Putting away the stones


When clearing away the stones and putting them back to the bowls, it is a good habit to only clean up stones of your own colour. You can slide the opponent's stones aside on the board.

I read somewhere that this habit is followed to avoid the hands of both players colliding when they simultaneously put away stones to the same bowl. I have never bothered in my (Western) amateur tournament or club games, and I know of nobody who ever felt offended in this way. And I don't know how strictly this one is followed in the Orient.


Another explanation that I have heard for this rule, is that by taking your opponent's stones off the board, you appear to be capturing them. But I agree that it is not a rule that I normally think about.

-- AndreEngels

Still, this habit (I don't know if this is a "rule") is very strictly followed by "Oriental" players: none of the many I've played in my life has ever put away "my" stones...


I'm a Canadian living in China and one of the things that surprised me at the local go club was that they routinely just sweep stones off the board into piles of mixed colours at the side of the table, or put mixed colours into bowls.

The etiquette of using bowls with mixed colours involves swapping bowls every so often. After a while black's bowl has mostly white stones and vice versa, so swap.

They also often play holding a half dozen stones in the left hand, taking one into the right for each move. Some fidget with the left hand stones.


caring for go stones explains why several of these observations are bad for the stones.

Scartol: Online, I always remove my own stones at the end of play. It just seems rude to snatch up the stones of one's opponent. Even if they are dead, it feels like a way of adding insult to injury. I like being able to be the pallbearer for my own stones. Yes, they're dead, but at least I got to bury them.

Stefan: You refer to dead stones at the end of the game, right? This is strange, since this reverses the normal procedure followed during the game. And don't feel sorry for dead stones, Scartol. The more there are, the better! Sacrifice!! Sacrifice!!!! :-)

Kite: Actually, the exact opposite seems to be the practice on the Yahoo server. Players generally only remove their opponent's dead stones. It is as though they hope that their opponent will carelessly forget to remove some of the stones that he or she killed, thus tilting the final score in their favor.

Personally I like to laugh like a maniac as I take my opponents stones during the game. And start crying like a baby as I remove my own at the end. Sometimes I give my dead stones names and make a prayer about their valiant effort to survive, I then excuse myself as I bury them outside, then come back and start beating on my opponents prisoners as emotional release for the suffering my stones had to endure. After such statements as "send him back to the hospital quickly" and "for the last time, they aren't junior-mints" I find myself getting banned from more and more go clubs these days.

I asked a young Korean professional (1p) whether she only picked up her own stones at the end of the game. She answered that if she won she would pick up either colour, but if she lost then she would only pick up her own.

kokiri - the only japanese players i have seen putting stones into my bowl tended to be 1) much better and 2) much older (&male) than me - i.e. ones with superior status. It's a bit anecdotal though, cos it's not exactly the sort of thing you ask about...I find that being left handed seems to cause a lot of trouble in clearing stones up. I tend to go two handed, anyway, but one handed seems to be the norm.

Putting away the stones last edited by on January 27, 2015 - 05:05
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