Minimum Grades

General discussions about grading.
Richard Bates
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:38 am

IMO, there is very little need for official 'real time ratings' under the ECF system, either to ensure the accuracy of the system, or to fulfill the purpose of creating a rating list at all. As regards accuracy, with the exception of Juniors/new players, the vast majority of players are pretty static in their playing strength. Frequent lists for these people simply introduce noise into the system, but don't particularly improve accuracy. Furthermore, unlike with ELO systems, there is no situation where an excess of games over the rating period can lead to inaccuracy. In fact the opposite. As regards the purpose of ratings, trying to actually use real-time ratings can actually create problems. Any long term grading/rating limited competitions (eg. leagues, counties championship etc) will ignore them for the purposes of eligibility (and utilising them to determine things like board order is of insignificant advantage over the current situation - especially as most leagues will allow flexibility anyway). Congresses will necessarily set a cut off date to provide certainty for people entering their tournaments. I suppose, however that there may be some theoretical advantage for congresses currently scheduled just after publication date.

That is not to say there isn't some sort of value of some sort of real time "provisional grading" (as it appears exists in Scotland), especially for determining the strength of Juniors and/or new players. But for most players it should make little difference. This is not the case with ELO where the issues are far more complex. And to the evidence of the inexpert eye, not being dealt with successfully (in FIDE's case).

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by MartinCarpenter » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:17 pm

The Yorkshire system copes, I think, about as well as any live system could with new players. Obviously you don't have the option of waiting until they've got a reliable grade as per normal systems. So instead he reduces the impact of results of games who haven't played much - a result vs someone who's only played 1 game so far is only worth 1/10 of a 'normal' game and its only until they've played 10.

That works fine because the whole thing is running off 'weight' which normally increments by 1 with every game and goes down by a twelth every month. So fractional number of games are very normal.

Overall though I think I'd agree with Richard about the main feature being the introduction of noise. One real 'problem' with Yorkshire grades - which is I think is probably intrinsic to fully live systems - is that it loses the ability to go back over a few years results when need be. Since most people are very stable over time throwing away data like this isn't objectively sensible.

The consequence is that Yorkshire grades for some people can be very volatile indeed. I'm playing 11-15 games a year in Yorkshire but my current weight is only ~10 so every new game I play contributes about a tenth of my 'live' Yorkshire grade. So my current spread of ~10 points so far this year is entirely expected.

Mind you no one really minds about this as we don't use them for anything serious and use the yearly grades instead :) Those are usable and the live grades are OK as a bit of fun.

Paul Dupré
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Paul Dupré » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:30 pm

Richard Bates wrote:IMO, there is very little need for official 'real time ratings' under the ECF system, either to ensure the accuracy of the system, or to fulfill the purpose of creating a rating list at all.
OK, understand where your coming from Richard. However, think about this - what about all the data that's lost every year because each grading period we basically start again from scratch. A rolling rating system like FIDE, but better, would provide organisers a starting point for "lost" players. Another problem with the current ECF system is duplication (not so with FIDE - at least I've not heard of any), players with multiple grades. Several of my mates had multiple grades during the 1980's due to playing all over England. One even had and different name, because of his appalling writing. And, I've already mentioned on another thread Bogdan Lalic (a famous GM) who had four grades on the masterlist.

To me the way the ECF grading has been run over many decades is very amateur. Unlike, FIDE, USCF, and more recently probably Yorkshire, Scotland, Wales. All these rating lists are better controlled than the ECF grading list.

Some people might wonder why I'm so unhappy with ECF grading. Well, I've run league teams for Chertsey, Addlestone, Cobham, Guildford and Hilsmark Kingfisher, as well as County teams for Surrey. And, I have had so many problems over the years. Does grading matter to me, damn right it does - when you have a player playing top for the opposition in an under 175 tournament and he beats up your 174 top board and he's ungraded. Tell me how the hell does he qualify as under 175. We lost 7½-8½. His next grade, yes you guessed it 190.

I also don't believe in weighting except for very active players (perhaps juniors), I don't want to see grades steadily going down (what I would consider noise - as Richard put it) for no reason.

Grading/rating has to be accurate, but also has to be informed.

Another question, how do other rating systems stop duplications? Well, when I got my FIDE rating I had to give my Full name, DOB and Federation (before I got put on their computer). Not much information really. Yet some captains are happy to put the new boy 'Tommy Jones' on bottom board, to fill a gap (with no data about this guy) - why is this acceptable.

If you have don't people who care about these things at the top of the ECF, then that's why you got what you got now - A Messy Grading System.

What I see from many posts is personal comments that their grade is OK and show no interest in all grades being accurate. I personally don't believe anybody should be aloud to enter a grading limited event if they don't have a grade. I see too many graded events won by ungraded players - how is that fair.

Richard, where you are as an International Master everything may seem rosey. Because, all your opponents are top players, but when your dealing with people who are not so honest, you have to be in a position to draw a line that can't be crossed. That's where official ratings/gradings come in.

When I was involved with league chess, team captains would routinely CHEAT by inserting an ungraded player in the wrong position, to gain an advantage. Nobody did anything to stop it happening!!!

Now the only chess I am involved in is grading the Surrey Chess Congress, so I want to know who is playing in our event. If any ungraded players enter I send them an email asking for more information. At least I try to do a good job of grading. We sent to the ECF 8 sections for grading at the last event. Richard Haddrell rarely questions my submissions.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:42 pm

Paul Dupré wrote:Another problem with the current ECF system is duplication (not so with FIDE - at least I've not heard of any), players with multiple grades. Several of my mates had multiple grades during the 1980's due to playing all over England. One even had and different name, because of his appalling writing.
I would say that once the grading list went on-line a few years back, duplicate grades have been easy to identify and have been almost completely eliminated, the more so now that players with an insufficient game count to be published can be identified. But it's also down to league controllers and club secretaries to insist that match participants are correctly reported and not presumed to be new players unless they'd played no graded chess since 1994. The BCF had the mad idea in the mid nineties of using date of birth as an identifier. As this didn't work, they were obliged to use the more sensible idea of a unique grading code and encouraging people to know what it was and to quote it for tournament entry.

Paul Dupré
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Paul Dupré » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:47 pm

Mistakes keep happening.

OK an example, I've just noticed a new member called Johnathan Rothwell, on the ECF grading list as Jonathan Rothwell - simple mistake maybe, but a mistake all the same.
Unless we started asking for proof of identity for all new players, then what chance have we got of ever sorting this mess out.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:54 pm

Paul Dupré wrote: OK an example, I've just noticed a new member called Johnathan Rothwell, on the ECF grading list as Jonathan Rothwell - simple mistake maybe, but a mistake all the same.
Unless we started asking for proof of identity for all new players, then what chance have we got of ever sorting this mess out.
The Southport club secretary, the Liverpool league controller and local grader sort out the correct or agreed spelling. As long as he quotes the correct grade reference for a Congress or another club or league, it will all link together.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Sean Hewitt » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:11 pm

Paul Dupré wrote:Now the only chess I am involved in is grading the Surrey Chess Congress, so I want to know who is playing in our event.
Good to know. Let's hope you do a better job than the guy who FIDE rated the 2010 Surrey Major event. What a cock up that was.

Paul Dupré
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Paul Dupré » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:25 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Paul Dupré wrote:Now the only chess I am involved in is grading the Surrey Chess Congress, so I want to know who is playing in our event.
Good to know. Let's hope you do a better job than the guy who FIDE rated the 2010 Surrey Major event. What a cock up that was.
There was no mistakes there you know...
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Paul Dupré
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Paul Dupré » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:31 pm

Oh, and another problem with the casual way ECF approach grading. Tony is Anthony, Bill is William, Andy is Andrew etc. etc. etc. so amateurish. I don't care what you nickname is your real name is 'Smith, Thomas', not Tommy 'Bulldog' Smith.

When are the ECF going to get a grip?
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Paul Dupré
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Paul Dupré » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:32 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Paul Dupré wrote:Now the only chess I am involved in is grading the Surrey Chess Congress, so I want to know who is playing in our event.
Good to know. Let's hope you do a better job than the guy who FIDE rated the 2010 Surrey Major event. What a cock up that was.
Enlighten me.......
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Paul Dupré
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Paul Dupré » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:36 pm

Paul Dupré wrote: Grading/rating has to be accurate, but also has to be informed.
Is there any-one on here that would let this guy play in an under 170 event.
Paul Dupré wrote: I personally don't believe anybody should be aloud to enter a grading limited event if they don't have a grade. I see too many graded events won by ungraded players - how is that fair.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:59 pm

Paul Dupré wrote: Is there any-one on here that would let this guy play in an under 170 event.
Kidlington allowed it, but he got hacked up.
http://www.ecfgrading.org.uk/?ref=10182 ... =173402054

Paul Dupré
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Paul Dupré » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:41 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Paul Dupré wrote: Is there any-one on here that would let this guy play in an under 170 event.
Kidlington allowed it, but he got hacked up.
http://www.ecfgrading.org.uk/?ref=10182 ... =173402054
Is he the same as this guy. I believe they are the same. Different FIDE rating code though.

After further investigation I found the ECF grading list is wrong again, his FIDE code should be 11500492. Also, his DOB does not tally with the guy I know.
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Andrew Bak
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Andrew Bak » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:29 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Andrew Bak wrote: A massive disaster in the sense that it provides a reliable rating system to estimate the strength of players who play games under the auspices of the ECF?
Paul's point is that he considers it a desirable feature of a rating or grading system that it should do something so that players can see the effect of their recent results on their relative standing or ranking. It would have been a challenge to do this with the ECF Clarke based system because of the issue of new players. This was compounded by the decision to treat under eighteens as new players regardless.

How does the Yorkshire system handle the "new players" problem?
The Yorkshire system has a weighting system based on how many games the player has played. Don't ask me to explain the precise maths but essentially the fewer games someone has played over the course of previous seasons, the higher their "k" factor.

For new players, their first live grade is simply based on how the ECF would work out the player's grade for that particular game, i.e. +/- 50 points from their opponent's grade for a win/loss or the same grade as their opponent for a draw.

After that the weighting system ensures that the grade wildly fluctuates until the player gets closer and closer to the 30 games/year which I believe is used as the lowest 'k' factor on the Chessnuts system

Rules of Chessnuts Grading

Example of New Player

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Minimum Grades

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:52 am

Andrew Bak wrote: For new players, their first live grade is simply based on how the ECF would work out the player's grade for that particular game, i.e. +/- 50 points from their opponent's grade for a win/loss or the same grade as their opponent for a draw.
The example shows how it works. But what happens when two new players meet? That might be uncommon in local leagues, but probable when grading a junior event. You could get the same problem in an adult tournament if two non-locals met and you didn't convert their "foreign" grades or ratings.

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