Rank Diploma

Table of contents

Chinese: 证书 - zhèngshū
Japanese: 免状 (menjou)
Korean: -

A rank diploma or rank certificate is a certification of one's strength in go. An amateur 1-dan diploma from the China Weiqi Association can be seen [ext] here.


Amateur rank diplomas can be issued by the following:

There are a number of ways to get one's rank assessed. These include:

  • Tournaments. These can include ordinary tournaments, but there are also tournaments organized specifically for ranking players. Some go servers such as the Internet Go Server treats online games as a "tournament" and can issue diplomas based on one's rank on the server by paying a fee.
  • Assessment by professionals. Typically, this involves paying a professional for a one-to-one handicap game, so that the rank can be estimated. It can also be in the form of a written test (see below), but the one-to-one game is far more common.
  • Written tests. This test contains a number of go problems, and the rank is estimated by the performance in the test. Such a test is often administered by a professional, and can be taken standalone by paying a fee or is included as a final component of a go class.

Amateur high dan diplomas are often reserved for players who have achieved an exceptional standard. For example, in Japan, the amateur 8 dan diploma is issued to the winner of the World Amateur Go Championship, Amateur Honinbo and the national champion; it is hardly possible to achieve a 8 dan diploma through other means.

In some countries, such as Japan, rank diplomas up to the low dans are said to be rather easily acquired, and results in rank inflation in those countries. As some Go associations use rank diploma to generate monetary income, such associations tend to issue rank diplomas fairly leniently.

While having a rank diploma holds some level of prestige and indicates a particular level of playing strength, note that not having a rank diploma does not necessarily imply weaker playing strength. For instance, there are many players from China who easily have Chinese 4-dan strength without having a rank diploma, for reasons such as not having physical access to an authority that can issue one, the monetary expense required to obtain one, or simply not seeing the need to get one.

How to get a diploma

IGS dan diplomas

IGS issues dan diplomas according to the IGS ranking system.

Diplomas issued by professionals

In Japan amateurs can qualify for rank diplomas by playing games with professionals specifically for this purpose. The fees for this service tend to be fairly high.

Diplomas issued by professional organisations

The Chinese professional organisation issues dan diplomas, for example Igor Grishin has one. The Nihon Kiin has several ways of issuing dan diplomas, one being the ranking tournament explained below. The winner of the WAGC receives an 8th Dan diploma from the Nihon Kiin.

Nihon Kiin Ranking Tournament

To acquire a dan diploma in the Nihon Kiin ranking tournament, you have to score a certain number of wins at the required level.


You do not have to be a member of the Nihon Kiin to play in the tournament. But you do have to be a member to receive a dan diploma. You have to become a member of the Nihon Kiin for at least one year. The cheapest membership is "support member" which is ¥ 3,300 per year [ext] (as of 2022). You are allowed to join after you qualify for the diploma.

  • Kyu Diplomas: Win at least 2 out of 4 games against players applying for the same rank. Nihon Kiin membership is not required.
  • 1st to 4th dan: Win at least 2 out of 4 games against players applying for the same rank. Nihon Kiin membership is required.
  • 5th to 7th dan: Have a diploma for the rank below the rank you apply for; win at least 3 out of 5 games against players applying for the same rank.
    • Only 32 applicants are admitted to the 7th Dan league, so at most 16 new 7th Dan players can be promoted in each tournament.

Tournament Fees (as of 2022)

The tournament fees differ by location. These are the tournament fees at the Nihon Kiin at Tokyo.

  • Applicants for Kyu Diplomas (only 10 kyu or better): ¥ 3,000
  • 1st to 4th Dan: ¥ 5,000
  • 5th Dan: ¥ 6,000
  • 6th Dan: ¥ 7,000
  • 7th Dan: ¥ 10,000

The price of the diploma depends on your performance. If you score more wins than required, you only have to pay half the fee, or no fee at all if you win all your games (a ¥ 500 postage fee still applies).

[ext] Diploma Fees (as of 2022)
Rank Full fee Half fee No fee
7th Dan ¥ 550,000 ¥ 275,000 ¥ 500
6th Dan ¥ 220,000 ¥ 110,000 ¥ 500
5th Dan ¥ 110,000 ¥ 55,000 ¥ 500
4th Dan ¥ 66,000 ¥ 33,000 ¥ 500
3rd Dan ¥ 55,000 ¥ 27,500 ¥ 500
2nd Dan ¥ 44,000 ¥ 22,000 ¥ 500
1st Dan ¥ 33,000 ¥ 16,500 ¥ 500
9th to 1st Kyu ¥ 5,500 ¥ 2,750 ¥ 500
30th to 10th Kyu ¥ 2,200 ¥ 1,100 ¥ 500

The heading "fees" is unclear. These actually look like the fees for playing in the tournament rather than the prices of the diplomas, which are very expensive, as shown [ext] here. Richard Hunter 2006-06-10

Rank Diploma last edited by on May 7, 2022 - 12:10
RecentChanges · StartingPoints · About
Edit page ·Search · Related · Page info · Latest diff
[Welcome to Sensei's Library!]
Search position
Page history
Latest page diff
Partner sites:
Go Teaching Ladder
Login / Prefs
Sensei's Library