Order of placement of handicap stones

    Keywords: Opening

The following diagram shows the alphabetical order in which to place the handicap stones, in the case that there are 9. This procedure is considered a customary formal courtesy (see Go Etiquette) and is not generally practised. It is an extension of the more commonly practised courtesy of playing the first move in the upper right corner, to allow White to make their first move with minimal effort.

Handicap placement (as seen by Black)  

This sequence may be remembered by applying the following rules, in order of precedence:

  1. Corners before sides before the center
  2. Symmetry before asymmetry
  3. Right before left
  4. Away before close

The precedence of the last two rules is important c should not be at d and g - h should not come before e - f.

This order for placing the handicap stones is also described in the book of Iwamoto: Go for Beginners.

See also


Patrick Traill: Does this order also apply to smaller handicaps, where for 5 or 7 stones one would have to skip four or two stones (h, g and maybe f, e) before placing i? (It evidently does not show where to place the stones for smaller handicaps, as it would give the wrong answer for 5 and 7 stones.)

Patrick Traill: Am I right to suppose this is the board as seen by Black, as I have added to the diagram title?

2021-04-11 Anonymous edit by presumes it is, with no edit comment

Order of placement of handicap stones last edited by on February 19, 2022 - 15:21
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