Chinese Counting (version 26)

    Keywords: Rules

Chinese counting can be used for rules that define Scoring by Area. As a reminder, in Area scoring, your score is:

  • the number of your stones on the board
  • the number of empty points your stones surround

!!Determining your score:

1: Note your territories: They are the empty points surrounded entirely by your live stones.

Note: One ought not to consider "life and death". In case of counting area scoring "live stones" means "stones on the board at the game end". So why does it not read "surrounded entirely by your stones on the board at the game end"? -- RobertJasiek, who stops reading at the first unclear point

2: Remove all your opponent's dead stones left in your territories. These can be placed back in your opponent's bowl.

3: Now you want to make the empty territories you surround be multiples of ten points. To this end you can simply remove stones of your color from the board and return them to your bowl. You can also take stones from your bowl and add them to the board.

This step often distresses people. Remember that with Area Scoring, you get one point for each empty point you surround, and one point for each stone on the board. So if you take a stone off the board, but leave an empty point it doesn't change your score. Similarly, if you fill one of your empty points with a stone of your own color, it also doesn't change your score.

4: Make a note of the number of empty points. This should be a nice round number, a multiple of ten.

Some people place one stone for every ten points on the table, up against the board, as a reminder.

5: Now count your stones. At this point you can destroy arrangement of stones on the board and simply clump the stones into piles of ten.

If both players are counting their score this way, then you need to make sure that you both have completed counting your empty areas before either of you start this part. Once you start this part, the empty areas on the board will be destroyed. However, see Half Counting, below.

6: Add the number of stones counted in step 5 to the number of empty points noted in step 4. This is your score.

7a: If there is Komi, add it to White's score.

7b: If it is a handicap game, divide the handicap by 2, then add this number to White's score. (Subtract it from Black's score if counting Black)

!!Half Counting

In practice, only Black's score needs to be counted. This is because in Area Scoring, after the dead stones are removed, every point on the board is either:

  • White stone (counts for white's score)
  • Empty point surrounded by White (counts for white's score)
  • Black stone (counts for black's score)
  • Empty point surrounded by Black (counts for black's score)
  • Empty point that doesn't score (for example, points in seki)

So, if you know:

  • The number points on the board (for example, 19x19 = 361)
  • Minus the number of points that don't score (usually 0)
  • This equals the number of points shared between White and Black

Divide this last number by two, and all you need to know is if Black's score is more or less than this 'half count'. If Black has more, then White has less, and Black wins. If Black has less, then White has more, and White wins.

For every point the winner has over this half count, the Loser is a point below . So the difference between the two scores is twice the difference between the Black's score and the half count.

To deal with Komi, subtract the Komi from Black's score.

There is a Chinese Counting Example with step-by-step diagrams.

Chinese Counting (version 26) last edited by on October 12, 2002 - 18:01
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