Universal Scoring/Counting System

Do you think there will ever be a universal system for scoring/Counting? I know the AGA has built a kind of hybrid system that is now in limited use abroad, but are any of the other major organizations moving toward some kind of reconciliation?
It seems to me that having 4 or 5 or 20 different ways of counting score is daunting and troublesome for new players, and the game would benefit from having a simple and consistent method.

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I would extend this beyond just counting. Wouldn’t it be great to just have one ruleset used by everyone for the whole game?

Does anyone know if there are/ have been efforts made between the major go associations to converge on a single ruleset, or is that just never going to happen?


If you only look at the main rules used by the majority of players. There are only 2. Japanese/Korean and Chinese.

2 is hardly a large and intimidating number to learn. Everything else is just some other system (ING) or country (AGA) trying to be unique or funny, but are actually based on the 2. So you actually already know how to use one of the 2 at least, with unnecessary extra rules in the newer rulings.

And all the newer rulings like AGA actually makes scoring more troublesome and complicated, having to keep track who passed first, then carry on with a Pass, pass, then pass again to end the game in some cases.


Yeah, pass stones are meant to be this great genius thing to unify area and territory scoring but in practice they are really quite unwieldy. Anyway, you could almost simplify the rulesets for practical use to:

Do I have to fill the dame?

Chinese, Ing, New Zealand, Tromp-Taylor, AGA, EGF: Yes
Japanese, Korean: No

Sure, there are other points about scoring seki, superko etc. but that’s the heart of it.

Edit: I actually just remembered: Japanese pros have to fill the dame, and under normal game rules rather than as a cordoned-off period, even though they don’t score for anything.


I found this at least for a quick reference

So, when playing online across national association boundaries, is it ever a big deal to choose one ruleset over another?

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Not really. All rulesets differ only in minor details. I would expect typically the host country uses their own ruleset, with the exception of the Ing Cup.


I agree with @hiryuu that there are mainly two rulesets and it’s not an intimidating number. If as a beginner you are asked to learn all the specificities of triple ko and seki, blame your teacher, not the rules. You can get to dan level without having to worry about any of this.

As a beginner, I actually found it fascinating that two seemingly different approaches would lead to the same result.

You are making it sound complicated. It’s simpler if you put it that way: black plays first, white plays last.

What exactly would be the objective? Make a handful of Western beginners happy?

The game was invented in China, but then Japan spread it in the world. Each country can claim that they deserve recognition. Until AI takes over that is.

Personally I’d rather see efforts to converge on a unified rating system.


Rulesets / scoring systems are like programming languages. There are currently n of them, someone inevitably thinks there should be only a single (and much better!) one, we end up with n+1 of them.

As long as you remember that with Chineselikes, filling dame is worth points, you’re good.


Well I’m just a blue collar worker and I don’t know anything about programming language(s). But the algebra makes sense. Thanks :grinning:

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