Hello. I play in a small club. They wont play with me unless I take handicaps since I am new. One stone for every rank. So, if I am a 19K and I play with a 18k I am suppose to take a stone handicap, and so on and so for. I have set my games for Automatic and I am not getting handicaps. Is there someone who can see help with this?

Thank you

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In the case of this game:

I would say that the handicap was reduced (to 0.5komi) because of the high deviation of your opponents rank. This is likely to be the case in other games too.


To elaborate on @Kosh’s post a bit, reducing komi to 0.5 (instead the 6.5 used in an even game) is the typical handicap for a one-rank difference.


what is the past game with Putter? Was I asking about that game?

I dont understand the responses I am receiving. I was not asking about the komis nor about past games. I have declined playing with people above my rank now bc I am not getting the auto that I set up. I thought that If one set up for automatic handicaps it should be set that way. Otherwise, why is it offered? The opponent will decide whether care to play given handicaps or not,

We are trying to explain that instead of receiving 1 stone for 1 kyu difference, the system takes away the 6.5 komi instead.

Equal rank: 6.5 komi
1 kyu difference: 0.5 komi
2 kyu difference: 0.5 komi + 1 stone



I see. Thanks, but why the change? It was not so when I began and at first set up the automatic. I was simply just given the handicaps as it is normal.

So - I couldn’t find a game in your history where the handicap was applied without komi being taken off first.

I did some testing to see what happens in various rulesets, and it seems the same in Chinese and Japanese. The difference between these is whether you get to place the handicap stones yourself or not.

I also discovered that the “difference in rank” used for handicap is done using the raw rating points, not the rounded kyu number that we see as our rank.

So for example I had two test accounts that were 16k and 17k with automatic handicap and no handicap was applied. Why? Because the two accounts actually only differed in rating by 20 glicko points, which is nowhere near 1kyu at 16k.

PS: I also should mention, while we are on the topic of handicaps, that you specifically are not allowed to “give your opponent a handicap” by just passing in a ranked game. This is sandbagging. We are each required to play ranked games to our best ability, without “giving our opponent” anything.

(When the system gives a handicap on game, it knows about the handicap and takes it into account in the ratings awarded for that game. If you just pass to “give a handicap” the system doesn’t know, and will award ratings grossly wrongly if the handicapped player wins)


Reduction of komi to 0.5 is normal for a 1 stone handicap. That’s what everyone is saying. If you saw something different, you either misunderstood what you were seeing or there was a difference of greater than 1 stone between the players.


Thank you for taking the time to look into the issue that I have. I did not understand what “20 glicko” points means which is nowhere near 1kyu at 16k. I dont know what “glicko”. means.

Is it possible to find an opponent a 16k to have a game with me? How many stones the server will give me? Lets be clear - it is not me “asking”. .My understanding that it is the normal way. People who have thousands of game and someone who has lets say only a few hundreds makes no sense. And it is Always the decision of the higher rank player to accept handicaps as I can imagine that no everyone enjoys it.

Little doubt how this game is not a popular one.

Just a couple of days ago or so the system was giving me the handicaps as it should. I have taken a screenshot for you to see. I was 21k my opponent 18k. Then yesterday or so someone a 17k and me 20K… Zero handicaps. How do you explain this?


so …the lower the rank gives handicaps while the higher rank do not?

As far as I know, there were no changes made to the ranking system recently, it is still the same ranking system and it still gives handicaps as it should.

What is probably the source of the misunderstanding is the fact that there is a whole another rating system below the kyu/dan numbers you see. Those kyu/dan number you see are rounded numbers for the benefit of humans (because they are easily readable), but for the math purposes there is a set of another points (called Glicko) below these numbers - those are used for calculating the handicaps (because they are more precise).

The number of HC stones depends on those more detailed points. Therefore it can sometimes seem to differ by a stone because of the rounding.


Thank you, but how do you explain that one minute when playing with a 18k I was given 3 handicaps stones - I was 21k so one stone by rank. Then the next minute I was 20k and someone a 17k requested to play with me but I was not given any handicaps?

and now I just had a game with a 16k and I was given the handicaps… 3 of them. With a 17k none Hmmm something is wrong here!

Besides calculating your rank, the rating system estimates how precise it knows your rank. If it isn’t sure enough about your or your opponents rank, it doesn’t give the full handicap.

In https://online-go.com/game/21777305, the rating system wasn’t sure about your opponents rating, so it reduced it to 1.


What do you mean "reduced it to 1? The system as you saw gave me 0 zero. I dont understand how that is reduced to 1? Sorry, I dont understand.

I think there is something important for you to understand.

Komi counts for 1 handicap.

The system didn’t give you “zero”, it took away white’s komi, which is worth 1 stone.

If you don’t accept that this is how it works, you will find it even harder to understand.

Handicap system:

Equal rank: 6.5 komi
1 kyu difference: 0.5 komi
2 kyu difference: 0.5 komi + 1 stone
3 kyu difference: 0.5 komi + 2 stone


You can’t calculate the rank difference by using the APPROXIMATE rank that you see next to your name.

Thats because someone who shows as 17k might be “almost 16k”. Like they are 16.1k

And somone who is 16k might be “only just” 16k. Like they are 16.0k.

These two people are only 0.1k different. They are treated as equal for handicap, even though it is 17k vs 16k.



The rank displayed next to a player’s name might not exactly be the rank used to calculate handicap.

I went to find an older post where I explained this, but it turns out it was in a previous thread also started by @Interestinggame


In my previous post, I was asserting that it is not.

Testing confirmed this, as I tried to explain - sorry if the explanation fell flat :S