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One of the (many) nice features of Go is that you don't need an opponent of equal strength/experience to have an exciting game. The Go game allows you to equalize the players' chances to win by adding some initial stones on the board. The larger the strength difference the more stones you would add. /studying/rules/.img/handicap3.gif
/studying/rules/.img/handicap9.gif These stones are called handicap stones. The handicap stones are usually placed on predestined points, indicated on the Go board by a thick spot.
We show two examples: a handicap 3 and a handicap 9 game. The latter is usually considered the maximum for 19x19 Go and (as you can see from the figure) is far more than reasonable for 7x7.


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