Rework the "Automatch finder" (formerly "Quick match finder")

Like I said in my last post here: First of all I love OGS. Great web app, nice community and the place where I play Go the most!

Now to the “Quick match finder” (QMF). It takes quite a while to find games using the “quick match finder” and it does seem to be a self made problem or at least a problem worsened by the current implementation. This has been previously discussed here but it does not seem like a conclusion was reached, so I’d like to reopen the issue.

“Quick match finder” → “Ranked match finder”
I personally would completely rework this feature. The “Quick match finder” should be the “Ranked match finder” and the standard way to play ranked matches. Currently the option to create ranked games via the “Custom game” (CG) mode cannibalizes the QMF queue. It also seems unintuitive to have ranked matches taking place with outlandish game configuration instead of adhering to an agreed upon standard. It should be made clear the QMF is for “serious” matches and CG is for “casual” matches to ensure that all ranked matches are using the same configurations and the same queue. This will create shorter queueing times as well as fairer ranks.

The Search Configuration
In my opinion the options of the QMF should be reduced to include settings that really matter. This again would further reduce queueing times and at the same time increase usability.

There are two important settings:

  1. Board size → probably self explanatory but Go differs significantly depending on the board size. Including the three most commonly played sizes as options makes total sense to me.
  2. Match type (Blitz, Normal, Correspondence) → again probably self explanatory but the general ballpark of thinking time granted per each move totally changes the nature of the game therefore this is a useful option

There we go! Now we’ve got 9 different configurations for our brand new Ranked Match Finder and long queueing times might be a thing of the past :slight_smile:

Obsolete settings:

  • Opponent rank range: Never seen this in any match making anywhere ever before. This should be done in the background by the queueing algorithm. The algorithm can first narrowly search and then step by step increase the parameters. Seems like an idea from 1980 to let the user pick his own range.
  • Handicap: Having a handicap directly contradicts the idea of using rating based match making. Again never seen this anywhere before. Find a game for me with a person of my strength and then let us have a game with equal opportunities. Having rating based match making makes this option unnecessary, confusing and counter productive. Like all the other options it creates fragmentation on top of all that.
  • Time control: Too insignificant compared to the fragmentation it creates. In the end nobody really cares about this.
  • Rules: Too insignificant compared to the fragmentation it creates. In the end nobody really cares about this.


I am sympathetic to the desire to make QMF faster. I primarily use that to match, and it does take longer than I think is reasonable (several minutes at times). I do live in a bit of a niche (9x9 only, 5k+/-3) so I try to accept it.

Your division of important settings vs. “obsolete” settings seems about right, but OGS already hides settings like ruleset inside the automatch settings, and the default is “No preference”. My guess is that most people don’t see or touch these, and the people who have set them care enough that they wouldn’t want to lose the options.

This is probably true, but I don’t think we should get rid of it - if someone wants to play simple-time 19×19 with NZ rules, I don’t see why they should have to play unranked.

I strongly disagree that we should get rid of handicaps. If I get match a 2k, I would certainly want some help. This also gives a better rating signal because odds are closer to 50-50.

If the argument is that we should only matched closely ranked players, that would actually make matchmaking slower, since I can no longer match 2ks and 8ks.

In an effort to be constructive, I’ll also mention some ideas that I think would speed up matchmaking:

  • Speed up the rank-widening (I think OGS starts with a narrow rank range, and increases until the user’s limit)
  • Allow users to select multiple speeds. I personally find Blitz and Live similar and would select both if it speeds up matchmaking.
  • Set default rank range larger. The default is +/-3, but I think +/-4 would be reasonable. The issue with a narrow default is that it doesn’t matter if I make mine wider when everyone else is still on the default.
  • Allow automatchers to match Custom challenges with reasonable settings

See the IGS go server.


You might need to elaborate on that.

Handicaps are assigned based on user ranks.

So users are able to use rank based matching either to have an even game with someone of the same rank, or an even game with someone of a different rank with handicap.


What’s wrong with custom ranked games offers?

On my own experience, players put their own custom and get matches like this with some efficiency.

Strong words, again, why fighting against players preference to use custom games?

Correspondance is not really needed to me, that’s not like you want to play quickly now and custom covers most of the needs.

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It sometimes takes several minutes to find an opponent via automatch. To decrease waiting time, I proposed this:


This might be a mistranslation: “cannibalize” is not really a derogatory term, its used technically to mean “takes away from something that we also want”.

For example, you might say “if we put a keyboard on ipads it will cannibalize the sales of macbooks”.

I think that there is a sense in which the custom game capability does take users away from joining the quick match queue: if the person who creates a custom game just joined the queue with the same conditions, then all the other automatch queue people would be there to chose from…


I’m not totally sure if it addresses your primary concerns with the feature, but FWIW the “Quick match finder” will soon be called the “Automatch finder” - the PR has been merged to the main codebase as you can see on the beta server, it’s just not pushed to production yet.


Agreed on all counts, apart from:

  • Handicap which does seem useful and does exist on other servers (IGS was mentioned, but even on Fox there is at least the no-komi handicap in case of rank difference).
  • Correspondance where I agree with @Groin that it could be excluded from Quick Match Finder and only be adressed through custom matches.

I would like to look at this from two angles. First question is “Do we want this to be configurable?” and the second question is “Do we want handicaps in ranked matches?”.

Do we want this to be configurable?
The answer to this in my opinion is a very clear “no”. This option should be removed for the same two main reasons as for “Time control” and “Rules”.

  1. Reduce complexity of the menu: We want simplicity. Auto match option should be one button (like in Fox) and go. This should not look like the cockpit of an Airbus A380. We should throw out everything we can.
  2. Avoid fragmentation: Some players might for some reason think that they need (require) to play one way or the other. Although in reality they do not actually care all that much. This is a queueing fragmentation that can be avoided by removing this setting.

Do we want handicaps in ranked matches?
Now this is less obvious I guess, but the answer in my opinion is still “no”. Like other users mentioned there are indeed other Go Platforms that utilize handicaps (e.g. IGS and Fox). I personally assume the sole reason they do that is tradition. It is quite easy to introduce a handicap in Go and in the real world it is not always easy to find an opponent with my strength so understandably people often played with a handicap traditionally. BUT in times of the internet and rating algorithms I think handicaps have become obsolete. Having a great algorithm like glicko2 in place and still offer handicaps feels like a “double scrollbar” scenario to me. If I’m playing at a time where the queue for some reason is sparsely populated and I’m matched against a person that is 100 points above me then this will be accounted for in the point reduction/increase after the match. If I actually win I’ll get a huge boost and if I should lose I will get a negligible penalty. This is how Chess does it and how pretty much all modern games do it. I don’t see why Go should be the exception here.

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Handicap ruins fuseki. Its like playing more simple version of Go instead of full version. It only makes sense in small real Go club where 10+ ranks difference is often the only available opponent. Quick match finder may be improved - players pool should not be completely separated by custom and by automatch. Why not display list of players who wait game in automatch? Then people who like to accept custom games of others, would also try to accept automatch games - so automatch will become faster.

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Beginners usually have difficulty finding opponents with the same rank.

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I like a streamlined Automatch with fewer/hidden options to increase the pool.

I don’t like having no option for ranked matches in custom games, and would rather explore ways to combine the two pools of players like @stone.defender says.

Can custom games be automatically entered into the automatch queue? So that if I create a custom game with my particular settings, the game can start either if someone aaccepts it from the list, or someone enters the automatch queue that fits. Perhaps games with unusual time or game settings could be excluded from this.


problem is: handicap is different game. You will not help beginners to find even game if you give them handicap game instead. It’s like having handicap Go option on chess site. Though, like tsumego, it may be educational and may be fun for some people.

so I think best option would be to have 2 separate buttons for handicap Go and for even Go. Instead of giving default to something.
Handicap and even modes should have separate player pools. While automatch and custom should be united.

Why? Handicap players are usually more than happy to play an even game if one is available.

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Right, so we should have options for ranked games with reverse komi too!

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ok, better design: list of available even games, then list of available handicap games.
anyone can accept any of these games, anyone can hide any of these lists like rengo now
you can create handicap or even game. or you can create both of them simultaneously - if one of them accepted, other automatically removes.
You can turn “automatch mode” on - it would mean that similar enough challenges pair with each other. Parameters of what is similar enough may be in automatch settings.
There is standard “Normal” button, there is also way to configure it instead of separate Custom.

This conversation took a very unexpected turn. I created this thread to make a feature request to enhance the QMF / AM feature by simplifying/streamlining it.
If you have feature ideas that are not related to the QMF feature or go in the direction of adding additional options I’d kindly ask you to not hijack this thread.
Also I would appreciate it if you could always write “What the proposed change is, in comparison to the initial proposal in this thread” and also explain what the intended consequence of the change is. Otherwise I do not think this thread can be of much help for the OGS developers.

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Not really. I’ve added a graphic of what I have in mind to the initial proposal.

I dont often use those automatch buttons… but when i do, i most often start correspondence games, and i prefer having handicaps if im stronger than my opponent.

Isnt the whole point of go ranks to estimate how many handicap stones would two players need for ~even game? My gut-feeling is that it makes more sense to have two players who are 9 ranks apart to play a ranked game with handicaps, than to play ranked games without any handis

Its actually gonna be renamed as “automatch” soon, i think the current name causes some users to understand that as “finder for quick games” which isnt what its for. Default timesettings for automatched live is byo-yomi of 20 minutes main time + 3x30s, thats not actually very “quick”

In general its not a good idea to restrict or limit the settings (for ranked games) more than necessary. For every combination of settings, there is someone who prefers playing their games like that. If the site wouldnt allow those settings anymore for ranked games, that would push ppl into just playing unranked games, resulting less data for the rating system to work with, and more cases of unintentional sandbagging.

I also think it would/could make lot of sense to have that automatch accept open custom challenges too, especially when automatch settings are all on “no preference”. Often its faster to accept an open challenge than click QMF buttons and wait for a game, thats the other reason why the current name is misleading ://

Oh guess i should add that i too also think that we should “nudge” players into playing more ranked games, but restricting what kinds of settings they can use is more likely to just result larger percentage of unranked games, instead having the wanted result of “more ranked games”

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