On OGS vs IGS rankings

Hello, I play only on OGS and IGS (Pandanet) ; here I’ve made my way (with time and pain lol) to 8k, and most of the time I find that OGS ranking is coherent : opponents with the same rank, or +/- 1 kyu are generally close to my level, slightly stronger or weaker.

But on IGS… I struggle so much! Currently 13k, and unable to go over 13k+.
It’s very frustrating, and now when I start an IGS game I feel uncomfortable, scared about what is going to happen :frowning:

Which eventually leads me to freak out and play stupid moves I would not play on OGS.

Have you experienced the same thing? And what is your point of view on this? More sandbaggers on IGS, or are IGS players that much stronger?
It makes me wonder about my real level, I’ve never played IRL (no club around).

I can get that since IGS is a japanese server, players are supposed to be stronger, but this 5 ranks shift seems a little bit too much. And more important, it seems that in no handicap games I play either much weaker or much stronger players, and very few balanced games

IGS ranks are just a different thermometer. From my experience, ranks on IGS and OGS roughly coincide in the 2-5k range. I don’t know about lower or higher ranks.

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It sounds like IGS has more sandbaggers, or more botters, or both.

I´m 8.kyu on OGS and 11.kyu on IGS. I think this is more or less accurate.
I don´t think it is because of sandbaggers, etc.
Different server, different ranking system. Thats the way internet ranking goes.
The server rankings are only good for finding same level opponents.
For “real” rankings you have to play real life tournaments, I guess…


Thanks for your reply ; but I don’t understand in which way online ranking is different from real ranking?

I’m currently a rank lower than you on OGS and 11k on IGS. My experience is that the lowest ranks contain a lot more (mostly unpleasant) surprises, but as one gets higher these become fewer. By surprises I mean players who are much stronger or weaker than you would expect from their rank, and players who misbehave in childish ways (particularly playing endless moves after the game is decided to put off the loss). I’m not sure that the too strong or too weak players are sandbaggers. I read on a different forum that because you have to pay to use IGS in Japan, Go clubs and the like sometimes have a communal account, so that the player may be a different level each time.



Iirc IGS doesn’t have the entire range of kyu ranks. Starts around 17k or so, this may create discrepancies in DDK range. Fwiw I’m low d and have the same rank on both igs, kgs and ogs, so the rating systems seem generally in line.

I think this is because 1d is the rank where the rating are the most well adjusted. That’s the case for OGS at least.

Why? A rank is basically made that you play with fair chance to win. What do you care if this happens at 13k on IGS and 8k on OGS? As long as you have interesting games…


Groin, it’s not because of my rank itself, but because of the fact that I play a lot of games on IGS where a same rank opponent is obviously much, much stronger than me.

I enjoy playing against stronger opponents and I think it’s important to improve, but here I’m talking about a huge difference of level. It happens very often and I don’t find any pleasure in playing those games.


Very strong IGS 13k?
That’s kind of sandbagging or bad ranking system there if so.

Yes, relatively to my own level of course.

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Ok, I think “real life” rankings are the ones you can brag about… :slight_smile:

I think the OGS ranking is a little bit strange, because all board sizes, time settings, correspondence, etc. count to it.
Also even games against weaker/stronger opponents are more common.

On Pandanet I find only handicap games. And the handicap is very fine tuned with the
11. and 11+. kyu thing.

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Well I suppose I’m confused with all the go ranking stuff. Rules are simple, everything else is complicated :slight_smile:

I’ve played a lot of chess online, and it seemed simpler to me : your online elo rank is overrated vs what it would be irl, but I’ve never noticed a real difference between different chess servers

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This is simply a misunderstanding of the robustness of Glicko-2 rating system. None of these matters are a concern, it can easily scale results of different ranked players (even outside of our standard 9 stone bounds) - independent analysis also confirmed that overall ratings proved better at predicting game outcomes than standalone ratings for each board/speed combo. Overall more data = more accurate, even across board sizes and speeds.

All ranking is relative to the environment it exists in, there is no “real” rank

We use the exact same rating system as Lichess if that helps at all, we just also map “ranks” on top of it but the underlying system is all Glicko.


Thank you BHydden


One problem IGS has is that players can set their starting rank at will, and its ranking update is quite slow, probably 5 to 10 win games to just go up half a level, and all ranked games are handicapped within 9 levels. I think it generally pushed down and spread players across different ranks until they reach high sdk to dan level (and extremely hard to rank up above 7d). And there are sandbaggers and trolls in every level, since they can generally create new accounts with any rank they like. Normally, it’s better to check your opponent’s rank history before accepting a challenge on IGS.


Well said!


Except that provisional ranks (those like “17k?”) are more volatile than firm ranks if I remember correctly.

I think in the first 20 games in provisional rank, every 5 games the rank will update in one batch, and got a initial rank graph like this (just join with a record of only 30 games)

But even if after thousands of games, the rank will still fluctuate wildly (this player has a record over 42000 games for years and years)

And clear sandbagger (or shared account)

A well-known sandbagger/botter (I’ve seen the records, playing obviously dan level moves if it’s a human, it will just resign while massively ahead to keep the rank down, and once in a while start killing everyone in lower rank and then manipulate the rank back down)