Stating Rule Set (Chinese or Japanese)

Would it be possible to introduce somewhere so you can see which ruleset is being used in a game? I play a lot of games in parallel and prefer Chinese rules but since ladders and tournaments all follow Japanese rules I sometime forget which rule set a game has which also affects the score since there are no dame in Chinese rules.

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When you’re in a game, there is a menu on the right side. A few icons down the top you see an i (for info). When you click it, a window opens with info about the game, including the rules (and komi, handicap, ranked, time control and other stuff).



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And it looks like this …


Even though dame count under area scoring, it is often still possible to leave an even number of inconsequential dame unfilled, without affecting the score.

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What does that even mean “there are no dame in Chinese rules”?

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I was interpreting that statement as expressing the common false belief that all dame need to be filled when using the Chinese rules.

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Yeah I guess so.

Pedantically, I wonder if you’d agree that dame is not a property of any ruleset, it is a description of positions on the board?

Or is it in fact the case that some rulesets define dame, and we abuse the term when we use it outside the context of those rules?

Pedantically speaking, I mean.

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No I think we all agree there are dame under all ruleset.

If we’re being pedantic, one could also say that Japanese rules also require you to fill all dame (even if it should not change the score).

Well since you get points for the area you cover with your stones, there is no point in leaving dame if it is a close game

What I meant was that since you get points also for the area covered by your stones and not only the territory surrounded by your stones, the end game becomes a bit different with Chinese rules if it is a close game

I was definitely wondering pedantically.

Japanese rules (I guess depending on which you chose) specifically define dame.

However, that word only appears once here, and it is not defined:

Yeah I got what you meant, no worries. My point was simply that you wrote “there are no dame” (which is not correct) while you actually meant “we need to fill all dame”.

Also, to clarify what @yebellz meant: if there is an even number of dame, you don’t need to fill them since it won’t change the score (each player would just do it an equal number of times). If there is an uneven number, whoever turn it is can play it and then it’s even and players can stop.

See Japanese rules here: Article 1. The game of go

Empty points surrounded by the live stones of just one player are called “eye points.” Other empty points are called “dame.”

Yes that’s what I said: Japanese rules define dame. Pedantically, this raises the question: is dame only a thing under Japanese…

Ah sorry I misread your comment.

I think you may not find it defined in Chinese rules because it is simply part of the regular vocabulary with no ambiguity (at least when translated in English, I don’t know the term in Chinese).

Similarly, they don’t define what “board” means ; they just use it (just like they use “dame” in this text).


I see you make this point a lot, that it is not necessary to play dame in Chinese rules if you carefully count and only an even number of dame remains. But what I find completely arbitrary, is to apply that reasoning ONLY to the (area scoring) 1-point moves (that is, “normal dames”) and not earlier in game. In other words, that same argument can be made earlier in the game, at least for normal situations and most rulesets, including Japanese rules. Essentially, your suggestion boils down to “leaving miai unplayed, because the position is pass-safe due to miai anyway” :slight_smile:

Let me explain. The “normal way to play”, say, is to keep playing while any “point gaining move” is available. How can you identify that a point gaining move is still available? Well, compare these three situations (I assume that it was White turn now, though it is not important):

  1. White passes. Now let Black move there.
  2. White moves there. Now Black has to pass.
  3. Players pass and count the game exactly as it is now.

If scenarios 1, 2 and 3 would give a different final score, then clearly “that current move” under consideration is still worth points: Score changes based on who gets to do that move for free! So the move by itself clearly has value. In Chinese rules, this is the case for “normal dame”: The three scenarios give different scores when only dame remain, as long as at least one “normal dame” remains. In Japanese rules however, it makes no difference at all: whether white fills ALL normal dame available while black passes, or black fills ALL normal dame available while white passes, score will be the same. Thus it is clear that dames are worth points in Chinese rules and not in Japanese rules, and that is why “the normal way to play” under Chinese rules is to fill all dame (under Japanese rules filling dame might be “the normal way” for other, independent reasons, like over-the-board easier counting, or for some rule-details of precisely what flavor of Japanese rules are being used).

Now, the reason why one can “safely pass” in Chinese rules when an even number of dame remain, is because no matter who starts, players will grab half the dame each, so the score is the same no matter who starts. So if nobody passes, “playing first” does not give any advantage, and in that sense passing is safe. In effect, if there are two identical “simple” 1-point moves (Chinese dame), then it is an example of Miai for points. This of course extends to any even number, as you can arrange all dame into imaginary pairs.

My final point is that, if we think that it is proper to leave a Chinese rules game finished at say this position:

Then, by exactly the same reason (i.e., “there are point-earning moves still, but they are arranged in a miai situation and so the score will be the same regardless of who starts, as long as no player makes a mistake or passes early if playing it out”), it should be proper to leave a Japanese rules game finished at say, this position:

Or even this:

As it is exactly the same in all cases: whether the position is counted as is, or it is played out with black starting, or it is played out with white starting, the result will be exactly the same, even though point-gaining moves are available (that is, score WILL change if one player is given a “move for free”, as in the imaginary scenario I proposed at the beginning of this post).


You are preaching to choir with me.

My motivation isn’t to dictate about when it is “proper” to begin passing in a game, but rather to try to dispel the common misconception that all dame need to be filled (besides those that should be left open for things like seki), when playing with the Chinese rules.

As we both of course know, there are a lot of other very interesting and highly technical differences between Chinese and Japanese rules. However, quite often among the Go community, these differences are not so well understood and overshadowed by this misconception, which is frequently and mistakenly perceived as a disadvantage for the Chinese rules, e.g., people say that they prefer Japanese rules because they dislike filling dame.

I agree that players could safely pass early in some other special situations under various rules. However, I think that situations that involve unclosed borders (or corridors that could be sealed) require a great deal of symmetry and careful analysis/counting by both players. If both players are sure and have arrived at least an implicit mutual understanding, then, sure, they could pass “early” in those examples that you’ve given above. I guess a practical barrier to taking such shortcuts is that players might not feel comfortable that they’ve really read out and understood the situation correctly, so they might play on a bit further until the situation is simpler to understand and verify (e.g., only meaningless dame left).

Further, there might also be some cultural barriers and concern about how an “early pass” might be misperceived as a potential insult to the opponent, rather than just offering a shortcut. Even if one player does realize that the position is pass-safe, they might not be sure if their opponent also has that same understanding, and could be concerned that their opponent might instead interpret that pass as basically throwing away a move during the endgame to suggest that margin of victory is already too great.

If both players are both able to precisely understand that they have reached a “pass-safe” situation, even with the complicated consideration of unclosed borders and potential territory still left secure, then they are also probably strong to understand what the ultimate score should be. So, a more conventional (and perhaps more culturally acceptable way) to end the game early would be for the inevitably losing player to simply resign.

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This is precisely why I always fill dame anyway, even when playing Japanese :stuck_out_tongue: even at about 3k it is still so extremely common to discover while filling dame “oh I was supposed to fill here”, “I think we are done, no more dames. Oh wait, there is one there!” or even “dame fill dame fill… oh wait, this might be dangerous, ok let’s count liberties… oof, I’m safe by one liberty! Lucky me! That was close! Must pay more attention.” :laughing:

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I have always that feeling that japanese rules evoke pro players and at the opposite side, chinese rules, beginners. After that it’s just about who you want to identify with.
For me, i feel more confortable on the chinese side…