Here are two tables comparing various rule sets:
the britgo table says that chinese allows free handicap placement, and aga doesn't. however, jasiek's comparison page says just the opposite. which one is correct?
xela: AGA rules as described at http://www.usgo.org/resources/downloads/completerules.pdf give instructions for placement of handicap stones, saying that the traditional placement is used "unless otherwise specified". So I guess AGA rules would normally use fixed placement, but a tournament director has the option of deciding otherwise. Chinese rules as described at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~wjh/go/rules/Chinese.html don't mention handicap games at all, but it seems to be "common knowledge" that the Chinese rules use free placement. Does anyone know where this is documented?
fred hansen's commentary on the aga rules (link from usgo website http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~wjh/go/rules/AGA.commentary.html ) state "Our rules allow free placement of handicap stones, but tacitly favor the Japanese placement of handicap stones by describing it as "traditional"."
RobertJasiek: The Chinese rules do not specify handicap. Whether they use fixed or free handicap has to be concluded from the context of their usage. Professional Chinese travelling to Europe have used fixed handicap. So I conclude that that is the predominating context. (Chinese amateurs hardly play handicap games.) It does not matter for actual current usage that the Chinese representatives during the 6th meeting of the International Go Rules Forum voted in favour of free placement; that was a wish for the future and not a statement of the present. Very many Western amateurs are deceived by different implementations on go servers. E.g., (fortunately) KGS-Chinese Rules allow free handicap. But that does not mean that Chinese Rules would be using it - it only means that KGS-Chinese Rules do use it. However, many players do not consider that there is a big difference between Chinese Rules and KGS-Chinese Rules and so deceive themselves into the belief that also Chinese Rules would be using free placement.