Purpose of and rationale behind Go Markers U+2686 to U+2689

Ori Avtalion ori at avtalion.name
Tue Mar 15 17:11:06 CDT 2016

I have received a response from Barbara Beeton, along with an approval
to post it here.

I have redacted the intro and outro where she admits it's "certainly
not a real answer", but IMO it's still useful for documentation.

Response from Barbara Beeton: (Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2016 16:49:14 -0400)

On Thu, 10 Mar 2016, Ori Avtalion wrote:

    I'm trying to find an answer to the question in the subject line.

    I posted it to the Unicode mailing list [1], and was suggested to
    contact you, as you are one of the authors who proposed the symbols.

    [1] http://unicode.org/pipermail/unicode/2016-March/003412.html

    I can find no use of dots in common Go notations of games.
    What is the origin of the dots on the Go markers and what are they used for?

I have researched the records of the
STIX project and find the following.
All the "regular" sources of symbols
were recorded in a "master table" that
has been kept up to date, but there
have been few additions since about
2007.  A somewhat earlier version,
dated October 2006, can be found here:


Since this is simply a huge, column
aligned ascii table, a layout guide is
provided, which lists sources and other
information including when codes were


For the code range in question --
U+2686 - U+2689 -- the date of addition
was 2000/02/01; in the same group are
the six die faces, U+2680 - U+2685.
As you can see, no sources are listed.

Since there were also other, "irregular"
sources, for which records exist only
on paper, I also dug through those files.
(Which is why it has taken so long to
answer.)  The only reference I can find
is a document submitted to WG2 that
includes that range:

  ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 N2336 2001-04-02

The only mention of the range consists
of a grid for 2680-26FF, blanked out
except for the 10 symbols, and a page
listing them in the form appropriate for
inclusion in the Unicode charts; the
content of that page is identical to
what is in the chart for the 26xx range
of Unicode 8.0 except for two comments
(for 2680 and 2687).

There may be an earlier document in the
WG2 archives, probably dated in late
1999 or pre-February 1, 2000, that has
more information, but I don't have a
copy.  The fact that die faces and
(purported) go symbols were added at
the same time may be helpful.

What I surmise happened is that someone
requested that these symbols be added
to a submission-in-progress; since the
collection of math symbols was rather
diverse, a few more wouldn't be noticed,
but it's unfortunate that nobody seems
to have kept records.  Perhaps someone
who was active in the UTC at the time
may have a memory; all I can attest to
is that the request did *not* originate
with the STIX project.

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