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Go scoring question [#114]

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reply Go scoring question (2005-10-31 08:32) [#286]

In the corner we have this configuration:


The score, according to Black, is 5(captured) + 7(territory) = 12 for Black. White, a pig-headed newbie, denies this, claiming that the score is 1(captured) + 3(territory) = 4 for White.

How do we resolve this disagreement? If White remains intransigent then Black must add 2 stones and capture White; but then the score is 5(captured) + 5(territory) = 10 for Black.

Is this a stupid question? Am I missing something? /JohnW

Bill: Re: Go scoring question (2006-07-27 17:17) [#1957]

No, it is not a stupid question.

There are at least two way to resolve the dispute.

One is to use area scoring.

Another is to make sure that White agrees that dead stones may be removed at the end of the game without capturing them. (White apparently agrees, it is just a question who is dead.) Next, get him to agree that if each player plays the same number of stones on the board by the time that play stops, the score remains the same. (You can demonstrate with a single dead stone elsewhere on the board.) Next, get him to agree that, under those conditions of play, dead stones may be captured. Next, let him play first and try to capture the "dead" Black stone. If he sees that he cannot do so, let Black play first under those conditions.


Playout (ii)  

B5 @ B3, W6 in the corner.

By now it should be plain that W6 is dead and may be removed without capture.

ArnoHollosi: Re: Go scoring question (2005-10-31 08:47) [#288]

See Scoring and Japanese Counting.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to understand for a beginner. This is a drawback of territory scoring. Basically, you play it out, but score as no play would have occured. But then again, it all depends on the rule set used.


Bill: Re: Go scoring question (2005-10-31 17:22) [#295]

The principle is that dead stones may be removed without capturing them. Fine, but how can we tell whether stones are dead or not? In nearly all cases, experienced players agree on the life or death of stones, but beginners often have problems with that.

The Japanese professional rules have a complicated procedure for deciding life and death without actual play, but I do not think it is appropriate for beginners. (Or anybody else, for that matter! ;-)) Instead, if beginners cannot agree about the life or death of stones at the end of the game, I think they should play it out in an encore, as in Lasker-Maas Rules or Spight Rules. The Lasker-Maas encore is played with captured stones. Spight rules use pass stones, where the player who passes surrenders a stone to the opponent, and each player makes the same number of plays in the encore. The result by these rules agrees with the Japanese score in the vast majority of cases.


W1, W3, W5, B6 = pass

For this example, let's assume that the outer Black stones are alive as they are. Say that White begins the encore and passes. W3 can capture, but that just delays the inevitable.

Under Lasker-Maas rules Black has 10 points in the corner, but has reduced the number of Black captives by 2, for a net score of 12.

The Spight encore will continue for two more passes. Black will get 10 points in the corner, but White will have surrendered 2 more pass stones than Black, so the net score will still be 12.

That is the same result as when you simply remove the dead White stones. :-)

reply Re: Go scoring question (2005-10-31 17:58) [#296]

Andrew Grant: Sorry Bill, perhaps I'm missing something. If White is pig-headed enough to demand that Black actually takes off the dead white stones, what makes you think that she'll happily give away two "pass stones"? This is, after all, just another arbitrary rule intended to make territory scoring work.

The real answer is to use area scoring when teaching beginners, and only introduce territory rules when you're sure they can understand them.

Bill: Re: Go scoring question (2005-10-31 18:06) [#297]

Well, Andrew, first, pass stones are not arbitrary, but well grounded in theory. Second, if you are going to teach beginners area scoring, why go back to territory scoring? Third, the real answer is Button Go.

As for using pass stones with beginners, I have done so since the Jurassic period, with no complaints. I explain that they allow people to fill in their own territory without penalty, and that gives the right score if you have to capture dead stones.

jonathan: typo (2006-07-27 00:42) [#1955]

your question boils down to "what if white refuses to follow any official set of Go rules"? In that case you should angrily hurl the board across the room and stomp off in a huff.

If you score using area rules (e.g. chinese rules) then playing the capturing moves is not a problem. If you score using territory rules then using pass stones to settle disputes gives the same result as the more complex Japanese Rules procedure of playing the position out to determine life and death and then restoring the original position to score the game.

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