How do ranks work?

Greetings fellow go players. I am a newbie here just wondering what the ranks like 7k and 4d mean. I understand that it’s kyu and dan, but how is it determined and what do the numbers mean? If someone can clear up how the ranking system works for me that’d be great. Many thanks!

Ranks from highest to lowest are:
25kyu-1kyu(basically it is counting down from 25, and the lower you get the better you are)
Then comes 1dan-9dan(counting up, with 9 dan being the highest)
So it goes from 25kyu to 1kyu, and then it goes to 1 dan, and then to 9 dan.
1p to 9p is for professional players only, they are basically dan ranks but held by people who play go professionally. (though 1p is stronger then 1dan, 2p is stronger then 2dan, and so on.
25k is someone who knows the rules
20k is a beginner
9k is a intermediate player
1dan is an advanced player
Everyone starts at 13kyu at first, but expect to drop to around 25-20kyu when you first start out.
I hope this helps, the ranks can be a bit confusing at first, especially the fact that the difference between dan ranks is vast compared to the small difference between kyu ranks.


Just to clarify, pro ranks a hugely stronger than non-pro ranks. 1p is 7-9d depending on the rating system. Also, pro ranks are not based on strength, but rather on seniority. it isn’t unheard of for a 1p to defeat a 9p.


I’ve read that pro ranks are based on performance in major, rated tournaments recognized by the pro’s professional association. It should also be noted that pros never lose their best rank. In other words, a pro may grow old and lose strength, but will still retain his or her rank. This is a mark of respect for their lifetime accomplishment.


I really love this aspect of the professional go community <3