How long to move from 23k to 16k to 10k etc

It’s probably been asked before and everyone is different but how long does on average it take to improve from 23k to 16k etc. I’m playing a few games daily on OGS.

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23k to 16k takes 4 pieces of string, and 16k to 10k takes 5 pieces of rope.


As you say, it can vary a lot. Doing even a few tsumego consistently will speed it up considerably, though

To investigate it you need to search for accounts that were created later than newest rank system update
if you mix it with older accounts, data may be inconsistent


Between 1 day and 100 years.


I don’t think this statistics have been made.

There are more parameters starting by how you play these games, your age, your interest in the game etc…

Besides it’s a delicate matter which can offend other readers considering their own rate of progress.

I’ll give you a short answer, which will hopefully give you some insight on what a complex, multi-factor problem you’re trying to solve

IF you are a 6 year old living in Japan, and your parents have enrolled you in a reputable Go academy where you

  • do nothing but study Go 8 hours a day, 5 days a week
  • have lots of age-and-skill appropriate peers to play against and learn from
  • receive in-depth training on life/death problems, opening theory, shape, direction of play, etc,
  • find an internal passion for the game, are genuinely fascinated by it, and are driven to learn

Then one can probably progress from 25-16 kyu in 3-5 months, and from 16kyu to 9kyu in about 8-12 months.

IF you are a 35 year old living in the West, and

  • you don’t have any local peers to play against face to face
  • you don’t have anyone more experienced to hold your hand and guide you through the learning process
  • most of your learning comes from watching YouTube videos, reading articles, and casually doing tsumego on your own
  • you play 2-3 daily games online with skill-appropriate-peers

I would guestimate that it could take you 10-12 months to go from 25-16 kyu and maybe 1.5-2 years to go from 16 kyu to 9kyu.

So … yeah, there are a LOT of other factors that would affect that.

My 2 cents - your mileage may vary - contents may settle during shipping - some cars not for use with some sets - void where prohibited


I thought ranks were retroactively updated?

Being aware of a few online anomalies (around cheating the ranking mechanism)

I join the idea that the most accurate way to get some ideas of how quick players rank evolve is simply to look the games histories and graph in their profile and generate from it your own assessment.

very old rank graphs, like before 2019 are definitely incorrect.
More new maybe correct, but user may suddenly start to do something different depending on which kyu number they see on their profile, which leads to unsolvable philosophical problems…

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It also depends on what skills & talent you already bring to bear.

My 20yo son who is an avid chess playing picked up Go and was SDK almost immediately.

OTOH it took me (an older person :wink: ) concentrated effort at learning to get to 16k in about 6 months.

It’s taken me much longer to break into SDK (9k) and I’m not sure that at my level of “applying myself” (1-2 ongoing correspondence games at any time) I’ll ever proceed past that.


Even a correspondance game may refer to very different investment in it

To give an alternative example: I’m very much in the “adult person living in the west, watching videos and playing online” team and it took be 4 months to go from 16 kyu to 9kyu when I was learning Go, which is twice faster than even your top Japanese scenario.

Not to brag (I haven’t improved much since then in the end), but to highlight how difficult it is to give any kind of estimate given how much it varies from one person to the other.


I can definitely say, with 100% accuracy, if you play Go and study in any way (reviews, tsumego, pro games or whatever else works for you) you will improve.

It might not translate into specific rank ascension, but there is no way you’ll put time and effort into Go and you won’t see results.


And another example based on me and others I know, in between the Japanese kid and adult Westerner in intensity of work, but improving faster than tonybe’s estimate of the Japanese kid:

Western university student learning around age 20:

  • play in uni go club once a week
  • play online on KGS
  • there wasn’t much youtube Go content back in 2007
  • read some books and sensei’s library
  • find an internal passion for the game, are genuinely fascinated by it, and are driven to learn
  • you play 2-3 daily games online with skill-appropriate-peers
  • spend maybe an hour or two a day on Go on average, at the expense of your uni studies
  • have some natural “talent” for the game, whatever that means?

Such players can make 1 dan in a year or two (I took a bit under 2 years), so are probably 10k after 6 months or so, as 30k->10k is easier than 10k->1d, I was 10k KGS from beginner after 8 months.


Started go in my mid-forties, in spring 2016. Didn’t play much online the first two years, but played with a bot and in a club, and practiced tsumego. Have played online a lot since then (>4000 games).

EGD graph:
Capture d'écran 2024-06-13 114653


I went from 25k to 7k in about a year, slightly less I think. Then life changed a bit and I didn’t have the time or energy to continue studying… in the 6 years since I peaked at 6k, hope to push that higher one day


It’s been so long I forget how long it took me to get to mid-sdk, though I think it was longer than one year, but I’m totally in the same boat about plateauing at 3k because I stopped studying. I know exactly what I need to do if I get serious about shodan, though: tsumego, tsumego, tsumego


tried to find some examples from page
but in most cases graphs are too unclear or it looks like they created ogs account after their skills already stuck
had to include maybe inaccurate example from before glicko era

first dot chosen because it may has enough data and rank no longer goes down after this for a while
after 2nd dot clear progress not seen again
so, from 7k to 1k in 3 years, 8 months, 17 days

from 19k to 1k in 4 years, 2 months, 22 days
from 19k to 5k in 1 year, 1 month, 1 day
from 5k to 1k in 3 years, 1 month, 22 days

from 9k to 5k in 1 year, 10 months, 20 days

from 9k to 4k in 3 months, 23 days

from 12k to 7k in 3 years, 2 months, 16 days

from 11k to 4k in 2 years, 6 months, 5 days

from 15k to 7k in 5 months, 22 days

from 15k to 7k in 11 months, 8 days

from 16k to 7k in 2 years, 7 months, 7 days

from 15k to 6k in 11 months, 23 days

so, lets calculate something useless:

ranks difference days days to improve by 1 rank
6 1352 225
18 1542 86
4 685 171
5 113 23
5 1171 234
7 915 131
8 172 22
8 338 42
9 947 105
9 353 39

so it takes 108 days on average to improve by 1 rank
(in period while you still improve)


SO MUCH of this depend on

  • how personally attached / motivated / fascinated a given person is by the game
  • how much actual daily effort they are able and willing to put in

So yes, I’d say that for every person who managed to blaze up the ranks from 20kyu to 1 dan in about a year, there are probably a hundred people who just messed around, played a couple of games a week and took 3 years to get from 20kyu to 7kyu and then kind of plateaued there because progressing further would require more serious study…

The thing is - if your goal is to enjoy yourself, and find mental stimulation from this game - maybe just being an SDK is good enough. Maybe there shouldn’t be this pressure to reach shodan as fast as possible. Maybe just being a casual player who slowly absorbs the game without intense study is OK. Maybe it’s a journey, not a race…

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