Let's play Tibetan go!

Hey there! So I recently found out about Tibetan go and wanted to give it a try. This article at Sensei’s sums up what’s to know about it: https://senseis.xmp.net/?TibetanGo

So what I’ve been doing is starting games here with people on a 17x17 board and manually placing the first twelve stones together with the other player. The other rules (no snapback, extra points at the end for controlling all 1x1 points and the tengen point) aren’t enforceable on here*, but I think it’s interesting enough to try out anyway. Just finished my first game (have a few others going still):

I encourage everyone to start their own Tibetan go games with people! :slight_smile: It’s easy to make “custom” game requests with 17x17 boards and explain the rules to the other player (with a link to the Sensei’s article for the starting diagram). Feel free to post your Tibetan go games in this thread and discuss others’ games!

*No snapback could be agreed upon prior to starting the game though, just as the twelve starting stones are.


Just finished the second game. Won by 0.5 points. Lots of fun!!

Those interested in trying this can fork this review to start games: https://online-go.com/review/272778


An excellent idea Farraway. :+1: and thankyou for an interesting topic Sarah_Lisa.


Initial thoughts after playing a few moves:

  • Taking the outside in an early fight could be very advantageous. The smaller board, combined with the even spread of stones, means that the influence strengthens you across the board. This is likely to help in subsequent fights.
  • The outside is significantly less valuable in terms of points because of the smaller board.

So an early fight for influence followed by a serious shift to territorial fighting seems likely.

Cool :+1:


I have heard of it. Never tried it. Sounds like it might make for an interesting variant. I up for a game or two…

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Lost two games yesterday:

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Just lost this one by 0.5 points. Most exciting one I’ve played so far! :slight_smile:

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Your move 171 at F10 was illegal by Tibetan rules as you played on an intersection where White had just captured a stone. If you wanted to play there you would have to play a ko threat first and if white answers then you could play there.

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The Tibetan rules also include bonus points for controlling all 1-1 points and stuff like that. I think it’s best to just play with the fixed starting position and disregarding the other rules since they’re not enforceable anyway. (For the record, I was white in this game. Black played 171.)

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Here’s a fresh new game for you guys :slight_smile:

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Black played tengen in this one, which I think is probably a great strategy for Tibetan go. Need to try this out myself!

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This one was a lot of fun too. :slight_smile: (Tell me if I should stop posting links to these. I think they’re super interesting.)

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Got a few cool new ones to check out for those interested :slight_smile:

In these two, I crashed and burned:

This was a great one that I lost by 3.5 points with a seki in the top left corner:

Enjoy :slight_smile:

I like the setup of the game, but prefer Sunjang Baduk


There’s even tournaments on OGS

@Maharani Curious to know how this is going. It looks like you’re still playing it.

  1. What general observations can you now make about Tibetan Go?
  2. Are you using the ‘Tibetan Ko Rule’ as detailed here: https://senseis.xmp.net/?TibetanGo?
  3. If so, have you had life & death situations that resolved differently due to the rule? The rule appears to give a ko-like opportunity to connect in snapbacks but it would also change fairly straight-forward nakade kills into ko-like issues. Am I understanding it correctly?
  4. And lastly, are there enough people for a 4-person round-robin of Tibetan Go?
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The truth is that no one knows for certain all of the rules of this variant of the game. Some said that you had to play within 2 spaces of the last move, but others believe that this is a misunderstanding of local replies.

I know, I know, “some” and “others” wouldn’t pass basic wiki editorship. I remember reading something about it on Sensei’s.

There used to be. It was very troublesome to enforce the opening moves on all the games. Also life happened and I kind of “abandoned” the whole project. Still, I’d love to bring the old League back, with more reasonable logistics.

Disclaimer: I was 20k when I started this thread, and I’m still only 14k. Unfortunately, I enjoy watching go much more than I do playing it… (I still would absolutely love for a dan-level go streamer to play a game for a video; I asked @xhu98 and he seemed interested, but of course he’s a busy, busy man :slight_smile:)

  1. You constantly run into shapes you’d never see on other boards (19 x 19 or else). The starting stones, despite being on the third line, seem to have about as much influence as fourth-line stones in 19 x 19 because of the smaller board size. (I need to try playing 19 x 19 Tibetan, with the same setup of stones as 17 x 17 along the fourth line!) Still not sure if tengen is a good first move (or any move around the starting stones, for that matter… keimas to the fourth line? ogeimas, i. e. shoulder hits? attachments on the third or fourth line? kosumis from the 3-3 points?) Crosscuts seem to occur much earlier than in 19 x 19.

  2. I’m not using any of the “special” rules, I play AGA rules with 5.5 points komi (same as 9 x 9 and 13 x 13) starting from the initial position. Although I’ve had generous opponents pass as black to let me play first as white :slight_smile:

  3. Can’t speak to the snapback rule (I don’t think so, considering my strength), but I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a game where bonus points for controlling 1-1 points and/or tengen would have made a difference to the game result. (I could see it happening in a pro game, perhaps?)

  4. I’ve played more than one Tibetan game with about that many people, so maybe. Meantime, I’ve sent you a request for a handicap komi game according to this reverse komi table (adjusted for the smaller board size :slight_smile:) https://senseis.xmp.net/?ReverseKomiTable

  5. This is the second game of Tibetan go I’m playing on a 25 x 25 board with an extra “line” of starting stones: https://online-go.com/game/16921809

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A few years ago I read this pdf book, Go in the Snow or The Game of Go in Ancient and Modern Tibet.

I found it very interesting.