# 5.2. Counting whilst the game is in progress (Go)

## Description

This article is from the Go FAQ, by
Morten PAHLE gofaq@pahle.org.uk with numerous contributions by
others.

# 5.2. Counting whilst the game is in progress (Go)

Counting whilst the game is still in progress is in fact extremely

important, as it commands major strategic decisions, such as 'Do I

need to invade, or is it sufficient to defend what I have already

outlined ?'. It is said that the strongest players (like Minoru Kitani

in the 60's) are those who know they are ahead, by e.g. 2 points, when

their opponent is still wondering if he is ahead or behind.

The 'comparative' method: You look at the various territories on the

board and compare them. Something like: 'My upper left is the same

size as his lower left. My upper right is larger than his lower right,

our sides are the same size: I am ahead'. This method is quick, but

not very accurate. However, sometimes it may be all you need ..

The 'counting' method: You count and add the size of all your own and

your opponent's territories. On the edge, you simplify by extending

the territories straight down. Try to remember the individual sizes of

the territories, this makes it easier to update your count later. This

is of course more accurate but takes longer. Also, territory which is

only very roughly sketched out (typically the centre) is very

difficult to estimate. (Tip: normally, there are very few points in

the centre. If the edges and corners are shared and all groups are out

into the centre, there are probably not more than 5 points altogether

for either player.)

If you cannot remember the individual territory sizes, try to remember

how much of a difference to your original estimate the new position

makes. (I.e. try to estimate a 'delta' score with respect to your last

estimate, do not recount all the territories.)

If you find that, after you have counted your own score and your

opponent's score, you have forgotten your own score, do the following:

count your own score (example: 63 points). Remember 100 and start

counting your opponent's score at 37. If his score then ends up

smaller than 100, you are in the lead. (The trick is that it is easier

to remember '100' or '50' than other numbers)

Don't forget to add komi, if any, to white's score.

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