Probably no-one will need to read through the whole guide. Experienced organisers may have no need of it at all, though they are invited to skim through it (the fourth and fifth sections may be worth their attention)
The first three sections are intended for organisers with little or no experience of rating, including those who have never had an event rated and would like to know how.
Section 1 – What events can be ECF rated?
Any event can be rated, so long as it is played with clocks – at least 10 minutes each – under ECF competition rules (quickplay finishes, adjournments, Fischer timings and even adjudication). The full rules can be found here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Tournament-Rules-Aug-2020.pdf
Club internal championships, large or small, are very rateable. There is one proviso – events, or sections of events, are rated whole or not at all. Results are accepted from organisers, not from individual players.
Section 2 – How do I get my event rated?
You can’t just send your results to the ECF office. Results must be processed by a local Rating Officer or a league management system, which will turn them into a format the ECF software can accept. There are approximately 100 local Rating Officers. They have specialised facilities, and access to more information about players than is available in the online rating list.
So, you need to find a local Rating Officer. Sometimes this is easy. Leagues and counties usually have their own appointed Rating Officer, who often undertake (for example) club internal rating from their area in addition to their mainstream work. If you know who your local Rating Officer is, approaching them may answer your question at once. If not, contact the ECF Rating Administrator – email@example.com – who will find a Rating Officer for you. See also ‘Can I be my own Rating Officer?’ further down this page.
Rating Officers are not usually paid for their regular league or county work. However, a Rating Officer may sometimes make a charge for a large ‘out-of-house’ job – a whole new congress, say. This is a private arrangement between them and you. The ECF may also make a charge (see Game Fee at the foot of this page)
The ECF League Management System is free for ECF rated leagues. To use this system please contact its administrator using the following page – https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/contact
Section 3 – How do I give results to the Rating Officer?
That is between you and the Rating Officer. People sometimes use physical media – match result cards in a league, say, or pairing cards in a congress (if you use the post, be sure to keep a backup. Whole congresses have been lost through not doing so.)
Increasingly, results are transferred electronically. A Rating Officer may take results straight from league or congress records, or by email from an internal club organiser.
Section 4 – When do I give results to the Rating Officer?
The monthly ratings are updated at the end of every month. All results played during the month must be included by midnight on the last day of the month for inclusion in next month’s ratings. Rating files and estimate ratings are updated overnight and results are shown immediately. If there is a problem contact the administrator via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Congresses and other one-off events (jamborees, for example) should be reported as quickly as possible. Congresses count towards the ECF Grand Prix, but only if the rating results reach the ECF within one month. The ECF, not the Rating Officer. You need to give the Rating Officer time to meet this deadline. In practice, most events reach the ECF well within the month. Same-day is not unheard of.
What happens if you omit the monthly report and just send all your results at the end of the season? They will still be rated, but all of them will go into the monthly list they are submitted into. This means the ratings for previous months will be inaccurate. They will not be amended retrospectively.
Section 5 – What information must I give to the Rating Officer?
For the event –
- Name (and location, if not obvious)
- Starting and finishing dates
- The rate of play
For each player –
- Rating Code (eg 123456A) if known. Rating codes may be found in the online rating list, where they are called “Ref”. Remember that players returning to chess after an absence will be invisible in the online list till you turn “inactive” on. Their codes are still valid.
- Full name. Not just initial and surname. Initial-and-surname is probably the biggest single cause of confusion between players, particularly when the initial is T for Anthony. On no account give initial-and-surname if the player is new (that is, if he has no rating code). A new player who enters a congress giving initial-and-surname should be asked for his forename. In a league, match captains who enter players with initial-and-surname should be required to give proper information. Some leagues achieve it, usually by requiring clubs to register their players in advance, giving all necessary information. After that the match captains may enter names as they will.
- Club. Club will be obvious in a team, or club internal, event. In other events, club is required for new players but is otherwise optional. If a new player has no club, give his place of residence. DO NOT give a club simply because you have found it by a player’s name in the rating list. It may be out of date. Sooner than that, give no club at all. Do not use England, this is less than helpful.
- Date of birth, if known. For juniors (under 18 on 31st August of the current season) date of birth is essential if they are to get the age-related rating bonus they are entitled to.
- Sex, optionally (and especially if not obvious from the name).
- Membership number if known.
For each game –
- the round number in a Swiss, or board number in a match
- the result
- the date (or date of match, in a league). Dates may not be known in a club internal event; in this case, try to sort the games into (say) one-month blocks.
- the colours, if known.
- If players play each other twice in the same match (or tournament), give the games separately. Not added up to make a score out of 2.
- Byes and defaults have no effect on the rating, but can be given if you wish. In a congress, they enable the grader to produce accurate crosstables, which may be of interest to you. Please, if you report wins by default, make it clear that they are wins by default. If a default looks like a real result, against a named opponent, it will be graded as a real result.
Section 6 – Can I be my own Rating Officer?
Yes. This makes sense if you organise a reasonable amount of chess, especially if no other Rating Officer is readily available. Becoming a Rating Officer will enable you to submit your results direct to the ECF. Contact the Rating Administrator on email@example.com, who can give you the necessary information and access to facilities. There will obviously be some commitment of time on your part. You will need a web browser (e.g. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Edge), emailing facilities, plus modest computer literacy, and quite probably MS Excel (need not be recent). Excel emulations saved by other programs may not be compatible with the rating system. Ask the Rating Administrator if in doubt.
Being your own Rating Officer makes especially good sense if you run congresses using —
- UTU Swiss (now called Tournament Director)
- Swiss Manager
These are commercially available programs whose main function is to assist in running congresses by making Swiss pairings and doing a variety of printouts. But, having done a congress, it will also produce rating output for it in a form the ECF software can read. Excel not required. Normally this output would still need to go to a Rating Officer before it reaches the ECF, because the Rating Officer has facilities and information not available to these programs. By writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and becoming a Rating Officer yourself, you acquire these things. This enables you, should you so wish, to send your rating results to the ECF within half an hour of completing the congress.
The ECF does not market Tournament Director or Swiss Manager and has no responsibility for them, but they are widely used, by arbiters and Rating Officer among others, and have been found to do the job correctly.
Section 7 – Game Fee
The ECF normally makes a charge for rating the games of players who are not ECF members. See the explanatory page here