ECF to scrap its grading system

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Ian Jamieson
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:00 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by Ian Jamieson » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:13 pm

"The present method of calculating grades was devised to handle batch processing of results, with each batch containing a significant number of results for each active player. This method of calculation is statistically unsound once the frequency of calculation is such that the number of results in each batch for the majority of players is small. Moving to more frequent grading lists will require us to replace the ECF calculation method with a more suitable one."

According to whom is this method of calculation unsound?

Why will moving to more frequent lists require the ECF to change their calculation method?

NickFaulks
Posts: 4539
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:23 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:30 pm
From the December ECF newsletter
Why am I always the only person who can't find these things?

You don't actually have to answer that, just tell me where it is.

John McKenna
Posts: 3439
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by John McKenna » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:44 pm

J T Melsom wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:20 pm
Fine, I'm just making the point that there are shire areas with no large urban centres within them, in which the organisation of chess and the demands made on organisers are quite different and that I get a sense that these differences are not always appreciated in the move to change. Plenty of areas of life where the policy makers have to rightly consider impact on various sectional groups, chess administrators shouldn't dismiss diversity either. That is not to say that those voices should be afforded priority, but they should be heard and given due weight. I've just had to answer another e-mail from a parent for whom there is no viable junior coaching locally, though if they lived a bit further away it might be a different story.

Point(s) taken. [Hopefully also registered by some relevant ECF person(s).]
Ian Jamieson wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:13 pm
"The present method of calculating grades was devised to handle batch processing of results, with each batch containing a significant number of results for each active player. This method of calculation is statistically unsound once the frequency of calculation is such that the number of results in each batch for the majority of players is small. Moving to more frequent grading lists will require us to replace the ECF calculation method with a more suitable one."

According to whom is this method of calculation unsound?

Why will moving to more frequent lists require the ECF to change their calculation method?
I could try to provide answers to your questions, but prefer to leave it to see if a member of the ECF's grading team will do it first.
NickFaulks wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:23 pm
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:30 pm
From the December ECF newsletter
Why am I always the only person who can't find these things?

You don't actually have to answer that, just tell me where it is.
I just received an ECF newsletter in the last day or two. Haven't read it yet but will be doing so later today. Roger will probably soon give out chapter & verse nos.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

LawrenceCooper
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:13 am

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by LawrenceCooper » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:59 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:23 pm
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:30 pm
From the December ECF newsletter
Why am I always the only person who can't find these things?

You don't actually have to answer that, just tell me where it is.
https://www.englishchess.org.uk/?s=newsletter although the December issue isn't there yet.

Mick Norris
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:12 am
Location: Bolton, Greater Manchester
Contact:

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:13 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:23 pm
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:30 pm
From the December ECF newsletter
Why am I always the only person who can't find these things?

You don't actually have to answer that, just tell me where it is.
The newsletter was emailed to me by the ECF yesterday afternoon

I copied the whole of the text about grading for those who hadn't seen the original
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

NickFaulks
Posts: 4539
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:25 pm

LawrenceCooper wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:59 pm
although the December issue isn't there yet.
Thanks, that would explain my confusion.

NickFaulks
Posts: 4539
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:35 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:13 pm
I copied the whole of the text about grading for those who hadn't seen the original
Thanks, very helpful. I was reluctant to comment before I knew that I had seen the whole thing.
The Board recognise that there is a clear demand from many sections of the chess community for more frequent grading lists.
What is the basis of this recognition? I'm not saying that they're making it up, but I have quite a wide spectrum of chess contacts and I don't think I have ever heard anyone express a desire for monthly grading lists, so I would be interested to hear where it is coming from.

Ian Jamieson
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:00 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by Ian Jamieson » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:38 pm

Also what do the grading team consider a more suitable grading system to be?

John McKenna
Posts: 3439
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by John McKenna » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:44 pm

I suppose the Swiss and Yorks players never really wanted 'continuous' (live) ratings/gradings and had them thrust upon them. Strange that instead of having to try to calculate their own they could get them officially, immediately, more or less.
Last edited by John McKenna on Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Reg Clucas
Posts: 288
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 3:45 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by Reg Clucas » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:46 pm

Ian Jamieson wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:13 pm
"The present method of calculating grades was devised to handle batch processing of results, with each batch containing a significant number of results for each active player. This method of calculation is statistically unsound once the frequency of calculation is such that the number of results in each batch for the majority of players is small. Moving to more frequent grading lists will require us to replace the ECF calculation method with a more suitable one."

According to whom is this method of calculation unsound?
The gist of the sentence is that it is unsound for small sample sizes, which seems reasonable to me, though it's a long time since my A level statistics course!

Brian Valentine
Posts: 388
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:30 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by Brian Valentine » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:23 pm

The idea of monthly grading has been around for quite a while and I'm surprised at the delay in the subject appearing on this forum. The intention was in the strategy paper presented at the recent Council meeting. There are more details in the November Board meeting draft minutes.

I am a rule taker in this situation. My only goal is to deliver that which the Board instructs, so many queries are above my pay grade to respond.

The situation is in some flux at present and much as I would like to, I am not be prepared to comment until more is settled. Please note the newsletter implies functionality for the 2019-20 season. I have high hope that we will not turn off the existing system until the replacement is stable.

Brian Valentine
ECF Manager of Grading

Roger de Coverly
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:45 pm

Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:23 pm
The intention was in the strategy paper presented at the recent Council meeting.
When does anyone take much notice of the waffle in strategy papers?

If it's to become the ECF's method of announcing policy changes, it's evident that such papers need to be scrutinised with an eye for detail.

Mike Gunn
Posts: 654
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:45 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by Mike Gunn » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:12 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:30 pm
From the December ECF newsletter
This method of calculation is statistically unsound once the frequency of calculation is such that the number of results in each batch for the majority of players is small. Moving to more frequent grading lists will require us to replace the ECF calculation method with a more suitable one.
This statement is rubbish. It is obvious that you could do a complete Clarke calculation every month (going back one/ two/ thee years to get the 30 or more games if possible) and the statistical accuracy would be just the same as it is now. The only practical difficulty is that you would need to know which month games were played in and not all chess clubs give their graders this information (at present), but if we had a monthly system this would solve itself.

Clarke and Elo both stated in their publications that their grading systems were basically equivalent and would end up giving the same ranking of players if fed the same data. Clarke designed his system for annual grading and Elo for updating ratings after each tournament. The Clarke system is fine for league and county chess and has the major advantage that each player can check the calculation of their own grade by simple arithmetic (caveat: excluding the effect of the junior calculation). The desire for monthly grades would appear to come from regular tournament players particularly juniors and new players who would like to monitor their progess (at least that is what Adam Raoof has always told me).

Doing a national Elo calculation every month is probably easier for the national grading team (you don't have to remember and use up to 3 years worth of results), but it's a fiction to say it would be more accurate! The current problem with Elo ratings in the UK (deflation caused by under rated players) would not be so bad with a national Elo system as the system would receive a lot more data.

Roger de Coverly
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:18 pm

Mike Gunn wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:12 pm
Clarke and Elo both stated in their publications that their grading systems were basically equivalent and would end up giving the same ranking of players if fed the same data.
That premise now looks broken, because the ECF system now treats juniors as recurrent new players, whilst the FIDE system relies on an enhanced K factor which creates instability when players are very active and fails to keep up with improvements when they aren't.

Julie Denning
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:07 am

Re: ECF to scrap its grading system

Post by Julie Denning » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:20 pm

My interest in this subject is not only as a Director, but also as a local grader. In the latter capacity I had some reluctance to such a change out of self interest. Although it obviously won't mean any more games to grade, it will mean I have 12 grading deadlines to meet each year instead of 2! However, I have been persuaded on the basis that it should be a good move for juniors and be more in line with many other national grading systems. I don't know the rationale of saying it would need to be an ELO system rather than the current ECF system. (Note to Reg Clucas: my A level stats course may well have been even longer ago than yours!)

An immediate concern I have is that it must be accepted that some results will be submitted late. It wouldn't be reasonable to demand that local graders never miss a monthly deadline due to being on holiday, unwell, or whatever else life might involve. Also, I anticipate that clubs might not always submit monthly updates to me for onward transmission. Although the differences are likely to be small, this raises a question of what grades are assumed for a particular game - those applicable at the date of play, or those applicable at the date of late submission? I would also like to see an updated simple system to produce grading files that can cope with all the situations that local graders face - leagues, internal club, weekend Swiss, ad hoc friendly matches …. . The old ECF League program works fine for me, but it means I'm having to maintain a Windows XP computer running just for grading, and this has caused me some problems (as have been noted on the Forum at times :oops: ).

If other local graders cared to let me know of any other concerns or questions they might have, I'll try to ensure they are noted in any future Board discussions on this.

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