# End game deciding on dead stones

In a game of Go, we were in a strange position. If my opponent moved at one point to put my pieces in atari, his pieces would get taken. If I moved at that same point my pieces would’ve been taken.

So if neither of us move at that point, are our stones dead?

How do you count this kind of position in the counting phase?

• Welcome to B&CG.SE! Thanks for your question. Is the game you are asking about called Dead Stones? It's a little hard to decipher what your specific question is. Mar 2, 2016 at 4:37
• I think this is asking about Go Mar 2, 2016 at 4:54
• Without zero punctuation, it is hard to determine the question. Rather unclear. Mar 2, 2016 at 5:05
• With the reasonable edit of Toon Krijthe the question is a valid and good question for beginners of go. The situation is described well now, though a board position would be nice. The situation is called seki. The territory is neutral. Mar 2, 2016 at 11:07
• @havogt it may not be a seki !
– Kii
Mar 9, 2016 at 19:03

## 3 Answers

As TimK pointed out, the situation could be but may not be a Seki but without a diagram to show to us, it's not easy for us to guess what happened.

Seki : no one die, everyone live

``````\$\$cm1
\$\$ +---------------------------------------+
\$\$ | X . O X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | X . O X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | X X O X . . . X . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | O O X X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . O O X X . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . O . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
``````

Some patterns may look like a Seki but can be a simple Bulky Five for example. In this case, even if both opponents can attari it is not a seki.

Bulky-five : Black dies after capturing because he cannot make two eyes.

See this variation on eidgogo to explain why the bulky five is dead.

``````\$\$cm1
\$\$ +---------------------------------------+
\$\$ | . . O X . O . X O . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . O X . . X X O . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . O X X X X O O . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . O O O O O O . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
``````

There's also a Bent-three : Black dies

``````\$\$cm1
\$\$ +---------------------------------------+
\$\$ | . . O X X X X O . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . O X O . X O . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . O X . X X O . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . O X X X O O . . . . . . . . . . . |
\$\$ | . . O O O O O . . . . . . . . . . . . |
``````
• @kii under what ruleset is your first example not a seki? As I see it neither player will play in the corner so neither can claim the two spaces as territory. Note also that here: senseis.xmp.net/?Seki the exact same board shape is described as a "simple seki (no eyes)". Apr 4, 2016 at 17:04
• @BrettPontarelli the first example IS a seki. It is written just above. I added an link to see why the bulky five is dead.
– Kii
Apr 4, 2016 at 19:49
• See also the tag-info on the new tag seki. Apr 10, 2018 at 12:52

This situation is called Seki. Scoring depends on the ruleset you're using.

• Can you expand on this, and at least give a brief summary of the contents of the page you linked to? Right now, this answer is just a link to an external resource and a non-informational statement about scoring. Mar 3, 2016 at 18:20
• It may not be a Seki ! See my answer.
– Kii
Mar 8, 2016 at 10:23

The situation you are describing is called a `seki` or possibly just a `point of contention` on the board. There are two ways to look at the situation. The first addresses the your questions and the second is a little more theoretical.

First

• It is the end of the game and both players have passed.
• If you both agree that that area is `unplayable` and a `seki` then those spaces are not counted for either player. For example, in Japanese counting you might just fill those spaces with stones from your bowls; move areas around for easier counting; and then determine the score.
• If either player `contests` the area then play resumes and that player will attempt to play in and capture the area. Play then ends again when both players have passed.

As you can see the area may or may not be in an absolute sense a `seki`, but that doesn't matter for the purposes of playing. Players can only play at their own level and see how to play through positions at that level. So, it is possible to incorrectly agree that an area is a `seki` or `dead` and belonging to either white or black, or any number of other errors. But, for the purposes of playing and learning, as long as both players agree that is how that area will be counted. You will especially see this kind of thinking during tournaments were there is no official observer for each game. It is then the losing players job, having agreed to the loss, to report the outcome of the game.

Second

Often times during post game analysis with a stronger player (s)he might explain that the area was not in fact a `seki` (or `dead` in the case of a life and death situation that was not fully played out) and that one player could have proceeded along some sequence of moves to capture the other. In these cases it doesn't change the outcome of the game it only changes the players' understanding of the game and how it "could" have changed.