EGF Tournament Rules
The following Tournament Rules are to be used in every tournament
under the auspices of the European Go Federation, in particular the Grand-Prix
The text is divided graphically in rules and notes, the latter written
in italics, like this piece of text, and often indented.
Some points to note are the fact that consulting during the game
is disallowed, even in breaks (rules 2b, 2c
and 2d), the obligation to play tournaments to the end
(2i), and the quite stringent penalty for latecomers
(5d and 5e).
1 - Referee, appeals committee
a. A tournament falls under the direction of one or more referees,
who may be aided by assistants. When there are more referees one of them
should be appointed head referee.
A referee is obliged to:
- take care of a smooth progress of the tournament;
- take care of strict adherance to the tournament rules and rules of
- take care of the execution of decisions he has taken concerning disagreements
or other cases.
The term tournaments also includes matches.
b. The appeals committee is consulted when a protest is filed
against a decision of the referee. It consists of three members. These
are chosen from participants in the tournament. It is advisable to choose
some replacements. These are installed if, in the opinion of the referee,
one or more of the originally chosen members are involved in the point
The appeals committee must be formed before or as soon as possible after
the beginning of the tournament.
The appeals committee is obliged to hear the referee and the parties
involved in the dispute and give its judgement after deliberation.
2 - The players
a. A sportsmanlike conduct is expected of the
b. During play the players are not allowed to
study the game on another board. Nor is examination allowed of go-literature
or game-technical notes.
Usage of the score sheet is allowed. The same applies to personal notes
insofar they have been made during the game and do not contain diagrams
with which to analyze the game.
c. During a recess the players are not allowed
to analyze their game with board and stones, on a diagram or otherwise,
or to let others analyze their game.
d. During the game or a recess the players are
not allowed to ask others for advice. Hints, warnings or remarks by third
parties must be rejected definitely by the players; under no circumstances
are the players allowed to involve themselves in a discussion of their
e. Participants and non-participants are not
allowed to distract the attention of, to disturb, or to hinder a player
by any means. They are not allowed to influence the game (exception, see
2h); in particular, hints, warnings or remarks which
could influence the game are not permitted during the game or during a
f. When an adjourned game will not be resumed the same day the
referee can lift the restrictions --- as far as the recess period is involved
--- of 2c, 2d and 2e.
g. No one, except one of the players or the referee, is allowed
to touch the board or the stones during the game.
This applies also during the recess if the game is adjourned for a short
h. Participants or non-participants who take
notice of something in disagreement with the rules, are forbidden to inform
the players involved. They have to inform the referee or an assistant.
i. A player who enters a tournament is obliged
to play it to the end. He is justified to withdraw only in case of exceptional
3 - Registration of the time
a. Every player has a predetermined time allowance; this is registered
by means of a clock. When a player has used up his time allowance he is
playing in byo-yomi; byo-yomi is checked by a timekeeper (unless the
optional overtime rule 3g is used).
b. The clock has two timepieces which register the remaining
time of the players. Every timepiece is equipped with a so-called flag:
the end of the player's time allowance is marked by falling of the flag.
By pushing the clock a player can stop his own timepiece and start the
timepiece of his opponent at the same time. Both timepieces can be stopped
also. This is called neutralizing the clock.
c. At a time determined by the organizers, the clock of black
is started. Following this each player presses the clock after finishing
his move. (see 5f).
In the following the word "move" indicates move or pass.
d. The clock may be only neutralized by the
referee, at his direction, or due to these rules.
Adjustment of the clock by a player on his own initiative is not
allowed under any circumstances.
e. The indication by the clock is final, except in case of apparent
malfunction. If a player wants to object to such malfunction and its consequences,
he has to state this at the moment that he becomes aware of the malfunction.
f. Byo-yomi of a player commences at the moment
he has used up his time allowance.
A player in byo-yomi has a predetermined maximal time allowance for
every move. Time is started when his opponent presses the clock. The timekeeper
counts aloud the last ten seconds of the time allowance from 10 til 0.
When the word "zero" has been said before a player has put his
stone on the board, he loses the right to move and his opponent is to move.
It is sufficient when in byo-yomi to play the stone within the allotted
time. Captured stones must then be removed (in neutral time).
The counting is final insofar as it is done correctly and in normal
While only one player is in byo-yomi both players continue pressing
the clock after their move.
After commencement of byo-yomi for the second player the clock will
not be pressed.
At the moment the basic time allowance of a player is used up the
timekeeper announces "byo-yomi", or -- particularly when the other player
also is near byo-yomi -- "byo-yomi for black (white)".
It is recommended that the timekeeper makes use of a stopwatch to implement
Even when both players speak different languages it is recommended that
the timekeeper uses only one language for counting.
When the second player comes into byo-yomi, the timekeeper neutralizes
the clock and puts it aside.
A player in byo-yomi is allowed to visit the toilet with consent of
the timekeeper; during this time neutralization takes effect.
g. Optional Canadian overtime rule --- this
rule is intended to dispense with the need to have a timekeeper available.
When used it replaces rule 3f above.
Overtime of a player commences at the moment he has used up his time
A player in overtime has a predetermined maximal time allowance for
a predetermined number of moves.
A good choice for the time allowance is 5 or 10 minutes, while the
number of moves typically ranges from 10 to 30 per 5 minutes. In comparison
with byo-yomi, between 66 % and 75 % of the time per move is a reasonable
choice, e.g. instead of 30 second byo-yomi an overtime of 15 stones in
5 minutes is called for.
This is recorded in the usual way on the clock. Account of the number
of moves is held by giving out the number of stones corresponding to the
number of moves to the player in overtime and removing his bowl of stones.
These stones have to be clearly visible to the opponent.
If the number of moves are finished within the allotted time a new period
commences. Time not used during one period may not be used during
the next, it is lost. If the allotted time elapses (i.e., the flag has
fallen) without all of the stones having being played, the game has been
It is recommended that the stones be given out and the clock reset
by the referee or an assistant appointed by the referee so that the period
is finished at `0'.
A player who is not in overtime himself may wish to count out the correct
number of stones for himself to check the number of moves by his opponent.
The clock may be neutralized if three or more stones have to be removed.
4 - Recording the game
After adjournment of the game every player must himself supply a clear
game record till the moment of adjournment on a form supplied by the referee.
If reconstruction of the game till the moment of adjournment proves to
be impossible, it is sufficient to record the position, the number of prisoners,
the time remaining on the respective clocks, and who is to make the next
move at the point of adjournment.
The clock must run until the move is sealed. The recording of the game
position may be done in neutral time.
5 - Commencement, progress
and end of the game
a. The position of the players and of the equipment is decided
by the referee.
b. Komi is accounted for during counting.
c. The game commences at a predetermined time.
This time may be altered by a decision of the referee.
d. If neither player is present at the starting
time, then black's clock is started. White's clock is adjusted to read
the same as black's at the moment that the first player arrives. The game
then proceeds normally.
In a handicap game the placement of the handicap stones is the first
It is advisable to set the timepieces at the commencement
of the game so, that the alloted time will have elapsed at 6 o'clock.
e. The player who without just cause appears
at the board more than one hour past the predetermined starting time ---
or earlier when he would have passed the time allotment with more than
one minute through application of article 5d ---, has
lost the game. The game is considered won by his opponent. If both players
are late, the game is declared lost for both.
A player who is unable to be present on time, must notify
the referee as soon as possible. However this does not alter the effect
of the article above.
f. A move is fixed at the moment the stone is released
after touching the board.
When no prisoners are taken, this finishes the move. When prisoners
are taken, the move is finished after removal of all prisoners from the
As soon as the move is fixed, it may not be changed, even with consent
of the opponent.
If the hand of a player hovers unnecessarily long above
the board, it is considered hindering the opponent.
g. Prisoners must remain clearly visible.
h. The players can end the game only due to
the rules of play or by resignation by one of them.
i. Before scoring it is required to play each
stone in alternation and to end the game using passes.
All dame are played in alternation.
j. Protests concerning the result of the game should be presented
to the referee as soon as possible, in any case before the commencement
of the next round. If the next round is played within 24 hours, then this
period is extended to maximally one full day.
6 - Adjournment of the game
a. When it is to be expected that the game will not be ended
in a single session, then at the start the director must fix two times
to game to regulate the adjournment.
After the first time a player who is to move may seal his move. If the
game is not yet adjourned by the second time the player who is to move
then has to seal his move. Games may be continued at this time without
a break if both players and the tournament director agree.
The referee must announce the above mentioned possibility --- resp.
obligation --- of adjourning the game.
When it is decided who is to seal his move, this player may decide for
himself when he seals it.
The player who seals the move may use as much time as he has remaining
on his clock.
The rules concerning time allowance remain completely valid.
b. The player who is to seal the move has to record his move
clearly on the appropriate form (in the following abbreviated as "form").
Then the form is folded and closed.
As soon as he has recorded his move on the form the player may neutralize
the clock. After this the sealed move is fixed.
When a player in byo-yomi is going to seal his move he gets an extra
30 seconds for this. (At the moment it is known to him that he is going
to seal his move, this player announces this fact to the timekeeper.) As
soon as he has finished recording the sealed move on the form he informs
the timekeeper about it ("ready", "yes"). This announcement may not
end later than the word "zero" of the timekeeper. After the word "ready"
("yes") the sealed move is fixed.
On the form should be noted:
- the names of the players;
- the numbers of captured stones;
- the time on the clock at the moment of adjournment;
- if black or white has sealed his move and the number of this move;
- the time of resumption of the game, and, when this
is not on the same day, date and site of resumption;
- the signatures of the players.
While the player is considering his sealed move his opponent can
begin to fill in these data.
The form is kept by the referee.
The form can be kept in a sealed envelope. Then the data mentioned under
6b.5 do not have to be noted on the form. On the envelope
should be recorded:
- the names of the players;
- who has sealed the move;
- the time of resumption of the game, and, when this is not on the same
day, date and site of resumption.
When the game is not to be resumed on the same day, an envelope containing
both the scoresheets and the form should be used.
A diagram with the position of the game at the moment of adjournment,
certified by the signatures of the players, may be enclosed.
c. If a player who has to seal the move plays it on the board,
this move is considered the sealed move. It is recorded on the form and
this is checked by the referee.
7 - Resumption of the game
a. Articles 5c and 5e apply
to the time of resumption of a game. A player also loses his game if he
arrives later than his remaining thinking time.
b. Before the form is opened the players may study and check
the position during 1 minute.
When upon resumption of the game the position at the moment of adjournment
has to be built up, both players do this referring to their scoresheet
or a diagram with the adjourned position. When the player who is to move
is absent, only his timepiece is started (article 5d
does not apply). Only when he arrives will the position be built up. When
only the player who is to move is present the referee aids in the build
up of the position.
During the build up of the position neutralization takes effect.
- The form will only be opened in the presence of the player who is to
move next. After making the sealed move on the board the timepiece of this
player is started.
- In case of the absence of the aforementioned player his timepiece is
started immediately. Upon his arrival only will the form be opened.
- In case of absence of the player who has sealed his move his opponent
does not have to make his move on the board but he can seal it as is regulated
in article 6. As soon as his
move is fixed he starts the timepiece of the absent player.
d. The sealed move must be unambiguously derivable from the form.
Is this not the case, the sealed move is considered a pass.
e. After opening of the form the players are entitled to examine
f. The form must be kept by the referee until the deadline for
the filing of protests.
8 - Irregularities
a. If one plays with the wrong colours or incorrect handicap
and this is noticed before the 4th move is fixed, then the game has to
be started again. If the 4th move is fixed then the game has to be continued
and the result is treated as if the game had proceeded correctly.
When the mistake is made in an equal game and the players meet again
in the same tournament then the mistake is corrected at the next game.
b. When a player is in doubt considering the position of a stone
just played he may demand of the opponent to position the stone on the
c. When a player makes an illegal move and this is noticed within
3 moves the illegal move and the moves following it have to be removed
and another move has to be made. If this is noticed later the game is continued.
The referee can correct the time allowance.
Making an illegal move is considered as hindering the opponent, so the
the referee may take appropriate measures.
d. When a player notices the clock was set incorrectly the mistake
will be corrected insofar as this mistake can be proved to the satisfaction
of the referee.
e. When a player notices that the clock is malfunctioning, the
clock is replaced by a functioning clock, while apparent mistakes in the
recorded elapsed time will be corrected. If the time remaining was 10 minutes
or less it may not be reduced, and if it was more than 10 minutes it may
not be reduced to less than 10 minutes.
If the flag falls less than a minute early byo-yomi starts at that moment.
If the flag falls late byo-yomi starts at the moment this is noticed.
- When at the time of adjournment a diagram signed by both sides showing
the position of the game has an error and if both players agree upon a
mistake on this diagram, this mistake may be corrected.
- When the records necessary for reconstruction of the position of adjournment
are unavailable and this position cannot be reconstructed with the collaboration
of the players, the game has to be replayed.
- When the remaining time allowance at the moment of resumption of an
adjourned game cannot be reconstructed, the referee is allowed to make
- When the form has disappeared the player has to play the sealed move.
g. When during the game or a recess one or more stones are displaced,
added or have disappeared and play has continued since then, the following
procedures have to be proposed in order at the moment the irregularity
has been noted.
When the players have agreed to follow one of the procedures 1 through
5, this decision is final.
When 1 is unacceptable to both players, 2 is proposed, and so on. When
ultimately 5 is rejected too, the players have to submit to procedure 6.
- The mistakes in the position are corrected and the game is continued.
- The incorrect position is not changed and the game is continued.
- The game is taken up at the position immediately preceding the irregularity,
or, when this position cannot be pointed out precisely, at the last position
in which to the best of estimations, the irregularity has not taken place.
When the remaining time allowance at that moment cannot be agreed upon,
each player is allotted a time allowance pro ratio to the remaining time
allowance at the moment the irregularity is noticed.
After move 120 in a game not yet adjourned an irregularity is noticed.
Black has used 90 min. and white 120 min. for these 120 moves. The game
is continued beginning with the position after move 80. From this one computes
that the following used times have to be shown on the timepieces:
black: 80 / 120 * 90 = 60 min.
white: 80 / 120 * 120 = 80 min.
This example is only differing from the previous one in the adjournment
of the game at move 60. On the form the used up time allowances are recorded:
black 75 min., white 90 min. This gives the following computed times for
the resumption after move 80:
black: 75 + (80 - 60) / (120 - 60) * (90 - 75) = 75 + 5 = 80
white: 90 + (80 - 60) / (120 - 60) * (120 - 90) = 90 + 10 = 100 min.
- One of the players resigns.
- The unfinished game is cancelled and the players play a new game.
- To decide upon this case the referee, consulting both players, submits
the case to the appeals committee. This committee hears both players about
the way the irregularity occurred and their ideas on how to settle the
The committee can decide that procedure 1, 2, 3 or 5 has to be applied.
When procedure 3 has been decided upon they have to indicate the position
from which play is to be resumed. Also, taking account of the position
before the irregularity has occurred --- insofar this can be decided upon
--- they can rule the game to be a jigo or a win by one of the players.
When not enough time is available the referee can shorten the above
procedure within reason.
9 - Disputes
a. When during the game an irregularity or a dispute occurs,
the referee has to be consulted. Any byo-yomi counting is stopped immediately.
b. The referee can neutralize the clock. If
no referee is immediately available, the players may neutralize the clock
to fetch one as quickly as possible.
c. All decisions of the referee are binding in the first instance.
The referee can compensate for time allowance elapsed during the dispute
at the moment of resumption. A byo-yomi is started at full time again.
d. A player can appeal against a decision of the referee to the
The referee has to report the dispute to the appeals committee as soon
as possible; the game can be adjourned for this.
If upon continuation of the game a player is not satisfied, this player
must notify both his opponent and the referee clearly if he is playing
e. The referee has to make these rules available to a player
for consultation when requested.
10 - Conclusion
In cases not covered in these rules the referee decides.