Why players don't try to occupy opponent's territory with living group of stones at the end of a game?

Hi ! I’m a very beginner in Go and I have a question about scoring.
Let’s consider this very basic example :

In my understanding, we have to count all intersections in white’s territory and all intersections in black’s territory to calculate the score of this game.
Obviously, black wins here. However, what if white tries to make a living group of stones in black territory (with at least two eyes) ? In that way, white could steal some points from black… How do you explain that the game ends in that position, without white trying to push a little bit more ?


Yes, both players could continue by trying to live inside their opponent’s territory.
In games between novices, I would even encourage them to try, especially when the area inside is quite wide, like in your example.

But at higher levels of play, experienced players inuitively “know” when such attempts are a futile waste of time for both players, so they tend to refrain from doing this.

At even higher levels of play, players would even be justified to report their opponent for unjustified stalling of the end of the game with hopeless moves inside secure territories.


Hello gennan, thank you for your reply, you’ve just confirmed my intuition that such attempts would be hopeless. However, if I try to think further, here is my logic: let’s say white plays in black’s territory and black decides to respond, preventing white to make a living group of stones. Even if white doesn’t succeed to make such a group of stones, black would spend his own stones in his territory to defend it, so he would lose points, right ? So would you say that the best response for black is to counter-attack in white’s territory ? Thank you again.


When using territory scoring (points for empty intersections inside), you also get points for dead opponent stones left on the board when the game finishes. Dead stones are understood to be removed from the board and added to the prisoners between passing and scoring, so you get points for the vacated intersections underneath them as well.

So if white places a stone inside black’s territory that ends up being dead, black gains a point. If black responds by putting a stone inside their own territory to defend, black loses a point again. So then the result would be no change in the net score.

In your example above, all dead stones are semi-transparent and count towards the opponent’s score.


To clarify, three forms of stalling are reportable violations of the OGS TOS: (1) playing a series of self-atari moves that serve no tactical purpose (i.e., not sacrifices); (2) infilling your own territory for no purpose (i.e., not fixing cut points, etc.); (3) repeatedly restarting (i.e., rejecting the score, passing, rejecting the score, passing, ad infinitum).


Oh I got it ! I forgot about the dead stones counting in the score calculation. Thank you very much for your explanations, it was very clear :slight_smile:


Yeah, in your example there is so much room on both sides, that i think white could invade somewhere around lower right, and black should play something to prevent invasions there. Since black is winning, makes more sense to prevent invasion on right instead invading on left - altought i think black invasion around c4-c6 might be able to live too.

It is very true that if one player invades, other one answers locally by also playing inside his/her territory, and the invasion is unable to make life, then the score would stay the same. But if you invade, opponent does NOT answer each of your moves, and the invasion still dies, the opponent gains points for each unanswered dead stone.
(And to put it other way, if your opponent plays desperate invasion inside your territory, you don’t want to answer it unless you absolutely need to in order to keep it dead, since responding would lose you the point you gained from the stone they just played)

Maybe better example of game where neither player invades would look something like this:

Those territories on lower left side and on top right are too tight for invasion to work out, so it makes sense for both players not even trying.


I think it’s too strong to say you should only answer when absolutely needed to kill the invasion. Unless you can really read every line of play, it’s too easy to be overconfident and accidentally let a killable invasion live by failing to respond. If you’re already winning (which is likely if an opponent tries a desperate late invasion), I (9k) would prefer to answer every move inside unless you can 100% prove it will die (e.g. by reading all the way to the end, or knowing they don’t have room for 2 eyes while your group is pass-alive, etc.).

On the other hand, that requires you to know confidently that you’re winning, so I guess it depends on which you’re more confident in: counting/estimating or reading.


Yeah absolutely, it does require confidence on your own reading abilities to say that something is 100% killable even when ignored. But isnt that one of the main things which make go so interesting? ^___^



When I play correspondance games under Chinese rules, if I’m in a situation where my opponent still has one move to play, and then we should both pass, then I will use the autoplay feature to autoplay one extra move in my territory after my opponent plays his move.
This serves no tactical purpose, but it makes the game end sooner because my opponent can pass first, as opposed to waiting for me to pass, then me waiting for them to pass, if I had passed first.
Are you saying that this violates the terms of service?

Also, under French or AGA rules in real life, it is very customary for white to play one extra move in their territory, so that Black passes first. Again, this extra move doesn’t serve any tactical purpose.
Are you saying that following this custom on OGS would be a violation of terms of service?

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Of course not. You must have missed where I said “a series of…”

Of course not.

Are you just nit-picking my phraseology, or do you really not know how extremely common these abuses are among beginners. It is very common for a losing beginner to play self-atari moves for 15, 20, 30 minutes, often filling every intersection where a legal move can be made. Similarly, many beginners will infill their entire territory, even getting all their live stones killed, and then continue to play dead stones in all the open space. This is stalling, and it is prohibited, but believe it or not the mods actually use common sense to make a decision.

In many cases of stalling abuse, the opponent gives up and escapes or resigns. The mods call this “frustration resignation,” and they annul the fraudulent “win.”

Just want to comment that as a beginner, you’re asking the right questions! :slight_smile:


I didn’t miss it. It was part of (1), “a series of self-atari”. But I’m talking about (2), “infilling your own territory”. No series there.

I’m not nitpicking, I’m genuinely worried.

What you describe now doesn’t sound like abuse, it sounds like a beginner who doesn’t know what to do when the game is nearing its end. Maybe what these beginners need is someone teaching them, not a moderator hammering down on them.

BTW, note how your reply to me begins with “Of course”, even though I see nothing obvious here.


The original picture reminds me of a 13x13 tournament where I had to give 13 stones to a beginner, who proceeded to place them in a wall down the middle. Of course against a player of my own strength I would die if I tried living on either side, but against this beginner I managed, lived both sides and won the game. Andrew Kay then played the same opponent and went one better than me: he not only lived both sides, he killed the black wall too. :slight_smile:


Your first mistake was your failure to credit OGS, the mods, and me with any common sense, which is why I mentioned that, with regard to the mods, in my reply. (And still you have ignored it, as we shall see later.) Instead of questioning your own understanding when you run into an apparent anomaly, you leap to a ludicrous interpretation that OGS is perhaps idiotically prohibiting the infilling of a single stone, the mods are enforcing it, and I am explaining it, all oblivious to common sense. Of course not (and yes, that should be obvious).

Your second mistake was your failure to read carefully enough to avoid confusion. Not only did item 1 specify “a series of self-atari moves,” but item 2, infilling, was also explicitly limited:

Did you miss the parenthetical “etc.” just like you missed “a series of”? Your example does have a purpose, so it does not fall within the definition of item 2, and yes, that should be obvious.

Yes, in many cases, or perhaps even in most, that is true. However, there are also a lot of abusive cases, where a more experienced opponent explains and/or begs them to pass and they ignore it or even jeer abusively in the chat.

Again, you leap to the ridiculous conclusion that mods are hammering them instead of teaching them. Do you really think no one else figured this out before you arrived on the scene? In most cases that are reported, the beginners are indeed instructed by the mod. They are not warned unless they continue in the behavior after being instructed. Make no mistake, malicious stalling is fairly common, and it often precedes score cheating. The cheat attempts to win by stalling (hoping for a frustration resignation), and if that doesn’t work, they score cheat. I have seen this pattern numerous times.

I have explained above why it should be obvious, but I think it is my tone that you really object to. Good. You adopted a hostile, presumptive tone, beginning with “What??” (note the screech of the second question mark), rather than making a neutral non-adversarial inquiry. When you take a tone with me, I slap it back twice as hard.


You are more or less saying that “of course moderators make sound decisions”. This is not obvious for everybody. No need to punch on the nose someone who expresses doubts.


All the purposes and reasons mentioned in your post are tactical. The infilling moves I mentionned have no tactical purpose. Apologies for not reading your mind.

We can go back and forth about whether I read your post or not as long as you want. Or perhaps you could accept that I read it and still questioned it.

There is nothing obvious to me about any of this. I apologise if what I said was insulting to the mods or to their work.

When I play irl, I only have to worry about following the rules of Go. When I play on OGS, it’s always there somewhere in my mind that not only I should follow the rules of Go, but I should be careful about not playing a move that could be judged to be against OGS policy.

You can keep saying “of course” and “obviously” as many times as you want. It won’t make any of this any more obvious to me.


People who play with common sense and courtesy really have nothing to worry about here.

When we find a genuine issue the first response is usually information/explanation and perhaps a warning.

Many of the discourtesies that can be encountered online could theoretically be encountered irl as well but the vast majority of people would never think to act so rudely face-to-face. It’s a shame some choose to do so from behind a screen.

I think that part of the phenomenon is because some users are inclined to think of the site and/or it’s ranking system as some kind of game instead of OGS being a site where the game of Go is played.


No, I’m not saying that. Since you didn’t understand me, I will rephrase it. I said if something seems cockeyed idiotic on OGS or in a moderator action, don’t leap to the conclusion that it is cockeyed idiotic. Stop and consider that the flaw may lie in oneself, due to a lack of understanding.

I didn’t do that. As already explained, he took a tone and I reciprocated. If you want civil discourse, then begin with a civil tongue.

It’s not a question of reading my mind. “No purpose” means no purpose. Everything else is your assumption combined with your lack of self-questioning and uncharitable view of OGS, the mods, and me.

From your point of view maybe. But it’s not the first time your way of expressing yourself sounds overly agressive (to me at least). In the present case I didn’t perceive Arsenlapin’s message as an attack, but just as an expression of surprise (the double question mark) and fear that the TOS might lead to inappropriate moderator decisions. However you reacted as if you were personally attacked and struck back 10 times harder. It would have been more productive to explain calmly, like Kosh did. You are a former moderator and you are familiar with moderator procedures. Other people may lack such information.