Impolite to capture the deadstones?


In a game i played, the opponent keeps making senseless invasions. In the end i was so frustrated and decided to capture some of his dead stones. My opponent then escaped. Is it impoilte to capture dead stones?

If your opponent doesn’t understand that they’re dead than capturing could be educational. I wouldn’t consider it any more or less polite than continuously passing every turn if you no longer have available any moves of profit.


Using Chinese rules is the best way to punish senseless invasions, but I assume you already know that since you have created games with Chinese rules. Nothing wrong with capturing dead stones, except that it wastes moves and costs points, if it is not necessary.

You know, people make senseless invasions for one of two reasons, generally speaking. Weaker players (DDKs) tend to do so out of desperation, when they think they see a weakness they can exploit. It’s an honest delusion, which they are soon disabused of (I’ve done it myself and felt embarrassed afterward). Much more disreputable are the sharpsters (not just DDKs) who invade senselessly because they are hoping the defenders will make a mistake, and it doesn’t cost the invader anything under Japanese rules.

It’s not impolite, just pointless. Just make sure you’re playing Chinese rules.

Well, if you lead by 50 points… its a good idea to play safe.

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I typically capture his dead stones (even under Japanese rules) in order to be polite, as it seems more polite (in my eyes) to show that they are dead rather than passing or tenukiing and just saying that they are dead.

wait… I thought it doesn’t cost your opponent anything for senseless invasion in chinese rule as well.

In Japanese rule, if they invade, you ignore, you gain 1 point(prisoner). If they invade, you respond, it zeros out.
In Chinese rule, if they invade, you ignore, nothing happened. If they invade, you respond, nothing happens as well. (since your territory decrease by 1 and your # of stone increase by 1 of you respond and your opponent’s stone will be removed in the end)


Under Japanese rules, the defender loses a point of territory every time he puts down a stone, so the best he can do is break even if the invader dies. Under Chinese rules, the defender loses a point of territory when he defends but gains a point for the played stone, so he comes out ahead when the invader dies.

Of course, ignoring the invasion can put the defender ahead under either rule set, but that is risky, and sometimes an invasion is senseless but still requires a simple refutation.

Ugh, Chinese rules are such an unintuitive mess.

In Japanese rules, territory is land surrounded by walls, with prisoners in. In Chinese rules, there’s only wish-washy “area” with conceptually disconnected stone counting rules.

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I actually agree with your gut reaction. I am a recent convert to Chinese rules, which I like because they punish speculative invasions. The invader must prove his point or suffer the consequences. However, I do prefer Japanese rule for IRL play, which I do on most weekends, because it is so much easier to score over the board.

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I think you might have misunderstood the ruleset… I will explain again

In japanese rule, when opponent invade, he get 1 prisoner, if he defend, he lose 1 territory , so it’s even (with the prisoner).
In chinese rule, when opponent invade, he get no prisoner, if he defend, he lose 1 territory and gain 1 stone.

So in sum:

  • in japanese rule, if you keep ignoring your opponent, you gain points (prisoners)
  • chinese rule, if you keep ignoring your opponent , you gain no point

This is incorrect. You don’t gain a point for your opponents dead stones under Chinese rules.


You are mistaken. While you don’t “gain” a point for captured stones, you do benefit equally because your opponent has fewer stone points on the board. The only difference is in how it is tallied. I.e., If my opponent and I each play a hundred stones, but one of his is captured, then he has 99 points for his stones and I have 100. This is the same as gaining a point for a prisoner under Japanese rules. The only difference is the ledger entry style.

No, you are wrong. The situation that we are discussing is that there are no places left to play on the board. Therefore when the attacker plays an already dead stone, the defender passes. Under Chinese rules this exchange makes no difference. Under Japanese rules, the defender gains one point.


You have shifted the discussion from what you previously addressed to me. This new point is what spatula addressed above, which I intend to answer separately.

As I explained to speedchase above, captured stones under Chinese rules have the same effect as under Japanese rules—the difference lies only in how it is tallied in the ledger, so to speak. Even at the very end, with no tenuki possibilities or dame to fill, one can pass under Chinese rules and benefit just the same as under Japanese rules since captures are equally beneficial, as already explained. If my opponent has no safe moves except in his own territory, then he cannot get ahead of me in the stone count if I pass.

The real advantage of Chinese rules lies in punishing all speculative invasions, whether risky, senseless, or whatever. Under Japanese rules people can invade without risk if they compel a response (as is usually the case) while hoping the defender makes a mistake. If the defender responds he breaks even at best. In the same situation, under Chinese rules, the defender gains and the invader is punished because the defender can always play in his own territory with no loss of points.

If I understand what you are saying this is incorrect. You may have the two mixed up it is Chinese rules the opponent can invade your territory without risk. In Japanese rules they risk giving there opponent a free point if a response is not needed.


You are wrong on both counts. The equivalence between Japanese and Chinese rules only holds when pass is not an option, which is not the case here. Under Chinese rules, you only get the indirect benefit from killing a stone when you play a move instead of passing in response to it. If you are compelled to respond to an invasion under Chinese rules, you do not gain points. The reason behind this has already been explained to you, so I figure that an example may be more instructive.

In this game ( Black is ahead by five points on the board this is true under both Japanese and Chinese rules. After White plays two stones in a speculative invasion we get to this board state ( Black is still ahead by five points on the board under both Japanese and Chinese rules. What if white plays an invasion that doesn’t require a response ( In this case Black is ahead by 5 points on the board in Chinese rules and 6 points in Japanese rules.

Under Chinese rules, there is never any penalty for playing a speculative invasion.
Under Japanese rules, there is no penalty as long as every move you play gets a response.


I was going to reply along the lines of what speedchase just said, but surely would not have had anywhere near his precision. kudos +1


I think this quote is worth being emphasised (thanks, @speedchase!)