Obvious Handicap Games on OGS

I would prefer to play a weaker player with the proper handicapping. However it seems that other people don’t feel the same way, and as a result, most of my handicap games end up canceled. Could there be a way of making handicap super obvious so that people who don’t want to play them can just avoid them, so that less games are canceled this way?


This is not a problem only for handicap games, correspondence games are relatively frequently cancelled as well. I think a more generic fix could allow player to set up a filter that would highlight public challenges based on personal preferences.


as an aside, i dont understand why people are so opposed to the handicap system. its an important part of club style play and is the basis for the rating system. i think its great that lower ranked players want to play extremely challenging games, but if most of the games are unranked then the foundation underlying the ranks gets eroded. and its probably not the most enjoyable and certainly not the best learning experience for the stronger player.

maybe someone with the opposing view can post here, i find it kind of disconcerting when b cancels a game because he has 3 stones. i’ve even had opponents that insisted on passing to undo the handicaps. and i guess i just dont understand


Well, I have never cancelled a game because there is handicap, but I don’t like handicap in general. I played on IGS for a while (where I just went for auto match), and with handicap against me, I found games not very enjoyable, because it feels like I have to start fishing for mistakes from my opponent. And with handicap with me, I felt that the game was unfair, too much in my favor. I probably was mistaken about that last part, but still, knowing that my opponent could only win the game by overplaying while hoping I will make a mistake was not fun. It just changes the way the game is played in a way I don’t really like.

Also, I feel like in the lower ranks, the handicap is fairly meaningless because games are so volatile anyway. When I began, it was not uncommon to win an even game against 5 ranks above and lose against 5 ranks below. This doesn’t really happen all that much anymore.

To sum it up, I don’t think they are a good way of evening the game, that low rank disparity games should be balanced with a slight alteration of komi, if anything at all, and high rank disparity games should just be treated as teaching games. Now, of course you can spice those up with handicap (although then it becomes harder to teach fuseki/joseki depending on the number of stones), but they probably shouldn’t be ranked, IMHO.

(I can’t repeat often enough how deeply satisfying it was once for me to win a game against 21 stones …)


This may be offtopic, but a good solution to the problem of people not liking handicapped games would be to allow reverse komi games to be ranked. Currently you can only have unranked reverse komi games.

Though I do second the ability to filter on open challenges.


When I play against a much stronger player with 9 handicap stones, it looks like 9 dead groups to me.


About rank uncertainty, could there be a method of calculating it, and decreasing the weight on your rank calculation when the opponent has a comparatively high uncertainty or you have a low uncertainty? The handicap system obviously would depend strongly on an accurate rating system.Also, I’ve recently read the paper on “Whole History Rating” used by goratings.org, which seems to be an intresting method.

I share the sensation. Though I understand and respect the even games culture of OGS. I would prefer it if handicap games are better highlighted so people don’t mistakenly join and end up canceling/resigning after several moves.

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