Qualifications for Rated Games

The AGA accepts game results for rating from recognized clubs and tournament organizers.

Qualifications for Rated Games

Not all games qualify for AGA rating. The following are basic guidelines.

  • Players must know that a game will be rated before play begins.
  • Games must be played without assistance from other players, books, computers, notes, etc. There should be no talking or other interference while a game is in progress.
  • Games must be played with reasonable time controls that allow adequate thinking time, or with no time controls. The following are examples of time controls that are minimally acceptable.
    • 30 minutes per player plus Canadian style overtime of 20 stones in 5 minutes
    • 30 minutes plus byo-yomi of 20 seconds per play
    • 3 minutes plus 15 seconds added to the clock for every play completed
    • 45 minutes with no overtime (sudden death).
  • Games should be played in a place that enables an observer to verify the identities of the players and that the game was actually played seriously in a competitive spirit.

Generally, private matches and Internet games are not AGA rated because they usually do not meet these conditions.

Format and How to Submit

If you have not previously submitted data for rating, then you may need to introduce yourself and explain the context of the games.

Game results should be sent by e-mail to ratings@usgo.org which automatically reflects your e-mail to everyone who needs to work with the data.

Players deserve timely rating updates, and normally results should be submitted within a few days following a tournament. Data older than 30 days may be rejected, so do not delay and be disappointed. For example, if you run a monthly rating tournament, make sure that you submit results in time to update ratings before the next tournament.

The required format is so simple that, for a small number of games, you could just type the data as part of your e-mail message; larger tournaments typically use a computer program that does pairings and writes a results file which you can attach to your e-mail. The following is a minimal example, reporting two even games played at a club.

TOURNEY Princeton Go Club Rated Games, Princeton, NJ, June 15-30, 2004
        start=6/15/2004
        finish=6/30/2004
        rules=AGA
PLAYERS
 489 Matthews, Paul 4k
3199 Mott, Rick     4k
GAMES
489 3199 b 0 7
3199 489 w 0 7

The tournament or other event must be clearly identified, including the event name, location, start and finish dates, and rules of play (e.g., AGA, Ing, Japanese).

Each player must be identified by an AGA ID number, full name, and rank used for the event. If an ID number is not available then use a temporary number distinct in the range 90000-99999. We often have players with the same names, so include a postal address, email address or other information sufficient to identify the new member. A ratings query can be used to look up individual players or to download a complete membership list. All players must be AGA members in good standing at the time of the event. Players can join/renew and update membership data online, and should be encouraged to do so before the event. In case a player needs to join at the tournament site, the tournament registration form should include essential data needed for AGA membership; this also applies to so called "non members" who must provide the same data as members so that they can be clearly identified. Membership data can be sent together with other tournament data to ratings@usgo.org.

Each game record comprises White's ID, followed by Black's ID, who won (B for Black, W for White), the number of handicap stones, and the komi (recorded as integer equal to the number of prisoners Black would give White).

There's no difference to the system between 1 stone and 0 stones handicap. The ratings format's komi field indicates the (integer) number of prisoners that black gives to white at the beginning of the game. An extra-half point for white is automatically assumed so that white wins ties. If you're playing with a rule set where black wins ties then it's the same as reducing the integer komi by one and having white win ties.

These peculiarities are a result of the current ratings format is a historical thing from more than twenty (thirty) years ago when Japanese rules dominated.