The first year of the professional promotion system in Europe
By Artem Kachanovskyi | European Pros | 29.12.2018 20:52| Views: 7408 | Comments: 8
As the year 2018 is coming to an end, we also mark 1 year since the professional promotion system was established in Europe.

I've been asked by several Go players:exactly how does the promotion system work? I guess, it's not just those few players who are wondering about that. So let me explain it in a few words.

First of all, why do we need a promotion system at all? My answer is that it's a natural part of the professional system. If a player becomes a pro, it's absolutely normal if over time he gets stronger and produces good results in tournaments, that he can move up the pro rankings: 2p, 3p, etc.

The hard part about setting it up is to make a set of formalized rules which would let the pro ranking reflect the improvement of player's skills in an adequate way. To become 8p in a few years after becoming pro would be too fast. But equally if it takes an eternity it isn't good either. Besides that, there are also professional systems in Asia and North America, and it would be good if our pros' ranking could be related somehow with the other pros in the World.

Taking into account all that was said, around 1 year ago such a set of rules was carefully designed. The author was mostly Mateusz Surma with a few remarks from the other European pros. The document was approved by the EGF board, and here it is.

For now I think we can call the promotion system an experimental one. It has never happened before for Europe to have the professional promotion system, and it's hard to predict how it's going to work in future. For now my feeling is that it works fine. By calling it experimental I mean to say that the system is not defined once and for-all with the given document. It's us who create the rules, and also it's us for whom the rules exist.

In a few words, the system works in the following way: pros collect points for beating the other pros in big official tournaments. Up until the rank of 4p players collect so-called "low-dan points" (LDP): 1 LDP for winning against another pro in the biggest European tournaments, 10 LDP for winning a tournament like the European Championship, the European Pro Championship, the Grand Slam, pr the Grand Prix Finale. From 5p and above, a pro has to collect "high-dan points" (HDP), these he gets by playing succesfully in the world pro tournaments. You can read about the system in detail in the official document, the link is given above.

As an example you can take a look at Ilya's promotional report.

By the way, the pro's web page was completely redesigned recently. There is now a table with some statistics and links. Besides that, each pro now has his own web page with some interesting content: photo, achievements, personal message, etc. You can navigate to a player's page by clicking on the player's name in the table. For example, here is Mateusz's page.

Let's make some summary of the first working year of the promotion system. We will simply take a look at each player, one by one, in the order of their promotion.

Right after the promotion system was established, Ilya calculated his points and it turned out that he became 2p long ago: after his 1st place in the European Professional Championship 2017 in St. Petersburg. Here is one of Ilya's games from that tournament, against Pavol:
Ilya was awarded his new status at the Grand Prix Finale 2018 in Olomouc, Czech Republic. By the way, Ilya is close to becoming 3p already.

Ilya making his way to 2p at European Professional Championship 2017

The next one was Pavol. He became 2p after winning against Eric Lui 1p (USA) at the 1st round of the 12th Chunlan Cup. Here is the game record: 
I became 2p after winning against Gansheng Shi 1p (Canada) at the Samsung Cup 2018 preliminaries:


Download Sgf-File
EGF awarding me at the EGC 2018 opening ceremony (Pisa, Italy)

As for Ali, he was too lazy to calculate his points until autumn 2018, and after he finally calculated them it turned out that he became 2p after winning the European Grand Prix Finale 2018 in December. Here is the final game in that tournament, which was actualy against me:
Lazy Ali making his way to 2p

Mateusz is missing just 1 point to become 2p.

Andrii collected a few points already, but he is not yet close to becoming 2p.

I guess that's it for now. Of course we are all looking forward to welcoming a new member to the pro team. The next pro qualification is coming soon: spring 2019!
The first year of the professional promotion system in Europe

This article was written by Artem Kachanovskyi

EGF professional Go player.
Born 12th December 1992.
Started to play Go in 1999.
Promoted to 1p in 2016, 2p in 2018, 3p in 2024.
Living in Ukraine, Kyiv.
All his articles on the EGF website.

Motoki Noguchi
03.01.2019 18:27
Great article as usual. May one of you achieve one day 9p with a victory in an international tournament !
03.01.2019 19:01
Thank You!
silviu brinzei
05.01.2019 15:18
What do you think of allowing amateurs to become pro by winning LDPs? (The rules for LDPs would be the same: win matches against pros). My proposal would be to become a pro by winning 30 LDPs. I believe it is much harder to acquire 30LDPs as an amateur than to win the professional qualification tournaments.

I did my own calculations here: As you can see it is very hard for amateurs to gain LDPs because the pros rarely lose.

Also, congratulation on your quick promotion.
05.01.2019 21:41
Thanks for your comment, Silviu.

First of all, impressive calculations.

That's not an easy question you ask. First of all, it's mostly our chinese sponsors (CEGO) who decide about such strategical things as the way people become pros in Europe.

The way you suggest seems interesting to me, but has it's obvious disadvantages. LDP's are cumulative, which means that some more or less successful amateur who beats pros sometimes can become pro with time too. Pro qualification seems to be a more competitive way. Also it's much more predictable for EGF, they can know how many professionals we are going to have in the closest future and, let's say, build some tournament systems.

Becoming a pro by passing, let's say, 30 LDP's, is an interesting idea because like this the system becomes self-controlling. Those players who are strong, become pro in time. But at the same time, what if those pros that are there now are just dominating? Then we will not see a new pro soon. And becoming a pro would give some new chance and impulse for a player who does it.

That's just my opinion. Of course, maybe some of the sponsors or EGF management members can read you proposal and take it in account, or you can contact them directly - there are some contacts at the website.
Lukáš Podpěra
06.01.2019 9:36
Very interesting idea, which is definitely worth to think about. If I'm not mistaken, such a similar system works in Korea. Mostly strong amateurs, who have already passed the age limit, can become pros like that. (Some also gained their points and eventually became pros by winning the WAGC.)
Btw. I'm missing 1 LDP from the EGC 2016 in your calculations. :) However, you did great job!

Super-cool article as usual, keep going! :)
I'm wondering, if it would be such a big problem to generate a new pro by the tournament results time to time. There can be someone unlucky who is strong enough and tried many times to pass the pro-qualification, but never succeeded. As we can see from Silviu's calculations, the process would be anyway very slow, so it could work as an alternative way to the pro-qualifications.
silviu brinzei
12.01.2019 15:15
Under my proposal, you could become a pro through the qualification tournament or accumulating 30 DPs. If someone accumulates LDPs to become Pro that year, then the qualification tournament would not occur. So the number of pros would be the same if the pros continue to dominate (as they do at the moment).

You are correct. I missed your win against Mateusz Surma in the small final of the 2016 EGC. Sorry about that. I hope I didn't miss anything else. :-)
12.01.2019 18:47
Cristian gained 3rd win in St Petersburg. (so it seems he has 10 pts actually)?

EGF could make limits to prevent "overload". For example:
1. only one pro from LDP per X (maybe 2?) years (this help to predict number of pros in the future)
2. LDP older than Y (maybe 10?) years are not counting (this help to eliminate cumulative effect)
silviu c brinzei
19.01.2019 15:46
PL, you are correct: I made several mistakes with Cristian Pop's results. So it turns out he has 11LDPs. He seems to do well against Pavol Lisy and Alexander Dinerstein.

And yes, EGF could put some limits to prevent inflation. But as you can see from those statistics, the limits are not really necessary, since the progress is very slow. Amateurs have fewer opportunities to gain LDPs and the pros don't lose.

It is "easier" (if you can call it that) to become a pro by winning the qualification tournament than through earning LDPs.

The same is true for Korea (which seems to be the only other country to allow gaining pro status by winning against pros. I know of only one player (Cho Insun) who became pro that way in the last few years. As you can see in, that was back in 2011.
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