25 September 1997
revised 9 April 1999

Compendium of Rules for Wei-Qi (Go, Baduk)

Wilfred J. Hansen

The common go maxim

GO: An hour to learn; a lifetime to master.

badly underestimates its times. No one has yet mastered the game in a single lifetime. And learning the rules, I have discovered, takes more than an hour. Indeed, I have spent two years trying to find out what the rules ARE. In the process, I have collected the various different rule sets available here.

For the various options that differ between rule sets, see Fotland's Summary and the British Go Association .
The most elementary (but out-dated) rules are survivor wins .
The most elegant and concise rule set is Tromp/Taylor .

Similar to Tromp/Taylor rules are those of New Zealand, and the American Go Association as stated in Concise Rules and further detailed in Commentary . The American Go Association has also adopted a set of tournament rules .

Japanese rules are from the Nihon & Kansai Kiins .

From The Go Player's Almanac I have excerpted the Chinese Rules .

The Korean baduk association, Hanwuk Kiwon, has posted the Korean rules. James Davies claims that "Modern Korean rules are equivalent to the 1949 Japanese rules which are in turn equivalent to the 1989 Japanese rules, although formulated differently."

Ing Chang-ki of Taiwan has promoted the SST Laws of Wei-Chi
based on which is my Precise SST Ko Rule
and also the descriptions by Kim Simon Straus and Jasiek's "new ko" rule.
When comparing rule sets, it is convenient to have a Bestiary of curious positions that pose problems; see also the bestiary by Harry Fearnley.

Robert Jasiek has written extensively on the go rules.

Engels has collected a number of rule sets for variants of go.

Spight has proposed that the Mathematical Theory of Go can aid in understanding what any given rule set might mean.