A Beginner's Introduction to GO
II. The Basic Rules of Go
A basic set of rules for the game of GO is given below. You may not completely
understand all of these rules when you read them for the first time. But
don't worry, in the next section I will explain each one in detail and give
lots of examples.
It should be noted that there are several different sets of official rules
for GO. The rules given here are similar to the American Go Association
rules, and use Japanese-style scoring since that is the style used by the
Internet go servers, and the style most players will likely encounter. In
Section III, links will be provided (eventually) to additional pages that
will discuss alternative rules. The fundamental nature of the game is the
same no matter which set of rules are chosen.
1. Equipment and Moves:
Go is played on a board which is a square grid of vertical and horizontal
lines. It is played by two players. Each player has a set of circular stones.
One player (Black) has black stones, and the other (White) has white ones.
Black plays first, and the players take turns. On each turn, a player may
place a stone on any empty intersection of 2 lines (a point) on the board
(except as noted in rules 3 and 4), or pass.
2. Capturing: Two points are adjacent
if they are next to each other in a vertical or horizontal but not diagonal
direction. Two stones of the same colour on adjacent points are connected
and belong to the same string of stones. An empty point adjacent to a string
of stones is a liberty of that string. When a stone is played that reduces
one or more strings of the opponent's stones to 0 liberties (in other words,
when it surrounds opposing stones), those strings are captured and removed
from the board.
3. Suicide: A stone may not be played
if it will have 0 liberties and will not capture any of the opponent's stones.
(In other words, you may not capture your own stones.)
4. Repetition: A stone may not be played
if it will make the board look exactly the same as it did earlier in the
game. (Repetition is not allowed.)
5. Scoring: If the last move of each player
was a pass, the game ends and scoring begins. First, the players must agree
on which stones on the board are dead. (Disagreements are very rare, but
a rule to settle disputes will be given later.)
The dead stones are considered to be captured, and are removed from the
board. Each player gets one point for every opponent's stone that was captured,
and one point for every empty point of territory. A group of connected empty
points is territory if it is surrounded by stones of only that player's
colour. The player with the higher score wins.
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