Method of Counting: Japanese vs. Chinese rules

I recently watched the Chinese live-action adaptation of Hikaru no Go on iQiYi and noticed that they just put captured stones back in the opponents bowl. Is it as easy the count the points with Chinese rules as with Japanese rules when playing on a real board (i.e., it is possible just to rearrange the stones so that the area covered becomes clear despite not putting captured stones on the opponents territory) or does it require some more complicated method of counting the points in the end?

Chinese is terrifying. Stick to Japanese for games played on a real board :sweat_smile:

To determine the winner with Chinese rules you just need to count Black’s points (=Black’s territory + Black’s living stones), since Black’s points + White’s points = 361 (ignoring komi, and assuming there is no seki).


In area scoring (Chinese) you count your stones on the board + encircled spaces. Instead of rearranging the empty spaces, you just need to rearrange the stones to easily countable shapes. As long as you swap white and black stones, the score doesn’t change.


I only know how to count the points according to the Japanese rules but there are some aspects of the Chinese rules that might be better when trying to get other people to try Go/Weiqi (i.e., the Chinese rules means that the complete beginner will not waste time and energy on trying to capture stones instead of establishing control over the board).


I only know how to count according to the Japanese rules so I was wondering if it is more complicating in practice when playing with Chinese rules but as you describe it, it is more or less the same as long as one is used to it.

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Is there any video or so showing how you do the counting in practice according to Chinese rules?

For area scoring, this is pretty good video How to Count Final Score in Go - YouTube

She talks about aga counting, but its the same as chinese

Edit: Or nvm, i didnt remember the content of that video properly >____>

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In case you don’t want to count, there is the ING counting method: Ing Counting at Sensei's Library

Basically both players start with 180 Stones each. At the end both fill their territory with their stones. One player will have stones left in the end. He’s the loser (smaller area). Of course you have to account for Komi, which is just a minor complication. (balck 184 and white 177 stones should equal 7 komi for white)


If you want an example of Chinese counting

~4:52:10 in the video they count the game.

  1. Remove dead stones

  1. Count one colour - rearranging territories making sure not to nudge the boundaries. However you can add or take away any number of stones since 1 empty point = 1 stone = 1 point in area scoring

  1. It’s usually easy to count in 10s: bottom area is 20, left is 10, right is 20, top middle is 10, top left is 10.

  1. Put aside some stones to help keep track of the 10s from this phase, like 7 stones to represent the 70 points.

  1. Now just count the white stones in 10s again: 10 tens and a 7, is 107 stones.

  1. Add it all together and komi and compare to Black’s score. White is 70+107+7.5 komi = 184.5. If white has 177 on the board, then Black has 361-177=184, so white wins by half a point.

AlphaGo did in fact win by half a point as White in game 1.


I think there’s another method let’s say for the last step.

6a. Compute 184.25-B: if it’s positive then white wins, if it’s negative black wins.

In the above example, white had 177 points on the board, so that meant Black had 184. Then 184.25-184 = 0.25 >0 or a 0.25 “point” win by White. Sometimes you see this reported as results for chinese games. Doubling it gives the score difference. I’ve heard some people call this a 0.25 zi win Zi at Sensei's Library, as opposed to a 0.5 point win.


If Black has score B, then white has 361-B+7.5 komi say. So the difference is 361+7.5-2B=368.5-2B. If this is positive then white has won, since black didn’t have enough points. If it’s negative then Black won. Now it might be easier not to have to double black’s score and rather do a simpler subtraction, so one can halve the above quantity and still if it’s position white wins, and negative black wins.

(again assuming no seki)

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Don’t forget to account for neutral points in seki which would have to be deducted from 361 to calculate the black part of the score.

(sorry, missed your assumption @shinuito)

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This seems so much more complicated than the Japanese way.

Yeah I didn’t say it in the first post because it wasn’t relevant to the example.

I think for simple seki, just sharing two neutral points, you can give one point to each player (all dame that can be filled in, will be filled in).

The more awkward case is the one eye each or big eye small eye sekis that are supposed to be rarer, where you can’t give each player one point say.

The advantage of Chinese counting is that you don’t need to know how many stones have been captured. Just knowing the final position of the board is enough to determine the winner.


No, AGA counting in theory results in the same result as Chinese, but in practice does not, cause when playing Chinese rulesets, players don’t necessarily track captured stones and players don’t have to pass on stones to end the game.

Also in Chinese counting, one only needs to count one side as indicated in the AlphaGo vs KeiJie game.

In casual games, even chinese uses territory counting cause it is quicker and does not ruin the board if one wants to review the game.

One benefit of chinese counting if you happen to run out of stones, you can simply take one on the board to play, :joy:

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She doesn’t count according to Chinese rules since the captured stones affect the score (which they don’t according to Chinese rules).

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Sorry I tried my best to make it look simple :confused:

I think the plus side is that you can rearrange the areas much more simply and into squares easily.

While you have to make sure in the Japanese rules case that every stone on the board stays on the board, which can make some things a bit more awkward to rearrange without being practiced in it.

I’ve had some awkward times trying to score boards with Japanese counting, making 5s and 10s and so on. It feels a bit weird moving around opponents stones for instance even though it wouldn’t change the score if you do it right.

If only all games looked like


Bonus points: guess what counting method they likely used in the board nearest the camera :slight_smile:

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