• The game starts on an empty board. Play is on the intersections. A point in the center has four neighbours, one on the edge has three and an inward corner again has four.
  • Each player has enough bi-colored stones - black one side, white the other.
  • Off the board, players use a 15-point track marked in the center. Between evenly balanced players, the marker is placed 1-3 points towards the player who has white. This is the game's komi.

Komi is a way of settling the first player's advantage. Many games would be needed to establish a reliable number.

Indicating komi is not the marker's primary function - it is there because refraining from putting a stone on the board at one's turn earns a point, indicated by moving the marker.
  • Players move in turn. Black moves first. A move consists of placing a stone on a vacant point.
    Moving is not compulsory: a player may pass his turn without losing the right to move on his next turn.
  • If a player passes his turn, he moves the marker one point towards him. The player at whose side the marker is at the end of the game, receives the corresponding number of points in addition to the points he has on the board.
  • A group consists of a single stone or several connected stones of the same color. The liberties of a group are the stones that border on vacant points. The stones in a group share the group's liberties.
  • A group lives unconditionally if it contains a lotus - six stones around one of the boards seven hexagons. A group without a lotus lives as long as it has at least one liberty.

Assuming none of the groups involved is protected by a lotus, a move may result in:
  • 1. One or more opponent's groups without a liberty. These are captured and reversed in the same turn. A captured group thus unites the groups responsible for its capture into one new group.
    This new group may itself have no liberties! In that case the original capture was in fact suicidal and a second reversal follows.
    An example is black capturing the white stone at the top of the diagram.
    A white move at that point is a regular capture.
  • 2. An own stone or group without a liberty. If, at the same time, the conditions under 1 are met, the procedure described there is followed. If not, the move is suicidal.
    Suicide is legal
  • 3. Neither 1 nor 2

Lotus and its ancestor Medusa are featured in R. Wayne Schmittberger's 'New Rules for Classic Games' (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York; ISBN 0-471-53621-0).

Lotus © MindSports
No applet