Frequently Asked Questions

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Dragon game playing
  • How do I make moves in my game?
    On the status page is a list of games it's your turn to move in. A click on the game number will display the game.
    When viewing a game, a stone is placed (and a move is made) by clicking on an empty intersection. If this move kills any enemy stones, they get automatically removed by the server. For passing or resigning, follow the links below the board.
    When the game is refreshed with the new stone / pass / resign, press one of the submit buttons to confirm your choice. If you change your mind, press the go back button.
  • Can I make moves by entering a sequence of moves as a list?
    No. This has been discussed, among other places in the discussion suggested move.sequence.
  • Can I submit moves by email?
    No, it is not possible to submit moves by email.
    You have to log in to Dragon's web site to submit a move.
  • Can I undo a move?
    No, and such an option will not be considered for implementation in the foreseeable future.
    The reason for this is that DGS has a two-phase system for moves. A player makes a move and only submits the move if satisfied. If the player is not satisfied the player can retract the move and try different moves (as many as desired*) before submitting.
    *The only constraint on the number of moves a player may try is that the clock will continue to run until a move is submitted.
  • Where can I store private notes about one of my games?
    There are two areas where you can store notes within a game.
    The first area is in the message box that may be used to communicate with an opponent (for example to type things such as 'Hello, enjoy the game'). In this case you can use hidden comments . This may be done at each move, as desired. It cannot be done when it is not your turn. It cannot be done after a game has finished. To read your notes through completely would require you to go back to the first move at which moves were made, and then move the game forward move by move. This can be useful when reviewing a game.
    The second area is on the game page for one of your running or finished games. There is a private game note section, where you can enter notes about your game. Those notes are only visible by you. You can make or change notes in this area when it is your turn, when it is not your turn, and when the game is finished. On the game page there is a button "Show notes" to make the notes visible for you. Hiding the notes does not delete them. They simply do not appear on the screen. When the note section is hidden you are not able to create or change your notes in that area. After making or changing your notes they can be stored with with the "Save notes" button. If you do not do this your notes will not be saved. Making a move and submitting it does not automatically store new or changed notes.
    If there is no button "Show notes", you must first activate game notes in your user profile by unchecking the
    "Hidden" checkboxes for the board sizes of your choice. Other settings around the game notes are about the place for notes (right of the goban or below it) and the screen size of the note area. The width and height are only for display. They don't restrict the number of characters of your notes.
  • Can I communicate with my opponent?
    Once you place a stone in a game you will see a message box. If you wish to send a message with your move you should type this before clicking the submit button. Messages from your opponent sent with moves will appear onscreen when you open a game.
    You can also send private messages to your opponent (or anyone else on DGS) via the messaging system.
  • Can I download a SGF from a game?
    Yes, but it's very important you know the different ways to download a game record. Otherwise, if you are not careful, it can happen that you unintentionally publish private game messages or your private game notes.
    On the game page there is a link "Download SGF" to download a SGF at any stage of the shown game. If you are a player in that game an additional link "Download SGF with all comments" may be presented as well.
    On the attach SGF page for each game, links with all three ways to download a SGF are presented.
    The different ways to download a SGF have a close relationship with the usage of public and hidden tags in the game messages.
    The following remarks always apply regardless of what way you choose for the download:
    • Private comments (without surrounding <c> or <h> tags) are only visible to the game players regardless of the way to download or if the game is running or finished.
    • Hidden messages (enclosed in <h>..</h> tags) are always visible to the author, and visible to all users after the game is finished.
    • Private game notes can only be seen by the author.

    What parts of the game message and private game notes are included in the SGF depends on the game status and the downloading user ("player" in the game, "observer" = all other users):
    • Download sgf: Public comments are always included. The hidden comments are only included for the author, and for all users (players and observers) when the game is finished. Private game notes are NOT included.
    • Download sgf with all comments: All comments (private, public and hidden comments) are included for all users (players and observers). Private game notes of the downloading user are included.
    • Download sgf WITHOUT comments: No comments and no private game notes are included.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: To create a review and store it on DGS it's recommended to download the SGF without comments. If you want to include some or all of the game messages the players wrote during the game, choose the 1st or 2nd way to download the SGF as described above. But then double-check each text node in the SGF to ensure, that you remove message parts that should stay private before you publish it!

    Please note, that the SGF is cached by your browser. To download an uncached version (within 5 minutes till cache expiry), please refer to: Dragon Quick-Suite Specifications - Section [4.SGF] Request + Options. This should be interesting for Dragon client or robot developers.
    Please note, that there may be a difference of the move numbering on Dragon and in a SGF of a game, especially if it's a handicap game: Handicap stones are given a move number on DGS while in the SGF this may not be the case. Also the scoring steps on Dragon can show up on different move numbers in the SGF.
    So don't rely on identical move numbers when doing a review for example. On the game page, the respective move number for the SGF is shown to the left of the moves select-box for reference (e.g. "SGF-Move 42").
    A more detailed description how a downloaded SGF looks like, you can find in the Dragon Quick-Suite Specifications - Section [4.SGF] Response (SGF-properties). This should be interesting for Dragon client or robot developers.
  • How can I view SGF files?
    There are many programs that will let you view and edit SGF files. One choice is JagoClient, the Java Go client.
    The British Go Association has a long list of software for viewing SGF files.
    When you have an sgf-viewing program, you can set your browser to connect the mime-type 'application/x-go-sgf' with the program, so it can be launched with a single click.
    You can read more at this page:
  • How can I store text in the SGF?
    After you select a move in a game, a text box for a game message opens below the game board. You can enter your message and then submit the move with it.
    To control which users can read your message there are three methods to write game messages. These may be combined.
    • If the message should be visible to all users at all times (game still running or already finished):
      Enclose the text in public-comment tags: <c>public text</c>
      This is useful to let observers see your comments, e.g. the sensei account uses this way for teaching games.
    • If the message should be visible only to yourself while the game is still running, but be visible to your opponents after the game is finished and never be visible for any other user:
      Enclose the text in mysecret-comment tags: <m>text</m>
      This can be used to let your opponent know some hints or thinking on moves after the game has finished. Be careful that you close the hidden-tag correctly, otherwise the text is visible for the other player as well. To verify the correct syntax you may use the "Preview" button before you submit the move and message.
      If there are secret comments, the opponents will be informed about it at the end of the game.
    • If the message should be visible only to yourself while the game is still running, but be visible to all users after the game is finished:
      Enclose the text in hidden-comment tags: <h>text</h>
      This is similar to the mysecret game comments, but will also be shown to all other users after the game is finished.
      If there are hidden comments, the opponent and observers will be informed about it at the end of the game.
    • If the message should be visible only to the game players having a private talk with your opponent(s) at all times (game still running or already finished):
      Write normal text and do NOT enclose the text in <c> or <h> tags.

    Example text (the colors are the same as shown on a Preview:
    normal private text, <m>secret text,</m>
    normal private text, <h>hidden text,</h>
    normal private text, <c>public text</c>
    <c>public text <h>hidden nested part</h> more public text</c>
    Example steps to see game messages:
    • In one of your running games enter a game message (as described above).
    • Submit your move with the game message.
    • Download the SGF: There are several options how to download a SGF, that differ dependent on what markup you used.
    • View the SGF.

    The public and hidden tags can also be written in a longer form:
    * <comment> ... </comment> is the same as <c> ... </c>
    * <hidden> ... </hidden> is the same as <h> ... </h>
    * <mysecret> ... </mysecret> is the same as <m> ... </m>
  • How do I delete a running game?
    Until the tenth move (without handicap stones) a "delete link" appears below the board. Placing or placed handicap stones are not counted for the ten moves. The delete operation is also possible when it's NOT your turn to move in the game. Games can only be deleted if they are still in progress.
    If you delete a game this way, it will not effect your rating. After the tenth move a game cannot be deleted by the players. As other game actions, deleting is a two steps action: you need to validate your choice.
    If you can not delete a game any more because of the described restrictions, you may ask a game-admin to delete your game; but use this possibility only if you think it's absolutely necessary!
    In such a case please add a game-deletion request in the support forum explaining your wish.
  • How do I end a game?
    This can only be done when it is your turn.
    • Two consecutive passes from you and your opponent. This is the normal way to end a game. Next you both will be asked to mark dead stones. After this, Dragon will score the game and the winner is decided. You should ensure all borders are properly closed before passing.
    • Use the "resign" button. If you resign, the game is lost and your rating will reflect this.
      Resigning a game when it's NOT your turn is also possible.
    • Let the game time out. (But please! Choose one of the other options!) If your game times out you have lost, and your rating will reflect this.

    In cases of grave dispute or major problems (e.g. bugs or unclear situation caused by the used game rules) a game-admin can also end a game or make it rated/unrated. But please ask an admin only if you think it's absolutely necessary.
    In such a case please add a game-ending request in the support forum explaining your wish.
  • How can I remove dead stones at the end of a game?
    After both players have passed, dead stones have to be removed manually. A click on a stone toggles its status from alive to dead. Small black and white squares visualize who owns which territory.
    Both players have to agree which stones are dead and who owns which territory. To agree, please click on the "done" link below the board.
    If one player does not agree, then he can follow the "resume playing" link to decide a doubtful position by playing a few more moves. An alternative is to discuss it by sending a message to the opponent or to the Go discussion forum.
  • What do small green or red squares mean at the end of a game?
    Small red squares indicate that Dragon can not decide if that intersection is black or white territory. Possible reasons are:
    • Inside a territory there are still foreign stones which have not been marked as "dead" yet. Please click on those stones to toggle the status to "dead".
    • The borders of White's or Black's territory have not been closed. For human players it is obvious, but for Dragon it is difficult to decide who owns which territory. Please click on the "resume playing" link below the board and submit a move to close that border.
    • It is a seki position. Please click on that red square to toggle it into a dame. Dragon will visualize it with a small green square. This feature allows you to resolve a doubtful seki to a correct game result.
      In other words, if you see a green square, it is a dame.
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