British Championship Congress 2020

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:43 pm

"One of the complaints that is often received from players who are not juniors, which if we are being honest is players aged 40+, is that they don't want to play in events filled with juniors. This is because they are undergraded, or they don't sit still, or something. They remain most clear that juniors are welcome, they are very happy for juniors to have their own tournament. So long as they're not in their own tournament.

Am I concerned about it? Hard to say. I've seen this attitude for a decade or so, so I've just got used to it. Does it implicitly send the wrong message? Absolutely."

Well, yes. Having been around much longer than Alex, I don't think the problem is so bad these days. A couple of decades ago it wasn't unusual for juniors and their coaches and their parents and the arbiters to be obnoxious. Either I'm getting inured to it all, or the problem isn't so bad now.

I recall an event where a foreign player complained to the Junior Manager (an ECF Arbiter and fan of chess-boxing), "Two of your juniors are cheating, they're discussing their games." "Nothing to do with me", (running out of the door). I recall another event where I was trying to get a FIDE rating, all the juniors on my score-group kept getting rated opponents, the adults didn't... Parents harangued arbiters, trying to claim wins for their children etc. This was all routine. It doesn't seem to happen much now. Most of the juniors I've encountered either playing or as arbiter have been fine.

The problem is that nobody likes losing, some people get more annoyed at losing to a child than to an adult. I don't see why, if you lose, it's your fault.

Chris Rice
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020

Post by Chris Rice » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:47 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:33 pm
Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:51 pm
Not quite so exalted ...
Equally unexalted would be a game I played in the National Club Handicap Rapidplay about 15 years ago. Team names and grades of players were available before the first round, but not player names. I thought I was playing someone graded about 110. I discovered after the game it was George Botterill.
I remember a team mate of mine, Rawle Allicock, when I was playing for Streatham & Brixton in the London League. Rawle was around the ECF 200 mark and he turned up late for one match and proceeded to shake hands with his opponent and write out his score sheet. Rawle asked "what's your name?" His opponent was a little annoyed it seemed when he answered "Littlewood". Rawle then asked for his first name and he grunted out "Paul". Rawle then asked him "have you got a grade?" A lot of us listening to this could barely suppress our laughter while Paul looked quite put out.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:43 pm

Goodness. Bronstein, Milner-Barry, Botterill, and Paul Littlewood. Any more stories out there like this?

Having looked at his Wikipedia article, I didn't know George Botterill is a "Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield". Maybe one for the 'chess players in academia' thread?

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JustinHorton
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020 - Sections

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:55 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:05 pm
Ursula Wielgosz wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:00 am
4. Is anyone else concerned about the message this might be giving to Juniors who are just starting out and their parents?
One of the complaints that is often received from players who are not juniors, which if we are being honest is players aged 40+, is that they don't want to play in events filled with juniors. This is because they are undergraded, or they don't sit still, or something. They remain most clear that juniors are welcome, they are very happy for juniors to have their own tournament. So long as they're not in their own tournament.

Am I concerned about it? Hard to say. I've seen this attitude for a decade or so, so I've just got used to it. Does it implicitly send the wrong message? Absolutely.
Well, up to a point. The first thing is that the undergrading problem with juniors is really quite serious. I don't have sufficient knowledge of the rating system, or for that matter the maths, to understand exactly what is happening, still less what to suggest what should be done about it, but I do notice when I am playing a junior supposedly 3-400 points weaker than me but apparently around 100 points stronger, aa judged either subjectively during the game or more objectively by looking at their tournament performance. It's not mucn fun playing these games because you're on a hiding to nothing. There's nothing wrong with losing to a junior, that's just chess and the wheel of time, but the cumulative effect on your grading really isn't very funny, and having had three bad experiences in about twelve months - I don't mean three games, I mean three tournaments* with overall 8-9 games of this type - it's made me reluctant to enter another open tournament again. (* For the record, Barberà del Vallès and Prague last year, Platja d'Aro this.)

The other thing is that you do overall get more behavioural problems with juniors, especially of pre-secondary age, than with adults. Of course it's not fair to complain about it, they're kids not adults! And of course they will almost all grow out of it, which is more than you can say about badly-behaved adults, and of course it's not like there aren't a fair number of badly-behaved adults (who do things like this, for instance). But even so, it can be a bit wearying, if you play a lot of juniors in the same tournament, to deal with persistent behavioural problems. Whose responsibility is that? Well mine, I reckon, to either be realistic and cope with it, or to give tournaments with a lot of juniors a miss. But I might have to do that.
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Alex Holowczak
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020 - Sections

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:23 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:55 pm
I don't have sufficient knowledge of the rating system
Indeed, and unfortunately it shows - the tournaments in question are age restricted Under 100 ECF grade and Under 110 ECF grade tournaments, according to Ursula. While I've no doubt some would think the ECF system undergrades juniors, I suspect even its harshest critics wouldn't say that it has errors on the scale of several hundred points.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020 - Sections

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:31 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:23 pm
While I've no doubt some would think the ECF system undergrades juniors, I suspect even its harshest critics wouldn't say that it has errors on the scale of several hundred points.
I think Justin is making his point about the Elo system as implemented internationally by FIDE. That is known not to have any special measures to revalue junior players other than using (K=40). That is a double edged weapon as it means juniors can lose points as rapidly as they gain them. It's claimed that the reason why English juniors have international ratings well below their strength is the relative scarcity of FIDE rated events for them to play in. Justin's observations are that it isn't a purely British or English problem.

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JustinHorton
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:35 pm

Roger: quite. It was a general observation, since general observations about juniors wee being made, and explained why players of 40+ might not always want to play in "events filled with juniors".
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:31 pm
Justin's observations are that it isn't a purely British or English problem.
Indeed, far from it. I think most of the hugely under-rated juniors I played over the past fifteen months were Indian, and I have no reason to assume it's particular to India either.
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Alex Holowczak
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:46 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:35 pm
Roger: quite. It was a general observation and quoted a general observation.
In which case ... here's a general observation in reply.

I think "underrated juniors" are an imagined problem. Everyone thinks that they exist, but:
1. If "every" junior is underrated, as is often charged, maybe they're actually properly rated?
2. A junior with a low rating performing better than their rating is how the system is supposed to work. If this didn't happen, how would their rating ever improve? It's a phenomenon I expect you'd see with any new player - but of course the majority of new players are children. I expect a new adult would also show a similar pattern, in fact I remember everyone considering Hawkins in the way some years ago.

What players are saying, by saying they don't want to play juniors for rating reasons, is that they don't want to be part of a system where they are the people who lose rating points to improving players, thereby ensuring the improving players are forever worse than their rating since all they can ever do is pass points around rather than add points to the system. So it actually makes the problem they are trying to avoid worse.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:12 am

In context the proposed restriction applies to two tournaments at what is likely to be a unique British with the main week falling during term time and the event presumably returning to the traditional format (so no U110) at which point the new rating system will have come into effect anyway. When explained I don't think the `no under 16s` policy gives that negative message as affected players have other tournaments open to them.

I understand why some adults may not like playing juniors but if it's really that much of a problem surely there are other events available (at 38 I play in tournaments where I'm among the younger entrants).
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:20 am

Hawkins's initial rating was far too low because FIDE's algorithm for giving new players ratings is broken. If he'd come on the list with the TPR he got from the event where he did so, he'd have converged to his true strength far quicker.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:27 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:46 pm

2. A junior with a low rating performing better than their rating is how the system is supposed to work.
historic experience with Elo based rating systems suggests the mechanisms can cope with a player of 1900 rating playing to a 2000 standard. It's when players of a 1400 rating play to a 2000 standard that you get problems. Hence the various mechanisms in National Elo systems to partly or wholly ignore previous and obsolete ratings.

Is it important to be able to rank players in order of relative strength?

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JustinHorton
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:33 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:46 pm

If "every" junior is underrated, as is often charged
But not on this occasion
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:46 pm

2. A junior with a low rating performing better than their rating is how the system is supposed to work.
And so it is, but the speed at which it happens is not irrelevant.
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:46 pm
What players are saying, by saying they don't want to play juniors for rating reasons, is that they don't want to be part of a system where they are the people who lose rating points to improving players
Or perhaps, rather than saying what they are not saying, they are saying what they are really saying, which is that it is happening excessively and to an absurd degree.
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:27 am
It's when players of a 1400 rating play to a 2000 standard that you get problems.
Yes, of course.

One of the specific problems you might get is that if people feel they have performed OK in a tournament but find that they are losing 30-40 points because several of their opponents had ratings that are way out of whack, then sooner or later they are liable to start looking for other places to play (perhaps B tournaments rather than A tournaments, say, where the possibility exists). It doesn't matter what I think or say, I'm just one person and not at all important. But what happens if a lot of other people start feeling the same way?
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NickFaulks
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020 - Sections

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:30 am

JustinHorton wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:55 pm
but I do notice when I am playing a junior supposedly 3-400 points weaker than me but apparently around 100 points stronger, judged either subjectively during the game or more objectively by looking at their tournament performance.
Justin, I have taken a look at the most egregious case among your opponents.

From Jan 2018 to June 2019 he played 187 rated games with performances clustered around 1600 and no sign of a trend up or down. I think you will agree that this has the look of a stable rating, even for a 13 year old. In the subsequent three months he has been playing in stronger events and has held his own against 2000+ opposition, including a draw with a GM. You do not show such rapid improvement just because you are a junior, although I suspect it is impossible if you are not.

As you many have seen, I take a look at lots of these cases and generally end up saying something like "yes, you really did lose to an 1800 player, either he had a good day or you had a bad day, or both, get used to it". Here, it really does seem that you were unlucky to face an opponent during a burst of quite spectacular improvement, when his rating was two months out of date. This is not something we see every day.

Brian Valentine
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020 - Sections

Post by Brian Valentine » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:04 am

NickFaulks wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:30 am
JustinHorton wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:55 pm
but I do notice when I am playing a junior supposedly 3-400 points weaker than me but apparently around 100 points stronger, judged either subjectively during the game or more objectively by looking at their tournament performance.
Justin, I have taken a look at the most egregious case among your opponents.

From Jan 2018 to June 2019 he played 187 rated games with performances clustered around 1600 and no sign of a trend up or down. I think you will agree that this has the look of a stable rating, even for a 13 year old. In the subsequent three months he has been playing in stronger events and has held his own against 2000+ opposition, including a draw with a GM. You do not show such rapid improvement just because you are a junior, although I suspect it is impossible if you are not.

As you many have seen, I take a look at lots of these cases and generally end up saying something like "yes, you really did lose to an 1800 player, either he had a good day or you had a bad day, or both, get used to it". Here, it really does seem that you were unlucky to face an opponent during a burst of quite spectacular improvement, when his rating was two months out of date. This is not something we see every day.
Nick,
You make a persuasive case and it is a very plausible explanation. However on a cursory view of this player's development, I can't help noticing that a lot of the earlier results were in junior events and the big jump came from period where the weighting was towards adult opponents. Another explanation you have to address that the majority of his earlier opponents were "under-rated" which I think is where Justin's line of argument comes from.

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JustinHorton
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020 - Sections

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:00 am

NickFaulks wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:30 am
JustinHorton wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:55 pm
but I do notice when I am playing a junior supposedly 3-400 points weaker than me but apparently around 100 points stronger, judged either subjectively during the game or more objectively by looking at their tournament performance.
Justin, I have taken a look at the most egregious case among your opponents.

From Jan 2018 to June 2019 he played 187 rated games with performances clustered around 1600 and no sign of a trend up or down. I think you will agree that this has the look of a stable rating, even for a 13 year old. In the subsequent three months he has been playing in stronger events and has held his own against 2000+ opposition, including a draw with a GM. You do not show such rapid improvement just because you are a junior, although I suspect it is impossible if you are not.

As you many have seen, I take a look at lots of these cases and generally end up saying something like "yes, you really did lose to an 1800 player, either he had a good day or you had a bad day, or both, get used to it". Here, it really does seem that you were unlucky to face an opponent during a burst of quite spectacular improvement, when his rating was two months out of date. This is not something we see every day.
That's interesting, and my thanks for it, but I do want to point out that as far as I'm concerned there wasn't really an "egregious case", to the extent that I don't know which player you're referring to - there were maybe eight or nine.

(Incidentally, if anybody finds this subject compelling enough to have a different thread about it, I'd be very happy for recent postings to be hoicked out of here and reposted in a fresh one, I don't really want to be hijacking a discussion about Torquay 2020.)
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