Rules regarding removal of captured stones

So this happened recently:

Basically, a professional player lost by default in the Korean Baduk League because he pressed the clock before removing all the captured stones. Specifically, he captured 7 stones but he removed 6 stones only before pressing the clock and removing the remaining stone.

According to Korean rules, you are not allowed to press the clock before you remove all the captured stones, and you are also not allowed to remove any stones once you press the clock. The player will lose by default if he violates the rules.

However, there is also another rule which states that you can pause the clock when you need to remove the captured stones. The player of course didn’t know this and he lost by default.

Seeing how many people here are familiar with the rules, I wonder if other rules have any specifications about the removal of captured stones.

Also, what do you think is the most fair way to handle this?
Should the player ensure he has enough time to remove the stones?
Or should he be given the right to pause the clock to remove the stones?
For the latter, what if it is abused and he removes the stones slowly to get more time to think?

This is an “fun problem” only seen in OTB games because you never have to remove the stones by yourself in online games :laughing:

  • Player can only press the clock after removing all the stones
  • Player is allowed to pause the clock to remove all the stones
  • Player can press the clock first and continue removing the stones after that
0 voters

It may depend on the quantity of stones to remove.

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Assuming there are so many stones that you can’t remove within 3 seconds?

Well you don’t stop the clock for a few stones (like for a ko for example). Some rule stipulate like 7 stones or more?

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Which rules?

Maybe it’s just convention, i am not sure but it used to be like this in France clubs

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Seems it’s even 2 or 3 stones up

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From what I know, the EGF has certain rules on top of the rules in use at a tournament. So you could be playing AGA rules or Japanese rules, but you would still be entitled to pause the clock to remove 3 or more stones.

The timing procedure for removing three or more stones in neutralised time is:

  1. A player places the stone.
  2. The clock is now neutralised.
  3. According to the rules of play, the stones without liberty are removed.
  4. The player starts the opponent’s clock.


EGF rules say

The clock may be paused by a player - after having placed one’s stone - to remove three or more stones without liberty while in overtime or playing under finite thinking time rules.

Edit: shinuito was faster.


I think yours was more specific about overtime :slight_smile:

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Hmm surprising that they specify 3 stones only. I mean how long do you need to remove 3 or 4 stones? Even with 1 second it seems possible to use both hands to grab the stones and press the clock

Well if you imagine you have a 30s byoyomi, and you want to use it to think or read, and don’t want to have to factor in how long it takes you to pick up 3,4,5,6,… stones as well, then it makes sense to pick some number as the point to start.

I guess people can pick up two stones at once with one hand, but three or more gets trickier.


I took “can pause the clock” to only apply to capturing 4+ stones, which is the normal rule I’ve heard

  1. By a player - after having placed one’s stone - to remove three or more stones without liberty while in overtime or playing under finite thinking time rules.

from EGF tournament rules


I think you still need to allocate some time to press the pause button. Some clocks have a very small pause button. If you are not familiar with where it is you may lose by time while trying to press the button lol

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Well i m only used to old mechanical clocks so first thing i would try is press both buttons at once?

It’s always in the middle at the bottom, right? I still agree it’s generally small and hard to press, though. I think a button in the center on top between the sides for each player would be optimal

One thing I can think of is what if people abuse this rule?

For example, you are fighting a ko and the opponent finds a ko threat where you have to remove 10 stones. You pause the clock to remove the stones, but you take your own time to do it slowly. Since you know that the opponent’s next move is to take the ko, you can use this “additional time” to think about the next ko threat that you are going to play. Even if you spend 1 second to remove 1 stone, you get an additional 10 seconds!

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I mean the usual thing that you do when anyone abuses any rule, you call a referee.

“My opponent is taking a long time to remove dead stones to gain thinking time” - referee makes a judgment call, either does nothing, warns the player, or if it has happened more than once with previous warnings, whatever penalties were suggested be applied in the circumstances.


IIRC, in British tournaments we are allowed to pause the clock for capturing more than 3 stones in blitz games, but not in overtime of normal games, which is a bit silly because overtime can be faster than blitz particularly with many tournaments using accelerating Canadian overtime of 10 stones in 5 minutes, then 20 stones in 5 minutes, then 30, 40, 50 etc. Being a slow player I have got to 50 in 5 before and I recall one game vs a player who doesn’t resign when loads behind and I had killed a big dragon of his in a semeai winning by lots of liberties and feared he might force me to capture on the clock as I neared the end of overtime period so rather than playing good moves to gain points I preemptively filled in his liberties to capture the group so I wouldn’t lose on time picking up ~40 stones.