I would like to have an idea of my level in go (in kyu). This would for instance help me choose the most appropriate go books to read. I would like to do this through playing against a program—because I can play anywhere anytime.

I read on Wikipedia that each difference of one point in kyu is equivalent to one stone of handicap, and also that one stone is valued to 13–16 points in score difference. So, if I knew the level of the program I play against, this would allow me to quickly adjust the handicap (depending on the score difference) so that games are balanced, and then counting one kyu of difference for each stone of handicap.

But what is the level of computer/tablet programs? Is there a reference somewhere, or some resources that would give some information on that? In my case, I would love to have some idea of the current level of Little Go on iOS (which is based on Fuego), for 19x19 go.

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    Though it would be a bit tedious, one way to test this would be to play a few games between Fuego and another bot with known level. You can easily find such bots on KGS. Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 15:56
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    As it is now, it seems this question is too specific and will quickly get outdated. Would you mind rewriting it, for instance along the lines of "How can I quickly estimate my level in Go?", that would allow for more broadly helpful answers, and your particular examples may still be mentioned, possibly with a date or version.
    – mafu
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 2:14
  • @Gregor, thanks, that's an idea. I guess someone has an idea about the level of Fuego on a tablet, though? Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 4:30
  • @mafutrct, this makes sense. I did edit my question. Before posting it, I looked for the posting guidelines but failed to do find them in a reasonable amount of time… :) PS: Ah… found the answers under "Help": boardgames.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic, boardgames.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask. Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 4:31

2 Answers 2


There are several rating systems, for most players their KGS rating and EGF rating will be different, and it can be different from national rating systems (e.g. it is often assumed that French and British ratings for the same player are 2 stones different). So, in a sense, your question cannot be answered unless you specify the rating system you want to be measured against.

The benchmark could be a KGS rating, because KGS is so widely used. The best way to know your rating is to play on KGS with the real players, and KGS will answer your question.

It might be more psychologically comfortable to play against robots, but, from a personal experience, I would not recommend it, they do not help you to improve at the rate that the games against humans will. Also, they have flaws that you might identify and this will allow you to win the games against these robots, but this won't translate in your improved ability to play against humans.

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    The question can be answered: it just has to specify a level along with its rating system (very much like units are important in a speed like 3 km/h). :) Also, playing a robot is more than psychologically more comfortable: it is also very convenient, as one can play anywhere, anytime, and even interrupt and restart a game if needed. That said, what you write about humans being more interesting opponents is very reasonable (and shared by many). Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 12:25
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    Yes, this is good way to rephrase my answer.
    – Yulia V
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 12:26

Usually when one has no hint about is level in go it's because he is just a beginner that is between 25 kyu and 15 kyu.

The level of Fuego on iOS is probably something between 3 kyu and 1 dan. So if you win at 9 handicap on 19x19 it's already very good on. If you success, try to decrease the handicap one stone each time.

For book reading really good books for beginners level are graded go problems for beginners volume 1 and volume 2

If you only can play against a computer and not on a server or in real (which are really better to learn), my advice would be to start at the lowest level at 9 handicap and decrease handicap every one or two win when you win 0 handicap increase the computer level and restart at 9 handicap. Be aware that only win/loss count. (especially against monte-carlo computer such as fuego which tend to reach a 0.5 point win).

A better time spent for improve when can't playing against real opponent is to do life and death problems like the ones are found in graded go problems for beginners.

A good tip to know an approx level in doing problems is http://goproblems.com/ (under the section go to problems) when you reach a plateau it's approx your level plus our minus 2 kyu. That should be enough to choose a book.

The really point for knowing your level is to choose a fair handicap against a an opponent you don't play often. When you play often against the same opponent the best is to change handicap every one or two consecutive win.

  • Thanks. I guess that the level of Fuego on iOS depends on the hardware running it. It also depends on Fuego's setting. What hardware were you referring to? and to what Fuego level setting (the default?)? Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 3:53
  • I spoke about the highest level settings in a typical tablet/phone hardware. There is really no point to use a computer to evaluate your level. Usually the ones which don't know their level are really beginners so somewhere between 15 kyu and 25 kyu Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 12:05
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    Thanks. The highest level varies quite a lot between programs, I guess, no? Little Go with its pondering mode puts a lot more power into playing than the maximum 24 seconds per move of SmartGo, for example. The comment about people who don't know their level (like me) is however not fully useful to me: I only don't know my level because I don't play games against ranked opponents (I can beat SmartGo at its 3rd highest level in even 19x19 games on a fast iPad, so I guess I don't fully qualify as a beginner). Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 13:51
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    I asked for your level directly to the software author twitter.com/Xavier_Combelle/status/566325976100253696 because I don't know the smartgo strength. Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 20:03
  • Thanks. Anders' answer is interesting, but a bit puzzling: programs on Go Servers do have a ranking. Maybe he meant that a program typically has weaknesses that, when exploited, can yield a completely different rank than its average rank?? Maybe a more correct answer is that it is not meaningful to rank oneself by comparison to a single opponent? Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 2:05

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