in comparison to playing somewhere else.

1 Like

I mispoke earlier. I was tired, in a hurry, and did not reread my post before submitting it. The sentence read:

Since counting with Area Scoring is easier for someone with little to no experience playing Go, I continue to believe and advocate that Chinese rules are more forgiving. If for not other reason than playing inside your own territory will never affect your score. Playing in your own territory, instead of making a good move, does affect your score, but they don’t understand this yet.

But what I want to say is:

I continue to believe and advocate that understanding how the game is being scored is more straightforward under Chinese Counting. If for not other reason than playing inside your own territory will never affect your score. Playing in your own territory, instead of making a good move, does affect your score, but they don’t understand this yet.

The point I was trying to make was about counting. I did try to allude to the fact that playing in your own territory does cost you a point, in the case that there are still territory gaining moves left on the board.

In terms of the illusion that playing in your own territory is free under Chinese rules being a good reason not to teach that ruleset, I completely disagree. If someone is being taught the rules, then this situation is easily remedied when the teacher explains it to the student.

I disagree, especially concerning Japanese rules. An excerpt from my upcoming mini-guide on the differences between Chinese and Japanese rulesets:

If you are interested in learning about how the wording of rules can create these sorts of situations, Robert Jasiek analyzes the 1989 Japanese rule set in exhaustive detail. Here he provides one of the best known examples of why wording matters in a Go rule set.

Well, if you disagree, you’re flat out wrong. Let’s a assume a game ends, all dame have been played and all dead stones are removed from the board and both players passed once each. Then:

Territory scoring is Territory (of your colour) - Prisoners (of your colour) + Komi = Score.

Area scoring is Territory (of your colour) + Stones on the board (of your colour) + Komi = Score.

The total number of stones that have been played are Stones on the board (of your colour) + Prisoners (of your colour). Hence, if I add the total number of stones to the Territory score, then we get the Area score. Since the total number of stones that have been played are equal (perhaps one less for white), the total difference in score is equal.

Note that I’m talking about the difference between territory and area scoring, not about the difference between Japanese and Chinese rules.