RGG FAQ Part 5 Section 9

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This page is part of the rec.games.go FAQ on SL, and cannot be edited directly. A copy of this page can be edited by following the link at the bottom of this page, but please read the FAQ Format Guidelines first.

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5.9: Where do I play my first stone?

Beginners are often very surprised to hear their opponents complain that their first move is impolite.

Here is the traditional Japanese way of opening a game politely: In an even game, black's first move should be in the upper right quarter of the board, on or below the diagonal. From black's point of view, this means that the following marked points of the board are polite for his first move:

[Diagram]
Polite First Move  

The reason why this is polite is that white's best response is in the most convenient part of the board for him: in the lower right (from his point of view).

This politeness rule is also common practice on Go servers: black plays in the upper right first (although most clients do not turn the board upside down for white, so that both players see it from the same side).

In a handicap game with up to nine stones, it is traditional to place the handicap stones on the hoshi (star points) in the following fashion (from black's point of view):

Handicap stones placement for 2-9 stones handicap

  +-----+ +-----+ +-----+ +-----+ +-----+ +-----+ +-----+ +-----+
  |. . #| |. . #| |# . #| |# . #| |# . #| |# . #| |# # #| |# # #|
  |. . .| |. . .| |. . .| |. # .| |# . #| |# # #| |# . #| |# # #|
  |# . .| |# . #| |# . #| |# . #| |# . #| |# . #| |# # #| |# # #|
  +-----+ +-----+ +-----+ +-----+ +-----+ +-----+ +-----+ +-----+

In games with 2 or 3 handicap, white will first play in his lower right, and in games with 4, 5, 8, and 9 handicap, he is likely to first play in his upper right.

Sometimes, players agree not to require the handicap stones to be placed onto the star points. Under this 'free handicap', no politeness rules are known.

The politeness rules also apply on smaller boards.


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RGG FAQ Part 5 Section 9 last edited by tapir on August 9, 2013 - 12:08
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