The plans for the Grading System

General discussions about grading.
John Upham
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The plans for the Grading System

Postby John Upham » Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:40 am

Fellow graders,
In his election address (available on the ECF website http://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-conte ... ds/2015/09 Alex-Holowczak-2015-Home-Election-Address.pdf ) Alex Holowczak proposed moving the grading system to update grades monthly. There is little I can do to show my appreciation of the voluntary work you do for the ECF. I think the only benefit I can give is to let you know what is going on. This note is to update you on what might happen.
Each stage of the process will go through ECF council one way or another. It is up to Council to guide the ECF; I see our job to implement what it decides.
It is quite clear that this could not be achieved without providing you with extra support. Alex proposed that the ECF should provide League Management Software as a free service to member organisations. Many leagues already have such software at various levels of functionality. The software is not intended to replace these existing systems, but enable those with no or limited functionality the opportunity to get something better. Such a system would allow many results to be captured by the grading database without your intervention.
In the near future a tendering process will begin to get quotes for building such software. The preferred quote will be used as part of the budget to be presented at the Finance Council to be held on 16th April. This will be the first opportunity to test the appetite of ECF members for more regular grading updates.
If the budget is passed, then the tender will require a prototype of the new software to be available early in 2017. This version will help member organisations decide whether they wish to use the software for season 2017-8.
At present Howard Grist is rebuilding the grading database using more modern applications. This will be introduced this year, but you should not see the join.
Alex also wrote about introducing Elo to replace the “Clarke system” and support monthly lists. I do not see such a change being considered until season 2018-9 at the earliest. We need to be certain about the speed all games are captured before fine tuning for such a radical step. I have advised that jumping to Elo is not an automatic improvement (however you measure that). Elo is a more natural method to make monthly adjustments. The ECF system would require modification to make all the effort in capturing data worthwhile. Nevertheless, the FIDE approach does have issues when new entrants get a poor first estimate (and FIDE now give a rating after 5 qualifying results) and with improving (usually) juniors. A large number of national systems have different approaches to mitigating the FIDE shortcomings and I have started evaluating these. But I have pointed out, as Jon Griffith did to me, that when Kaggle ran a competition on behalf of FIDE to find a better system for FIDE, the Yorkshire Grading System out-performed FIDE. The Yorkshire Grading System produces live grades on a modified ECF method.
FIDE produces monthly updates and the Welsh Chess Union target to get all results published and assessed in 24 hours; it seems to be the way things are going. ECF members through council will decide on what actually happens. If these decisions follow the road Alex is directing, then the position of graders will change. Many of the functions will go directly from team captains, perhaps through results secretaries, straight into the system. There remain issues on how to get people to report internal club games and other competitions that don’t fit into automatic systems. There also remains an audit function to ensure quality control of the results. Discussions on these aspects will begin when we know the wishes of Council.
I am happy to discuss any aspects of this project, but if you have strong views you must also catch the ear of your council representative.
Brian Valentine
Manager of ECF Grading

NickFaulks
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby NickFaulks » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:12 am

"But I have pointed out, as Jon Griffith did to me, that when Kaggle ran a competition on behalf of FIDE to find a better system for FIDE, the Yorkshire Grading System out-performed FIDE.
Brian Valentine
Manager of ECF Grading"

Very interesting, I never knew they entered. What did they call themselves?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Roger de Coverly » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:30 am

Brian Valentine (John Upham) wrote: There remain issues on how to get people to report internal club games and other competitions that don’t fit into automatic systems.


It occurred to me that there are numerous programs that can create pgn files ( no moves are necessary). If the grading system was capable of reading pgn data, isn't that job done? A marginal problem would be that the ECF grading code would have to be incorporated (in the player name perhaps).

On another thought, doesn't the chess-results software already both handle league competitions and produce files that can be used in ECF grading?

Michael Flatt
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Michael Flatt » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:19 pm

I am wondering on the wisdom of having so many of the ECF major functions and services overseen by a single Director.

Grading, Arbiting and Organising Tournaments each require specific skills and knowledge and the Home Directorate could quite justifiably be split into three independent directorates.

It might be helpful if some review were undertaken to establish how well the ECF currently supports each of these technical areas and whether there is scope to reorganise and spread the workload across larger and separate teams.

Does the ECF have a Strategic Plan covering the next 5 or 10 years?

Nick Grey
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Nick Grey » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:19 pm

Just read the e-mail. ECF may have under-estimated the number of inputters. Very surprising how captains cannot input accurately - or confirm results quickly. May be the end of all the computer illiterate volunteers. It is scoping each leagues rules & local arrangements & dealing with that.
As well as the age of some of our own software & hardware.

I honestly do not see the need for a monthly system - but with an offer of a free system too & being considered as long as it takes less than a few minutes to input a match result that seems fine to me.

We also are aware of those individuals that produced these grading lists by hand as well as working 9-5.

Of course even the Surrey FA (and other FAs) have only got around to implementing their league management system catching out most clubs.
Even then most had a completely good national system but then had the disciplinary paper interface.

Anyway John you may wish to bid - so best wishes & thanks again for your system.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Roger de Coverly » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:32 pm

Nick Grey wrote: May be the end of all the computer illiterate volunteers.


There's a ticking clock there. The last refuge would appear to be the arbiter's desk.

I don't think any League management system, with the exception of the 4NCL, enables the pairings to be posted during or even before the match.

How about match captains exchange team lists at around 6pm? If the League rules require it, a virtual coin toss. Those not driving to the match can then do limited preparation as practised by 4NCL players.

Ian Thompson
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Ian Thompson » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:45 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:I don't think any League management system, with the exception of the 4NCL, enables the pairings to be posted during or even before the match.

I would expect every league management system to be able to do this already - just enter all the players' names without a result. If any LMS can't do this already then it's deficient. You need that functionality after the match for games that aren't finished for whatever reason (adjourned, disputed, Appendix G.6 claims, etc.).

NickFaulks
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby NickFaulks » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:49 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote: Those not driving to the match can then do limited preparation as practised by 4NCL players.

Perhaps I'm missing the point, but why is this a good thing?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Roger de Coverly » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:55 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:I would expect every league management system to be able to do this already - just enter all the players' names without a result.


You have to know both teams though. It could be done by email, but it's not quite the same. It should be blind, otherwise the first captain to declare their team is at a marginal disadvantage.

Don't all match captains suffer from higher board players who would ask to be switched if they were required to play a boring or disliked opponent, or even an unfavoured colour?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Roger de Coverly » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:58 pm

NickFaulks wrote:Perhaps I'm missing the point, but why is this a good thing?


There's more than enough evidence that elite players hate to play anyone they haven't been able to look up and prepare against. Why should club level players be excluded from the delights of preparation?

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Kevin Thurlow » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:53 am

What is the point of a monthly ECF grade?

Leagues which insist on board orders being related to grading will just say the August list applies throughout the season, otherwise players will suddenly become ineligible for their usual team and there will be more defaults.

Suppose you are struggling to get a team out for the Under 145 division, luckily you have two players graded 144, and you can just field the necessary 6 players. You eagerly await your match on 1st March, but oh no, your two 144s are now 146 (which you discover on 1st March). So you default two boards and everyone gets annoyed.

We have a kind-hearted individual who arranges for the internal club events to be graded - if we tell him he has to do it on a monthly basis, he might be less kind-hearted.

Monthly lists seem very difficult to arrange with no discernible benefits.

NickFaulks
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby NickFaulks » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:01 am

NickFaulks wrote:"But I have pointed out, as Jon Griffith did to me, that when Kaggle ran a competition on behalf of FIDE to find a better system for FIDE, the Yorkshire Grading System out-performed FIDE.
Brian Valentine
Manager of ECF Grading"

With apologies for repeating myself, is there anyone in Yorkshire who knows anything about this?

MartinCarpenter
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby MartinCarpenter » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:17 am

Suspect you might have to ask Jon. I don't know anything. The system works well enough, although its grades for new players are (understandably) very random.

Kevin Thurlow wrote:What is the point of a monthly ECF grade?


Not for board order - for the reasons you note :) No one uses the live Yorkshire grades for that! The justification Jon gives for the live Yorkshire grades is maintaining peoples interest which seems slightly odd to me, but probably believable.

The other nice thing with this sort of arrangement would be being able to track all of the leagues in the country in a central place. Its definitely nice being able to do that within Yorkshire.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Roger de Coverly » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:24 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:What is the point of a monthly ECF grade?



The 4NCL uses the monthly FIDE ratings, but that only affects legal board orders rather than eligibility.

The proponents will say that just as with six monthly grades, that Leagues will define a fixed point to use as the eligibility reference point.

Monthly ratings would be most useful for Congresses and assigning grades to new players, although Congresses would run into a potential problem of defining which list to use for section eligibility, particularly if they weren't running an Open section.

It's also being seen as an enabling reform to adopt Elo style rating, although the ECF could adopt monthly Elo style rating using Congress data and incorporate League results six-monthly.

Those who would welcome a more intrusive ECF may also welcome Leagues being run on ECF servers, since it gives a potential exclusion sanction not currently available.

Brian Valentine
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Brian Valentine » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:33 am

NickFaulks wrote:
NickFaulks wrote:"But I have pointed out, as Jon Griffith did to me, that when Kaggle ran a competition on behalf of FIDE to find a better system for FIDE, the Yorkshire Grading System out-performed FIDE.
Brian Valentine
Manager of ECF Grading"

With apologies for repeating myself, is there anyone in Yorkshire who knows anything about this?


Nick,
I am reluctant to comment on private correspondence splashed onto the web, but I will help you out here. The clue is that YGS is on the chessnuts site. If you look at the leader board for the ChessRatings2 competition on the Kaggle website the evidence is there. Chessnuts is at 71 and Actual FIDE ratings benchmark is at 81.
Brian


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