Rank is meaningless

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

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?

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.


It is indeed difficult, but I feel it is easier to estimate someones strength when actually playing against them than when playing our guessing game.


probably right. i still think its a stretch to assume i can play weaker players and then extrapolate how these players would do against eachother and other players of their rank.

anyway… maybe this is off topic, sorry about that.

I simply sharing my experiences and wondering if this is the same experiences that others have had. I am not looking at or assuming I can guess rank. I pointing out in my experiences regardless of stated rank, I have no idea of the quality of the opponent.

I, as well as @S_Alexander, would like to know

It could be helpful to know…


I struggle some games
Handicap doesn’t help me
Rank is meaningless


I haven’t had that experience. There’s some churn, for sure, but 10ks are definitively weaker than 6ks who are definitively weaker than 2ks. As a 3k, I can consistently win against 6-7k players with no handi, for what that’s worth. There’s definitely meaning to the ranks.

That being said, I’ve noticed that if I play more aggressively, it’s more likely that I’ll lose against a lower rated player. Aggressive play adds more randomness, since as kyus, aggression tends to go hand in hand with overplay, for us. The difference between killing something and getting killed can decisively tip a game, and the fact that such a difference is dependent on who made more mistakes (that neither player necessarily had the skill to recognize as such) means that there’s a lot more noise in win/loss results between players with disparate ratings.

Games where I can focus mostly on big moves/direction of play usually see me pull ahead more smoothly, with the accumulation of small errors on behalf of my opponent putting them behind, relative to my continuous by slightly less egregious errors.


At the moment I stand at 3k … I can say with certainty that I can most probably not defeat an 8k opponent, if I have to provide him with the proper stone handicap, as the ranks would suggest. This is mostly because I have never played handicap games, since the ladders I participate in do not use handicaps.

In that manner, one could argue that with the way rankings are being presently calculated online, no longer reflect the traditional meaning of those rankings.

But apart from that possible issue, the present rankings seem pretty reasonable to me and they seem to reflect the relative strength of two opponents in an non-handicapped game, pretty accurately.

Ranks don’t correlate to handicap stones simply because we don’t play enough ranked handicap games to make that happen.

If the default was handicap play, the system would calibrate to it.

Since it isn’t, it doesn’t.

But as ckersch88 said, 8ks are definitley stronger than 12ks, and 12ks are definitely stronger than 16ks…



But if you were to have a few practice handicap games then I suspect you would quite easily get to a stage where you could have a 50/50 chance of winning against an 8k with the appropriate handicap. Don’t you think?


I do play handicap games occasionally. And while it’s hard to get those numbers, my gut feeling is that I win about 50% of them regardless of giving or receiving stones. So again (apart from fluctuations of ± 2 ranks, which I find acceptable) the system seems to work pretty well for me.

One reason why it might work well for me is that I only play one type of game: 19x19 correspondence. I think I’m roughly 4 ranks weaker when playing quick games (and having 1 hour is already quick for me.) So if I played a ‘quick’ game this evening, my opponent might also come to the conclusion that the ranking system is broken, because surely this cannot be an 8k player he’s just defeated with no effort at all.


@teapoweredrobot It is possible, indeed :slight_smile: That is why I was talking about online ranks, because a lot of people find ranked games by participating in tournaments or ladders and those do not have handicaps.

Even in cases where I have played teaching/practice games against newer players I have opted to give them a huge reverse komi (even more than 40 points) than giving them handicap stones, because I thought that this would be more practical in terms of what they would really face in their games, against people of their own rank. I could be wrong, but when I was learning I also tried to avoid having the help of handicap stones. I prefered to play an equal game and get squashed while I get used to playing on an empty board, than have some handicap stones and rely on them to stay afloat in the game.


One reason why it might work well for me is that I only play one type of game: 19x19 correspondence. I think I’m roughly 4 ranks weaker when playing quick games (and having 1 hour is already quick for me.)

I have the exact same problem, though I think that OGS keeps different rankings for the different kinds of boards and time settings. That really improves the rankings and their accuracy imho.

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I have always played handicapped games. The tale of two 1k’s. Two players with different styles. One I received just 4 handicapped stones and the other I manage to get down to 6 handicapped stones. The rule of thumb used is if you won three games in a row, then you remove one handicap. If you lose three, you add one. I was more than 9 handicap when I started playing with them, so I still improved. The games were challenging for both players. It is great that you do not mind getting destroyed, but the goal is to present a challenge for both players, not one. That is beauty of Go compared to Chess. In Chess there is no reasonable way for a weaker player to play a stronger player and have them both challenged.

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