If we compare Elo(-like) ratings in chess and in go, we see that the highest ratings published for go (3621 for Ke Jie as of 2016-03-13 at goratings.org) are higher than those in chess (2851 for Magnus Carlsen as of 2016-03-01 at FIDE.com).
Is the best explanation one of the following suggestions, or something else?
- Go is in some sense better played than chess. While many in the West think of chess as the premier intellectual game, go has, I believe, been studied more intensively, had more support in Eastern culture than chess has where it is played and is financially more rewarding.
- Go is better at distinguishing slight differences in strength, e.g. because games are longer or because draws are rare (about 1 game in 50, I believe).
- There is some arbitrary difference in the way the Elo approach is applied to go and chess, e.g. an arbitrary baseline or scaling factor.
In any case, an explanation of how the rating system work and, if appropriate, interact with the nature of the games is needed to make an answer complete. If it is illuminating, a comparison with other games would also be welcome — for example, what would happen with ratings for a trivial game like noughts and crosses?
I realise that the systems are not intended for direct comparison, but I hope that they still allow some sort of conclusion to drawn. They are, after all, based on the same principles, though various parameters may be differently set.