Make quick matches the primary way of finding matches

Positives if you want a specific challenge, I agree. And for most on OGS, there’s little issue. But, it’s not so easy for beginners, and Go is not so ‘newbie friendly’ as for example chess is (but that’s another discussion).But OGS is not very beginner friendly I would say. If someone is curious about Go and wanna try it out, a quick match finder is way more intuitive place to start. But there’s no games almost.

Further, in terms of the ranking we have, these things do pose a problem. For example, I recently played a handicap game, how does that count? Was it really a fair match? I don’t know. While it’s nice to have the option to play a handicap game, should it count for rank? Then, creating custom games is not straightforward either. It took me a while to understand how the rank restrictions worked.

But I’m not suggesting to get rid of custom games. They are nice, absolutely, but as Go is a competitive game, then there should be some focus on the fairness of challenges. If I want to rank up I would make a game that is only for people worse than me, with analysis on, and such things. It’s fine for those who want to play someone stronger, but do I get stronger by playing those worse than me?


I like custom challenges. Quick matches shouldn’t become the primary. There is way for both to benefit.
Separate pool of players is a problem - it slows both down.
While quick match challenge waits for other quick match challenge, it should be possible to accept it like a custom challenge for players who meet criteria. Quick match will become faster.
If custom game meets criteria, it should be auto-accepted by players from quick mach pool. Custom games will become faster.
Quick match finder should have even more simple preferences - its for people who don’t wish to think about choosing. Those who care about settings should create custom challenge.


Sorry if this had already been discussed but couldn’t the quick match button just make a custom challenge with some default settings which would then appear in the custom list?


The answer is yes, when you want to align ranks and handicap stones, which various servers do. If if two ranks players are about two ranks apart then (iirc) a 2 handicap stone game should only slightly favour the stronger player playing White to win. Similarly with other rank gaps and handicap stones up to 9 stones/9 rank gaps.

That’s the idea anyway.

It was in my wall of text and in the linked post earlier :stuck_out_tongue:

I think it got brushed aside slightly :slight_smile:

But it’s good we’re circling back to it and combining ideas.


Not sure I understood you here. Do you mean that, if I win against someone who is 2 stones stronger than me, without handicap, I get more points on my ranking, than if I win with handicap?

I agree with this. But, I’m skeptical if all combination of settings should count for your rank. Especially those settings that has an outside the board effect. For example, estimate score and analysis can even out skill difference. A 10 kyu is probably better at reading than a 14 kyu, but with analysis mode, one can - depending on time settings - compensate for this difference. One could argue it’s a crutch that eventually will harm more than benefit learning, but it’s also tempting to quickly check if you read a life and death situation correctly. Turning ranked off for such games seems sensible to me because your rank should as closely as possible reflect your skill at go, not your ability to utilize such tools. That’s one of the reasons why I think ranked games and custom games should be separated, with ranked having a set of preset settings. However, whether all settings should be compatible with ranked is perhaps a different discussion.

That’s what I would expect to happen, if the rating algorithm was a bit more ELO like but…


Because there’s this sliding window in the Glicko2 system which is looking at your most recent 15 games/window of 90 days it’s not really clear how a particular win/loss changes your rating.

There’s some small amount of explanations (and further links) here in the docs Ranks and rating · online-go/ Wiki · GitHub, and more attempted explanations on the forums, but very regularly questions come up on the forums asking why rating is going down after a win.


So the most I can confidently say, is that the handicap in the game factors into the calculation. I believe it’s supposed to be that for each handicap stone you have it treats you as being a rank stronger in the calculation (someone correct me if I’m wrong).

I did say nothing about ranked and not ranked games
but this is nonsense
We are not here to measure our real life rank in serious tournaments, I never played on real board. We are here to play online and have fun. My rank will just be always outdated if I will not be able to play ranked on settings that I like. How I am supposed to talk to my opponents without ability to share variations in chat?
And I seriously doubt that analysis tool able to give significantly more power. It only fixes stupid simple errors like ladder. Bots have problems with ladder but they are very strong. There will be strong people with aphantasia who sometimes will lose their games for nonsensical reason and no one will be happy to win in such case.
Analysis may be useful to train yourself during games - it may be boring to do review after.

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Your view is completely respectable , same as someone who wants to exclude this analysis tool.

So the main recurrent problem is going to fix standards which will never please everyone.

Debates about analysis mode can probably be discussed in another thread, so we could keep on point for ideas to make game matching quicker (custom, auto etc).

There was a lot of discussion and no consensus last time it came up. One reason in particular, because Correspondence, Live and Blitz are very different.

I use(d) my OGS rank to calibrate handicap when playing the local Go club (now Corona shut that down). But at any rate, I see your position and I’ll resign… for now :wink:

AFAIK, aphantasia would not incur a functional deficit in playing Go, but rather the mental imagery associated with reading a sequence would not be there like it is for some/most people. Do you have any source or such on this? I’ve read, for example, that aphantasia does not lead to worse performance on mental object rotation tasks.

When you think about it, two users searching for a game - one using automatch and the other one creating a custom game - almost want the same thing: They both want to play a game with specific settings. (And of course both want to find such a game as quickly as possible.)

The only difference between the two is that one player is more specific in the settings of the game than the other. And in case of the custom game the player is not necessarily more specific because he wants to but instead because he has to be more specific! The UI just doesn’t give him the possibility to create a more open game request.

The player creating the custom game might be very open to all kind of settings but currently he just can’t express that properly.

Actually, if creating a custom game would enable you to specify settings as “no preference”, “prefer” and “require”, you could already express the same kind of search as you can with the automatch option.

So consolidating the custom game options and the automatch options into one common place where you can specify your game settings and then throwing all the submitted game searches of all the players into one pool and match them against each other would be ideal it seems. Allowing a user to store some presets for game searches - like what is currently available via the automatch options “Blitz”, “Normal” and “Correspondence” - would certainly continue to make sense.

This would free the user from closely watching a constantly changing (and moving) list of custom game requests, understanding what all these time settings mean (“4m+ 30s up to 5m”, “15m+5x30s”, “+ 1d/2”, “+2x12s”, … (actually to this day for some of them I have no clue what they mean!)) and try to hit the right (and very small!) “Accept” button in time. Overall an experience that can be really painful for example if you are a beginner to the game and/or to the server or if you are in your 70s for example and consuming all that information and clicking a small button might take you a bit longer than a few seconds already.


I think there are many people who think that they have aphantasia when in fact they just have weak imagination.
I definitely have imagination, but its nowhere stable enough to read ladder. I was 5k when trained hard, but now I just want to have fun sometimes and don’t lose because stupid ladder.
Ranks are different on different servers and places anyway. Difference is bigger than what is possible to get with analysis.
And its not clear how to use your time. (I’m talking about limited time, 1minute/move for example) Its strategy in itself. I think on most moves its just less efficient to bruteforce something with analysis. Life and death rarely happens. Usually you need to feel fuseki flow instead - analysis will only distract you. You will play worse if you will use it on every move.

This I very much agree with! Beyond the discussion on what should count for ranked or not, I think it makes perfect sense to have broad categories of game settings (like blitz, slow, correspondance), and within those categories you can narrow or broaden the search range, with as you say, prefer/require/whatevz. Then it’d be easy for the ranking algorithm to know what kind of rank category your game should be placed in, and you get the freedom to choose your settings. And all these games, IMO, should try to match with each other, and the custom games list should only be for particular kinds of games like teaching games or such. Then you make a custom game.

I don’t know if aphantasia, or weak visual imagination, would be a negative on your reading ability. Though you might not visualize your reading as for example I do, your brain is still very much able to do it though. AFAIK, aphantasia would mean that your brain do the reading task differently. For example, this study on mental rotation, show that while aphantastics use longer time on mental rotation, they are more accurate, than controls. Could be a speed accuracy tradoff at play here, meaning they’re pretty much equal (if that’s the case): Mental rotation performance in aphantasia | JOV | ARVO Journals

In other words, don’t think of it as a handicap IMO, more that the strategy of visualizing moves on the board as an overlay, would perhaps be bad advice for you.

Indeed, there are huge variations, but when playing against someone who’s a 7 kyu on the real board, I can say, I’m a 14 kyu on OGS. “Ah ok” that person will say (if they play on OGS), I’ll give you 5 handicap because I’m 9 kyu on OGS." - then if I win this game, perhaps I’m 12-13 kyu on the real board. Maybe. But the OGS rank is useful in some cases.

On then on this real board you can ask if you can use the analysis tool :rofl:

I think ladders don’t get given enough credit for how tricky they are to imagine on the board. I think people say they’re simple because 90+% of the reading is simple/basic, it’s all ataris. It’s not hard to see where the ladder goes, following a diagonal line trick say.

I do find it very hard though to visualize what happens when it gets near another stone near the end of the ladder

  • which is the atari that moved the chain of stones this way
  • which laddering stones exist and don’t exist now that I’m trying to patch the ladder together with other existing stones
  • how many liberties does each laddering stone have at the moment
  • if you need to atari an extra time to shift the ladder over a step or two and then continue the ladder


I’m not sure I believe in the whole “don’t use tricks, just read it” approach of Kageyama. (much like a lot of other things Kageyama says at the start of the book)

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Just so I’m clear- does Auto-match currently pull games from the custom list, oder…?

In other words, if I click automatch, and someone creates a custom game that falls within certain constraints (rank_difference: +/- 3 stones, handicap: on, time_settings: not insane), will we get matched?

My understanding from this discussion is that the answer is no and this is the whole problem.

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Thanks for clarifying. Yeah I feel like there are two debates happening here-

  • “More people should use automatch” vs. “More people should use custom”
  • “Custom and automatch should be the same pool” vs. “They shouldn’t (current behavior)”

I sense there is more agreement on the second topic. What do y’all think?

  • Auto and Custom matches should be compatible
  • Auto and Custom should be completely separate pools

0 voters

  • More people should use Automatch
  • More people should use Custom match
  • The ratio of Automatch/Custom is perfect the way it is

0 voters

The assumption for the second poll being that the total number of matches created remains the same. (Obviously I think more people should use both custom and automatches :slight_smile:)

I answered “separated” on the second question, though I do think it’s a step in the right direction to pool them :stuck_out_tongue: My ideal scenario would be:

  • Custom matches do not count for ranked
  • Automatch counts for rank
  • Automatch has “presets” (use the prefer/require/whatever, rank range, timing range) to your liking, within certain categories (e.g. everything below 1m +10s(5) is blitz, 1 - 20m is normal, 20m+ is long, 3d+ is correspondence)
  • Automatch “presets” may not allow score estimation and analysis tools, but may allow automatic handicap. Komi is automatic
  • Automatch “presets” can be used for tournaments/ladders/etc.
  • Custom matches are veritable free for all when it comes to settings, including go variants (if they can be implemented)

My reasoning is twofold: it’s easier for beginners and it streamlines match finding.

But, since several of these points are contested in the discussion above, I think pooling custom and auto is a step in the right direction.