[SGF FF[4] - Smart Game Format] Valid HTML 4.0!

SGF File Format FF[4]

This is the official specification of the SGF FF[4] standard.

SGF is the abbreviation of 'Smart Game Format'. The file format is designed to store game records of board games for two players. It's a text only, tree based format. Therefore games stored in this format can easily be emailed, posted or processed with text-based tools.
The main purposes of SGF are to store records of played games and to provide features for storing annotated and analyzed games (e.g. board markup, variations).

Last updated: 2021-12-01
See history for changes.

For users
Users guideAn user orientated introduction to SGF files
Tools and more
SGFC SGF Syntax Checker & Converter
Example file An example SGF file plus pictures to show the basic and sophisticated features of SGF
For developers SGF Specification
Specification Supplements
UTI-Specification For Apple systems: a proposal for a Uniform Type Identifier (UTI) for SGF files (draft)
Changes to FF[3] To get a quick overview of what's new in FF[4] have a look at the changes from FF[3].
CompatibilityCompatibility issues
ConvertingConverting old files to FF[4]
Index of propertiesIndex of all FF[1]-FF[4] properties (alphabetical)
Translations There were translations in the past, currently all links are broken. Following (outdated) copies are available from archive.org:
Old specifications
FF[1]Specification of FF[1] by Anders Kierulf
FF[3]Specification of FF[3] by Martin Müller
Style guideStyle guide by Martin Müller (old but still valid)
Obsolete or outdated information
List archiveArchive of the original email list from 1996 to 1997
FF[5]Ideas for FF5 from around 2003 (obsolete)
XGFproposal for an XML format to replace SGF from around 2003 (obsolete)

Note: Many Go (WeiQi) terms are used throughout the specification, e.g. point is used instead of field or square.

Note: Please pay attention to the difference of mandatory (has to be, must not, ...) and recommended (suggested, should have, shouldn't ...). Mandatory topics HAVE TO be done exactly this way, otherwise it's illegal. Recommended topics should but don't have to be followed. If the application doesn't obey those suggestions then the 'only' consequence is bad style.

Arno Hollosi
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