This can only be described as an illness.
Best cure: Not to play online for a spell.
Confused: Another cure is to play games against under-rated people. This way, the rank drops again a little and loses some of its shine. At least in my case, it cured me of chasing rank. Better be a under-rated 20 kyu than a fraud 10 kyu.
(Sebastian:) How do you know someone is underrated? Besides, if they subsequently move to their correct rating, then your rating goes up, even if you don't play online for a spell!
Dolgan: Yesterday I twice played a 19k? on KGS who beat me up like it was my first game. Later I discovered he had only one lost game while about 30 won games. Since most of his games were free his rank wonŽt move and heŽll stay underrated. I believe you can detect underrated people if their win/loss ratio is very high
"Mrkibbles": The best way i noticed to get rid of this was never have a rank at all jsut close it [-] i found that to be very effectice for a long time t
MrShin: Yea, but the only problem with having a - rank is that no one will play you unless your rank is well known. Even then, it's hard to get games. I'd say the best thing is to have multiple accounts. BUT... be reasonable. Use the accounts for different purposes: blitz, casual, serious, etc. But three should be the absolute max accounts. I have three and it's a bit much. But ever once in a while I like to open my blitz account and play a couple of games, so it's not too bad. But if you worry about rank, switch accounts. I don't know why, but it helps sometimes. Hell, that's why the MrShin account was created in the first place. I was in a slump with my phrea account, so I made another. Got my confidence back and now I'm fine.
Malweth: Go is a game very much related to one's state of mind. This is not just one's psychological state due to events outside the game, but also one's ego concerning the game. I find I play best when I'm not thinking "I'm the best 7k in the world" and instead concentrate on the game itself.
Under or over estimating your abilities have the same effect. With the former, you assume you're a poor player (often with respect to your opponent) so you play poorly. With the latter, you assume you're better than your opponent (or just good overall) and mistakenly realize that you don't need to read as hard as you can and that overplays will be overlooked by your opponent.
I've come to the conclusion that this isn't exactly an illness but instead a big part of the game. Learning go is in part a technical study and in part an internal study. Learning to not really care what your rank is (but to only use it to get equal games) can be learned many ways including (but not limited to) taking a break from online play. Hopefully this is a big part of the step toward shodan because I've been doing better at controlling this lately :D
The most rating paranoid people on KGS are usually those with a [-]. They can't stand seeing their rank falling once in a while. -- Tapir