Separate Display for Handicap Scores to Clarify for Beginners

You have the handicap score displayed, but as a beginner, I might think that the handicap is also included in the calculation. Could you separate the display of the handicap number?

the calculation is:

21 + 15 + (3 * 0) - 2.5 = 33.5

But it appears as though the handicap of 3 is being added into the calculation, which might be misleading, especially for beginners. In your thread, you might want to clarify this issue and suggest a way to make the score calculation more transparent and less confusing for new users. For instance, you could propose a more intuitive display format or a separate explanation for how handicaps are factored into the final score.


There is this issue on GitHub about it too:


The fact is there is the difference of x points due to the x stones black put at the start between the two sets of rules. (White task is harder under japanese rule).
Because handicap games are rated on OGS (not just some teaching games), i find interesting that this difference is underlined.
Fact is that in area scoring, some care to substract these x stones to get similar result (but not always in my experience), i am curious if it is stated somewhere?

We have this rules comparison matrix which as far as I know shows how it works:

Note that AGA, NZ, and Chinese rules are all supposed to be different.


Quite interesting summary considering the various ways we count a handicap game.

Is OGS scoring system following strictly this matrix with each ruleset?

Less confusing yes i fully agree that the less you explain the better. There will be other times later to explain the differences if the beginner don’t mind.

More transparent, we are here more in the reverse situation, by wishing to hide a reminder that handicap stones are a bonus for black, so that’s not really transparency.

Bonus by just being added on the board, in the same way of a reverse komi, not by the help they will provide during the game, to be clear.

Isn’t the OP complaining that they are not a bonus for Black (under Japanese rules) but are listed as if they are?

Looks like the calculation is done correctly (N-1) and displayed correctly for AGA rules:

And here is an example of it being correct (N) in Chinese rules:

So I’m guessing that everything is calculated correctly, and the only problem is that Japanese rules are displayed wrong.

They are a bonus if you consider the Japanese rules between other rules. At first sight we could just ignore it, not mention the handicap in the scoring sheet which would be less confusing but less transparent too.

Thanks to report me these 2 games. I should have guessed that everything is fine with every rules, as nothing special were reported here in the forum.

Well my post was misleading as I was separating both more in my mind as on the paper, sorry.
That was not related together, i was simply wondering on a separate matter.

I don’t think the display is so wrong as displaying that handicap stones are ignored in the counting seems still a good information to give (noting that not all handicap games players are not always full beginners too) but the way it is may not be clear enough and may lead to some confusion.

I ignored this fully for years playing under the Japanese rules, the simple way, until i played a handicap game with a Chinese opponent face to face. I was very surprised when he mentioned we had to substract the quantity of handicap stones (like: “Is he trying to cheat me? :joy:”) in the scoring and only then realized why and how. This scoring details are dispatched with every kind of rules always on OGS and may help to understand the difference between them if you go into asking yourself how it works.

So that’s why a small reminder for players using the Japanese rules set won’t hurt IMHO. Maybe should look more like a bill, you know, with some words we like to read (for free, on the house, discounted… )? Still it’s good information to give as players when meeting in a handicap game may have different experiences through different rules and then it’s nice to provide them the details calculated from the elected set.

Just to be clear: the specific problem is that every ruleset except for Japanese has the property that if you total up all the items listed under the scoring breakdown for the players, you get the actual score. Add it all up for both players and take the difference, and you get the final score difference of the game.

In Japanese rules, if you do this with the current OGS display, you get the wrong score. You have to specifically disregard and not add the number it shows you for the handicap stones, despite it being part of the exact same list as all the other itemized components of the score that should be added up, in order to get the correct result.

That’s the way in which the current display is misleading.


What about a line like

(handicap 5 not added)


handicap 5 (not added)

Just putting the line away will simplify but won’t guide into understanding better either, i dunno.