Go Symbol The Cambridge Go Society Go Symbol

How to play Go: The rule of seki

Consider the situation below

ocohzohzohzohz
oveltbstwstect
ovwstbstwstecc
ovwstbstwstecc
ovwstbstwstecc
ovelcbstwstecc
ovbstbstwstecc
ovwstwstwstecc
ovelcecceccecc

This situation is called a seki. Neither player wants to play another move in this area. Let's see why.

Firstly, it is clear that Black does not want to play

ocohzohzohzohz
ovb01bstwstect
ovwstbstwstecc
ovwstbstwstecc
ovwstbstwstecc
ovw02bstwstecc
ovbstbstwstecc
ovwstwstwstecc
ovelcecceccecc

Adding another stone costs Black a liberty and White captures all the Black stones immediately.

However, what if white plays first?

ocohzohzohzohz
ovw01bstwstect
ovwstbstwstecc
ovwstbstwstecc
ovwstbstwstecc
ovb02bstwstecc
ovbstbstwstecc
ovwstwstwstecc
ovelcecceccecc

Black captures the White stones and now wherever White plays Black can make a living shape

ocohzohzohzohz
oveltbstwstect
ovw03bstwstecc
ovb04bstwstecc
ovelcbstwstecc
ovbstbstwstecc
ovbstbstwstecc
ovwstwstwstecc
ovelcecceccecc

Neither player wants to play again so this set of stones will remain until the end of the game (presuming the white stones on the outside live).

When counting territory, this seki situation scores no points for either side. No stones are taken off and the surrounded intersections are ignored.

Sekis occur infrequently but playing inside what your opponent thought was his territory and turning it into a seki can be a game winning move.

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