Compensation (“komi”) and handicap on option “automatic”

For each board size in {(9,9),(13,13),(19,19)} and AGA rules, how is the value of the compensation of white and the number and placement of handicap stones determined in automatic mode (handicap=automatic, komi=automatic)?

N.b. (1) This is a question schema representing one question for each of those board sizes. (2) This inquiry is about what is currently implemented, not about what the value of compensation should be.

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I don’t know about the other board sizes, but I know that on 19x19 komi is 6.5 for and even game, and then 0.5 for all other games(handicapped). The 6 points represent one handicap stone, since one handicap stone doesn’t do anything with white going first in a handicap game.
I hope this helps, and it would be interesting to hear about the other board sizes.

Thanks. I await for an answer for the other board sizes. From your reply, it is not explained how the number of handicap stones is determined. I also want to know that; “obviously” (at least for size (19,19)) the number of handicap stones is “the” difference in rank, but which rank? OGS keeps several ranks for each player.

The top left rank corresponds to your overall rank and is the only one that is used. The others are just informative of what game types you play and how you’ve preformed against others who play those types.

Still, that does not answer my question in full. How is the number of handicap stones and the compensation determined? I have noticed that in automatic mode sometimes the compensation is negative in addition to handicap stones (e.g.:

I will add a further point to my question: In non-even games, the update of the ranking should take into account the advantage given to white. What is the complete procedure (formula, algorithm) to compute the new ranking, taking this into account?. It seems that this site is using TrueSkill or a similar Elo plus uncertainty system, but I could not find any specific information.

The idea of a forum is that we share the information we know. I do not know for sure what the komi is for the smaller boards but I’m sure someone will provide an answer in due time. I answered just your question on which rating is used as I knew the answer.


We now use Glicko-2 :slight_smile: more information about it can be found by searching either these forums or Wikipedia for the keyword “glicko” it has been subject to much discussion this year within the forums :slight_smile: happy reading, I hope you find the rest of your answers soon my friend!


Ok. I am familiar with this rating system. I found the parameters here. How is the number of handicap stones and compensation (komi) determined, when one chooses “automatic” for both in the pre-game settings?

Thanks for your answers. The comment that your answer does not answer my question in full is to avoid the case where somebody who knows the details that I am asking for abstains from replying because he thinks that my question has already been answered in full (it is still not fully answered).


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Of course I can’t prove it, but in my experience, this is absolutely not true. For instance, if you play a ranked 13 x 13 correspondence game, it will use your 13 x 13 correspondence game rank to determine komi and handicap. When I first started playing in that category against opponents that were of identical overall rank, my opponent got black with handicap stones and I got white with negative komi. The site was still treating me as ELO 1500 +/- 300. Same thing seems to be holding true for all the other nine ranked categories. I think the only times the overall rank is used for komi/handicap is in unranked games.

I hesitate to weigh in on this subject because I play mostly IRL and have no experience using automatch. However, I do watch a lot of games here. Generally, 5.5 seems to be the standard komi for 13x13 games, and I’m fairly certain that 5.5 is also the standard komi for 9x9. I have seen negative komi only in two general cases: (1) between unevenly matched dan players or pros and amateurs, who mutually agree to this because they do not want to distort game play by using handicap stones; and (2) by a troll/cheat who gave his opponent -70.5 komi, hoping the opponent would not notice the minus sign or the zero in the number—he was right in several instances!

The upshot of this is that I think the game you cited was a customized setting in which the creator established the negative komi. Of course, if you created that game, then that idea is out the window. Trouble is, you did not make clear whether that game was your creation or someone else’s.

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Interesting. Definitely seems strange that that would have happened to me then (and keeps happening against equally ranked opponents if one of us has a low rating in the particular category we’re playing).

I created this game with compensation and handicap both set to “automatic”. It surprised me that I got negative compensation, hence that I am asking for the procedure using to determine the actual parameters when using automatic compensation and handicap.

Thanks for the clarification. I watch a lot of games on OGS, and I have never seen this. It therefore seems like a bug. The quickest way to get action is to file a report at

Like I said, it’s happened to me and I don’t think it’s a bug. I think it’s that the system uses your individual category rank for ranked games with automatic handicap and komi. More evidence is that I’ve played ranked games against players whose overall rank was more than 9 stones difference because their individual category rank was similar to mine (I don’t think it should be possible otherwise). Considering official word has been that the overall rank is used everywhere, maybe this is inadvertent though? Personally, I think that basing it on individual category ranks is more useful (or would be, anyway).