Why does the ECF Board plan to introduce monthly grades?
The website consultation – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/grading-consultation/ – says the following –
‘The ECF Board is responding to changes in the expectations of both members and potential members by working to move grading from a six monthly to a monthly update. The intention is to introduce the change with effect from the January 2020 grading list update.
This has also focused the Board on whether we should continue with the traditional three-digit grade used in English chess since the 1960s or move to a four-digit, Elo style system. This has been discussed within the Board who are minded to use this opportunity to move to a four digit system.
This has several advantages —
• It would bring English chess in line with FIDE ratings and the rating systems in most of the rest of the world, including – the other countries in the UK, most other National Federations, correspondence chess, online rating systems
• It would help comparability between English grades and other ratings
• It would make the grades more meaningful for younger players who are accustomed to four digit ratings from playing online
• It is likely to reduce substantially the cost of introducing the monthly grading system (as it will be easier to replicate existing software using four digit calculations)’
Is the move to monthly grading going to happen?
The ECF plans for the monthly grading method to be effective in August 2020. If this date proves to difficult the delay will be 6 months. The 3-digit list will be published in August 2020; this is planned to be the last grade using this method.
How will monthly grades be calculated?
The method is set out here — https://www.englishchess.org.uk/the-calculation-of-ecf-grades-on-a-monthly-basis/
Why include a dummy result for new players?
There are three reasons –
1. Inclusion tends to stabilise population average grade
2. Extreme results occasionally happen; inclusion recognises that such an event might be an outlier.
3. The method ensures all results can be graded
FIDE discard results against unrated players, so why complicate by attempting to grade such results?
The ECF has decided that as many games as possible should be graded. This recognises that the system is aimed at serious recreational chess.
Why do juniors have an alternative k-factor?
It is a widespread view that younger players tend to improve. In the 3-digit system junior grades are re-evaluated on last period results and points added for subsequent anticpated improvement. The higher upwards k-factor is an alternative way of handling this situation. Analysis has shown that doubling the upwards k-factor has maintained the all list average grade.
Why limit the k-factor for very active players?
This is a technical adjustment for the way Elo works. Above this limit the formula grades a player entirely on the results of that month.
When is the change going to happen?
New grades will be based on the January 2020 list with additions for players who did not qualify but had a published grade in January 2017 or subsequently. The conversion will be —
New = 7.5*Old + 700
These grades will be updated monthly, but have no effect till September 2020
What is happening about Categories?
At present the ECF has categories A-F. It will consult about what to do in the future. The same goes for delineating Active and Inactive players.
How will graders handle the increase in workload?
The ECF has a League Management System up and running. The results will be extracted from these records automatically. Other event management systems will have the opportunity to plug into this approach after a pilot phase. This overdue change should be a substantial mitigant.