Fill stones in the opponent's territory which was clearly 100% not going to work

  1. There comes a point in every game which does not end in resignation (and regarding which, therefore, noone is arguing ends without capitulation) where any not completely new player will be able to tell that there are no more useful moves to make.
  2. At that point, both players have, in theory, perfect information as to the final score, and therefore who is the winner.
  3. (1, 2) There comes a point in every game which does not end in resignation where both players know, in theory, who the winner will be.
  4. One of the players will lose (with tie-breaking komi).
  5. (4, 3) If both players pass, one of the players who passed must know, in theory, that they will lose.
  6. (5) They are capitulating by passing.
  7. (1, 6) Every game ends in a capitulation by the losing player.

I think this is roughly the argument that @danielt1263 is making, and I don’t see why it’s particularly controversial.


I think it’s interesting that you used the phrase “natural end of the game” because among professionals, the “natural end” seems very much to be via resignation by one of the players. It is quite unusual for the game to continue until “the territories are sealed.”

So my question becomes, why is it so unnatural for a game to end by resignation among non-professionals? Are we so bad that we can’t tell we have lost?

Yes, we can’t. For most amateurs it just takes to much time to count. In a live game it would take more time to count (with clocks running) than to just close the territory and count when the clock is stopped. I would need several Byo-Yomi periods to count a wrong score.

There is also the problem of estimating where the borders will be.


Yes @flovo I agree with you for live games, but when you have a full day to look over the board in a correspondence game?

Most people don’t play just one correspondence game.

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I agree that it is weird and frustrating how correspondence players like to play to the point of sealed territories even though it is obvious they have lost.

In fact, for a while I toyed with checking a person’s Game Results Distribution before playing them, to see if they are a person who resigns honorably or not. I actually found I couldn’t be bothered for the most part though :slight_smile:

This conversation has got me wondering - why don’t I just pass when I am sure I have won, even though the territories are not sealed? If I have definitely won, then one free move to them surely won’t make a difference (otherwise I have not definitely won).

So that is a question: why don’t we just pass when we are sure we have won?

The worst that can happen is that the we disagree with the result indicated by the partial count (unsealed territories count) and go back to play…

IIRC, and OTOH, Kyu (and especially DDK) players are often encouraged not to resign but instead to play to the end because endgame also needs to be learned.


Yes - there is that. It’s not all about the winning, it’s about the playing.

So there’s some validity to “I am continuing to play, to see how I can lessen my loss, and learn endgame”.

Maybe there’s a time and a place for this, but maybe not all time time? Tourney games being held up by “exploring end game”? Ladder games?

Thanks for the explanation, and thank for you all :hugs:

To be Honest i thought and realize about it when i started playing Go. But luckily i never met an opponent who has a bad manner like that. So i think all Go Player (include OGS Member) are having a good manner. Hopefully i will never meet someone like That :relaxed:

Because it is rude. Passing is meant to signal that there are no worthwhile moves left to play. Passing prematurely sends the message “your last move was not even worth responding to”. I’ve read that in some competitive contexts, premature passing is actually banned for being so insulting.


As in, certain organizations or clubs ban it, or is this a feature of serious tournaments? I thought higher level dan play often involved tactical passing, because to make a move in certain board configurations would be very bad, hoping your opponent will play another move would be advantageous.

I read about it in the book Mathematical Go by Berlekamp and Wolfe. They mention it briefly in an appendix where they discuss the rules of go. I believe it was in the context of high level play in Japan, but I don’t recall for certain. This ban does not appear in the official Japanese rules, however, so if it is true, it must be an external regulation or maybe even an unwritten rule that falls under the umbrella of sportsmanship and mutual respect.

I don’t think this pass ban would apply to any unusual cases where a pass is the tactically correct move. However, I’m not sure if there really are any truly “early” passes that would be strategically correct. I think the only cases where correct play would involve passing and then later making another play are some late (and uncommon) endgame situations involving kos. That, and maybe passing in hope that the opponent blunders into playing first in a non-obvious seki situation.

By early pass, I mean when there are clearly other valuable moves left to make (I.e., when it is not correct play to pass), and hence eliminating the above cases by definition.


Isn’t it by definition the case that if there are clearly valuable moves left to make, then we are not sure that we have won? And conversely, if we are sure we have won, this means there are no more valuable moves to make. The only value of a move is if it contributes to our winning. If we have won, then there are no more valuable moves to make.

So this doesn’t make sense. It can’t be rude to pass when we are sure we have won: by definition, if we are sure we have won, then there are no more valuable moves to play, because the outcome is a foregone conclusion now.

If you’re up by 50 and there are a few 10 point moves remaining, the result may not change but the moves still have value.

Only if the only value of the game is whether or not you win… many people play for more than just a result, and you can’t assume that the game has lost all meaning simply because the result is known. If I play a strong kyu or low dan, the result is essentially known from the start… but the game still has meaning.

It can. Because you are saying “I have what I want from this game and your desires are meaningless”
It’s essentially like being in the middle of a conversation and then just walking away, or being on a phone call and just hanging up without saying goodbye. It absolutely can be perceived as rude.


I don’t understand how you can say that. Is there some other measure of “value” than “contributes to winning”.

If you are up by 50 points and there are 3 10 point moves remaining, these have no value because they don’t change the outcome.

It never ceases to amaze me how many different ways there are of looking at things.

If I am up by 50 and there are no more moves left that can deliver 50 points and I pass, I am saying “I think I have won now, do you agree?” That’s all - it’s not rude, it’s just the standard way that we say this in Go!

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So you’ve never in your life had, or offered, or supported the offering of, teaching games or game reviews, since they have no impact on the outcome of the game and are thus meaningless?

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It’s EXTREMELY Western, and our culture is not at all known for our remarkable politeness.

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I totallly don’t understand the relevance of this. We aren’t talking about the meaning of life in general, we are talking about whether a move has value in the context of the game in progress.

Can you define the value of a move in any way other than “contributes to the winning outcome”?

I challenged myself to do this, and came up with “A move has value if it increases the player’s score”.

In this case, we would be saying “it is rude to pass if your opponent has a move that will increase their score”.

Does this stand up to scrutiny? Do we really always wait till that is true before we pass?

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The absolute value of points (some people would rather lose by 20 than 50), and game experience / learning potential. Also just finishing the game well, and also scoring accurately, which by the letter of the law can’t be done with unsealed boundaries…

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