Dramatic changes in congress performances

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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:01 pm

Michael Renshaw wrote: I can’t even decide if any rules are being broken but something needs to be done or the integrity of congress chess will be damaged.
It would have to be tied in with wider changes, but it's a potential advantage of more frequent publication of grades and ratings that outstanding performances are immediately recognised. You might combine this with Congress rules for grade restricted sections that looked not just at the grade at a cut off point but also took into account the highest published over the last couple of years.

You also find that players with dramatically varying performances are at their most out of form during league matches.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:03 pm

Certainly I have heard the gentleman's name mentioned in connection with a large predatory sea animal...

Andrew Bak
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Andrew Bak » Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:52 pm

Congresses can choose not to let players enter or only allow them to enter if they play up a section if they want. As long as they don't discriminate on race, gender, sexual orientation etc, they can refuse entry for whatever reason.

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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:49 pm

Call in the Fraud Squad?
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Alan Walton
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Alan Walton » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:04 pm

It doesn't just happen in England

Check this player out, in a space of 3 year his rating has gone from 2200, to 2000, to 2200, to 2100, to 2300, to 2050 and back to 2200

https://ratings.fide.com/id.phtml?event=811394

If you can log on check some of the individual tournaments as well

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:20 pm

There are players who throw the odd game to keep their grade low enough so they can mop up the prize money when they need to. Experienced congress organisers are generally wise to them and I think it's slightly harder to do since the grading system was revamped a few years back as congress bands are narrower and grades don't fluctuate as much.

At the end of the day a game of chess only has three possible outcomes and in a large congress it is a bit like playing rock, paper, scissors - your luck will either hold if it won't. In a swiss you do need to keep the momentum going; some players might lose heart after dropping a couple of points. On the other hand some players respond better to the pressure of having 2/2 and keeping coming up with the goods.

Other factors can play a part in form such as health, tiredness and sometimes even something about the event itself.
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Michael Flatt
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Michael Flatt » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:42 pm

Andrew Bak wrote:Congresses can choose not to let players enter or only allow them to enter if they play up a section if they want. As long as they don't discriminate on race, gender, sexual orientation etc, they can refuse entry for whatever reason.
Organisers can unwittingly get caught out should they have no prior knowledge of a player who apparently has a legitimate grade but also has a history of wildly fluctuating results over a series of many competitions.

Grade manipulation, if indeed that is happening, is not something organisers routinely guard against unless someone in the know alerts them to it and there is sufficient time to review a player's playing record. There is always the possibility that a suspected player has run into patch of good form as happens from time to time.

Refusing a player entry into a competition might be too confrontational and could result in a claim of discrimination of some form. A more likely outcome is that the organiser will move the suspected player to what he believes is a more appropriate section. The organiser would be advised to cover himself with a caveat in the rules stating that the organiser reserves the right to refuse entry or move a player to a different section.

A player might have suspicious of an opponent who turns out to be much stronger than he purports to be. The best thing is to the incident to the Arbiter or Organiser but be aware that at that in the middle of a competition it is most unlikely that they would be able to take any action. They might, however, to be more vigilant in other events they run.

It might be an idea for the ECF grader to offer some statistical checks on the results of graded games so that organisers have some information on the quality of published grades in addition to the basic A-F grade categories.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:31 pm

Personally, I can't get that excited about the issue. As I said earlier, the person in question has been mentioned to me before - I haven't bothered to check out the facts and I don't intend to, but such characters exist. If he's waltzing round the grading list in search of prizes to partially pay for him to enter tournaments that he deliberately loses well what kind of loser is that? The people really losing out are the ones whom he loses to - because he hasn't given his best shot and his opponents have been denied a challenging game. But hey - at the level we are talking about it's an amateur game, played for the love, and for his opponents it's one out of five games. Not much to sacrifice to give comfort to a poor person who cuts his nose off to spite his face.

The simple solution is to stop giving any monetary prizes and award a trophy instead. It'd reduce the entry fees by about half as well.

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John Clarke
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by John Clarke » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:33 pm

One odd example of this from the 1970s concerned a junior who had played in at least one Open (very likely more), performing creditably. Three years later he had "anti-qualified" for u-160s and was busy mopping up in those for a time. He admitted to me that his grading might have dropped so markedly because of confusion with his brother, who had the same initial but was much inferior as a player.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:19 am

Alan Walton wrote:It doesn't just happen in England

Check this player out
I would love to, but it asks for a login these days
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JustinHorton
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:29 am

Michael Farthing wrote:for his opponents it's one out of five games.
Maybe, but especially if you're in contention, which may be a rare event, and you lose to somebody who's tanked their grade, then it's much more than that - it's your weekend spoiled, it's all the time and money you invested, it's the long time you waited since your last chance (and the time until you get another one) and the indefinable but important, and lasting, sensation of anger you get when you feel you've been cheated.
Last edited by JustinHorton on Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Michael Farthing
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Michael Farthing » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:58 am

Justin,

I perhaps came over as rather too casual about it - I don't approve of it. My position is more that it should be dealt with informally by organisers using their right to move people between sections. It was spurred by Michael Flatt's suggestion that we should have graders doing statistical analyses conjuring up in my mind the thought of complicated anti-cheating rules. I believe the game at an amateur level risks suffering from too much regulation as has certainly occurred from the undoubted need at professional level to be ruthless about mobile phones.

As an example of the phone matter I was at a congress recently where a phone went off perhaps a quarter of an hour into the first round. The offending player immediately put his hand out to his opponent in recognition of the loss. His opponent basically said, "No I've come to play chess. I don't want to win like this. Go and sort your phone out." He then went to the arbiter, whose view was that if both players were content the game should continue. The arbiter concerned is a man who sets out to make congresses work and keeps his players happy, but I suspect most people would think (perhaps with some reluctance) that he had made an incorrect decision. At that congress, and in the section where it happened, I am sure it was a good and correct response. Anyway, the opponent went on to buy the offender a cup of coffee to restore his equanimity and the well fought game finally finished in a draw.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Adam Raoof » Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:28 am

This was probably not a FIDE rated congress. Unfortunately in rated events the decision is not up to the opponent, it's an automatic loss. In events I run with a mixture of rated and ECF graded events we all play to the same FIDE rules and regulations (mainly because we are all in the same playing area), so a player in the Under 135 at Hampstead would lose the game if their phone went off, and there is no discretion. If the graded sections were in their own playing area (such as in Southend) it might be possible to relax the rule - but it wouldn't necessarily be good practice.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:48 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:You also find that players with dramatically varying performances are at their most out of form during league matches.
Heh, very good.

I guess the trouble is that any feasible approach to the problem is likely asking tournament controllers, who already have enough to do, to take potentially controversial decisions on the basis of incomplete evidence.

I wrote a piece about tanking in Kingpin years ago (it's not online) in connection with a gentleman to whom I am not related but whose name is similar to mine. I can't remember whether I suggested that tournament organisers ought to be refusing entries from notorious suspects or putting them in top sections, but I do seem to recall that I reckoned anybody who won, say, the U-170 at the Much-Miaowing-from-the-Puss Congress in any given year should be promoted to a higher group the following year.
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Michael Farthing
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Michael Farthing » Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:54 am

I seem to recall there is at least one congress that has this rule already. If all congresses did it, it would make keeping grades down a lot lot harder.

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