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Go Rules

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Rules of Go

The game of Go is played on a 19X19 line board set up in a grid pattern. Stones are played on the intersections (also called points) NOT in the squares. Shorter games may be played on 9X9 and 13X13 boards. The players decide who is to be black and who white. Black has an advantage in that the black player moves first. Also the white player may wish to allow the black player a few extra stones as a handicap depending on relative experience and skill. In a formal sense this can be done by comparing player rankings.

Players alternate placing stones on the intersections of the lines (points). The object being to surround territory and keep it free from stones of the opposite player. Once placed, stones are not moved unless they are captured. A capture occurs when all of the stones of a color in a group are surrounded and no liberties (available free adjacent spaces) remain.

It is illegal to commit suicide with a stone.

Repetition of a position, which is sometimes called Ko is illegal.

When a player feels it is no longer to his advantage to move, he or she may pass. When both players consecutively pass, the game is over. The players decide which stones are dead (must eventually be captured by one side or the other). They are added to the score of the person capturing them. If there is a dispute, it is best to simply continue play.

Each player is also awarded a point for every surrounded empty intersection. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

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For the rules of other board games, visit Chess Rules!