The plans for the Grading System

General discussions about grading.
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Carl Hibbard » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:34 pm

Actually they are both right.

It is fine for the ECF to have a site (php or node for example) that can 'sort of' write directly to the database.

The LMS however also needs an XML web interface that can consume a document from another system.
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Carl Hibbard

Michael Flatt
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Michael Flatt » Fri May 27, 2016 12:10 pm

This appeared on another thread, yesterday.
Home Director wrote:Since the 2015 ECF AGM, I have written the following ECF-related consultation papers/questionnaires:
...
- A consultation about the League Management Software and about the format of their local leagues, written in conjunction with the grading team, sent to all league and county secretaries about a month ago. I'm aware of approximately 20 responses to that, mostly positive; more positive than I expected, to be honest. [I expect my posting this will lead to people saying they should have received it but haven't. :cry: ]
...

Having consulted my County Secretary I learned that the formal consultation ended yesterday. I look forward to hearing how the results are to be analysed and what conclusions will be drawn.

Addendum (28th May 2016)
The source of the Home Director's comments was the thread about the new format of the British Championship in 2017:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8363&start=60#p181024
Last edited by Michael Flatt on Sat May 28, 2016 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nick Grey
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Nick Grey » Sat May 28, 2016 2:53 pm

A player in my league e-mailed me yesterday assuming I have seen & completed. I have not had the e-mail but I'm not going to give Alex a hard time over this.

I'm sure he will be fine with more responses over the w/e now made aware. I had to chase ECF for our charges at AGM time last time - so may well be that the back office have not caught up with all the admin.

There are issues anyway antiquated ECF systems, antiquated LMS, corrections & also being able to put the local rules in for overturning a match score but keep the graded game which has taken place. As well as volunteers. We may well get clubs folding if not allowing for being run by those have no computers.

I also made clear on an earlier communication that the selling of a free LMS even where we have one less than one year old is fine providing it links to grading & able to have ECF extract info, & have corrections.

Be nice if the other thread was identified but I may as well e-mail him, as well as talk to our LMS supplier. Anyway give us something to put on the agenda for our league AGM, on top of ECF rep matters.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Sean Hewitt » Sat May 28, 2016 4:52 pm

An API to consume real-time grading and membership data is vital. Downloading the grading database periodically is no real hardship, but live membership would be useful not only for leagues who have eligibility rules but also for congresses.

Being able to report grading results automatically is a given, but I think we have to have iterate the way new players are terated. Too many duplicates get into the system (only to have to be merged when spotted) for the current process to be considered optimum. Wouldn't it be good if we were able to use membership data to ask the player to look at the possible matches and say "is this you?"

Mike Gunn
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Mike Gunn » Sun May 29, 2016 12:27 pm

This is an interesting idea but duplicates arise for a number of reasons (including mis-spellings), so there is a question about whether you allow for fuzzy matches when you send out emails saying "is this you?". The danger is that this could lead to a scattergun approach with hundreds of emails being sent out. Somebody who didn't play last year probably wasn't an ECF member and hasn't rejoined yet so do you examine old masterlists and membership records as well?

At present as a county grader I send out a number of emails each year to club officials saying things like "can you ask if new player F. Smith is the same person as Frederick Smith who used to play for Nuneaton." and this is usually successful. Obviously there are benefits from having an automatic results reporting system as part of a LMS, but checking/ verifying the data needs careful consideration.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Roger de Coverly » Sun May 29, 2016 3:09 pm

Mike Gunn wrote: Somebody who didn't play last year probably wasn't an ECF member and hasn't rejoined yet so do you examine old masterlists and membership records as well?


A club secretary or match captain doesn't need to go any further than the ECF grading site to identify whether a "new" player has played before. I don't think returning players presents that much of a problem, given that the accessible grading history now goes back more than 20 years. I'd suspect a bigger problem is a genuine new player who plays at several clubs or in several Congresses, if on each appearance he's assumed to be playing his or her very first graded game.

I presume that Congresses accepting entries from non-English players check to see if they've already played in ECF graded events.

Michael Flatt
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Michael Flatt » Sun May 29, 2016 4:55 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:I presume that Congresses accepting entries from non-English players check to see if they've already played in ECF graded events.

We try to, Roger, but sometimes we get caught out because the results of some recently played congresses are not known to us.

It is a rare event but there was one particular player in the last few years who had won a series of minor rated tournaments and continued to play in them even though he clearly outclassed the other players in the competition. Once he had registered an official grade he had no choice but play in a higher section.

Of course, sometimes a player changes name. At other times players with similar or even identical names can be confused with each other.

And as you already pointed out a new player might try out several different clubs (not necessarily in the same county or league) and end up with a number of different grading codes.

Juniors who don't play for a known club and compete in many tournaments that are geographically spread do become linked with counties other than their own.

It very much relies on those submitting results to the ECF grader to have taken sufficient care to correctly identify players. ECF graders themselves do put in a lot of effort to correctly identify players.

David Pardoe
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby David Pardoe » Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:10 pm

Here`s an extract from an email I sent to the ECF (Mark Jordan) . last week..
Referring to a recent league AGM I attended, I wrote....

Another point raised was about ECF chess.. Our ECF delegate had come along, so I put a question about the new monthly gradings proposals currently under discussion.
He put forward a positive and forceful argument in favour of this... commenting that any action would probably be 3 years away, if this was taken forward.
He mentioned about the ECF providing free league management software. Our league already has quite good, well maintained, web software.. with various interesting features.
He explained that players liked to see these gradings published regularly, and thought it would encourage more competitive play.
He also said that it would help Congress organisers sort out various phantom players, with bogus or very low ratings, who were `apparently` going round sweeping up prizes at Congresses, under false pretences, so to speak.
He also thought it would appeal to the junior community, whose gradings can move frequently and rapidly.
I do get some of these points, but not others..
I don`t believe we really need to move from half yearly grades, for most purposes.. Certainly not for league chess..
For Congresses, I`m not convinced there are that many bogus players floating round with ultra low grades, grabbing prizes.. but I see the issue.
Surely, to deal with this, particularly in the lower `Minor` section congresses, they could flag up such players, so that when they win `unexpectedly`, they are notified in a special table for congress directors to check.
The ECF could maintain such a table, for congress organisers to reference. Maybe even have an upgrade option, so that such players automatically have there grades flagged up to reflect really exceptional results.
Instead of doing monthly grades, you could have another grade added called `moving average`, taking account of say the most recent 20 games.
Many leagues already run there own stats showing grade performance, which is interesting, and shows players how well they are doing in that league to date.. Certainly enough for local captains to take note of any particularly good/bad performances.
So, lots that could be done without resorting to the draconian measure of monthly gradings, which for many players would be pretty meaningless/irrelevant, and of little real value in my opinion.
I also worry that folk might obsess about grades, which, for most players are just a general indicator of how they are doing, no more , no less.

PS..
Another point I would make is about Congress prize money.
I can never understand why it is that many congresses pay the same, or similar levels of prize money for the Minor sections, as they do for the Open section.
Most sports scale prizes down through the various levels...so should chess in my view.
This might discourage the greedy crafty con merchants from pulling these stunts and cheating over gradings, (to try to win prize money),.. if the prize money was spread out more in the lower sections.
Maybe one or two more grading prizes or other prizes to spread prize money out in the lower sections, might be good. A slow starter prize, or `senior` prize, or best junior prize, or best game prize, could add interest for lower sections. And I`ve always believed that prize money should be dependant on entry levels, not least, to reduce the chances of organisers losing out if things don`t go well.

I just think these are relevant points for discussion and further action, and certainly your comment about publicity is true.
We need chess bodies up and down the country to take the initiative, be pro-active, and ensure that local and regional publicity is shared out and actioned around the country by the relevant bodies.. Too much is left to `big brother` at ECF HQ..
And we really do need to engage with joe public and encourage greater chess take-up. There are huge numbers of players playing casually `online`, who don`t realise that they are more than good enough to join there local chess clubs. With the right encouragement, these people would soon become reasonable club players. And no need for hours of professional coaching. Chess is the ideal participation sport...practice makes perfect...as the old adage goes!
Also, league and county bodies should do more to encourage new teams from areas which are under represented. Quite big towns, like Uttoxeter and Buxton, for instance, appear to have no active chess clubs. Can we put out some regional publicity to encourage the formation of new clubs... and new teams to join local leagues. Maybe our county or league bodies could put out some advice notices, with contact details and offers of help to those considering starting up new clubs. Notices in Libraries and Post Offices/Newsagents, and Colleges etc..might help. With some targeting of `On-line /Web players` to suggest that they might well be good enough to take up club chess, and make good team players with the right encouragement.
Here`s a classic comment from a player I spoke to recently... He said he wouldn't play for the clubs teams because he didn't want to let the teams down. This completely misses the point, that many teams are set up as `starter teams` for lesser players to cut there teeth and gain league experience. From there players can often progress to higher teams after a season or so, and with the right encouragement, they soon can become quite strong players.

One other point I would mention is the ONOV issue.
I listened to the Eurovision Song contest recently and quite liked the new voting format, ie, shared votes between the official country panels and the public vote. Merged together at the end to give the overall winner.. Something similar to what I`ve been advocating for the ECF on the ECForum in various threads. It looks a good idea, but would need trialing. Maybe some discussion papers should be published for further consideration..
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Mike Truran
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Mike Truran » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:46 am

Nidgett speaks
In the midst of all the arguments about withdrawing British troops from Iraq, many people who have not got much to wonder about must be wondering at the silence of the war hero and founder of the Royal Army Tailoring Corps Lieutenant General Sir Frederick ("Tiger") Nidgett.
After all he is regarded as the greatest living authority on the affairs of the Middle East. For a memorable week he was Governor of Socotra. He was the saviour of Port Said "in the dark days of 1942 when the Nazis were howling and battering tastelessly at the gates of Egypt", as he says in his epic autobiography Up Sticks and Away (Viper and Bugloss, £35; paperback £12.50, remaindered copies available). He devised the master plan in the event of a further German advance to fall back on Aden, Bombay and if necessary New Zealand.
Would this have led to confrontation with the Japanese? We may be sure Nidgett took this into his calculations.
Now he has spoken out in his usual forceful manner. At a hastily summoned press conference at Tailoring Dene, his rhododendron-infested home near Godalming, he gave his trenchant views on the situation.
"In my view your average common or garden Arab man in the street, or rather in the dried-up wadi, is a bit of a scrounger, a bit of a lounge lizard and a bit of a barrack room lawyer. You have to handle him with tact and consideration. He has some of the natural pride and dignity of your true son of the desert.
"Treat him right and you'll have him eating out of your hand like a dose of salts. Treat him wrong and you'll find him shinning up the nearest gum tree, spitting defiance at all and sundry, right, left and centre. He won't be fobbed off with a handful of dates, believe you me, as many ill-informed people imagine.
"As I see it, the secret is leadership, initiative, vision, initiative, leadership and above all bags of guts. To give an example, in that little affair of the takeover of several Cairo bazaars, our chaps showed their determination and fighting spirit by clearing the whole stock of silks, damasks and what have you, leaving no stone unturned. Any questions?"
"Sir, what do you think of the possibility of withdrawing British troops from Iraq and getting shut of the whole tamasha, whatever the Yanks may say?"
The tiger gave one of his famous enigmatic smiles but made no answer.

John McKenna
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby John McKenna » Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:51 am

To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

David Pardoe
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby David Pardoe » Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:42 pm

In my latest e`pistle to fellow chess e`postles I wrote on several topics of interest... these were aimed at the wider chess community and chess bodies, as we enter the season of AGM`s, so I hope these will get a good airing. All these chess bodies have an important role to play in ensuring the future health of our chess offerings.
Roger de Coverly often talks about Membership charges being a barrier to chess participation, and I see his point...but you don`t get a free lunch these days, unless you are one of those high flying executives, living on big bonus pay-outs....but that`s another matter.
The money has to be found from somewhere to support our chess ambitions. My concern on this is about various chess bodies who look to simply balance the books, with little thought about projects that might help future developments....and go for a minimal cost/spend approach, which verges on a scrooge mentality, with some clubs offering the most basic amenities.

What is of key importance is that we continue to attract new people into our chess community. I know that much good work is already going into this, but I wonder if our chess bodies could focus more attention on `starter/novice leagues` for our lower graded players... those in the zero (complete beginner) up to say U120 levels. Some new town and country leagues might be good, attracting new clubs, maybe playing entirely ungraded chess... say two rapidplay half hour games per player per match... for teams of say 4 – 6 players. These might then provide a new stream of players for our mainstream leagues, as these players improved.

I have made comments on topics of interest, including OMOV, Grading system (possible changes), publicity/new members and clubs, plus other points..
There are many differing opinions on these matters.. Whether these are ignored or not is another matter.

On the matter of grading system proposals, I`m not convinced we need monthly grading's, nor that we need some centrally maintained league results reporting IT systems/platforms.
I could be wrong, but I think there may be better ways of addressing the surrounding issues..
The notion that monthly grading updates will somehow boost interest in chess, I somehow doubt... but positive actions on publicity initiatives might help.
Perhaps some answers/progress will be forthcoming at some future date.
And, possibly some questions/proposals/discussions might come up at various league, county, Union, and even the ECF AGMs...should time permit.
No doubt we may hear more as future board meetings minutes are published..

I mentioned also OMOV, which I think needs further consideration on all levels. How we connect with the chess community as a whole is important.
I can appreciate the caution, but the ECF should not be afraid to relinquish some power, and the membership needs to play there part too.
Tricky questions...i.e., how best to address the various issues.?

Mike probably thinks `there goes that Pardoe fella... blasting the ECF paper tigers again`, with his 3 prong multi level commentary ....
Not really...... I`ve targeted some areas for action and made my suggestions on possible actions ..
BUT...the target audience here is multi level, i.e., bits for the ECF, bits for Union and County bodies, and bits for league and clubs to think about.
With the AGM season upon us, now is the time to think about these matters and discuss options and issues.
Volunteers to keep the wheels turning are vital, so that`s where the membership can make a big contribution..

The UK chess scene is a unique mix of loosely connected bodies, and we should be aiming to bring all under the ECF umbrella, even including our `on-line` friends..
Many of these players don`t realise that they would make quite good club players, with some encouragement and support.

So, to summarize, I mentioned the Grading debate regarding proposed changes..monthly grading, saying that I thought this was not a good idea nor a good use of ECF time and resources.
In particular, I`ve tried to suggest that there might be better ways forward.
I mentioned publicity (at all levels) needs to be looked at to try to attract more chess interest, and particularly recruitment of new players... this is a league and club issue, also a County and Union issue..

The one outstanding major issue for me is the encouragement of grass roots chess.. i.e., can we encourage greater take-up, and can we encourage new players to take that leap and join our chess clubs.
One thing the ECF might consider is the establishment of local county town and country leagues, and particularly targeting novice leagues for new start-up clubs. This might make use of this new league software that the ECF is proposing to introduce. Maybe this could involve the establishment of Saturday leagues..possibly Rapidplay based, playing two 30 min games, for novice and lower grade players graded say U120, down to rank beginners. This could possibly be done in conjunction with various county and league bodies, to encourage new leagues in various local areas across the country.
Various prizes could be awarded, with modest entry fees for teams. Whether this could draw in the large number of `on-line` players and others who play quite a fair standard of novice chess remains to be seen. Whether evening leagues should be set up along similar lines might be something that local league bodies across the country might consider.
My view is that if such leagues could be started, then after a time, many of the new players might feel confident enough to progress to `standard` league/club chess. Who knows, some of these players might even progress to Master or International Master level. Alternatively, they might simply enjoy many hours of chess combat with fellow players..
At club level, many clubs might consider starting `novice level` internal tournaments, to encourage these people to get more involved.
The golden rule with chess.. as with so many sports/pastimes, is `practice makes perfect`... and chess is the ideal participation game for Joe public to get involved in...
BRING BACK THE BCF

John McKenna
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby John McKenna » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:26 am

The Lord above made man to help his neighbour,
No matter where, on land, or sea, or foam.
The Lord above made man to help his neighbour, but...
With a little bit of luck, with a little bit of luck,
When he comes around you won't be home!
(Alfred P. Doolittle)


Sometimes less is more... than enough.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

David Pardoe
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby David Pardoe » Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:12 am

John McKenna wrote:
The Lord above made man to help his neighbour,
No matter where, on land, or sea, or foam.
The Lord above made man to help his neighbour, but...
With a little bit of luck, with a little bit of luck,
When he comes around you won't be home!
(Alfred P. Doolittle)


Sometimes less is more... than enough.


John, If you check the stats, it appears that you post 5 or 6 times more frequently here than I do...
BRING BACK THE BCF

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Roger de Coverly » Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:20 am

David Pardoe wrote:My view is that if such leagues could be started, then after a time, many of the new players might feel confident enough to progress to `standard` league/club chess.


It's one of the paradoxes that players at the lower level of club or Congress chess aren't really any good at all and that someone experienced at internet blitz or even internet turn based should be well their equal. Against that social players "turning professional" can struggle with learning sensible approaches in the openings, keeping score and playing at a fast enough tempo to avoid time shortage.

Michael Farthing
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Re: The plans for the Grading System

Postby Michael Farthing » Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:01 am

David Pardoe wrote:John, If you check the stats, it appears that you post 5 or 6 times more frequently here than I do...


Quality not quantity?

I speak frankly, David, as I see your post.

There is rarely anything in your posts with which anyone can disagree.
They voice concerns that are widely discussed and widely recognised.
Each post contains many, many examples of these concerns.

Unfortunately the posts do not supply new insights and the proposed solutions are a list of things (without detailed development or consideration of either the ease of doing or the likely success) that other people should do...

Other people are not philanthropists. They are chess players who want primarily to play chess and perhaps also spend time organising the things that matter to them. They are not at the beck and call of David Pardoe and perhaps don't like the feeling that they are being told what they 'should' be doing.

[Of course, David Pardoe could be at the beck and call of David Pardoe].

Well, that's my impression. I've tried to put as clearly as I can why I suspect others are perhaps dismissive. I am not wanting to be hostile.


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