World Ranking History
Microsoft has not endorsed a minesweeper world ranking, but the de facto ranking is hosted by Authoritative Minesweeper. The ranking started in April 2000 and in October 2012 was accepted by Guinness World Records. This article provides an overview of the many different rankings that have existed. Most of the websites in this article have been archived and are now hosted on this site.
 (1990-1995) - Informal Rankings
Minesweeper records are as old as minesweeper. A search of archived Usenet posts returns more than half a million results for 'minesweeper', with the earliest Windows Minesweeper scores being shared in 1992.
The first known ranking was created on 23 Mar 1993 by Sanjay Shah (USA). He posted a request in the Usenet group comp.sys.ibm.pc.games asking for scores, and two weeks later posted the results. This ranking included 26 players and was sorted by the Expert score, often providing scores for the other levels as extra information. The best player was Wu Liu with 80-25-5, and this was the only player with a Sub100 score. The ranking was never updated. Players continued to discuss and occasionally share scores in various Usenet groups, but there was no organisation of scores and no further lists or rankings.
 (1996-1998) - Expert World Records
The first maintained minesweeper ranking was created in April 1996 by Wacharin Wichiramala (Thailand) with progamming help from Peder Skou (Norway). Expert scores less than 100 seconds were listed on his Expert World Records site. Screenshots were optional and games lost on the last click were accepted. Wacharin maintained the list while studying mathematics at the University of Illinois, but retired after suspecting some of the scores were fake. His final update on 20 Jan 1998 listed 146 players from 20 countries, with five players having broken the Minute Barrier.
 (1998-1999) - The Next Generation
The dead 'Expert World Records' site remained the most important ranking until 2000. As the world wide web became more popular many sites tried to replace it, with limited success:
Chris Paradise (USA) started the Intermediate Minesweeper World Records site on 20 Jan 1998, the same day Wacharin made his last update. Chris had been the highest ranked Expert player with a 51 and was studying chemistry at Harvard University. He accepted scores less than 30 seconds and managed to rank 23 players before abandoning his site in February 1999. The ranking listed 8 Sub20 players, the best being Sean Reynolds (USA) with a 17.
Clint Olsen (Canada) was ranked with a 24 on the 'Intermediate Minesweeper World Records' site and he started an Expert ranking at 'Minesweeper Central'. The ranking eventually listed 9 players, the best being Marc Schouten (Netherlands) with a 70. This appears to be the first ranking where pictures were mandatory. The earliest copy of the site is from September 1998 and the last update took place in January 1999. (Strangely, the site lists Chris Paradise with an 82 despite linking to his site and 'Expert World Records'.)
Jean-François Desclaux (France) started a minesweeper ranking in March 1999 at Chez Démineur. In its first year it accepted scores only from French players, but in 2000 players from Authoritative Minesweeper started submitting scores. This site was the first to collect scores for each level and had a separate ranking for each. The best scores were ultimately 1 (Damien Moore, Canada), 15 (Pascal de Guelis, France) and 51 (David Barry, Australia). There were no time limits. The ranking stopped in 2002 when players moved to a new French ranking, Planète Démineur.
Ryan Gazder (India) started an Expert ranking in 1999 and named it the 'Minesweeper Top 50'. He borrowed scores from the old Expert ranking and accepted new submissions. The site did not become popular, and when Ryan discovered 'Authoritative Minesweeper' in 2000 he joined and deleted his pages.
 (2000-2004) - Authoritative Minesweeper
Damien Moore (Canada) created Authoritative Minesweeper (AMS) on 6 Apr 2000 after failing to find a current minesweeper ranking. He started collecting scores for each level and during the summer created the first ranking to combine scores from each level and rank by sum. The world ranking page was originally called "The World's Top 10 Minesweeper Professionals", but the number kept increasing and soon it simply became the "World Ranking". To be listed on the world ranking you required a sum below 100 seconds, and to be listed on level rankings you required 6, 35 and 99 respectively.
 (2001-2004) - More Rankings
Matt McGinley (USA) created the Intermediate Hall of Fame in April 2001. This resulted from frustration at the slow rate of updates at Authoritative Minesweeper (caused by Damien being grounded from the internet by his parents). The site featured two rankings; the first listed all known Sub20 Intermediate players, the second was a world ranking of the 'Top 20' players by sum. The last update occured in November 2002 and listed 34 Sub20 players topped by Matt and his famous 10 on the Dreamboard, and a 'Top 20' ranking dominated by Lasse Nyholm (Denmark) with 1-12-43.
Grégoire Duffez (France) started a ranking in Sept 2001 at Planète Démineur. The site accepted only French players and ranked the best 50 players sorted by sum. It also provided score lists for each level and profiles for players, linking to screenshots of their games. The success of the site caused the demise of the original French ranking.
A group of players started the Active Ranking in January 2002, ranking players based on their best Intermediate and Expert score made during every two weeks. This has never been a world ranking, but it is still a popular ranking for active players to compete against each other.
Georgi Kermekchiev (Bulgaria) started the Bestever ranking in August 2002. The ranking copied scores from all known minesweeper sites and used the same format as Authoritative Minesweeper. The first ranking listed 120 players and the final ranking in June 2004 listed 261 players with Sub100 totals. The list was updated every two weeks on average, emailed to the best players and uploaded to Minesweeper Addicts.
Ruan Yi (China) joined the world ranking and then started the first Chinese ranking. The earliest surviving copy is from May 2003 and the last from December 2004. The site provided an Intermediate ranking with 30 players and an Expert ranking with 43 players. The best scores were 14 by two players and 48, but the latter is now proven to be a faked video.
Roman Gammel (Russia) started a Russian ranking in November 2003. Players from any former Soviet nation are ranked by sum if less than 120 seconds. Originally hosted at gammel.pisem.net it is currently at minesweeper.ru. The last update occured in March 2010 and listed 133 players.
 (2004-2006) - Two World Rankings
Damien continued to update the world ranking at AMS, but it was a year out-of-date due to a backlog of emails. The most accurate ranking was the Bestever list, and in June 2004 Grégoire agreed to maintain both the Bestever and the Active Ranking at Planète Démineur. At the same time, Damien started clearing the email backlog and in October 2004 announced the AMS ranking had been updated.
This resulted in two different world rankings. Planète had a smaller world ranking featuring more clone scores, multiple Minesweeper Clone rankings and a French ranking. Authoritative had a larger world ranking, rankings for each country, custom rankings, a female ranking and scorelists for each level. Planète accepted scores from its Forum while Authoritative accepted scores from the Guestbook. Both sites had the same core of players but often with different scores, as they agreed not to copy scores from each other. Additionally, each site had players unique to its own ranking. Planète emerged as the site with the most accurate ranking, and many players started referring to it as the official ranking.
This changed when Grégoire started a medical internship and updates at Planète became rare, prompting him to delegate Andrew McCauley (Australia) to maintain the Best Ever list in November 2006. The last update occured in April 2007. This shifted the momentum back to Authoritative Minesweeper, where Damien launched an intense upgrade of the world rankings.
 (2007-2010) - AMS, IMC, Russia and China
Shen-Jia Zhang (China) created the Chinese ranking at saolei.net in January 2007 and made rapid progress. In its first year the site saw more than 500,000 visitors and the rankings grew to over 300 registered players. The ranking only accepted scores made on Clone 0.97 due to Clone 2007 not working on most Chinese computers.
With the demise of Planète, Authoritative became the sole world ranking but did not copy scores from other sites. A comparison of the different rankings on 1 Sept 2007 showed that 810 players had Sub100 sums and qualified for the ranking but AMS only listed 550, Planète listed 428, the Chinese ranking listed 90 and the Russian ranking listed 83. The following month the Russian ranking started forwarding scores to AMS, and soon after Grégoire gave AMS permission to copy all scores from Planète.
Christoph Nikolaus (Austria) re-started the Active Ranking at minesweeper.cc in April 2007. As part of his vision for the IMC he copied the world ranking in January 2008, but this led to a dispute and his resignation a few months later. The Active Ranking continued to automatically update despite the site having died, and in January 2010 the Active Ranking moved to AMS for the first time.
 (2011-2013) - China and the World
By the start of 2011 there were only two active minesweeper rankings, the World ranking and the Chinese ranking. The two sites communicate but do not share scores. A major difficulty is the language barrier and the fact that until July 2013 the Chinese ranking only accepted scores made with Clone 0.97, a version the World ranking banned several years earlier.
A comparison of the sites on 13 Nov 2011 showed the World ranking with 1112 players and the Chinese ranking with 528 Sub100 sum players, but only 97 on both rankings. The situation continued to get worse, and by the end of 2013 the World ranking had 1256 players and the Chinese ranking 619, with only 116 players on both rankings. The main difficulties with score sharing is the need to create controls over an automated sharing tool and ownership of player information, creating a standard for score approval to prevent redundant admin work, and dealing with scores made using Clone 0.97. The Chinese ranking sent a listing all all players to AMS with their current scores in January 2013, and a review showed about 5% of players to be duplicates.
Communication between the sites greatly improved in 2013, and it is expected a solution will be reached in 2014.
 Links to Archived Rankings
Many sites in this article are archived and hosted on this site, so you can still visit them:
|Expert World Records||Wacharin Wichiramala (1996-1998)|
|Intermediate Minesweeper World Records||Chris Paradise (1998-1999)|
|Minesweeper Top 50||Ryan Gazder (1999-2000)|
|Minesweeper Central||Clint Olsen (1998-1999)|
|Intermediate Hall of Fame||Matt McGinley (2001-2002)|
|Planete Demineur||Grégoire Duffez (2001-2007), including Active Ranking 2005-2006|
Other ranking sites:
|Chinese Ranking||(2007 - Current)|
|Active Ranking||2007-2009 at minesweeper.cc|