View Full Version : Grading in Go

19th November 2000, 21:27
how does grading in Go work? I know there are kyu and dan ranks just like gendai budo, but how is it determined what 'rank' you are?

Thanks for any help,


27th November 2000, 02:44
Howdy Nick!

I don't have an official rank (I'm not a member of any Go association), but here's what I know ... .All ranks (amateur and professional) are awarded by Go associations (ex. American Go Association - amateur, Nihon Kiin (Japanese amateur and professional), etc.

Usually ranks are awarded by reviewing games and results with other ranked players ... to determine where you fit in the ranking scale. So in the case of the American Go Association (AGA) ... I believe you need to play in AGA recognized games (tournaments, etc). Then a rank can be determined and awarded.

BTW, Professionals in Japan compete in the Oteai tournaments to determine rankings.

One important item of note ... ranking scales differ depending on the association. For example, Chinese and European rankings are known as fairly stiff. Korean rankings are on a very different scale. Japanese and American rankings are a little more lax compared to other. So ... you can't really compare unless you know what equivalent rankings are in other systems. Scales change over time too ... In Japan in the first part of the 20th century rankings were really stiff and now they're more wide open (there are alot more professional 9 dan players now than say 50 years ago). Stiff or lax ... doesn't really matter since it only matters that you play go (Lee ChangHo was only a 6? dan winning international tournaments - then they almost had to move him up to 9 dan - he is a brilliant player regardless of his rank). **Essentially, I think ranking systems only provide a gauge for personal progress.

Anyway ... you've probably noticed that Go server rankings vary quite a bit depending on the server. Doesn't matter just helps you find a suitable opponent (barring any sandbags) to play.

You probably already know the common Kyu / Dan rankings but here goes some general guidelines:

30 kyu beginner
1 kyu
1 dan expert level
7 dan maximum amateur dan level (may be 6 dan ?)
1 dan professional (must meet quality and age requirements)
9 dan maximum professional dan level

There can be some overlap in ability ... example: It is possible to have an amateur max out on amateur rankings, but may play at the level of a professional - in view of this I believe the the Nihon Kiin in Japan has awarded at least one 8 dan amateur ranking to a deserving individual.

Hope this helps.