Rules of Go

  Difficulty: Intermediate   Keywords: Rules

Chinese: 规则 (gui1 ze2)
Japanese: 囲碁規約 (igokiyaku)
Korean: -

The strategic consequences of the rules of Go are generally the same worldwide, even though the text of the rules reads very differently.

If you simply want to start playing, please read Rules of go - introductory. You will find more information at Rules of Go - second tutorial.

Like many other games, playing instructions for go are rather different from a complete and consistent set of rules. Like golf or bridge, the basic thrust of the game is simple, but there are so many situations to cover that a collection of rules that does cover every one of them must seem complex or abstruse. Go is rich in unexpected situations that cannot be anticipated or analyzed except on the basis of long experience.

This page is a listing of technical rules pages on Sensei's Library. Please don't consult these pages if you are looking for tutorials. Any clear exposition of the differences between rival rules quickly becomes legalistic and confusing.

If you are looking for practical information about the end of the game, see Counting and Scoring, or just use the simpler (but old-fashioned) Stone Counting Method.

Table of contents


These pages contain information about rule sets, and external references to official sources and expert commentary.

Official Rulesets

Non-official Rulesets Sorted by Title

Non-official Rulesets Sorted by "Inventor Name"

Verbal Rulesets

Tournament Rules

External comparison

Here are various sites comparing the different rule sets:

[ext] provides translated rulesets and comments on them.

Note: these tables differ on the question of whether free placement of handicap stones is allowed in AGA rules and in Chinese rules. For discussion, see /handicap placement.

Game Play

Game End

There are also several methods to define the score (result).

Counting Methods

When played on a physical board, determining the score involves manually counting. There are different counting methods in use. Some rule sets prescribe which counting method must be used, others do not.


Rules of Go last edited by on March 1, 2024 - 18:58
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