My thoughts on 81dojo's rating system
I have been hearing speculations about how the rating system in 81dojo is too lenient, awarding players with a higher skill grading than they deserve. Thus, I would like to join in the discussion and give my opinion on this topic.
Looking up the profiles of a couple of friends on 81dojo and other online playing websites/apps, I conclude that NO correlation can be found between the 2 rating systems. Some of my friends are 3~4 dan on wars, and 5dan on 81dojo, while others are only 1~2dan on 81dojo despite being 3dan on wars. So, what is the cause of this discrepancy?
Taking a look across other shogi playing websites, one will notice that 81dojo is the only one that offers long time games. in Shogiquest /ShogiWars, the longest time setting is 10 minutes sudden death, with more ridiculous options like 5 or 3 min sudden death, or 10s byo. 81Dojo is the only website that offers up to 15-60byo for rated games (used to be even longer) and the minimum time setting is 0-30byo. Hence, I believe that the rating discrepancies between different online websites can be best explained by how good a player is in long time games RELATIVE to short time games.
Long time games is a test of a player's calculation, mental stamina as well as his patience. To perform well, you have to make sure that the move sequences you read are sufficiently accurate, which involves a great amount of thinking. On the other hand, short time games is a flurry of speed, intuition and confidence. You don't need to make moves that are good, but simply moves that LOOK good. Without sufficient time to think, your opponent is very likely to let your mistakes slide. By playing quickly and aggressively, you are also projecting a confident and dominating image, impacting your opponents psychologically.
This hypothesis agrees well with my data. I noticed that those players who are assessed higher on Wars tend to play really aggressively, and they also rely greatly on their intuition, making moves in 1~2 seconds. Personally, I am not an offensive player, and neither do I like to rely on my intuition. Even when I know what moves to make in a certain position, I prefer to check carefully before making the move. Hence, I tend to perform consistently worse in ridiculously short time games.
There are some who believe that your skill in shogi is determined by how fast you can play and how good your intuition is. On the other hand, some think that blitz shogi is not shogi, and thus being good at blitz games means nothing. Personally, I believe that both factors are important in determining a player's skill in shogi. Therefore, my conclusion is that no online rating system can give a complete representation of a player's skill. At best, you may take the average of your rating on 81dojo and another shogi website as an estimation of where you stand.
indeed, the thinking time has a very big influence about the playing strength.
For that reason, in chess there are separate ratings for standard, rapid and blitz by FIDE
Also Shogiquest and ShogiWars uses 3 separate ratings (maybe call them blitz, bullet and lightning speed like on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_chess#Blitz).
Only ratings of similar time-speed should be compared - mixing them together is not a good idea.
There were also suggestions to use different rating-groups on 81dojo, but declined by Hidetchi (I assume for reason of shogi culture and history).
81dojo is not the only one with long time limits:
Popular 24ShogiDojo also offers 30+60 time control.
Also shogionline (http://shogionline.jp , web-play, android, ios, ...) offers long-time-limit, but it's only in Japanese language, so not well known in Europe.
And one thing about a weakness in the rating system of ShogiWars:
to reach higher ranks, you have to win more consecutive games, for example 5 in a row.
If possible, you'll be paired against players of same level, where it will be very hard to win 5 games in a row.
Earlier, when there were less players there, it happend more often you'll be paired with weaker players, because no player with similar level as yours is waiting.
But the more players are playing there, the more chance you have to play against a player of same strength, the less the possibility to raise in rank.
About myself: I have the SAME rank on Shogiquest as on ShogiWars in 10 min/game group (other time settings I'm not playing)
On 24SD I haven't played since a very long time (so my rating there is lower).
And on 81Dojo I haven't also played since a long time. My rating there is higher, but I would guess it would shrink - still I'm not sure, why I really belive so. (By the way: being afraid my raiting will shrink is not the reason I did no longer play there: the reason are mainly the bad colors and less contrast for pieces and board.)
Finally, I also have a FESA-rating, but played too less games and because of always playing against a few same players and my limited variety of variants, my rating there is much lower.
Being a defensive player I also find this topic very interesting.
I've been playing on 81 Dojo for a while now and enjoy that there's an option to play "longer" matches.
Just recently, fellow shogi friends convinced me to download ShogiWars and I was utterly butchered in a series of 10sec games. What is odd is that I enjoyed it a bit. The quick pacing is something completely new to me as a shogi player and it takes away the pressure I feel in regular games even on 81Dojo. I think this is a huge benefit of ShogiWars and games of that sort.
HOWEVER, only recently I played against an avid proponent of ShogiWars and defeated him without much effort at a tournament even though his European score is about as high as mine.
When the game came to a close, my opponent had barely made use of his time while I, on the other hand, was in the single digits. I believe ShogiWars serves as sufficient training for the opening and situations where you're in Byoyomi but may be a curse to you if you compete in regular tournaments. Playing such fast paced matches might also lead to you making careless decisions.
This is why I share your view on the various rating systems but conclude that for European players the rating on ShogiWars isn't worth very much as the skills needed to play such games aren't what is predominantly required at tournaments.