I have a question about the ending/scoring of a Go game. Specifically regarding territory inside of territory. For example, in a position like this:

$$ ---------------------
$$ | . . . . . . O . . |
$$ | . . X . . . O . . |
$$ | . X . X . . O . . |
$$ | . X . X . O . . . |
$$ | . . X . O . . . . |
$$ | . . O O . . . . . |
$$ | O O . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ ---------------------

How would the scoring work, Would white get all of the upper-left territory, or would he get all but the territory inside of blacks stones? Thanks!

  • Wait, did I get something wrong with the board format, because it's not working for me. Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 19:53
  • Wait, never-mind, I fixed it! Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


This game isn't finished. Black's group shouldn't be able to die, so Black will have some territory, but the area between the white and black walls hasn't been decided yet, so the players need to keep playing. Also, a black invasion in the lower right is likely to succeed, so that area isn't white territory either.

  • I understand that this is only part of a game, but if this scenario appeared somewhere on the board at the end of the game, how would the upper left territory be counted. Specifically, would the territory surrounded by black be black's territory, or white's? Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 20:39
  • 4
    I mean the upper left area isn't finished. If the players were beginners and insisted that the game is done, then they would have to agree on whether Black was alive or dead to score the game. I guess if they insisted on saying Black is alive but the game is finished, you would score two points for Black, and the rest of the upper left wouldn't count for either player. This is silly though, because Black doesn't have two eyes if you score it that way.
    – TimK
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 20:56
  • 1
    @SpiralStudios: “if this scenario appeared” — it would not remain in this form at the end of the game, as so much is unsettled. While J.John’s answer may be technically correct, the possible is deeply unrealistic. If it helps you to understand the rules, fair enough, but finding a club and playing a few games there would teach you more faster.
    – PJTraill
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 20:11

From the basic rules on Wikipedia:

Territory Definition: In the final position, an empty intersection is said to belong to a player's territory if, after all dead stones are removed, all stones adjacent to it or to an empty intersection connected to it are of that player's color.

By this definition, the lower right region would score for White, the 2 spots surrounded by Black would belong to Black, and the remainder of the upper-left would not be scored for either side (as there are adjacent stones from both parties. This game would end with a victory for white with a area (territory+stones) of 52, and black with a area of 8.

  • "...the lower right region would score for White..." If this is true, then couldn't someone just place two stones in one corner and claim that the entire other side of the board was their territory? It seems like to advantageous of a scenario for it to be so easy to accomplish... Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 22:42
  • 6
    It is that easy to accomplish temporarily - if the game ended after the first turn, the entire board would belong to black by virtue of their single stone! But no reasonable player would allow the game to end in such a state. Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 23:02
  • 2
    If you put 2 pieces in one corner and the other player decides not to put any pieces on the board at all then yes (though you might want to question whether your opponent is actually playing at that point.) If they have any other pieces on the board, those would neutralize the territory. (As a example, suppose black had 2 additional pieces surrounding the lower right corner. That would take white's claim away of the lower right entirely.) That said, in any of these positions, it would be a very poor choice for Black to pass.
    – J.John
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 14:24
  • Thank you. I think I am understanding the entire game of Go more clearly now. When first reading the rules, it was never stated explicitly that an opposing stone inside of your territory would negate that territory, nor did I understand that all stones agreed to be "dead" would be removed at the end of the game. Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 21:23

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