Rules for Lightning Go Tournaments

What follows is a translation of the Dutch Go Association rules for Lightning Go. It is also applied to Rapid Go (anything without byoyomi, but usually up to 45 minutes).

  1. Lightning Go
    A lightning go tournament is a tournament that has been announced as such and consists of games with no more than 15 minutes thinking time for each player without byo-yomi.
  2. General Rules
    The gamerules and the tournament regulations are the same as for a normal game of go, unless stated differently here.
  3. Timekeeping
    The thinkingtime is measured with a so called chess clock. Before the beginning of a game it is set to the time that holds for the tournament. It is then checked by both players and/or by the tournament director. Next 'the white-player' -from now on called white- may determine whether the clock will be at the left or the right side of the board. If white is not present at the beginning of the game black may choose. The game starts when both players have indicated to be ready or when the tournament director orders them to start. In games with at most one stone handicap white may start with pushing the clock (this is not mandatory). In games with two or more stones handicap black places the handicap stones outside the official time, and then he may push the clock (not mandatory). Pushing the clock is a right. It is never mandatory and it is lost after the opponent has made his move.
  4. Moves
    A move is fixed once a stone has been placed on the board and has been released. Its position must be clear (cf. point 9). A move has been completed only when killed stones have been remove from the board. After this the player who has made the move may push the clock with the same hand with which he touched the stone last. He loses this right once his opponent has answered the move.
  5. It is always allowed to pass. The pass has to be announced clearly. After this the player who has passed may push the clock with either hand if his opponent hasn't answered yet. A pass counts as a move. When a player has passed before his oppponent has pushed the clock the latter is not allowed to push the clock anymore before he makes another move. Dropping a stone doesn't count as a move. A droppped stone must be removed as soon as possible by the player who dropped it. During this he should hinder his opponent as little as possible. Even if the player who dropped the stone wants to move where the stone lies he will have to touch it in this position, before the move has been completed and he may push the clock.

  6. Removal of Stones
    Removal of more than two killed stones may happen in neutralized time. One or two killed stones must be removed in the time of the player killing them.
  7. Repairing Illegal Positions
    If a player notes that he made an illegal move before he has pushed the clock, and before his opponent has answered this illegal move, he must take it back immediately. After this he is allowed to make another move. (Apologies should be made in the time of the offender). When the clock has been pushed already and the opponent notes that the move is illegal before he has answered it section 7 applies.
  8. If an illegal move has been answered it counts as legal. This also applies to suicide moves. Stones that are found dead on the board should be removed in neutralized time. After this the game continues normally. The tournament director must be called when it isn't clear whether a white or a black group should be removed. The director will try to determine which stones are dead. For this he may use witnesses. When no final conclusion can be reached this way he decides either to remove the most obvious group, to remove both groups, or to replay the game. The clock may be neutralized for this arbitration.

  9. Illegal Move with Pressing the Clock
    If a move is illegal and the player who made this move has pushed the clock and his opponent has not yet answered it the opponent may take the following action.
    1. Stating "illegal move", "not allowed" or some such formula he restarts the clock of his opponent.
    2. The player who made the illegal move has to remove this stone in his own time. Next he must pass after which he may push the clock again.
    3. After this the game proceeds as usual.
    It could be that the player who made the "illegal" move doesn't agree with the claim of illegality (this can happen when the players disagree who may take a ko). In that case he neutralizes the clock and asks the director for arbitration. If it is possible for the director to decide who is wrong he fines this person with the loss of one minute thinking time for improper conduct. On top of this he gives this person an official warning. Subsequent warnings may result in expulsion from the tournament.
  10. If the director cannot decide who is wrong - even after consulting with possible witnesses - he will ask each player if he wants to continue the game after a decision against him (now without time penalty and warning). If both players are prepared to accept such a decision the director makes an ad hoc decision, after which the game continues. If only one player is willing to accept a decision against him the director may take this decision (without time penalty and warning). If neither player is willing to accept a decision against him the director may either arbitrate the game, have it arbitrated, or have it replayed.

  11. Perturbing the Board
    If one of the players brings the position on the board in disarray he has to put the stones back in order in his own time. When the players disagree about the thus created position they can ask the director for a settlement in neutralized time.
  12. Unclear Moves
    If the position of a stone just placed on the board is unclear the oppponent may restart the clock of the player who made this move, asking him to clarify the position of this stone in his own time. Abuse of this rule can lead to intervention of the director and an official warning.
  13. Hindering
    It is not allowed to intentionally hinder one's opponent. Intentional hindering can lead to a warning by the director and a time penalty.
  14. Ending the Game
    A game has been finished after one of the following conditions has been met.
    1. One of the players resigns.
    2. Four consecutive passes have occured (two per player). This we call a natural ending. After this the clock may be neutralized.
    3. One of the players has used up all his time (indicated by the falling of the "flag") and his opponent announces this. If both flags have fallen the player who first claims that his opponent exceeded his time limit is the victor. In case of doubt the result is a jigo unless the tournament doesn't allow for jigo. In that case the game has to be replayed. If this is impossible (due to time) the game has to be arbitrated.
    4. The director declares one of the players victorious.
    The players must agree about the outcome of the game. If this is not the case they must ask the director to intervene. In case of disagreement with a decision of the director a player may bring his case to the appeals committee (if the tournament has one), or the rules committee of the organization under whose auspices the tournament was organized. In the latter case the tournament continues as if the decision of the director is final.
  15. Counting
    When the game has a natural ending counting is according to the normal rules. When the dame points are filled and one of the players "finds a point" it is for the finder. He will make the corresponding move and push the clock to allow his opponent to answer it. The game continues now until one of the four conditions concerning the ending of the game has been met again. This rule does not apply to the killing of stones that are put in atari during the filling of the dame points, unless the filling of the dame happens with the clock running and the game has not ended yet.
  16. Uncountable Positions
    If the result of a game cannot be counted because it has not been finished properly the following rules apply:
    1. If both players have more than one minute thinking time left they continue play as if the 4 passes have not occured. The player who passed first may move and his clock is restarted. If it isn't clear who should move (the players may have forgotten it) the director should try to determine this. If this proves to be impossible he may either decide in favour of one of the players, have the game arbitrated, or have the game replayed.
    2. If at least one of the players is in time trouble (less than one minute thinking time left) the director should be called. He should decide for one of the following actions:
      1. Continue play as in point 13.1 above (only if there are very few moves left to be played).
      2. Add one or two minutes to the remaining time of each player. Continue now as under point 13.1.
      3. Arbitrate the game or have it arbitrated. This should only be done if the result is rather obvious and the time left for each player is about equal.
      4. Have the game replayed.
      5. Declare both players losers. If the tournament allows for it he may declare a jigo.
  17. The Public
    Under no condition are bystanders allowed to influence the outcome of a game. The only exception occurs when the director asks for witness accounts in case of a dispute. It is rigorously FORBIDDEN to let one of the players know that he may push the clock or that his opponent has run out of time. If one of the bystanders violates this rule the director should have him removed from the playing room at once. If this concerns a participant of the tournament he will be confined to his own table for the rest of the tournament and be issued an official warning.
  18. The director will determine whether the game that was interfered with can still be finished, if necessary with a time correction or other actions. If this is not the case the game has to replayed or arbitrated.

  19. The Tournament Director
    Also the director is not allowed to influence the outcome of a game, unless one of the players asks for his intervention. If on the other hand the director notices a systematic deviation from the rules of go in a game he may decide that this game shouldn't count for a go tournament. E.g. a game of five in a row cannot count for a go tournament.
  20. Remarks
    It is neither illegal nor unethical to try to use the time trouble of one's opponent to one's advantage. A player who experiences time trouble is wise to protect his groups and his territory in such a way that they are tinker proof.
  21. The director and the tournament organization will make their tasks much lighter when they insist that everybody in the playing room has read the above rules.

  22. Concluding remark
    The director decides what action to take when these rules don't apply.


Last updated Sun Jul 08 2007. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.