Rank is meaningless

I have played several games and some against players with “1000s” of games and rank seems to have little to no meaning. Skill level is all over the place. I talked to one person and he uses multiple accounts. It makes a mockery of the whole system is people play dishonestly.

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I agree to some extent. But I want to mention that it could be a question of style. To my eye your games have rather aggressive foxy-like style. That’s not how most of OGS players play. So some of your opponents may not know how to counteract it and break down easily. Others find it easy to play against it. And that’s why rank may feel inconsistent. How about that?

There’re, of course, just sandbaggers.


It seems your rank is very stable though:

Don’t really know how that rhymes with your critique…

A little more serious: the ranking system here is a more volatile than on most other go servers. This has some pros and some cons, but the ranking system has been discussed at length already, for example here:


Impressive answer. I appreciate that fact that you looked at my games. I cannot deny your observation. My style is a bit experimental. Thanks for the replay!

My rank fluctuates between 7k and 10k. The best player I’ve won against (in an even game) was 5k, the worst player I’ve recently lost again was 13k. So while it may not be perfect, it surely doesn’t look meaningless in my case.


Seems to be very important to you.

What I don’t understand is why you always play against weaker opponents:

96 wins and 27 losses vs. weaker opponents, 0 wins and
3 losses vs. stronger opponents

And also you complain about sandbaggers.

What are you actually looking for?

I believe that you’d have a similar experience as @richyfourtytwo, which is my experience too, if you’d fight against a mixed range of players instead of choosing only those whose rank is lower than yours.

Sometimes a lower rank beats us, that’s it.


It is misleading. I played against 6k and 5K but at the time, the system had me as a 4k. The fact that I keep losing to “weaker” opponents demonstrate that my rank is a farce. That is the problem. I would like to know who I am playing so that i can assess how to improve. If I easily beat an 8K in one game but lose horribly to a 10K the next, then what does that tell me? Am I overrated? Is the 10k underrated? Is the 8K overrated? Where do I actually fit in? These players will have 1000s of games as well. How does a system create such a mess unless there are people actively undermining the system?

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As others have said, the ranking system here tends to be slightly more volatile than other servers. If you observe those who play very actively on a daily basis, you’ll notice fluctuations in their rank. An active 6k can be as high as 1-3k on a good day and as low as 9-10k on a bad day. You can only take an average of this fluctuation period and consider that the rank they ‘fit’ into. The “rank” serves as a rough estimate of where you stand in the player base. Just because the system had you as 4k doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to win those 1 or 2 ranks below you (it only takes a few wins or losses to rank up or down). You can only say your rank is around 4k with an error margin.


You are making a lot of assumptions. I do not assume anything. I play on other servers where the ranking system is less volatile and more accurate.

The 10k you are referring to hasn’t played on OGS for a while, but improved nevertheless by playing on other sites. His/her rank is already adjusted to 6k.


I cited it as one example of the wild fluctuations I noticed between different ranked opponents.

Just one assumption: “I am ranked higher therefore I should win”.

Speaking from my personal past experience, this kind of mindset is prevalent in people who cared about rank too much. If you’ve been – and I quote – “losing a lot to weaker players”, that may be one thing. Of your past 50 games there are only 8 effective losses, 37 effective wins. I don’t know what’s your standard for “not losing a lot”. I don’t think that’s a ratio that warrants an accusation like “the system create such a mess”.

Here at OGS we’ll have to get used to rank fluctuations and not care too much. It doesn’t mean the rank here is useless. It’s just a rough estimation of where we stand right now.


I would like to know who I am playing so that i can assess how to improve.

Who you’re playing and the rank of the opponent you are playing has very little to do with improvement. A mistake you made on the board remains a mistake regardless if your opponent is 10k pretending to be 4k or a real 10k.


You are still missing the point in your eagerness to be argumentative.

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Isn’t the difference between 10k and 8k quite small anyway? If you would have mentioned winning from a 2k and losing to a 15k, alright, fair play, but two ranks difference is pretty subjective to playing style, the mood the players are in, a little bit of luck (because we’re no professionals), etc.

The competence of players is not ordered linearly anyways, I bet you could find players such that A wins from B, B from C and C from A most of the time.

If you want to improve, play someone who is several stones better and review the game afterwards. You don’t learn anything from winning games against weaker players, since they can’t punish your mistakes (and hence you probably won’t spot them).


You still missing the point. The is no consistency is the playing ability based on rank. Besides, the difference in ability becomes larger as you move up the scale.

This has nothing to do with “winning” or “losing.” My point is that the ranks don’t seem t be based on anything at all even though someone has 100s of games factoring into the system.

It seems to be based on your performance relative to the opponents you play. Winning raises your rank (with a lot if the opponent is strong), losing lowers it. The only difference with other servers is that the rank here is more volatile, so you should read rank as an estimate (which it is regardless of how volatile / rigid the system is), and read “8k” as “probably between 10k and 6k”.

But you’re right, I don’t see the point of this discussion, really. What is it you’re trying to accomplish? Since we’re basically telling you “you’re correct, the rank estimation is a little rough on this website” and you keep telling us we’re missing the point.


Seems to me like this is a property of human play, rather than of the rating system. The performance we can access at a given time varies (sometimes wildly) from day to day or even from game to game. The rank we achieve is therefore an average.
if i win against a player rated higher than myself, then i would conclude that my opponent played a sub-average game and/or i played an above-average game, not that our ratings are meaningless…

it obviously has, winning/losing single games against players of different ranks has caused you to start this thread, hasnt it? or have you consulted other data?


When I am told I am concerned with “winning” then that is missing the point. That is not my point.
However, the first two replies I commended, so saying I am giving the same response is disingenuous.

There is a degree of relativeness with the rank. An example is years ago I played two players of the same rank, one I played with 6 handis and the other I played with 4. That being said, what I noticed here is that the same rank can be dramatically different in skill level. I have played long enough to know the difference between a relative difference based on playing style and one that is not. There is an assumption that I cannot tell this.

I am not looking for a solution. I was curious if anyone else has noticed the same issue. It seems it is noticed but there isn’t anything being done to address this.

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On Foxy, when I was climbing the ranks I had wins and losses going from 4k to 3d. That is I sometimes lost to 4k but eventually climbed to 3d and had wins mixed with losses there too. It’s harder to notice there because foxy only allows to play equally ranked opponents.

Which server’s ranking system you do like, if any?

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Yes there is, and rightly so i believe:

judging a players strength is extremely difficult, and honestly it is the bigger assumption on your part to think that you can do it, from a single instance no less.