How is that possible? (How unranked affects ranking)


it is quite simple:
There is or are Players with questionmarks. On OGS, on KGS, in RL Life
You do not need to play games with them, you do not need to accept games from them.
So, what is YOUR Problem?

There seems to be other players out there, who don’t mind the questionmark, see the 250 games he/she played.

I’d like to remind sometimes, that Ranking in Go is not everything.
I am really quite amused, that unranked players are now called “Sandbaggers” too. Get real.


I don’t understand this statement.

All unranked players are displayed in the same way.

This player is no different to any of them.

Or did I miss something?


I actually feel the same way, but not everyone does.

See the rest of my discussion. His courtesy is what Samuel Johnson would call “a farce of a form, without sincerity…”

Obviously. I am deducing his intention from his actions.

I don’t. I said “most.”

This sandbagger probably gets automatched with the 25k players or other ddks, and they play because they assume he’s new (if he seeks them out, that’s even worse); or if they click on his open challenge, they play for the same reason. By the way, I have no dog in this fight, as I play almost entirely IRL; however, I do think trolls and sandbaggers should be exposed as a general principle.

He is different for two reasons: (1) he avoids getting ranked, which I deduce from the number of games, and (2) he plays people far below his strength without any teaching context. If he doesn’t want to get ranked, then he should play people at his level (unless of course teaching), and if matched against, say, a 25k, then he should cancel. Doing otherwise is sandbagging if that word still has any meaning.

Now, for everyone, lets look at some exhibits, given here as game numbers. He conceals his strength even when directly queried (10388094), and when a dan player politely suggested he adjust his rank, the sandbagger brushed him off with misdirection (10390411).

It is true that most sandbaggers engage in verbal abuse, and that this one doesn’t. However, his whole MO seems to be passive-aggressive IMHO. For example, in 10390559, he abruptly resigned after destroying white (25k). Admittedly, the 25k should have resigned, but sometimes they don’t. Some word of explanation would be the kind thing to do. Bewildered, poor white typed “are u OK?” This is clearly not a teaching game even at the most basic level. It’s hard to avoid concluding that the purpose here is to humiliate. There has been a lot of special pleading in this thread to the effect that players know what they are getting when they play an unranked person. Similarly, this player knows what he is getting when he chooses to play a 25k—so what is his purpose?

In a similar case (10424809), he asked his opponent, “Why not resign?” and then “escaped” from the game. Oddly, his opponent was ahead slightly and the L&D fight in progress was not so clear (to a lower-level player like me), especially in a 30 sec byo-yomi, as to make resignation justified. Best to play out a few more moves.

Worst of all, he has at least 3 times made a clean sweep of the board versus a 25k, with no teaching context. See 10391170, 10408154, and 10445610. Surely most of you (speaking to everyone) would be embarrassed to do this to a newbie and to do so in such a cold fashion. At least I would hope so.


I do agree with after what you have said that this player can be consider rude, I just want to bring up the quote in question.

Both the center group and center top group are dead for black as it stands. The center group has only one eye and the top group had 0.5 eyes. Which means white is winning by about 100 points.


Nop, you are assuming bad intentions, without any proof.

You think you have a proof, and that proof is the fact he’s not getting ranked, and he does it on purpose, which obviously he does for malicious reasons.

Do you see the circular reasoning here?


Should I invite him to this thread and simply ask about his intentions? What do you think? Will he be happy to answers your concerns?


I think that would be a good idea JA. It certainly would be interesting.

I think that on the face of it, the new evidence Conrad_Melville supplied does substantially changed the picture in this instance.

BUT supposing the person is as they appear: rude and exploitative. We need to be careful of what it would mean. Because the conclusion you have to draw, if you want rules to prevent rude and exploitative behaviour as alleged here, is that you have to insist that people get and maintain a rank.

IE we wold have to make a rule that unranked is for teaching and occasional for fun only, not for people who simply don’t like ranked games.

I don’t even know how, practically, you could insist that a current rank is maintained.

This isn’t the only option. The other option is for people to be aware it’s a nasty world out there and look out for rude and exploitative people and avoid them. Call them out for it even. Without changing the rules to the detriment of everyone due to a few.

I don’t yet have an opinion on which would be better. I don’t have any impression of whether in fact there are people who deliberately stay unranked simply because they play for fun and don’t like the pressure. Are there any?



Honestly I don’t believe it’s a good idea. I mean, we should be talking about principles and general ethics of Go community. But abusing one players example to this extent and extrapolating whatever we get from his games to defend our silly ideas of what should and should not be, in public forum without him having a say simply seems inappropriate.

So the suggestion to invite him was a rather poor attempt on irony, but then again - if he learned about the topic, he might have something interesting to say about the ideas we are discussing. By no means I would want to ask him to justify his actions or explain his intentions.

I think we can agree that the player in question isn’t strictly speaking breaking any rules of the service. So let’s better get off that lad and how about we discuss the ideas? I think there are few interesting topics here.

  • Take sandbagging… What is the definition of sandbagging and why is it a problem? (is it?) How can we make it less frustrating? How do other servers deal with that?
  • Playing unranked. Should we make the unranked status more visible? Should there be a switch? Is it important? Do we care?
  • other ideas?


Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe it’s possible to play unranked games using the automatch system?


You are correct automatch is ranked only.


Did you mean to quote J_A in your reply to me? :stuck_out_tongue:


Nope I did not, I clicked reply and I saw a quote in the text box but I didn’t bother reading it. I guess that’s what I get for not proof reading.


Of course, you are right. Thank you for the correction. I tediously went through a lot of his games and must have relied on the score estimator, without looking closely enough at the board. A silly thing to do. I’m sorry.

Let’s look at the line of reasoning. Fact: He has played a large number of games without getting ranked. Conclusion: He has done this on purpose, whatever that purpose may be; the alternative is that he has done it accidentally, which I don’t think can be taken seriously. Fact: His lack of rank facilitates his sandbagging, defined here as someone without rank or with a dishonestly deflated rank playing vastly weaker players outside of any teaching context. Synthesis and conclusion: In the absence of any evidence of a different purpose, I conclude that he maintains an unranked status to facilitate his sandbagging. However, even if I am wrong, it is beside the main point, which is the sandbagging. I do not object to someone being unranked indefinitely, but I believe that leveraging that status to sandbag is objectionable.

I didn’t know that (I’ll assume you are right). Thank you for the information. However, the other ways for such matches to occur were mentioned in the rest of the sentence you quoted and still stand. The ddks may accept an open challenge which he has not restricted by rank because they assume an unranked player is new, or he is accepting unrestricted open challenges created by the ddks. Either way, this player should know what to expect.

I am glad that I have, at least to some degree, convinced you and HowToPlay. However, I wouldn’t want to change any site rules. There is nothing inherently wrong with being unranked if it’s not used to sandbag, and there are other reasons to play unranked games, such as experimenting with different openings.

I do agree with your other suggestion, simply to call out trolls and sandbaggers, so others know what to expect.

Is it a problem? Part of the answer is in your statement: some people find it “frustrating,” perhaps because they see it as a waste of time (yes, I agree with you that it can be instructive even when not intended as such). More fundamentally speaking, however, it is simply dishonest, and most sandbaggers that I have seen are verbally abusive. In such cases, one can just resign, block the person, and move on. A discussion on this in the general chat many months ago came to just that conclusion.


Unranked games, when not for teaching and experimenting, IMO, are primarily just for fun… not to be taken seriously… maybe this guy plays down because he has a lot of stress in his daily life and he finds it really enjoyable having easy wins… so what?

I almost exclusively play up and would find those same easy wins kinda boring… but, but the simple fact that I play up most of the time, it means most of my opponents are playing down.

If he can politely thrash a low-level player, what’s that to you? None of his opponents have reported him, have they?
In the end, they’re the ones that win because they get to learn from that one game they played against him. If he cares more about winning than growing and he’s happy to just play unranked… well, that’s kinda what unranked is for!

To me you can only sandbag in a ranked game, because this is the environment where players are looking for a serious match and relying on the information provided about their opponent’s strength.


I guess we fundamentally differ in our definitions of sandbagging. Certainly ranked is worse, but unranked involves the same concealment of strength and disparity in strengths between the players.

It is essentially cruel. To use a reductio ad absurdum, in a far more serious matter, it’s like a bully beating up a little kid because he enjoys the easy “win.” In a game context, this was once called “unsporting.”

I wouldn’t call these thrashings polite. I’m not sure why you want to personalize this, but I won’t evade the question. I took up this thread for two reasons: (1) I had by chance seen this guy sandbagging in a game here and wanted to back up sTan’s observation, and (2) I have a strong aversion to dishonesty, and in my opinion sandbagging is dishonest.


Hello. You may refer to me as Maya.
I have been made aware of this thread, and its original stated issues:

Yes, I play exclusively unranked games.
There are reasons for this, however I will not elaborate upon them because they hold no value to the issues at hand.

Yes, under my profile, I am listed as “1500 ± 350” / “12.3k ± 6.6”.
These are arbitrary values determined entirely by OGS, of which I have no control.

Yes, my statistics do not change no matter the opponent to whom I receive a victory or defeat.
This is a result of opting to play exclusively unranked games.

No, I am not a sandbagger.
A sandbagger seeks out weak opponents, while I simply play any opponent who accepts my game offers, whether they be 30 kyu or 9 dan.

Additionally, I saw this statement:

Therefore, from what I understand, the issue is:
A player, whose rank is set at an obviously-default, arbitrary value, is undermining the ranking system by playing exclusively unranked games indiscriminately against any opponent who accepts, at no risk to anyone’s rank or ELO.

In other words, I do not understand.

If this thread were created for supportive reasons, such as bringing attention to players that my reported statistics are incorrect, nowhere have I seen any attention brought to the grossly high variance that is paired with my rank and ELO rating.
If this thread were created as a means of advocating a change in OGS, I believe there has been a vast amount of encouraged, extraneous investigation into my game history, settings, and behavior.


Dear Maya,

I just want to express my sympathies to you for having been suckered into reading all of this thread. You did nothing wrong.
Let’s hope it dies soon.


I am the one who drew @Lyr’s attention to this thread. I like people to be aware of what others say about them. @Lyr chose to read and answer the post, and I hope this can help defuse some of the frustration expressed here.



To explain what i meant with “undermeining the rank system”

a chat I had a while ago in an unranked game:

sTan…: you should play rank games, your rank is better then it says
xxxx: yes it is
xxxx: i stopped playing ranked games
xxxx: because other people that i was playing with their rankings were way off.
xxxx: just unrank now and play for fun

He is not wrong.
It is just kind of frustrating to lose unexpected to a 6-8 lower rank…and it stil happens more often then a year ago.


I find it ridiculous that you dug up this thread again. If the idea that someone’s displayed rank might not match their actual skill level bothers you that much, then just don’t accept unranked game challenges. End of story.