My Go variant idea: Invisible-grid Go

Invisible-grid Go – How to play (an idea)

The rules are the same as regular Go, except for these changes. For the refresher of those rules, check out the TSG’s video.

Unlike regular Go, the game is not played on the normal Go board, but on the imaginary infinite Go board. There’s also a limit of number of stones you can use (180 stones for each side), which isn’t like the regular one (theoretically unlimited). Captured stones must be transferred to the opponent and can be used by the opponent again as his/her normal stones.

Because there’s no physical board, the variant is restricted. These are restricted rules and its exception that you must follow:

  1. You can’t place your stones if there’s no stones adjacent to it horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
  2. A 4-move ladder is illegal, but a ladder that can be stopped by stones is legal.

The first player to make illegal move, or the player who surrounded less territories, lose the game.

This is an idea for the variants. To make it be completed, you can comment your suggestions about the game. Thanks for reading.

1 Like

Just wondering how to communicate / notate the game.

Scherm­afbeelding 2023-09-05 om 08.12.20

This could work.
Explainer: each move uses a new number grid.
So after White plays 1, the new number grid slides north east. White can’t play 5 anymore because Black already occupied that position.

Scherm­afbeelding 2023-09-05 om 08.22.44

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Could you please clarify? Which player gets a forbidden move is a ladder is started?


(1) feels too restrictive. Go has plenty of moves not directly adjacent. I’d prefer something like “within a 19x19 square of already placed stones”

Btw, long thread here: Infinite Board at Sensei's Library I don’t think they land on a ruleset, but they did discuss some concepts mentioned in this post (like ladders)


Why not Cartesian coordinates? First move at (0, 0) everything else relative to that


Sure, why not?
Also a good solution.

One character versus 5 characters, that is the difference.

Just lazy I guess :grinning:

Is the board infinite, when you are only allowed a finite number of stones?


[Reply to #2]

In my opinion, in this variant, you can use the Cartesian coordinate system to communicate. The first player always play on point (0;0) – Tengen.

For the “physical” imaginary infinite board:
There’re 2 perpendicular axes (just imagine there are) go through the Tengen, the axis that starts from the player to the other one is the “ordinate axis” (Oy axis), and the other is the “abscissa axis” (Ox axis). For Oy, from the Tengen towards to the Black player is the negative side of Oy. For Ox, from the Tengen to the right side of Black (left side of White) is the positive side of Ox.

For the digital “imaginary” infinite board:
There’re 2 perpendicular axes go through the Tengen, the axis that starts from the bottom of the screen to the top is the Oy, and the other is Ox. The positive side of Ox and Oy is from the Tengen to the right (always) and from the Tengen to the top (always), respectively.

Also, in the idea I posted, it didn’t restrict to place a stone adjacent to a specific stone, like adjacent to the stone recently placed. You can place a stone adjacent to any stone placed on the imaginary board.

But, after all, you have a good idea! I think I will play it myself to understand how it works.

I think it could be more aptly named as “invisible grid” Go, rather than “no board” Go. It seems that this variant is still just played on the regular square grid, and the restriction of placing stones adjacent to others seems to be to facilitate play without having a drawn grid to guide placement of stones.


[Reply to #3]

A 4-move ladder is illegal.

In my opinion:
The player who chase the opponent’s group (using ladder in 4 consecutive moves) is forbidden.

Thanks for reading.

[Reply to #8]

So good. Why didn’t I think of it? Let me change it really quick.

Good luck creating a workable format for this, but you got

1 Like

[Reply to #11]

Yeh, hope that it’ll work, which will never be the case…

Yes, a finite board is enough, with a finite number of stones you can’t move too far away from the first stone.


The board is 721x721 in this rule. Not infinite.


I think you still have to specify which stone you’re in placing in relation to?


By definition the latest stone that is being played.
But that was before OP stated that it could have been adjacent to any stone on the board.

1 Like

[Reply to #2]

After playing the game with your idea, I, as a 30-kyu Go player, found it more interesting than the old idea (my idea). Although the game is more restricted, it seems to be more strategic and more tactical.

Vote +1 for this new idea. :V