There is no handicap stones

@anoek Thank you very much!!! :hugs::hugs::hugs::hugs::hugs:


Thank you for the fast reaction. :+1:


Smurph answered this already, and it is off-topic, but one thing that smurph didn’t say is why one stone equals one kyu.

This is because the whole rating system is based on this conversion. If we all played handicap all the time, it would be obvious: if you are 1 kyu above someone and can’t beat them with one stone, then you lose and you fall down your ranking. You will not move up one kyu until you can beat someone at your current rank with one stone.

The whole handicap and ranking system is based on this.

The strange thing is that especially at OGS we don’t play much handicap, so the conversion is (a) not so obvious and (b) not strongly calibrated in this way.

The calibration is that we loosely align our ranks with other servers that do play lots of handicap.

Loose being the operative word.


For a more accurate kyu /stone system we could enforce all rated games are handicap, but I do not believe anybody is advocating for this currently and much prefer the flexibility to play rated with or without handicap and to simply put up with a little imbalance in the synchronisation of the ratings

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What GaJ didn’t mention is that theoretically, if you’re “n stones stronger”, you’re expected to win 50% of (corresponding handicap) games. Winning only 33% (despite “being able to beat them on a 1-stone handicap”) would mean the difference in rank is about n-1 stones. It’s worthy to note that some people of the same rank may very well have such lopsided winrates against certain opponents. That’s why it’s best for the rating system as a whole if people play as many different opponents as possible, otherwise you get something I’d call “rank islands” where rank isn’t very predictive of performance against non-islanders.

If the system enforced handicap, it would be difficult to quickly ascend/descend ranks for new accounts and in general would make ratings slower to change. Though some people would apparently like that. :wink:

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Hmm, probably unrelated, but I have created 2 custom game challenges with handicap an hour ago or so. One of the games now started and it is not a handicap game. I have no means to prove with 100% certainty that I actually did set handicap to auto in the challenge, but I did created both challenges in direct succession and the other still shows that auto setting, so the chances that I mis-remember are low.

The other player still shows ? as the rank. Might that be the reason?

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@richyfourtytwo There are no mediums here, so linking to both games would be great. And it’s better to make sure that you put an automatic handicap in the “problem” game.

That game. You can look up people’s screen names and see what games they’re playing, if your interested.

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Thanks, ckersch88, and yes, I could/should have linked myself.

The other one is still an open challenge, no idea how I could link to that, but it’s in the list still.

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Oh, I fear I don’t get the second sentence.

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So post link here when that challenge is accepted.

Has been accepted now:

All fine with this one.

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I’m glad that everything worked out. It seems that there is nothing to discuss.

Ummm, how so? The issue with the first game is still there.

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You mentioned that you are not sure about the fact that you put an automatic handicap in that game. Since the second game is all right, then most likely there was no automatic handicap in the first game.

Sorry, but no. I am working in software development myself, so I know that people often claim to have done things which they actually haven’t. That’s why I basically always add that disclaimer when I talk about what I remember. But I created those two in direct succession and that makes it very very unlikely that I changed the settings in between. (The software remembers the setting.) If someone looks up logs and tells me I indeed did change them, fine, I’ll accept that. But I am still 99% sure there is a problem.

And I’m not upset or anything, I can play an even game instead or I can cancel the game and send a new challenge to that opponent. In that sense I indeed have no problem. Still I believe it makes sense to point out potential flaws in the software, even if I’m only 99% sure about them.

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if i win or lose a handicapped game, is it treated as an equal ranked game in the scoring or the original rank of the player is used?

i would expect it to be equal, mathematically speaking, but you can’t be too careful when it comes to programming.


In the forum are some posts about the ranking system. But I found no definite answer weather handicap games are scored as equal or not.

This are the best posts I found about rating and handicap:

On github is an open issue about missing documentation about how the ranking system works


Yes, if you win (or lose) a game that had an automatic handicap enabled (custom would obviously be a different story) the game is treated as against an equal rank.


So you’re teasing my curiosity: what about custom handicap?