Get a rank without being crushed (often)

Important: Obsolete, see

Reading Proposal: New users choose beginner/intermediate/advanced and drop ranked game restrictions - #71 by Groin a question comes to mind.

Currently all new accounts on OGS start with an intermediate rank (~10k) and are not allowed to play ranked games against players with a beginner rank (~25k). They need to lose games first, which is an unpleasant experience for a significant amount of players, and how many games they have to lose depends on what kinds of games they are playing. So how can a complete beginner with a new account get an appropriate rank with a minimal amount of being crushed (and without breaking any rules?)

Suggested approach: Play a Handicap Game with Black against a DDK Bot

One fast way to get an appropriate rank is by playing a game against a computer with the following settings:

  • AI Player: 15k is preferred, if that is unavailable, pick a stronger one (14k, 13k, 12k, …)
  • Ranked: Yes
  • Board Size: 13x13
  • Handicap: 4
  • Komi: Automatic
  • Your Color: Black

There are other settings, but you can choose them as you wish.

Additional Questions

A few additional questions have been discussed in this topic, but the answers have yet to be summarized here:

  • What to do after the first game is won or lost?
  • What are the pros and cons of the suggested approach?
  • Why are those settings suggested?
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Allow the beginner to select a beginner rank ~25-20kyu

Why is this so complicated?


There’s a differnet thread for that. I think @Jon_Ko is looking for suggestions as long as that hasn’t been tackled.


Play 9-stone handicap games with black against GnuGo 10k.


Yes, thank you for pointing that out.

Nice idea. I’ve tried it on the test server. 9x9 with 9 stones against easybot2 [9k] with almost random moves. I dropped from 12k to 25k with just one game.


I think we (veteran users) should suggest that to beginners until they can choose their rank. They won’t find that strategy on their own. And while it might be still demotivating to start your first game with 9 handicap stones and lose nonetheless, it’s not a terrible experience.

Edit: I’m not sure it’s good if you win though.


It shouldn’t have nearly as strong of an effect because the system expects a 6k + 9 stones to win against 10k stones with high probability. But yeah, you could prescribe that they resign early just to ensure the loss and avoid a 200-move whooping.

This is the same experience your local go club might provide you anyway :joy:


Well i got refusal at times so i usually propose a first fair game with no handicap. On 19x19. Ofc we don’t have to finish it, at the wish of my opponent.


Good idea, can be extended to a human player (in a custom game with a few introductory words).

What is the max allowed handicap on 9x9 (to be rated)? Could go quicker.

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They can’t. Real beginners would not open and read this topic.

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Unless they ask in chat before.


i’m a beginner, i got directed to this thread. i don’t know my way around the site fully yet, could you say in a bit more detail how to do this suggestion? am i meant to play as black? am i trying to lose? would it work if i just resign? thanks for any help

i just tried doing this against GnuGo 8k - the first time i played as white, it did drop my rating but not by very much. so i thought maybe that was wrong and i should play as black. but then when i did that the bot just resigned after i made my first move, which didn’t seem very useful.

jlt, how exactly did you set up the game where you dropped from 12k to 25k? i couldn’t see the name of that bot in the list of ones i found when setting up the game

If you think you lost, resigning is a perfectly correct thing to do. Note that you can’t resign in the beginning, the game will be cancelled.

When you enter the rating by playing rated games, OGS will give you a very high rank, not the one of a beginner.

So to make this rank going down quickly enough the suggestion is to play with a much higher handicap (9 stones is the maximum on 19x19) instead of playing without handicap as you should against someone supposed to be of the same intermediate level as your level given by the system.
You take black, white let you put 9 stones more (that’s like 100 points bonus)
If you lose that game where you have a big bonus that will mean that your level is hyperinflated.

Well no worry as this game will not count. Maybe check that the bot accept unfair games or handicap ones too in its profile.

I did it on the test server, there are other bots available. Try amybot-ddk here and then amybot-beginner (once you’re allowed to play ranked games against it), take black with handicap stones. If the bot resigns, take fewer handicap stones.

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The idea is to push unfair games in your advantage (in the limit of the allowance of 9 levels/stones) so that when winning it won’t affect that much (so easy it was) but when you lose it will lower much more deeper (how can you lose that game, really?!)

In fact the max of level difference is 9 levels to be rated.
I asked before but still don’t know if you start at 12k or 6k (i think it’s 6k)

So the weakest bot you can play is (6+9)15k.

Now my question is, will OGS let you play (and rate) a 9 stones game (with you as black instead of white) with that 15k bot? It’s like a 18 stones difference in fact.

[Edit: after testing, you can, well at least with amybot 10k]
So IMHO you can only take as many stones as possible taken in account your provisional rank and the rank of the bot. If you play a 10k bot and you are at 6k you should take white and give 4 stones. If you play black no handicap you are 4 stones in your advantage and if you play black with 5 stones, you cumulate to 9 stones and that would be the max allowed to be ranked.
[Edit: forget about that]

thanks both! i’ll try that :slight_smile:

I’ve tried playing black against amybot-ddk with 5 stones on a 9x9 board, it didn’t resign.

yeah it didn’t resign with 5 stones, but i did win! i got too interested in the game and forgot i was supposed to be losing, oops :upside_down_face:


Lol, well put less then

Made a test: i can have 9 stones with amybot on 13x13. I lost and I am 25k in only one game too.


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