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Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 12:09 pm
by John Sellen
It appears quite possible that there will no OTB chess in the UK in second half of 2020. Already 2 congresses later in the year ( Guernsey in October and Torquay in November have announced they are cancelled ) . The problems of overcrowded venues, sitting in close proximity to someone for a few hours during the course of a game ,insurance issues etc seem likely to make a return to normality for all us chess players some way off.This has made me wonder about a couple of grading issues.

1. If there is no OTB chess in 2020 only those players who played games before lock down will retain their grade at the end of the year. ECF rules are quite clear that if a player does not play a graded game in a 12 month period they will lose their grade. I realize that this wont affect most active players but I suspect that there are still quite a number , including myself,who will become Ungraded at the year end

2. I am sure we all hope there is some return to normality in 2021 but am I right in thinking that if there was no OTB chess in the first half of 2021 EVERY player would become ungraded in July 2021,not having played a graded game for 12 months.

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 12:15 pm
by Roger de Coverly
John Sellen wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 12:09 pm

2. I am sure we all hope there is some return to normality in 2021 but am I right in thinking that if there was no OTB chess in the first half of 2021 EVERY player would become ungraded in July 2021,not having played a graded game for 12 months.
The ECF write the rules on grading. They can and probably will change them if there's been no over the board chess from March 2020 until whenever.

Their bigger problem will be to persuade people to renew memberships from September this year.

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 12:16 pm
by Paul Cooksey
Possibly noone will have an A grade, but 36 months until ungraded (on the three digit rules as they stand).

Please don't make me think about a lockdown that long.

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 12:22 pm
by Roger de Coverly
Paul Cooksey wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 12:16 pm
Possibly noone will have an A grade, but 36 months until ungraded (on the three digit rules as they stand).
The grade is removed after complete inactivity for two consecutive six month periods.

There's a conversion to Elo method ratings due this summer. The resumption could jump directly to using these.

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 1:51 pm
by Ian Thompson
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 12:15 pm
The ECF write the rules on grading. They can and probably will change them if there's been no over the board chess from March 2020 until whenever.
With current 3 digit grade calculations, they'd have to change them or no-one would get a grade every again. Why? It happens at the moment that you get small groups of new players who have only played games against other new players. Whilst the games remain "on file" for future use, such players don't get a published grade because there's no reference point to calibrate their performance against. They only get a published grade when one of them plays a game against someone who already has a grade. If no-one already has a grade that will never happen.

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 1:59 pm
by Brian Valentine
The rules for grades will be changed in September to support monthly grading. We are still on track to deliver these on time.

Everyone who has had at least one grade (separately for standard and rapid) published since 2017 will have a 4-digit grade for January 2020 when our monthly calculations will kick off. At present we are discussing whether a player goes inactive after 3 years or 5 years and the actions to take place at that point. The issue of losing a grade, if one has had a recent one, will not arise until January 2021 at the earliest.

Brian Valentine
Manager of ECF grading

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 12:46 pm
by Joey Stewart
Ian Thompson wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 1:51 pm
They only get a published grade when one of them plays a game against someone who already has a grade. If no-one already has a grade that will never happen.
It actually makes me wonder how the grading system was even established if it is not possible to grade a whole pool of unrated players - I believe our ECF rating system began in the 70s so perhaps there will be someone who still remembers those good old days and how it happened?

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 1:05 pm
by Mike Gunn

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 1:09 pm
by Matt Mackenzie
Joey Stewart wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 12:46 pm
Ian Thompson wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 1:51 pm
They only get a published grade when one of them plays a game against someone who already has a grade. If no-one already has a grade that will never happen.
It actually makes me wonder how the grading system was even established if it is not possible to grade a whole pool of unrated players - I believe our ECF rating system began in the 70s so perhaps there will be someone who still remembers those good old days and how it happened?
It began some time before that, though numbers only came in around then (or maybe late 60s I think)

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 1:44 pm
by Mike Gunn
The Clarke grading system is 66 years old (born 1954) and it's being pensioned off!

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 3:11 pm
by Roger de Coverly
Joey Stewart wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 12:46 pm
- I believe our ECF rating system began in the 70s so perhaps there will be someone who still remembers those good old days and how it happened?
1950s, so Leonard probably remembers. With a bit of computational power, likely a challenge in the early 1950s it's not too difficult. You first collect some results. I think they made it easier by only including major events. You give everyone the same grade and then run the grading process. Next you use those grades and repeat. When it converges, you've got a set of relative results. You then fix absolute values in some arbitrary manner. If like the BCF you are among the first in the field, it doesn't matter too much what scale is used.

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 3:33 pm
by Kevin Thurlow
"You first collect some results. I think they made it easier by only including major events. You give everyone the same grade and then run the grading process. Next you use those grades and repeat. When it converges, you've got a set of relative results. You then fix absolute values in some arbitrary manner. If like the BCF you are among the first in the field, it doesn't matter too much what scale is used."

I think that's basically it. I think either Chess or BCM did an article on it, where Clarke explained it. In the days of 1a (240-233ish) , 1b (232-225ish), 2a (224-217ish) etc., it only went down to equivalent of 190 odd. Probably those results were fairly stable, as they were the regular consistent players. Clarke did point out that a 1a wasn't necessarily better than a 1b, which rapidly got forgotten, so now a 150 may think he's better than a 149.

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 3:42 pm
by John McKenna
Also, Richard Clarke described the BCF grading system in the BCF Yearbook 1957 (or 1958?)

NB: An Elo system with "divisions that conform to the FIDE class interval of 200 points [makes] subsequent conversion to FIDE ratings simpler" (A. Elo)

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 3:51 pm
by Mick Norris
Interesting quote from back then, not much different now?
The hard core of British players who play year after year and are the backbone of club and county chess is remarkably small. Much of the total of serious play consists of people who come in and play for a year or two and then drift away, and of school and university players who drop out when they start business. The rapid turnover of players makes grading very difficult, particularly of juniors.

Re: Could everyone lose their grade

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 4:46 pm
by Roger de Coverly
Mick Norris wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 3:51 pm
Interesting quote from back then, not much different now?
As far as I recall, that quote is from the late 1960s or early 1970s, just before the Fischer inspired boom.

One thing that changed was a small increase in leisure time and the growth in weekend tournaments. Thus generations that might have abandoned chess when they left school or university, now had events they could play in without having to commit to regular club nights. Many still play, thus giving the ageing demographic of British chess.

What's changed in the last thirty years is that there are no longer the same volumes of players in the their final years of secondary school. That doesn't affect universities so much, since the growth of overseas students taps into world rather than UK chess growth.

It's those aged under 11 that now fill up the grading list with transient players.