Go Congress - Tournament Overview - American Go Association

Rules and Guidelines

Summary of AGA Rules
There are a few details of the AGA Rules of Go that even experienced players may not know about, especially those players coming from other countries. Below, we explain a few key points of AGA rules that may differ from Japanese or Chinese rules. 

1. AGA rules use territory counting (similar to Japanese rules) by default. If both players agree, they may use area counting (similar to Chinese rules) instead. 

2. When a player passes, he or she must give the opponent a stone to add to the prisoners. This makes sure that—under AGA rules—the result is always the same regardless of which counting method is used. This also means that any unclear situation on the board can be resolved by the players without the help of a referee. Players should fill all the dame during the game and only pass at the very end. 

3. White MUST pass the last stone. If the game ends with black’s pass, then white must make an additional pass. If there is a dispute, the game re-starts with a black play or pass. 

4. If a player makes an illegal move—for example, taking a ko out of turn—the move must be taken back and treated as a pass (be sure to pass the stone as a prisoner). 

5. It is illegal to repeat the same board position with the same player’s turn—just like a simple ko. If a board position has occurred before, but on the other player’s turn, it is still legal. Passing is always legal. 

6. In even games, komi is 7.5 points. In handicap games, komi is 0.5 points. If the players agree to count by area in a handicap game, white receives an additional point of komi for every black stone after the first (e.g., in a 9-stone handicap game, white receives 8.5-point komi). This ensures that the handicap result is the same with area and territory counting. 

For more information, you may refer to the AGA Rules of Go.

Conduct Guidelines
• Tournaments should be enjoyable for all.
• Please always show respect for your opponent and other players.
• Games should be won by superior talent and technique.
• Refrain from distracting behavior and noisemaking near tournament play.
• Please analyze games away from tournament play.
• Please show courtesy by arriving promptly for all events.
• Report all results immediately after the conclusion of your games.
• Be courteous in defeat and generous in victory.
  Remember that you will have ample opportunity to experience both during the week.
• Resign when you have clearly lost.

For more information on tournament guidelines, you may refer to the Tournament Regulations.

Please make every effort to aid those who are not native English speakers and who may have trouble understanding the Congress regulations and schedule.