Even game

Just a small question. When you say “even game”, is it the same as “game on even”? And does that mean a game with komi or a game without komi (1stone handicap)?
My English so bad, thanks in advance.

The phrase is “even game”, which means a game without handicap stones, but with komi set to a value (typically 6.5 or 7.5 in modern times, depending on the rules) that aims to nullify the first move advantage of black.

Your English is great.


Thank you. So how would you say a game without komi in English? I mean without using go terms.

I would just call it a no-komi game; since a handicap game will generally have no-komi applied to it as well, just calling it no-komi distinguishes it from a handicap game.


Ok sure, but that’s with a go term.

For a game with komi, even means something like fair (thanks to the komi)
For a game with no komi how could you say the idea that the starting points to share is same?

I think people would just call it a “no komi game”, if the komi is zero.

However, note that when playing with handicap, in the case of a 1 rank difference, the typical procedure is to just use a komi of 0.5 points (or sometimes 0 points, depending on preference), and no other handicap stones, but black still moves first.

My understanding is that no komi, black goes first is considered to be a 1 stone handicap, though.

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Yes, that’s what I’m saying as well. Black plays first while giving 0.5 komi is the typical handicap for a 1 rank difference.

Sure, but

I was saying that I thought people just called it a one stone handicap/one stone game.

It’s a bit linguistically confusing to call it a one stone handicap though, particularly since black hasn’t got a “one stone handicap”. I guess if you really want to not depend on Go terms, you could call it a “no compensation game”, but that’s a bit clumsy.


I agree that it’s slightly counterintuitive until you spend a second thinking about it, but that’s my understanding of the accepted terminology.

Think of a three stone game - black starts with three stones on the board, white goes first, no komi. Two stones? Black starts with two stones on the board, white goes first, no komi. One stone? Black starts with one stone on the board, white goes first, no komi.

The only difference is that black is freely placing this single stone, counter to the requirements of larger handicaps in most rulesets, but given the fact that white is then “going first”, this makes sense.

There are games before the invention of komi (essentially zero komi games), where the aim wasn’t to always give black a handicap, but rather it was just convention to play with zero komi. When discussing games in that historic context, people would generally refer to those as zero or no komi games, and not “one stone handicap” games.

The phrase “one stone handicap” or “one rank handicap” is more of a modern phrase that implies that a normal komi was reduced to 0.5 komi for the sake of handicapping. Of course, one would not apply the name “no komi” to a 0.5 komi game.

Historically, in order to balance things out (for an “even match”), players would play a series of games alternating who gets black in each games. Actually, for high-level games, giving stones (or even just giving your opponent black every time) was often too big of a handicap. So, there was even an intermediate level of handicapping with the weaker player taking black two out of each three games. See https://senseis.xmp.net/?MatchHandicapSystem


As another note, you’ve only quoted part of my sentence, while I go on to say “if the komi is zero”.

No komi means zero komi.

One stone handicap typically implies 0.5 komi (although some people might informally use 0 komi).

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