PageType: Path   Difficulty: Beginner   Keywords: Rules, Go term

Chinese: 让子 (rang4 zi3), 授子 (shou3 zi3)
Japanese: 手合い (te ai)
Korean: 접바둑 (jeop-baduk)

If two players differ in strength (see rank), the weaker player gets handicap stones to compensate for the difference. That way, both players have more equal chances to win. In general, the ideal handicap is equal to the difference in kyu or dan ranks.

Table of contents Table of diagrams
Handicaps on the nine Star Points (typical)

Handicaps on the nine Star Points (typical)  

Traditionally, handicap stones are placed on the star points, but one can also play with free placement of the handicap stones. In contrast to an even game it is White's turn to play the first "real" stone (after the black handicap stones have been placed on the board), except in an one-handicap-stone game where black makes the first move.

Before the adoption of komi, a different handicap system was in use among top ("pro") players. See: tagai-sen, sen-ai-sen and josen.

Many Go clubs and salons in Japan use a handicap system integrated into a rating system.

Starting a handicap game

How to determine the handicap

Alternatives to extra stones

How to place handicap stones


Playing handicap games

How to play handicap games skilfully

Advice to Black

Advice to White

General discussion

Other relevant topics

  • Bermuda triangle — A weak double keima often seen in handicap games
  • Overplay — Includes some comments on overplays in handicap games, mainly from White’s viewpoint

How to make handicap games useful

Games and Analysis


Handicap last edited by PJTraill on November 3, 2018 - 22:58
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