New Zealand Rules

    Keywords: Rules
  • Specific features:
    • The complete text is about a page long
    • 7 point komi allows draws
  • Scoring method: Area
  • Counting method: ?
  • Superko: Yes
  • Komi: 7
  • Suicide: Allowed
  • Points in seki: Count
  • Cost of moving in one's territory: 0 points
  • Life and death settled by: Game resumption
  • Illegal move: Is regarded as a pass
  • Full text: below
  • Used in: New Zealand

The New Zealand Rules are the rules of go used by the New Zealand Go Society. The /History page gives the full story and further explanation is given in /Explanation. Please feel free to participate in the /Discussion.

New Zealand Rules of Go

Go is played on a board with a 19 x 19 grid, by two players, one using a set of (about) 180 white counters, the other a set of (about) 181 black counters. These counters are called stones.

Adjacent intersections are those intersections connected by lines of the grid, with no intervening intersections.

Two stones of the same colour are connected if they are on adjacent intersections or if they are both connected to a third stone.

A liberty of a stone is an unoccupied intersection adjacent to that stone or to any stone connected to that stone.

Territory of a player (at the end of the game) consists of all points occupied by that player's stones plus all unoccupied points adjacent to that territory.

A play consists of placing a stone (of that player's own colour) on an unoccupied intersection, then removing any of the opponent's stones that then have no liberties (if any), and then removing any of that player's own stones that then have no liberties (if any).

A move consists of

  1. making a play so that the resulting board position does not repeat the whole board position as it was after any of that player's previous moves or
  2. saying 'pass'.

A game of go begins with an empty board, and the players take turns to move (beginning with black).

The game is finished when both players agree that there are no more worthwhile moves. 'Dead' stones may then be removed from the board by mutual agreement. If they cannot agree which stones are dead they must play on. If they cannot then agree who shall move next, all stones stay on the board (are alive) and are counted.

In an even game, 7 points (komi) are added to the white players territory.

In a handicap game, white passes the first n - 1 moves where n is the size of the handicap. There is no komi.

The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game.


A commentary for this ruleset is available here: /explanation


One aspect that distinguishes New Zealand rules from several other rulesets (Japanese, Chinese, AGA...) is the lack of an additional rule that forbids suicide. In other words, you can play in such a way that one of your groups has no liberties left at the end of your turn and is removed hence. This can be relevant. For example, a player can suicide two crushed stones to make a three-space, which must be responded to. Hence it is an extra ko threat. For a comprehensive discussion of these differences, see Suicidal Tendencies.

See also:


New Zealand Rules last edited by TheBigH on January 24, 2016 - 10:39
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