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My thoughts on 81dojo's rating system
margoth (2362) ☗5☗8☗82017-03-14 22:32
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.
6: ThePharmacist (1278) ☗8☗5☗92021-06-21 04:04
This topic is very interesting. Thank you for sharing.
5: adxxx (1701) 2020-05-15 21:13
Ratings in shogi is a messy story.

My suggestion is to purely ignore them and just enjoy the game.

Handicap games vs a professional, maybe be the one universal standard. E.g. I have beat two times pros with rook and bishop handicap, so I am considered to be around 1-2 dan player.

I prefer longer time controls (I am also a chess player, used to 2 hours for 40 moves with 1 extra hour for the rest of game time controls). 

Defending/positional players usually prefer longer time controls


attacking/tactical players usually prefer shorter time controls.
4: Berni314 (1694) 2017-07-19 02:41
Hi laanan,

not knowing about (different) rating/grade-systems has nothing to do with being a (shogi-)idiot.
That's always a difficulty (but interesting) topic.

Even me (interested in mathematics and game-rating-systems) was worried about your changes in rating.
But being lucky, I remembered about rating/grade on 81dojo.

Your rank is at a threshold, close to reach next level:

On 81dojo there is a (strange - in my eyes) system of handling this system.
Before promoting/demoting to next rank, your rating will stay at the same level. You need to make at lest 2 coherent wins.
You can read about it here:

In my view, bundling rating and rank is a very bad idea, because they have different meaning.
Unfortenately almost all shogi-sites are doing in this way.
The only one I know doing other are Shogi-Quest (but has other dissadvantages) and Shogi-Wars.

3: laanan (1209) 2017-07-18 10:35
Hello Margoth,

I am a low-rank weak beginner who should be a lot better given how long I have been playing. Over the past couple years, I have been playing more often, and I have seen some improvement (but not as much as I would like).

I play on mainly on Shogi Quest, but also on 81Dojo, and I had a question about the ranking system on 81Dojo, which led me to your post. For what it's worth, I'll make a comment alongside my qustion, too. ;-)

On Shogi Quest, I am a 5 kyu on 5 min sudden death (and I think on 10 min, too). On 81 Dojo, I am a 7 kyu. I like to think of the byo yomi option on 81 Dojo as being more true, but I find that I seem to win/lose to the same kinds of opponents on both servers. The sudden death and other rules on Shogi Quest seem to kind of wash/average out over enough games to make it so that I end up being ranked similar to people who I can beat and who can beat me, depending on who plays worse. The sudden death thing makes it convenient to play during a coffee break, which means I play more shogi. I still consider 81Dojo the apex, though.


So over the last 4 games or so, my score seems to not change reasonably given the rank and score difference between me and my opponent. I won against a 3 kyu, and my score went from 1148 to 1149. Then I lost to a 3 dan, and my score went down to 1148, and then I won again (I think against a 1 kyu), and I went back up to 1149. My expectation was that, if I was winning against players of much higher rank, my score gains would be larger, but perhaps that was a misconception? Not that rank or score is really why I am playing, that is...(actually I just want to start feeling like less of a shogi-idiot). 

Anyhow, I love shogi!
2: Berni314 (1694) 2017-03-15 17:40 (2017-03-15 17:41に編集)
Hi margoth,

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

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 ( , 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.

1: jumi (1515) 2017-03-15 05:27
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.