We-Go “Dan” & “Kyu” Level Introduction

Go is a strategic board game involving two people who take turns placing stones on a 19 x 19 grid board. In Eastern Culture, it is referred to as ‘Yi’ and in Western culture it’s referred to as ‘Go’. Go is particularly prominent in China, Japan and Korea, where many of the today’s top pros originate from, and is a classical art treated on the same level as calligraphy and poetry. The game of Go originated in China, where it rose to fame in Japan during the Sui and Tang Dynasties and finally gained notoriety in Europe and the United States. Go is the embodiment of wisdom by being the world’s best most complex strategy game, is one of the foundations of Chinese culture and civilization, and contains a rich connotation of Chinese Culture. Nowadays, with the emergence of AlphaGo, a Google based artificial intelligence company, the popularity of Go has roared to new levels of fame.

With the increase of Go players, Go has entered into a very competitive era. In order to standardize a player’s level, the Go Association has established the Go rank. The players are first divided into two categories: Amateurs and professionals. The professional level only includes levels: 1P, 2P, etc. The amateur phase includes Segments and levels, such as 30K, 29K, 1D, 2D. The levels are as follows: Kyu, Amateur Dan, Professional Dan.

Amateur Kyu Level Ranks:

The ranks of Amateur players vary slightly around the world, but are broadly divided into levels 1 through 25, with level 1 being the highest level of the amateur rank and 25 being the lowest. In Competition settings, the ranks are divided into 7 levels, namely Level 1, Level 2, Level 5, Level 10, Level 15, Level 20, and Level 25. These are the best grading standards for beginners.

Amateur Dan Level Ranks

  • The order of amateur rankings is from low to high, with the lowest grade in 1D and the highest grade in 9D, generally expressed in Arabic numerals. Starting from the first rank, the go players need to participate in regular uphill games to improve their Go rank. Amateurs can climb to reach 5D. To reach this stage, players need to prove to have a certain degree of skill in Go. In addition, they also have the qualifications to participate in professional qualifying competition.
  • To obtain 6D, players will need to get a high rank in provincial competitions.

Players need to win national championships in order to obtain 7D.

  • It is very difficult to get 8D. You need to participate and win a world-class go-go competition. Because the world amateur competition is relatively rare, it is very difficult to get a 8D title.

Amateur 9 is often the title of honor, and players cannot win games to obtain this title.

  • Players who reach amateur level of 6 or above all have strong strength in Go. From a strength point of view, they all have reached professional standards.

Professional Ranks:

  • A professional rank in Go symbolises a player’s professional standing. The rank of professional go players is from low to high: 1P, 2P, 3P,4P, 5P, 6P, 7P, 8P, 9P. To reach this stage the professional ranks, players needs incomparable amounts of strength. It is quite common in Go for players with 1P rank to win over 9P ranks in tournaments. In professional levels, one’s level does not symbolise the amount of strength they possess
  • To become a professional player, you need to have the title of 5D before you can qualify for the annual “Go Qualifying” Exam, commonly known as Go college entrance examinations. “Sessions” divided into qualifiers and finals; the qualifier draws the top 100 players from among hundreds of high-level players into the finals, and then invites the top 50 finalists to participate in the final. The top 20 finalists will qualify as professional players. Therefore, becoming a professional player is not only just pure strength. But mentality, physical strength, compressive ability are all important aspects to become a professional player.


The above is the Go “Ranking” profile. Go tournaments is the affirmation of the players strengths and accomplishments. It is also a great opportunity to gain tournament experience. Finally, it is a great way to accumulate the development of Go.