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).
- 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.
- General Rules
The gamerules and the tournament regulations are the same as
for a normal game of go, unless stated differently here.
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.
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
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
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
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.
- Stating "illegal move", "not allowed" or some such formula
he restarts the clock of his opponent.
- 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.
- After this the game proceeds as usual.
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.
- 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
- 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.
It is not allowed to intentionally hinder one's opponent.
Intentional hindering can lead to a warning by the director
and a time penalty.
- Ending the Game
A game has been finished after one of the following
conditions has been met.
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.
- One of the players resigns.
- Four consecutive passes have occured (two per player).
This we call a natural ending. After this the clock may be
- 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.
- The director declares one of the players victorious.
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.
- Uncountable Positions
If the result of a game cannot be counted because it has not
been finished properly the following rules apply:
- 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.
- 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
- Continue play as in point 13.1 above (only if there are
very few moves left to be played).
- Add one or two minutes to the remaining time of each
player. Continue now as under point 13.1.
- 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.
- Have the game replayed.
- Declare both players losers. If the tournament allows
for it he may declare a jigo.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- Concluding remark
The director decides what action to take when these rules
Last updated Sun Jul 08 2007. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.