ECF Grading Proposals

General discussions about grading.
Nigel White
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Nigel White » Mon May 20, 2019 12:39 pm

Adam Raoof wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 7:54 am
At the moment I am considering (for August 2019 onwards) FIDE rating the third section at Hampstead, this will probably be Under 1700 (and you would also have to be Under ECF 135). What do you think?
As a regular in the U135 section, I would welcome changing this to being FIDE rated for the reasons you give. Increasingly, it appears that many of those who are eligible for the lowest section, play up a section (presumably because of the FIDE rating or for the reasons I have for considering switching, given below). A consequence is that in the lowest section you have a polarisation of entrants between stronger players (who may have a chance of winning something) and beginners. I therefore find that I tend to bounce between competitive and rather easy games - for that reason I was considering playing in the section above to ensure I get five testing games over the weekend. As most of my club and league chess is not FIDE rated, FIDE rating in itself is not a reason for switching. Also, I'm a Gold member anyway, since the London Chess Classic and many sections of the British Championships require it, so cost is not an issue.

I'm not sure what the answer is to your question about what grades to use - presumably if you define what date's grade you will be using, only a fairly small number of people will be affected (and most of those will just switch section, rather than being excluded).

Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon May 20, 2019 1:00 pm

Adam Raoof wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 7:54 am
At the moment I am considering (for August 2019 onwards) FIDE rating the third section at Hampstead, this will probably be Under 1700 (and you would also have to be Under ECF 135). What do you think?
Juniors will love this.

Also, I've FIDE-rated the U1600 section - the bottom one - of the LCC weekender for a few years now. We always get over 100 entries for it, it's the biggest of the weekender's 4 sections.

John Reyes
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by John Reyes » Mon May 27, 2019 2:37 pm

I do have a couple of questions

1) how will that affect the membership fees for Bronze, silver and Gold?

2) will there be a motion that will be put forward to the ECF?
Any postings on here represent my personal views only

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 30, 2019 9:14 am

Another issue for Elo style rating.

How well or badly will the system handle players who improve rapidly as evidenced by their standard play rating, but who only play rapidplay intermittently? There's going to be a player whose ECF rapidplay (converted) under the current system is going to be many hundred points different to his FIDE rapidplay.

The basic problem is that Elo based systems have a memory, which for juniors was designed out of the more recent iterations of the Clarke system. Some national Elo systems, Scotland's being one, have a hack of disregarding previous ratings if current performances are such that it can reasonably be ignored.

https://ratings.fide.com/hist.phtml?event=5818320

John Swain
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by John Swain » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:55 pm

I don't imagine that the Board will perform a U-turn and reverse the policy of monthly grades, despite the likelihood of extra work for graders and organisers, but I think that they ought to know that a lot of adult chess players do not seem to be excited at the prospect of having a monthly grade. I expect that some members of the Board know and accept this. After all, there were 11,580 ECF members on 1 March 2019:

https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... h-2019.pdf

but only "more than 900" including myself (>7.8%) responded to their Grading Consultation, published on 18 March.

https://www.englishchess.org.uk/grading ... n-results/

In a sense, I sympathise with the Board. They consulted members; it is not their fault that more than nine out of ten did not bother to respond. Nevertheless, the views of the "silent majority" should not be presumed to be the same as the "activists".

Leaving this aside, I would like to know more about these "activists".

No attempt was made to publish the number of responses by age or membership category, simply the percentages (classic obfuscation) which could easily have been done; was the sample inundated by responses from juniors, who were overwhelmingly in favour?

I can't recollect whether I had to input my membership number in order to complete the Consultation; was there anything to stop multiple responses from the same individual?

I did ask my membership representative at the April ECF meeting to raise under AOB a request for the actual raw data to be published but it seems that time was not on his side. Why not publish the data now?

Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:07 pm

John Swain wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:55 pm
Leaving this aside, I would like to know more about these "activists".

No attempt was made to publish the number of responses by age or membership category, simply the percentages (classic obfuscation) which could easily have been done; was the sample inundated by responses from juniors, who were overwhelmingly in favour?

I can't recollect whether I had to input my membership number in order to complete the Consultation; was there anything to stop multiple responses from the same individual?

I did ask my membership representative at the April ECF meeting to raise under AOB a request for the actual raw data to be published but it seems that time was not on his side. Why not publish the data now?
But this is nothing to do with the quality of data that has been provided, is it?

The result isn't what you wanted it to be, and you want access to more data to try to find some way to back you up that it's the wrong direction of travel. Either that, or you have a fundamental distrust of the Board and the Director of Membership in analysing the results.

People complained for years that the ECF didn't consult with people before making decisions; and now that it does do that more effectively, people complain that the ECF isn't doing the consultation properly. I'm beginning to think that the main takeaway from that shift is that actually, the people who complain just want something to complain about.

Ian Thompson
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Ian Thompson » Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:39 pm

John Swain wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:55 pm
No attempt was made to publish the number of responses by age or membership category, simply the percentages (classic obfuscation) which could easily have been done
The figures that are surprisingly missing from the survey results are the overall percentages. We don't know what percentage of the 900 responses were in favour. All we can say is that the overall percentage in favour was >56% and <92% (or between
504 and 828 people). That's a relevant figure, although whatever the actual number is within that range it is dwarfed by the 10,680 members (87%) who didn't respond.

Brian Valentine
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Brian Valentine » Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:47 pm

Rightly or wrongly I had assumed that a lot of those who did not respond, didn't care much either way. I can't help with the actual numbers behind the percentages.

I can confirm that the ECF did check for multiple responses. At most they could be counted on one hand, but it is likely that there were none.
Brian Valentine
Manager of ECF Grading

Paul Cooksey
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:53 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:07 pm
People complained for years that the ECF didn't consult with people before making decisions; and now that it does do that more effectively, people complain that the ECF isn't doing the consultation properly. I'm beginning to think that the main takeaway from that shift is that actually, the people who complain just want something to complain about.
Alex sounds very jaded.

J T Melsom
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by J T Melsom » Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:30 pm

Is it any wonder that those who volunteer sometimes react badly to criticism frequently if it comes from those who do so much less. There are constant attempts to misrepresent ECF policy and to raise in this place points which could be dealt with by private correspondence. Then there are those constantly trying to reinvent the wheel mainly to go backwards, without any real sense that their proposals have tangible support other than in the heads of the proposers. Many in this place are guilty from time to time of these sort of behaviours and whilst there is obviously scope for policy to be discussed in this place - its not really a substitute for direct dialogue. Take the debate on changes to the grading system - there are genuine concerns but idle speculation in this place really isn't as good as dialogue with those implementing the project and you could hardly blame those so charged if they ignored random observations here.

I mean seriously folks ask yourselves what you can do to positively help those who volunteer so that perhaps they are a little less 'jaded' in the future'.

Angus French
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Angus French » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:27 pm

J T Melsom wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:30 pm
Is it any wonder that those who volunteer sometimes react badly to criticism frequently if it comes from those who do so much less. There are constant attempts to misrepresent ECF policy and to raise in this place points which could be dealt with by private correspondence. Then there are those constantly trying to reinvent the wheel mainly to go backwards, without any real sense that their proposals have tangible support other than in the heads of the proposers. Many in this place are guilty from time to time of these sort of behaviours and whilst there is obviously scope for policy to be discussed in this place - its not really a substitute for direct dialogue. Take the debate on changes to the grading system - there are genuine concerns but idle speculation in this place really isn't as good as dialogue with those implementing the project and you could hardly blame those so charged if they ignored random observations here.

I mean seriously folks ask yourselves what you can do to positively help those who volunteer so that perhaps they are a little less 'jaded' in the future'.
Well, Alex says that consultation took place and people are complaining only because they didn't get the result they wanted. This might sound like a reasonable point but I don't think it is. What should have happened, in my opinion, is that the local results officers should have been consulted before anything else and only if this produced a positive outcome should there have been wider consultation. The local results officers should have been consulted first because it is they who, collectively, do most of the work to produce a grading list and because it is they who best know the local part of the grading ecosystem. Alex was specifically asked at a Council meeting whether local results officers would be consulted about a switch to monthly grading. He said they would be. But the consultation with results officers came only after the public consultation exercise (with its predictable result) and concerned implementation details, not whether the whole thing is a good idea or not. This is not a good way to go about making a decision and it puts noses out of joint of people the ECF relies upon.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:42 pm

Angus French wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:27 pm
J T Melsom wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:30 pm
Is it any wonder that those who volunteer sometimes react badly to criticism frequently if it comes from those who do so much less. There are constant attempts to misrepresent ECF policy and to raise in this place points which could be dealt with by private correspondence. Then there are those constantly trying to reinvent the wheel mainly to go backwards, without any real sense that their proposals have tangible support other than in the heads of the proposers. Many in this place are guilty from time to time of these sort of behaviours and whilst there is obviously scope for policy to be discussed in this place - its not really a substitute for direct dialogue. Take the debate on changes to the grading system - there are genuine concerns but idle speculation in this place really isn't as good as dialogue with those implementing the project and you could hardly blame those so charged if they ignored random observations here.

I mean seriously folks ask yourselves what you can do to positively help those who volunteer so that perhaps they are a little less 'jaded' in the future'.
Well, Alex says that consultation took place and people are complaining only because they didn't get the result they wanted. This might sound like a reasonable point but I don't think it is. What should have happened, in my opinion, is that the local results officers should have been consulted before anything else and only if this produced a positive outcome should there have been wider consultation. The local results officers should have been consulted first because it is they who, collectively, do most of the work to produce a grading list and because it is they who best know the local part of the grading ecosystem. Alex was specifically asked at a Council meeting whether local results officers would be consulted about a switch to monthly grading. He said they would be. But the consultation with results officers came only after the public consultation exercise (with its predictable result) and concerned implementation details, not whether the whole thing is a good idea or not. This is not a good way to go about making a decision and it puts noses out of joint of people the ECF relies upon.
The issue with consulting the graders is that the graders have a history of resigning in protest whenever the ECF has tried to move on with its processes. They did so with the transition from bundles to individual result reporting. They did so with the transition from 12-month lists to 6-month lists. While clearly these resignations are not a desirable outcome, on the other hand, in those cases events carried on being graded, and replacement grading officers were found. If the ECF had done what the graders insisted upon in the past, we'd still be in the world of bundles and annual lists; an even more antiquated set up than we have presently.

While it's important to get graders feedback, I think it is incumbent on the graders/ECF to find a way to provide what players want, and not the other way around. After all, it is the players who both graders and the ECF Board are volunteering their time to serve. As the person who ultimately wasn't in charge of this process by the time it came to be done, I am comfortable that the process involved players first, and then graders. The question to graders is: This is what the players want us to do. How are we going to provide it for them?
Last edited by Alex Holowczak on Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

J T Melsom
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by J T Melsom » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:50 pm

I've never disputed that people have a right to challenge and debate decisions made by ECF officers. The method including place of doing so is often unhelpful. Mistakes will be made by volunteers just as they are made by those paid for their activities. There is a constant nagging away at volunteers that concerns me. Its all too easy and collectively must take its toll. Well worn ground perhaps, but how many things are improved by the dialogue here? I'd suggest much of it to borrow your phrase 'also puts the noses of ECF Board members out of joint. Perhaps they are less important than the people they need out in the constituent units - I think both groups have value, but may have conflicting interests.

John Swain
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by John Swain » Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:08 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:39 pm
John Swain wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:55 pm
No attempt was made to publish the number of responses by age or membership category, simply the percentages (classic obfuscation) which could easily have been done
The figures that are surprisingly missing from the survey results are the overall percentages. We don't know what percentage of the 900 responses were in favour. All we can say is that the overall percentage in favour was >56% and <92% (or between
504 and 828 people). That's a relevant figure, although whatever the actual number is within that range it is dwarfed by the 10,680 members (87%) who didn't respond.
Mike Truran helpfully provided the overall percentages in an earlier post:
Mike Truran wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:09 pm
Ah, the totals seem to have been removed when the post was updated. Anyway, 72% in favour of monthly grading, 80% in favour of four figures.
I am grateful to Brian Valentine for his helpful response to my query about whether it was possible to vote more than once: whilst it may have been possible to vote more than once, it's unlikely that anyone did or that there was more than a handful.

I think, ironically, that by using the phrase " classic obfuscation" my own meaning became less than clear. Dictionaries define "obfuscation" in several ways, but most indicate that it is "making something difficult to understand" and this can be either unintentional or deliberate. My intention was not to criticise any individual member of the Board or the Board collectively. I am very used to seeing data presented in percentage form, but it is reasonable to ask what the size of the sample was on which the percentages were based. Whilst the overall number was more than 900, the numbers for the sub-categories were not presented; as Mike has indicated "the totals seem to have been removed when the post was updated".
Perhaps the person who presented the final table on the ECF website thought that they were being helpful, simplifying things? I would suggest if this was the case, there was unintentional obfuscation.

I happen to be a volunteer who has put in hundreds of hours for the ECF over the period 2016-2019 as organiser of the Under 19 National Schools Chess Championship, but even if I had not been an ECF volunteer, I would have felt entitled to ask the same questions.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:30 pm

Angus French wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:27 pm
But the consultation with results officers came only after the public consultation exercise (with its predictable result) and concerned implementation details, not whether the whole thing is a good idea or not. This is not a good way to go about making a decision and it puts noses out of joint of people the ECF relies upon.
ECF Boards have something of a habit of making strategic decisions without getting them approved or rubber stamped by the bi-annual meetings of the ECF Council. One can only suppose they have feared the wrong answer as otherwise replies to complainants that their representatives approved the controversial measures would seem a good defence to critics.

The "other" way of doing monthly ratings would have been to plough on regardless using reports from Congresses and six monthly reports from leagues. If leagues complained that their players weren't getting up to date ratings, then the solution would have been in their own hands.

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