Request: Rules listed on OGS, as implemented

Could we have a couple of web pages on OGS that lists the individual rules for the different rule sets? Sometimes disagreements over scoring occur, and my opponent and I have to start pasting links to forum discussions here and elsewhere to make our cases. It would be much easier to have a page on this site with the rules explicitly listed: this would be more authoritative than other sources, especially as it would list the rules exactly as they are implemented here. Links to the pages could be put under “Learn” or “Tools”.

There could be an FAQ as well, it could answer questions such as “is four in the corner considered dead under Japanese rules on OGS, given that there is no modified ko rule that is used when decided life and death at the end of the game?”.


Like this?


If an FAQ would need to include stuff like that, OGS might as well link to external pages with commentaries on the Japanese rules and life-and-death examples, such as Article 1. The game of go
But I think scoring disagreements would usually occur between players weaker than ~5k who are not experts on game rules and life-and-death. I don’t expect it would help much if such players would need to wade through dozens of pages of text and diagrams while scoring the game.

That’s a useful matrix, but it seems to describe the official rules, which may differ from OGS’ implementation of those rules.
At least for Japanese rules the OGS implementation and its pitfalls seems to deviate sufficiently from the official rules (for example seki scoring and hypothetical play), to make that matrix fall a bit short for the purpose of OP.


True. Unless they were interested in the arcane esoterica of Japanese Rules, in which case that might be a great nerd snipe

I feared that might be the case; I half-remembered something about OGS NZD Rules having some things more in common with Tromp-Taylor (not that I mind as Tromp-Taylor is my favorite Area Scoring ruleset), and that chart coming up as proof

I don’t think OGS implementation differs there, it just doesn’t provide the tools and makes you do it manually, hence the recommendation to call a mod over Japanese Rules scoring disputes. You have to manually neutralize points in seki, and agree with your opponent and if unable with a mod over the result of hypothetical play, and score accordingly. To do otherwise is score cheating

I would like if OGS implemented something like Lasker-Maas Rules (optimally with a default komi of 6.0, but it doesn’t matter too much if we get a rating update which allows slightly adjusted custom komi to be rated), which would provide an option for people who like territory scoring but don’t like the necessity of calling a mod over every scoring dispute instead of just playing it out (that would probably include me, honestly)


Well, that matrix seems to be quite a reference between mods, users guided trough the rules…

With some introduction about the adequation in the OGS implementation, i would join in the idea to include it in the documentation.

It would be correct and honest to mention exactly when the implemented rules differs from the official ones. If It’s too long, provide links to articles, be in the forum, in SL, blogs…

The other way is to link sensei library articles or other web pages but this grid is quite interesting and unique with its compacted size.


It’s also possible that we could rework the learn to play section?

It could probably do with some updates anyway, but no reason we couldn’t have a few more pages about seki or bent 4 in Japanese rules and so on.


Maybe, but isn’t that section geared towards complete beginners, who are probably more likely to be overwhelmed by the technicalities of Japanese Rules scoring, and should probably be directed to a ruleset which lets you play it out to resolve Life and Death, such as NZD?


Slightly offtopic, but usually bent4 doesn’t need special ko rule under territory scoring. It can be captured in hypothetical play even with the normal ko rule (without enabling loss elsewhere - just remove threats then start ko, same as how you would play it in actual continuation). Ko rules only matter if there is also an unremovable threat on the board - which is also when the Japanese ruling (their L/D ko rule) is often criticized.


It could be what we want it to be, we being the community. It’s still not unhelpful to beginners to know how to mark stones in different situations, beginners don’t only play beginners, the site default has been japanese rules for a long time and so on.

I’m not suggesting changing the site default (though I wouldn’t be opposed to it), just recommending beginners not to use said default, which I think many of us already do

To an extent. I think players will expect it to behave similarly to the Learn feature of Lichess, as it clearly takes inspiration from there, and that focuses just on what beginners need to know. A good analogue for esoteric scoring questions might be the 50 move rule in chess: I don’t see it even mentioned on that page

Well lichess also has sections, and not all of it is need to know or beginner focused, like the advanced section you can do without.

Still though, surely being able to score a game correctly is kind of like knowing when something is checkmate in chess? You want to know is the game over and who won?

Nah, checkmate happens every game, bent 4 in the corner does not, and that’s one of the most common of the Japanese Rules edge cases

And beginners can know when the game is over and who won much more easily if they use a ruleset like Tromp-Taylor, New Zealand, or Lasker-Maas


Scoring happens every game, backrank checkmate doesn’t, or double check, or smothered mate.

You don’t have to teach every kind of checkmate but you need to know the idea of the king is attacked and has no more safe squares to move to.

You don’t need to know every possible shape with two eyes or every possible seki, but you do need to know this counts as alive, this counts as dead.

I would argue that knowing when the game is over is actually difficult to a lot of casually interested new players, and so they would probably benefit from more scoring examples than less.

Good luck to most people trying to read Tromp-Taylor or Lasker-Mass.

Of the three at least New Zealand will be legible to more people :slight_smile:

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Well, I’m hardly going to complain if someone goes to the trouble of putting helpful resources on how to play in a place they can be found, but “you need two eyes to live, here is what an eye is and here is why you need two” is a far cry from “this shape is only the most common of a list of a lot of shapes which under most rulesets are handled just like any other Life and Death situation, but under Japanese Rules must be adjudicated as having a certain result even if continued play would resolve them differently”

When I say that beginners should use a ruleset, I don’t mean that they should have to read it, I just mean that they should set those rules on the site they’re playing (or agree to them if otb), and learn them through doing and explanation by whoever is teaching them. Recommending elegant rulesets is an advantage not because defining Go as being played on a graph by coloring points and then going on to describe the traditional way of representing this abstract mathematical concept is a good way to teach, but because when an edge case comes up and the learner asks what to do, there will be a simple answer, assuming the one teaching understands the ruleset well enough to do so.

For example, if I’m playing Tromp-Taylor with a beginner and the beginner asks if they can capture their own stones, I’m not going to respond by explaining that because both colors are cleared (that is a technical term in Tromp-Taylor Rules) after every move, that is generally legal, but because Tromp-Taylor uses PSK, there are situations where it would not be. Obviously I’m going to say something along the lines of “yes, but it’s not usually a good idea”. If they try to play a stone in a point with no liberties, I’m not going to explain that there is no actual rule forbidding the placement of a stone which has no liberties nor will after clearing both colors, nor even a rule forbidding a move which does not change the board position, but that the real rule is that you may not repeat any board position which has come up in the game regardless of who played. I’m going to say something like “your move has to change the board position somehow”

Elegant Rulesets are written to be beautiful and robust, not didactic: that’s where the person teaching ought bridge the gap

Once they understand how Go works more or less, they will be more equipped to dig into the technical differences between rulesets if they’re so inclined

I mean this one isn’t very easy to define. You can give examples of two eyes easily, but what is and isn’t an “eye” isn’t super clean, because it has a lot of colloquial usage around false eyes, and sometimes false eyes are real eyes.


One exception to not shoving technical rules docs in beginners faces: if I ever meet someone who is interested in learning Go and has a background in graph theory, I am 100% springing Tromp-Taylor Rules at them in all their glory as an experiment to see if someone already familiar with the concepts it uses would find it easy to grasp



Each phrase I mentioned there: “you need two eyes to live”, “here is what an eye is”, “here is why you need two” I was imagining being explained in words from at least 2 angles and generous numbers of examples to illustrate various shapes which have 2 eyes (as well as some with more or less, to help clarify exactly what there are 2 of)

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Very similar rules comparison tables can be found at Comparison of Some Go Rules | British Go Association and I don’t know which is the original.

Yes, but hypothetical play is not supported by OGS, so when there is a disagreement about bent4 under Japanese rules, the players will have to call a moderator instead.
That’s what I meant by that rules comparison table missing OGS-specific details like that, and also the requirement for users to spot and manually untick some points in enclosed areas in seki.