Rules of the game of Go

The game of Go, also known as Igo, Baduk, or Weiqi is a strategic board game that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. Here are the basic rules:

Objective: The goal of Go is to control more territory than your opponent by placing stones on the intersections of a 19x19 grid board.


  1. The game is played on a 19x19 grid, but smaller boards (9x9 or 13x13) can be used for beginners.
  2. Each player is given a supply of stones of the same color—black for one player, white for the other.
  3. The game begins with an empty board.


  1. Black moves first, and players take turns placing one stone of their color on an empty intersection.
  2. Once a stone is placed, it cannot be moved, but it can be removed if surrounded and captured by the opponent.

Stones and Liberties:

  1. Stones are connected when they are adjacent horizontally or vertically.
  2. A group of connected stones has "liberties," which are empty intersections next to the group.
  3. If a group has no liberties, it is captured and removed from the board.

Ko Rule:

  1. The Ko rule prevents an endless repetition of moves. If a player captures a single stone and this capture recreates the same board position as the previous turn, the opponent cannot immediately recapture.


  1. The game ends when both players agree or when there are no more legal moves.
  2. Players count their territories—surrounded empty intersections—and add the number of their captured stones.
  3. The player with more points wins.


  1. In the case of players with different skill levels, a handicap system may be used, where weaker players start with a certain number of stones already on the board.

Common Terms:

  1. Joseki: Standard sequences of moves in the corner that result in an equal outcome for both players.
  2. Fuseki: The opening moves of the game, focusing on gaining influence and establishing a strategy.
  3. Tsumego: Life-and-death problems, often used for practice.