Suggested changes for the 9x9 Ladder

Kind of, yes. By the way, did you know that the player in the #1 spot can be challenged 5 times? It really does get chaotic and fun the higher you ascend in the Ladder.

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Here’s a reason why people shouldn’t be allowed 10 challenges while only being able to be challenged 3 times: that means there is a greater demand for challenges than there is supply, assuming at least 1 in 3 players on the ladder wants to use their challenges. Particularly towards the top of the ladder, it will become very hard to find people open to challenge, considering that only three people are needed to claim all possible open challenges for the numbers 10-20, for example.

Currently the top 100 on the site 19x19 ladder have been challenged a total of 214 times, many of them having been challenged the full 3 times, so even increasing the number of challenges to 4 may already block almost all of the top 100 players from being open to challenge.

If allowing more challenges, then it should only be for the lower parts of the ladder, where it is more empty.


Actually, would it really be that hard to implement ladder customisation? Tournament directors can already change the timesettings for open tournaments, and the ladder positions can be adjusted by mods, so i guess most of the code needed is already there?


This is the crux of the matter: you want to play live games, but joined a correspondence ladder. It’s like a chess player walking into a go club and telling the members the game they are playing is rubbish and they should play chess instead.

Some improved help text on joining the ladder to better set your expectations of the pace of play would be a good idea, much like putting up a sign “Go club today, chess club is on Fridays” on the door.

That is a very good point and definitely needs to be taken into account. Would it be possible to limit additional challenges based on whether the chosen opponent has already been challenged? So something like:

  • A ladder participant can receive up to 3 incoming challenges
  • A ladder participant can make 3 outgoing challenges against any player according to the current ladder rules
  • If a ladder participant has already made 3 outgoing challenges, they can make additional challenges according to the current ladder rules but only against players that currently have no active incoming challenges, up to a maximum of 10 (or 8 or 6 or 5)

Since near the top of the ladder almost every player has been challenged this would mean almost no change, but would allow for more challenges in the middle and bottom of the ladder.

The downside might be the complexity of the implementation, but since quite detailed rules on who can or cannot be challenged are already in place I would hope this might still be acceptable.


This whole.discussion got me to finally rejoin the main 19×19 ladder.

I remember joining it when I was new on OGS and then dropping out when I didnt understand why I was suddenly playing random games. So some form of explanation when first joining might be helpful.


I’m not understanding how Fast Correspondence is used with the 9x9 Ladder. I see they have tournaments, but that doesn’t work for me because I am only 9k and so I lose and must leave tournaments early.

I was hoping with this thread to improve the way the 9x9 Ladder works for me. I don’t mind being interrupted throughout the daylight hours to play my next move, but I find that waiting for three days to make a move, and then sometimes finding that my opponent timed out doesn’t work for me, since I am only allowed to challenge three opponents at a time. If I could challenge 10 opponents (I’m guessing), OR if I could have a timeout of 13 hours, I think the 9x9 Ladder would work much better for me and others.

I’m replying in the thread instead of sending a private message because I think your suggestions and my responses are relevant to this thread.

Fast correspondence is not used with ladders, but some players are willing to play fast correspondence, so you may want to join 9x9 fast correspondence tournaments if they exist or create one.

And this might be the case eventually but in the short term other suggestions have been made to try and help you find games outside of site ladders that suit you. It’s up to you if you want to try them or not.
For example the fast correspondence group has its own 9x9 ladder and it seems more likely that members of that ladder like to play fast correspondence (i.e. at least 1 move per day, often several moves) so might suit you a little better.

I think we have also learned things about the site ladder, like it’s more active the higher you climb. So maybe persevering with these timeouts (that help you climb and are doing a service to the coming by “cleaning”) could be a route to getting games that suit you better higher up the ladder.

Changes to the ladder itself might happen but could take a while. I think it’s clear that reducing initial time is not going to happen and there are issues around increasing challenge numbers but it seems that improvement could be arrived at with a bit of further consideration.

So overall, thank you for raising. It’s been a useful discussion. Hopefully there will be an outcome that is positive for the community even if not necessarily achieving everything that you would like for you as an individual.


Mark, thank you for summarizing the very different issues at the top of the Ladder. Certainly any proposed solution from someone at the bottom of the Ladder, like me, must be modified to also work at the top of the ladder.

Perhaps it’s as simple as adding one piece of public information to each Ladder member: his or her preferred average move time. That way one member (you) could set their desired average move time to four days, while another (me) could set it to 2 hours. If I then challenge you, I get what I deserve: much too long a move time.

The current situation forces everyone to adapt to a random average move time, since the preferences of average move time are unknown.

This new proposal also would possibly require easier changes to the software: just adding the average move time to the person’s name in the Ladder, and supporting specification of the average move time by each member.

This still doesn’t address people who sign up for the Ladder without understanding that they will be challenged–that can be addressed by one or more of the other proposals above. It’s as easy as making the bar for joining just a bit higher.

Certainly agreed. This applies to most of my proposal, as I noted above.

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Yes and no. When I want to play live games, I simply open a challenge and get one. But I do find the 9x9 Ladder interesting and would like to use it. It’s just that 3 days max time is too long and only 3 challenges is too few. My “average desired game time” solution above would solve my problem without creating other problems.

This is a very important point. I understood the 9x9 Ladder only after asking a whole bunch of questions on this forum. The Wiki description is hard to find, and it is somewhat incomplete.

The wiki is indeed somewhat incomplete.

Feel free to suggest improvements to that page, so that I can edit it.

It should explain that the Ladder itself is a bookkeeping tool. The games are separate from the Ladder list and located where all the other games are: in Game space, with its own addresses. It should say that all Ladder games are Correspondence games, and it should describe what an OGS Correspondence game is and how it works, including by default two-step move placement. It should list all of the places where notifications of “ready for your move” are placed, including email (optional), black circle containing a white numeral, Home page, Profile page, etc. It should explain how to choose someone to challenge and the steps to take to submit the challenge. It should explain what happens when you receive a challenge. It should discuss the various rules that apply to certain parts of the Ladders, such as only using Fischer timing, not using komi or handicap stones, maximum length of timing for games (with explanation of what happens on timeout). Explain responsibility to play a game once you are challenged. Mention the hidden options menu at the bottom of the right pane, and that it includes a guess at current score, ability to Analyze a game, which means placing experimental moves to explore future gameplay. Explain the “Plan conditional moves” feature in detail, including how the tree of conditional moves is persistent once the (forgot the caption) button is clicked, and how the Cancel button does not cancel the conditional moves tree, just dismisses the conditional moves tree pane/view. Explain how to delete individual branches of the tree and how to add a completely new branch (three different methods). Explain how to input all Ladder responses using the keyboard instead of a mouse.

Very important: add a link to the new wiki explanation to the Ladders themselves, so that newcomers can find the instructions.

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I will select a few of your points and edit the wiki.
Some others I will ignore or out of my jurisdiction.
When I am finished I will put a post here linking to the result.


Thank you for whatever you can do.

Added it.

It does say that: “All ladders are without handicap stones (even games) and have the same correspondence time control settings

This would make it a rather boring.

Has been discussed elsewhere in the wiki.


Out of my jurisdiction.
(But a good point.)

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Finished. See wiki on ladders.

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Thank you for your editing.

Here are some further suggestions:

  • “subject to the following limits:”
    Please change this to clarify “all of the following limits” or “any one or more of the following limits”.

  • “10 positions higher than you”
    Please edit to say clearly what this means: you can challenge anyone above you up to 10 positions above you, or you can challenge anyone starting 10 positions above you up to the top of the Ladder. (I don’t know which is true.)

  • “40% of the players above your position”
    Please make this clearer. I have NO idea what it means.

  • “5 positions lower than where you would be if the ladder was sorted by rating”
    Please clarify. Maybe add an example. I don’t understand this one either. Maybe the rules aren’t important and can be removed? Either delete them or make them clear, please.

  • “You cannot challenge someone again within 7 days of finishing your last game against them.”
    It might be helpful to include a rationale for this. It makes no sense to me. If both players enjoyed the game, why not re-challenge right away? Please explain.

  • “Ladder challenges are automatically accepted by the person you are challenging.”
    When you challenge, you are asked whether you are “ready to play”. Please explain what happens when you answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I don’t know the answer.

  • “If you wish to rejoin the ladder, you must do so from the bottom.”
    I don’t have any suggested edit, but this seems a harsh punishment for being away on vacation. Why not allow re-registration at the same Ladder position?

General: some of the topics I suggested are still missing. For example, it is important for ladder members to be aware of how Correspondence games work, if they have never played them before. Ladder games are restricted to Correspondence type. Also, the notification should be described, so Ladder members know how they will be notified of challenges. If they don’t know this, they may ignore the challenges, wasting other people’s time, up to 3 days each.