ECF Grading Proposals

General discussions about grading.
Mike Truran
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Mike Truran » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:17 pm

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.
Well, that's just a fabrication on your part. All strategic initiatives are included in the Strategy and Business Plan submitted to Council for approval at the AGM. The monthly grading proposal was included in the Strategy and Business Plan submitted to and approved by Council at both the 2017 and the 2018 AGMs.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:19 pm

Do you remember what you said when I asked a question about something in the strategy document at the 2018 AGM Mike?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:26 pm

Mike Truran wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:17 pm
The monthly grading proposal was included in the Strategy and Business Plan submitted to and approved by Council at both the 2017 and the 2018 AGMs.
I would consider it sufficiently important that it should have been a motion in its own right, rather than buried in a document designed not to be read in detail.

Remind me about the complete abolition of "pay to play". Is that still an ECF objective?

Mike Truran
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Mike Truran » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:40 pm

The Board spends many hours discussing and writing both the Strategy and Business Plan and the Board Report to Council before both documents are submitted to Council for approval.

I would consider it not unreasonable to expect Council members to take the trouble to spend ten minutes or so reading them. I am sure that most if not all Council members do read them, and approve them accordingly.

It is, by the way, downright insulting of you to say that we spend a lot of time producing documents ‘designed not to be read in detail’.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:57 pm

Mike Truran wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:40 pm
It is, by the way, downright insulting of you to say that we spend a lot of time producing documents ‘designed not to be read in detail’.
Why then does the Board not identify proposals likely to be controversial and require specific endorsement for them?

Business plans are notorious for being long on ambitions and happy thinking and short on detail on difficult topics.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:09 am

Personally I have spent many hours looking at ECF documents and thinking about them. I was disappointed that the Board said it did not have sufficient resources to review and update them regularly when I asked a detailed question.

I disagree with Roger, I do feel the strategy document would be an appropriate mechanism for review if it could be relied on. So I made no objection to this initiative either here or formally since it was in the strategy document. I even resisted for several months the cheap shot that the last thing you expect to be done is something in the strategy. But it is a bit cheeky trying to have this both ways. Apparently the ECF is bound by its strategy, except when it isn't.

I'd prefer not to make these points in an adversarial way, but difficult to handle this otherwise. There seems to be a policy of personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with anything, no matter how small. I suppose it is good politics to make it clear that anyone raising any criticism faces this sort of consequence.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:33 am

" I think it is incumbent on the graders/ECF to find a way to provide what players want, and not the other way around. "

Yes. It is good that there is more consultation now. Have the old days of, "We are going to ban adjudication, if you don't like it, give up chess" , gone?

At least gradings/ratings are easy to look up now, which saves people the effort of remembering them.

I am saddened though that so many people seem to assume that all change is good.

Nick Burrows
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Nick Burrows » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:16 am

Monthly grades - fine. A small benefit for a s**t ton of work.

4 digit grade - most likely a disaster. Fide grades below 2000 are almost entirely meaningless. The current ecf grades are the only reliable measure. Changing it for a shiny new extra number has a MASSIVE potential downside (all grades below 2000 become almost entirely meaningless) with no upside whatsoever that I can see aside from a cosmetic and "modern" extra digit.

John Swain
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by John Swain » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:48 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:33 am
I am saddened though that so many people seem to assume that all change is good.
I entirely agree with you.

As a former History teacher, I am very familiar with the Whig Theory of History, which, until the early 1920s, emphasised "Progress" in all forms - political, scientific and technological etc. This view was prevalent until about a hundred years ago but thankfully has been consigned to the historiographical dustbin. It was brilliantly satirised by Sellar and Yeatman in "1066 and all that ..." (1930).

However, it frequently rears its head in other forms. Those who wish to see change (i.e. their own ideas introduced) frequently use the phrase "moving forward" as if change is self-evidently a "Good Thing" (quoting Sellar and Yeatman!) and seek to denigrate those who have a different view as unhelpful, obstructive and dyed in the wool Luddites who should be put out to grass.

NickFaulks
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:54 am

Nick Burrows wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:16 am
4 digit grade - most likely a disaster. Fide grades below 2000 are almost entirely meaningless.
I think this argument is based on a misapprehension. It may be true that the FIDE ratings of English players are often unreliable, but that is a peculiarly local problem based on the fact that most games are never submitted for rating. That will presumably not apply to the new ECF grades.

Given a sensible formula ( the most important element, and I don't believe this has yet been confirmed ) I would expect the new grades to be at least as reliable as those produced by the current system.
Last edited by NickFaulks on Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nick Burrows
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Nick Burrows » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:16 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:54 am
Given a sensible formula ( the most impotant element, and I don't believe this has yet been confirmed ) I would expect the new grades to be at least as reliable as those produced by the current system.
Impotent may be right :)

If the new 4 digit number is unrelated to the Fide rating system, but just the same ecf rating system manipulated to produce a bigger number that looks like the Fide number - what exactly is the point of it again other than to help confuse the 2 systems?

Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:20 pm

Nick Burrows wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:16 pm
If the new 4 digit number is unrelated to the Fide rating system, but just the same ecf rating system manipulated to produce a bigger number that looks like the Fide number - what exactly is the point of it again other than to help confuse the 2 systems?
It will presumably be a system broadly similar to the current FIDE Elo system.

The point of it is that:
- The current ECF system is basically the Elo equivalent of a TPR of a batch of a games
- That concept doesn't work well for increased frequency of publication

There's also the other issue that new players tend to play online quite a bit. So they will be familiar with their online rating, and then they'll come to over-the-board chess and be unfamiliar with ECF grades, but will be familiar with FIDE ratings. Think about how it looks to a layman - online and FIDE doing broadly the same thing, and the ECF doing something completely different and much more slowly. Which is the organisation/system that looks worse?

Ian Thompson
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:47 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:20 pm
So they will be familiar with their online rating, and then they'll come to over-the-board chess and be unfamiliar with ECF grades, but will be familiar with FIDE ratings.
In what sense are they familiar with it? They'll know what their rating is, but how much more will they know? Will they know how it's calculated? If they see someone stating that they have a chess24.com rating of over 3000 and also that the World Champion has a blitz FIDE rating of 2920 and a live rating of 2856 will they understand how to compare the strengths of these players?

What are they going to think if their first OTB rating, from any source, is much lower than their online rating? Might they decide to give up OTB chess because they think they're much better at online chess?

There's a lot to be said for ensuring that different rating systems use different ranges so there's no risk of making inappropriate comparisons between them.

NickFaulks
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:04 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:47 pm
What are they going to think if their first OTB rating, from any source, is much lower than their online rating?
Anyone who believes that an online rating means much is probably beyond help.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECF Grading Proposals

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:15 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:47 pm
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:20 pm
So they will be familiar with their online rating, and then they'll come to over-the-board chess and be unfamiliar with ECF grades, but will be familiar with FIDE ratings.
In what sense are they familiar with it? They'll know what their rating is, but how much more will they know? Will they know how it's calculated? If they see someone stating that they have a chess24.com rating of over 3000 and also that the World Champion has a blitz FIDE rating of 2920 and a live rating of 2856 will they understand how to compare the strengths of these players?

What are they going to think if their first OTB rating, from any source, is much lower than their online rating? Might they decide to give up OTB chess because they think they're much better at online chess?

There's a lot to be said for ensuring that different rating systems use different ranges so there's no risk of making inappropriate comparisons between them.
Often a new player who enters one of my tournaments will have an online rating. They won't play for a club. I'll get an email enquiry asking about what section they should enter, because they don't know what 110, 140 or 170 means. OK, their online rating is 1500, but you smell a rat that the system is different given there are four sections and they're all so low compared to you. So you end up converting their online rating of 1500 and putting them in that section because you've nothing better to go on. In the mean time, you have to explain why the English system is what it is, how it works, and so on. I do think it's a barrier to some people playing over the board. If they knew the sections were U1500, U1750 and U2000, I think a few people would feel a bit more comfortable.

So actually I view it as a change that would make it more user-friendly for people to join over-the-board chess in the first place. Online chess is an area where people in England are playing chess, and I think it would be good if some of them transitioned to playing over the board. So this change is something that makes no difference to the existing playing base at a practical level, while potentially being more welcoming to new players.

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