I'm a Go beginner with a VERY little bit of experience (three or four actual games under my belt), and I'm looking through the life and death problems at Sensei's Library trying to get a better understanding of the game. In the solution to problem 9, the following board position was shown as one of the failure modes for Black (who should have played at 1, thus killing White):

$$W White lives in seki.
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . X . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . X X X X X . . . , .
$$ | X O O O O O X X X . .
$$ | X O M B 1 O O O X X .
$$ | . O O B B M O . O . .
$$ +----------------------

I understand why White lives here by playing at W1: this is seki, since neither White nor Black wants to play on the two points marked by an X. (If White played on one of the two X points, Black would do nothing; if White played on both points, he would then have a bent three shape and Black could kill his group. But if Black played at either X point, White would play at the other and live with a bent-four or twisted-four shape).

What I'm not quite clear on is how this position would be scored at the end of the game. My first thought was "Since White is alive, the marked Black stones are dead, so White scores five points of territory plus three prisoners for a total of 8 points." But then I thought, "No, this is seki: White can't actually capture the marked Black stones without dying, so Black is also counted as alive. Therefore, this area provides points for neither White nor Black at the end of the game, because neither one has managed to actually control the territory."

I'm pretty sure that my second thought was the correct one: this area would be scored as zero points, and none of the stones would be removed from the board in the end: White's large group is alive and Black's three marked stones are also alive, so neither group are prisoners and neither player has surrounded these five spaces of territory. But am I right? An answer from a more experienced Go player, confirming that this board situation would score no points for either White or Black (or correcting any mistakes on my part) would be welcome, to reassure me that I'm not misreading this position.

P.S. I wanted to tag this as "seki", but that's apparently a brand-new tag on this site, so it requires 150 rep and with my newbie's 101 reputation I can't do it. If someone with more rep wants to add that tag, that would be welcome.

  • Sensei’s Library (which I see you have already found) is very often an invaluable resource for this sort of question; see the article on Seki (and those in my comment on your accepted answer).
    – PJTraill
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


Both the black and white stones are alive, so no points are scored for either side here.

  • 3
    This is correct as far as it goes (and is an adequate answer to the question), but in some sekis the score depends on the rule set in force: in a seki both sides may have eyes of different sizes, and in this case Japanese rules do not count the eyes while Chinese and AGA Rules do. See also Seki at Sensei’s Library, in particular the section Scoring issue: eyes in seki.
    – PJTraill
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 13:31

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