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Amateur rank diplomas can be issued by the following:
- Professional organizations such as Nihon Kiin, China Weiqi Association and Hanguk Kiwon.
- Professional go players.
- Go schools.
- Online go servers such as Internet Go Server.
- National Go Federations
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.
IGS issues dan diplomas according to the IGS ranking system.
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.
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 will receive an 8th Dan diploma by the Nihon Kiin.
If You want to acquire a dan diploma during the Nihon Kiin ranking tournament, you need to score a certain amount of wins at the required level. 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)
You have to become a member of the Nihon Kiin (at least one Year, 5000 Yen, its ok to join after you qualify for the diploma)
Kyu Diplomas, 1st to 4th dan: Win at least 2 out of 4 games against players applying for the same dan rank.
5th to 7th dan: Having a diploma for the rank below the applied rank. Win at least 3 out of 5 games against players applying for the same rank.
Only 32 applicants will be admitted to the 7th Dan league, so only up to 16 new 7th Dan players will be promoted each tournament.
- Applicants for Kyu Diplomas (only 10 kyu or better): 2500 yen
- 1st to 4th Dan: 4500 yen
- 5th Dan: 5500 yen
- 6th Dan: 6500 yen
- 7th Dan: 12000 yen
The price list is staggered with respect to dan grades.