Playing Strength and Gender


Table of contents


  1. There are over 100 male 9 dan players in Japan as of August 2010. There are additional male 9 dan players in China and Korea.
  2. There are four female 9 dan players, Rui Naiwei, Feng Yun, Park Jieun, and Cho Hye-yeon as of December 2010 in China, Japan and Korea.
  3. One open professional title has been won by a female player (Kuksu by Rui Naiwei in 2000) as of August 2010.
  4. There are fewer female players than male players.

Hypotheses and Predictions

  1. If there is no difference in playing strength between male and female players, the average ELO value of female players should not differ from the average ELO value of male players.
  2. If there is no difference in playing strength between male and female players, the ratios "open titles won by male players/open titles won by female players" in a given timeframe should be proportional to the ratio of "number of participating male players/number of participating female players" in said timeframe, assuming there were no other relevant factors (such as age, for example).


  1. Professional results[1], European Go Database and AGA Go Database are available for further inquiry. Sex and ELO

Comparing Male and Female Professionals

The following graph was constructed according to data on 783 professional players (131 of which women)[2]. The average ELO is higher for male professionals than for female professionals (M_male=3095, SD_male=178, SE_male=6.96 vs. M_female=2916, SD_female=144, SE_female=12.58).

As of Nov 27th, 2015, the highest rated female Go professional is Yu Zhiying[3]. According to the game record consisting of 204 games where her opponent's sex could be readily identified, her winrate against other female professionals is 73% (95-35) whereas her winrate against male professionals is 42% (31-43).

Research Books and Articles

See also

[1] Example sources:, [ext]

[2] Source: on Oct. 30, 2015.

[3] [ext]

Playing Strength and Gender last edited by tapir on August 25, 2017 - 10:41
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