Rank defines how strong you are at go. The higher the rank you are, the more handicap stones you can give to your opponents (or the less you take against stronger opponents). The ranks are usually as follows:

  • 30 kyu (30k) complete beginner
  • 29 kyu
  • 28 kyu
  • 27 kyu
  • 10 kyu
  • 9 kyu (9k) intermediate
  • 8 kyu
  • 7 kyu
  • 1 kyu
  • 1 dan (1d) strong
  • 2 dan
  • 3 dan
  • 6 dan
  • 7 dan
  • 8 dan
  • 9 dan (9d) extremely strong

Some ranking systems start lower than 30 kyu or end lower than 9 dan. For example, AGA ranking only goes to 7 dan.

The difference between 5k and 2k would be 3 ranks, or 3 stones placed on the board before the game begins (handicap stones), as would the difference between 1k and 3d or 3d and 6d. You can obtain your rank by playing in AGA tournaments in person or online in a go server. Most of us at the go club use our online rankings to determine handicap until we play each other enough that we know how much stronger one of us is.