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I'm learning to play Go and I was trying to develop a game in java, but I'm still not sure how to count territory in some cases.

In the scenario below, which side belongs to White, Top or Bottom?

$$W Scenario1
$$ --------------------
$$ | . . . X . . . . . |
$$ | . . . X . . . . . |
$$ | X X X X . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . O O O O O |
$$ | . . . . O . . . . |
$$ | . . . . O . . . . |
$$ | O O O O O . X X X |
$$ | . . . . . . X . . |
$$ | . . . . . . X . . |
$$ --------------------

Next one, White has the whole board divided in three pieces. Does Black get any territory here?

$$W Scenario2
$$ --------------------
$$ | . X X . . O . . . |
$$ | X . X . . O . . . |
$$ | X X X . . O X X X |
$$ | . . . . . O X . . |
$$ | . . . . . O X . . |
$$ | O O O O O O X . . |
$$ | X X X X . O X X X |
$$ | X X X X . O . . . |
$$ | . X . X . O . . . |
$$ --------------------
  • Is there a way (I don't know Go, so I can't suggest a way) to clarify the question beyond "these two scenarios" to be slightly more specific? – Andrew Vandever Oct 17 '14 at 19:09
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    Neither game is over; as both players have useful moves in both scenarios - points cannot be counted (in general) until a game is over. – Forget I was ever here Oct 17 '14 at 22:51
  • This is tagged [end-game], but neither of these boards are near the end of the game. Are you instead asking about how to predict how the game will end during the middle of the game? I've played a Go app that would tell me how it would score if I passed on my turn. Is that what you're after here? – Joe Flynn Oct 18 '14 at 13:08
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    Hi Rikku, welcome to this site! I've tried to answer your question, but if you feel like it, also check out playgo.to/iwtg/en, in particular their counting lessons. I learned Go using that tutorial, hope you find it helpful too :) – mafu Oct 18 '14 at 22:49
  • @ForgetIwaseverhere, What if both players pass? – Pacerier Jul 6 '17 at 16:00
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You've misunderstood the scoring principle. White is, as you explained, diving the board. But that has no impact on scoring by itself. We often say, misleadingly, "divide the board in areas", but we should really say "stake out territory by surrounding it with walls". Only then can you count the score.

It is a bit tricky at first, but once you grasp it, it's very easy and natural.

$$W Scenario1
$$ --------------------
$$ | b b b X . . . . . |
$$ | b b b X . . . . . |
$$ | X X X X . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . O O O O O |
$$ | . . . . O . . . . |
$$ | . . . . O . . . . |
$$ | O O O O O . X X X |
$$ | . . . . . . X b b |
$$ | . . . . . . X b b |
$$ --------------------

In your first picture, player 2 has surrounded the corners (I've denoted that with 'b'). However, the other area is not yet finished, because it is not completely inside one player's walls. It is wrong to ask which side belongs to white, because nothing belongs to white yet - she did not surround any territory at all yet!

This means that this area is neutral and does not add score for any player. Instead, the players should continue playing and trying to stake out a wall around this area, naturally as large as possible. Let us try that.

$$W Possible result
$$ --------------------
$$ | b b b X b b X O w |
$$ | b b b X b X X O w |
$$ | X X X X X X O w w |
$$ | b b X . O O O O O |
$$ | X X O O O X X X O |
$$ | . O w w O X b X . |
$$ | O O O O O . X X X |
$$ | w w O X X X X b b |
$$ | w w O X b b X b b |
$$ --------------------

This could be a result. You can see that the previously neutral area has been divided, and both players got a certain share. You can see that now, white also has some area for herself (she had nothing before).

You'll also notice that after resolving, there are still some points on the board which are not controlled be either player. Because these points are too small to surround them, it is not needed to include them. Any player could play a stone there to remove them, but he would not gain any points, because he is not surrounding new territory. (I assume you're using Japanese rules, it's a bit different in Chinese rules.)

In your second picture black has 3 solid areas (2 of them are split into eyes). White, similarly as above, has no definite territory at all yet.

  • mafu, I don't agree with you! It is not so clear and the question is not so stupid!! In the top image in the OP's question, both players may consider the black group in lower right corner dead, so then the whole low part belongs to white! The black group is dead actually, so the whole bottom belongs to white! But even if those black stones wouldn't be dead, but both players agreed that they are, the group would be removed without a fight and whole territory accounted to white! – Tomas Nov 9 '14 at 12:47
  • It was not a stupid question, many people initially have trouble with scoring. You're right that the LR group of the first diagram is not alive (it is unsettled, the tsumego is a bit complicated as far as I can tell), but I think the asker was not referring to the L&D status of the groups rather, but to the general principle of scoring, as it seems they misunderstood how it is supposed to work. L&D is more advanced/complicated so I did not even consider it in my answer. – mafu Nov 10 '14 at 13:29
  • @mafu, This answer is for official Chinese-International rules? The same counting system used in deepmind.com/research/alphago/match-archive/… ? – Pacerier Jul 6 '17 at 16:44
  • @Pacerier This answer builds on Japanese rules mainly. Usually, there is little point difference of results between Japanese and Chinese rules (I believe +/- 1 point, unless seki is involved), so you might as well disregarded it completely, unless the game is quite close. – mafu Jul 6 '17 at 17:16

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