Method of Counting: Japanese vs. Chinese rules

But the Japanese rules are artificial since they presume that both players will make the best possible rules and determine the outcome accordingly without actually playing it out. If you can’t deal with the situation your score should reflect your actual skills.

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This one? :grin:


Just kidding, of course you were referring to this bent five shape :slight_smile:



Yes, you’re right. I confuse them. In general, I find corners a bit complicated. There is a tsumego in which you are supposed to make seki in the corner and I always fail it.

They may not know how to capture the bent-4 but even if they fail to, the scoring phase shouldn’t be a problem.

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It is true that when there is a status disagreement about bent-4 during scoring, the players would be able to finish and score the game by themselves under Chinese rules, while they would need some arbiter under Japanese rules (which is not implemented in OGS’ software, so the players would need to call a moderator to adjudicate the game).

Well if they don’t then bent-4 is alive. It’s much easier than deciding it’s dead as-per-the-rules when you wouldn’t know how to kill it.


I like the clarity of the Chinese rules (plus I think it looks cool just to hand prisoners back to the other player). If I don’t understand the weird exceptions in the Japanese rules, I will not be able to handle them in actual play so why should I thus profit from the erroneous assumption that I would play the best possible moves in a situation I don’t really understand?

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This would only be an issue when you and your opponent disagree about group status during scoring under Japanese rules.

If such a disagreement happens in an OGS game during scoring under japanese rules, and resumption to prove status would unfairly lose points for one player, you and/or your opponent are expected to call a moderator to adjudicate the game.

If you and your opponent (incorrectly) agree to adjudicate bent-4 as a seki during scoring without calling a moderator, that should stand under OGS’ implementation of Japanese rules, and perhaps also on other platforms or IRL games, although some (@yebellz) might argue that this technically violates official Japanese rules.


My main aim here is to defend the Chinese rules :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Both rules have same level of complexity in the scoring phase. Only thing is that players are.more.used to a rule (usually the japanese one) as to the other.
The chinese.way is.more friendly to the beginners as you can secure everything and indeed solve some complex position more easely.

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This already sounds pretty complicated, not to mention somewhat unfair. It means that under OGS’ Japanese rules, if a player doesn’t know how to kill a bent-4 group, then the group is sometimes going to be counted as seki, and sometimes as dead because of moderator intervention?

What if my opponent marks my group as seki, even though it is a bent-4 shape? Should I call a moderator to force my opponent to mark my group as dead? Should I stay quiet and let my group be seki?

Chinese rules are much more simple. If you kill it, it’s dead. If you let it live, then it’s not dead. No dilemmas, no need for moderator intervention, just playing go.


Moderators won’t intervene if a player doesn’t know how to kill a bent-4 group. That would be outside help. They would only intervene if there is a dispute between the players during scoring and they are called to adjudicate the situation.

I expect that all moderators responding to a call for adjudicating a disputed bent-4 situation under Japanese rules know what they’re doing and declare it dead.
If a moderator feels unsure about it, they would probably ask some stronger mod to adjudicate the game. So it’s possible, but probably quite rare that a moderator makes a mistake in such cases. It’s not random.

I think you should call a moderator or try to explain to your opponent that it’s dead (sportsmanship), but I’d understand if you stayed quiet.

There is no obligation to play under Japanese rules. If you prefer to play under Chinese rules, you can just do so.

OGS offers the option to play under Japanese rules, even though this means that sometimes moderators need to intervene (in case of a scoring dispute between the players). As far as I remember this service does not cause a large work load increase for the moderator team.

Here is what I understood out of these two paragraphs: “The moderators shouldn’t intervene unless you call them, but you should call them, but I’d understand if you didn’t.”

Talking about “sportsmanship” makes no sense to me if the rules are not clear. If a bent-4 should be dead, then I would mark a bent-4 group as dead. If a bent-4 should only be dead if my opponent claims it is dead, then I would mark a bent-4 as dead only if my opponent claims it is dead. Those are the rules of the game. Sportsmanship shouldn’t change the status of groups. And it doesn’t even make sense to try to figure out which way would be the most sportsmanlike if the rules aren’t clear on what should happen. A group isn’t alive or dead because of sportsmanship, it’s alive or dead because of the rules of the game. If we were playing a different game with different rules, then the group’s status might change, and this has nothing to do with how sportsmanlike are the players.

This denies the reality. Japanese rules are the default on OGS. All ladders games are played with Japanese rules. Most tournaments impose Japanese rules. 99.9% of open challenges use Japanese rules. And this has nothing to do with whether the players actually prefer Japanese of Chinese rules, it’s just a consequence of Japanese rules being the default. Yes, I have a preference for Chinese rules, but more importantly, I have a preference for being able to play go at all. If I restricted myself to Chinese rules then I simply wouldn’t be playing on OGS because nearly all games on OGS are played with Japanese rules.

But that’s besides the point - I’m not asking “How can I play with Chinese rules ?”, I’m asking “Is a bent-4 dead or not under (OGS’) Japanese rules if my opponent isn’t aware that they could theoretically kill it?”. Saying that Chinese rules are available doesn’t answer that question, especially since the discussion started because you claimed that Japanese rules were not more complicated than Chinese rules. Obviously they are. But I gather from your post that the only answer for the bent-4 situation under OGS’ Japanese rules is “there is no official rule, just do as you please”.


In practice, nothing is dead (even if it should be), if the players don’t agree to mark it as dead. Players make honest scoring mistakes about confusing situations quite often. Not infrequently, beginners might leave something unsettled, and even wind up in a situation where both players would technically lose.

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I agree, but OGS did not fully implement Japanese rules (as has been discussed many times before), and leaves it to the players and/or moderators and/or KataGo. Also there are inaccuracies such as counting points in seki, and sometimes mismarking stones and territory with autoscoring.
In this less-than-perfect situation, it can come down to the first principle stated in the Japanese rules: “These rules must be applied in a spirit of good sense and mutual trust between the players.”, which I tried to capture with “sportsmanship”

I admit that personally I prefer territory scoring, but I understand when other players have a different preference. I wouldn’t be against promoting area scoring more in online play, especially at lower levels of play. But from around mid-SDK, I think players are strong enough to avoid 99.99% of rules confusion during scoring, regardless of playing under Japanese rules or Chinese rules, so it wouldn’t matter much under which rule set they are playing in the vast majority of their games.

I don’t remember making that claim and I tried to find it just now (unsuccessfully). Where did I make that claim?

I was referring to this:

Ah, OK.

I did not intend to claim there that Japanese rules are less complicated than Chinese rules.
I meant that, to me, the optimal procedure to capture a bent-4-in-the-corner group does not seem much easier under Chinese rules (before the game has finished) than it is under Japanese rules (in hypothetical play after the game has finished, not implemented on OGS).

And if both players agree it’s a seki (neither of them calling a moderator or a referee), there isn’t much difference either between Chinese rules and Japanese rules, in regard to the complexity of dealing with the situation.

Just curious, does Chess have different rulesets like Go?

AFAIK, no (or at least not widespread, you surely have niche variants).

Chess has the benefit of having a unified governance body (the FIDE) which can enforce a standard practice. This is a weakness of Go.

Ok, I found amusing there exists so many Go rulesets.

  1. Japan, Korean, and China don’t standardize them as one.
  2. So many western countries choose not to simply adopt one of above three. They just have to create their own, like this is some sort of national pride thing. :joy: