Specification for ECF LMS API ?

General discussions about grading.
Roger de Coverly
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:34 pm

Brian Valentine wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:30 pm
We have settled on publishing an old style grading list for next August; our objective is to have a beta version of the new system working early in the new year bringing it up to a standard to take over thereafter.
So there will be an August 2020 publication of traditional three figure grades. That means it's not until the 2021 AGM and meeting season that League rules mentioning three figure grades may have to be changed. Congresses would also need advance warning as to when three figure grades will cease to exist. Some seem to publish their entry forms as much as a year in advance.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:39 pm

Of course, the point at which three-figure grades cease to exist and the point at which four-figure grades come in don't have to be the same point. They can run concurrently while people adjust to the new system.

John Upham
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by John Upham » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:46 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:39 pm
Of course, the point at which three-figure grades cease to exist and the point at which four-figure grades come in don't have to be the same point. They can run concurrently while people adjust to the new system.
My understanding from this is at this point (whenever this is ) some players may well have
  • a FIDE Elo rating
    an ECF Elo rating
    an ECF Clarke grading

for standard play and potentially three of the same for rapidplay

giving a grand total of four ratings and two gradings.

Sounds like fun ! :D
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Alex Holowczak
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:18 pm

Angus French wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:51 am
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:11 am
IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:16 am
(This shows every sign of being an Alex H initiative, and I've worked with Alex H a lot and have some idea of where his blind spots lie.)
Given that grading is the responsibility of the Director of Membership, and the LMS is the responsibility of the Director of Home Chess, neither of which are me... :roll:
Though, Alex, you kicked off the project when Director of Home Chess.
Indeed. I also kicked off the English Women's Championship and the UK Open Blitz, but I am not involved in either of those tournaments this year for the same reasons. Yet to the best of my knowledge, I haven't been accused of having blind spots regarding any issues that might or might not be arising from them.

Angus French
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Angus French » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:31 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:18 pm
Angus French wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:51 am
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:11 am

Given that grading is the responsibility of the Director of Membership, and the LMS is the responsibility of the Director of Home Chess, neither of which are me... :roll:
Though, Alex, you kicked off the project when Director of Home Chess.
Indeed. I also kicked off the English Women's Championship and the UK Open Blitz, but I am not involved in either of those tournaments this year for the same reasons. Yet to the best of my knowledge, I haven't been accused of having blind spots regarding any issues that might or might not be arising from them.
At issue, I thought, was a decision - to pursue going to monthly grading with concomitant extra work for league results officers - you took when Home Director.

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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Angus French » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:38 am

Brian Valentine wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:30 pm
The ECF recognises that monthly grading will only work if we abolish much workload that graders do at present. We have to develop tools that can facilitate this desire.
Brian, can I ask: what tools do you have in mind?

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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:44 pm

Angus French wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:31 am
At issue, I thought, was a decision - to pursue going to monthly grading with concomitant extra work for league results officers - you took when Home Director.
Yes, I remember putting as much in my election address, and publishing it earlier than I had to so that people could discuss the matter. I was duly elected, so clearly it was a reasonable thing to pursue.

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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by John Upham » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:10 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:44 pm
I remember putting as much in my election address, ..... I was duly elected, so clearly it was a reasonable thing to pursue.
As some of us have learnt many times from history these two are not connected but they might be coincidental.
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Brian Valentine
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Brian Valentine » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:52 am

Angus French wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:38 am
Brian Valentine wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:30 pm
The ECF recognises that monthly grading will only work if we abolish much workload that graders do at present. We have to develop tools that can facilitate this desire.
Brian, can I ask: what tools do you have in mind?
Fair request!

Given the resources we have, the new system will evolve rather than start with a big bang. Hence there is still time to get your ideas on the table. I have a fair idea of the more difficult issues grader’s face, but there may well be quick fixes for some problems I have not fully comprehended.

First and foremost, results held on the ECF LMS should update the grading database with no manual intervention. When we are comfortable our solutions are robust, we will widen this facility to all results administration systems who want to add this facility.

We need to develop something that makes the identification of players simpler and a routine to add new grading codes(specifically we need to link membership and grading records better).

We expect to introduce an event registration system, so we can keep track of what is expected to arrive. Our vision is that organisers can apply through calendar entry and with a few more details than now, registration will happen. Initially, for league and internal club results we would expect to contact all the organisers from the previous year to confirm continuation.

And lastly, we have our own backstop. Graders can continue as they do now and results will be graded (eventually). In the end, locally, players will get the immediacy and accuracy of monthly grades that they are prepared to support.

Brian Valentine
Manager ECF Grading

John Upham
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by John Upham » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:10 am

Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:52 am
Angus French wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:38 am
Brian Valentine wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:30 pm
The ECF recognises that monthly grading will only work if we abolish much workload that graders do at present. We have to develop tools that can facilitate this desire.
Brian, can I ask: what tools do you have in mind?
Fair request!

Given the resources we have, the new system will evolve rather than start with a big bang. Hence there is still time to get your ideas on the table. I have a fair idea of the more difficult issues grader’s face, but there may well be quick fixes for some problems I have not fully comprehended.

First and foremost, results held on the ECF LMS should update the grading database with no manual intervention. When we are comfortable our solutions are robust, we will widen this facility to all results administration systems who want to add this facility.

We need to develop something that makes the identification of players simpler and a routine to add new grading codes(specifically we need to link membership and grading records better).

We expect to introduce an event registration system, so we can keep track of what is expected to arrive. Our vision is that organisers can apply through calendar entry and with a few more details than now, registration will happen. Initially, for league and internal club results we would expect to contact all the organisers from the previous year to confirm continuation.

And lastly, we have our own backstop. Graders can continue as they do now and results will be graded (eventually). In the end, locally, players will get the immediacy and accuracy of monthly grades that they are prepared to support.

Brian Valentine
Manager ECF Grading
Brian,

Will you be enthusiastically working with non-ECF providers of alternative LMSs such that they are part of this development loop ? I'm confident you won't want to leave them behind.
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Angus French
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Angus French » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:09 pm

Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:52 am
First and foremost, results held on the ECF LMS should update the grading database with no manual intervention. When we are comfortable our solutions are robust, we will widen this facility to all results administration systems who want to add this facility.
OK, I can understand the wish to improve the ECF LMS first... Do you mean no manual intervention at all, that results once submitted by one team rep - and confirmed by an opposing team rep? - will go straight through to the ECF database? And you'll be able to deal with results which are missing from an initial match submission and provided later? And you'll be able to deal with incorrectly recorded results which are later corrected?

Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:52 am
We need to develop something that makes the identification of players simpler and a routine to add new grading codes(specifically we need to link membership and grading records better).
Currently (as the Croydon League's results officer), I'll use the online grading database to attempt to match (by name) a player who is new to the league with an existing player who has a Grade Ref. I might just go to the membership list for further information if I'm unsure of the identity of the new player - maybe there'll be an entry in the membership list and maybe it will have the player's new club which the online database doesn't. (It's possible, too, that a membership list entry will point to a new grading record when there also appears to be a match with an older grading record.) Usually I'll contact the player's club secretary or team captain to confirm a player's identity... Sometimes a player is new not only to a club but also to graded chess and a Grade Ref will be allocated on submission of a results file to the central grading team. Sometimes another results officer will have got in first and registered the new player. Usually when this happens the player is correctly identified and no new Grade Ref is allocated - but sometimes an extra (duplicate) record is created... Can this process be improved? Maybe it can through a new search facility which provides real-time access to the grading database (since the online grading list database is only updated monthly) and displays grading list and membership list data in one place. The results file checker app which results officers use will, I assume, produce a warning or an error for an unrecognised Grade Ref but that would be OK (the warning/error can be ignored)... I'm seeing scope for a some improvement here but not a big win. Please say if I'm wrong.

Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:52 am
We expect to introduce an event registration system, so we can keep track of what is expected to arrive. Our vision is that organisers can apply through calendar entry and with a few more details than now, registration will happen. Initially, for league and internal club results we would expect to contact all the organisers from the previous year to confirm continuation.
What would the benefit of doing this be? And wouldn't it create extra work for the local results officer (or event organiser)? I recall that a proposal to ECF Council to introduce an event-registration system was rejected, I think about five years ago.

Brian Valentine wrote: The ECF recognises that monthly grading will only work if we abolish much workload that graders do at present.
Some of the workload - at least for this results officer - is in the processing of January grading lists: replacing grade estimates with new grades (where they exist) or updated estimates (on the basis of new results)...
Last edited by Angus French on Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:33 pm

Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:52 am
We expect to introduce an event registration system, so we can keep track of what is expected to arrive. Our vision is that organisers can apply through calendar entry and with a few more details than now, registration will happen.

What details would these be? Congresses, even one day ones, would want to have their event shown on the calendar months in advance. Not all the practical details would necessarily be finalised that far in advance. Club and county events with closed eligibility wouldn't expect to be on the calendar.

Arguably local graders have a regulatory role, preventing phantom or fraudulent events appearing in the grading system.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Ian Thompson » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:57 pm

John Upham wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:10 am
Will you be enthusiastically working with non-ECF providers of alternative LMSs such that they are part of this development loop ? I'm confident you won't want to leave them behind.
If those alternative LMSs are commercial offerings, or even if they're not, that might depend on how much they are prepared to contribute to the ECF's costs of providing the API.

Also, it's probably not an insignificant amount of effort for the ECF to verify that an alternative LMS is fit for purpose by checking it is well-designed, works properly and passes a pen test.

Brian Valentine
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Brian Valentine » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:28 pm

I will pick up most of the requests/questions/ideas posted above as soon as possible. Also,I shan't be ignoring future posts.

As I stated above the project is in a flux at this moment. I will respond when I can be more specific in my answers.

I will be keeping graders and organisers up to date on things that are settled and affect them through the email lists.

I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring the forum by delaying responses. I realise that this may continue conspiracy theories mentioned by Roger above, but think it better than spraying out "fake news".

I'll be in touch!

Brian Valentine
Manager of ECF grading

Brian Towers
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Re: Specification for ECF LMS API ?

Post by Brian Towers » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:20 am

Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:52 am
Hence there is still time to get your ideas on the table.

Brian Valentine
Manager ECF Grading
In which case I'd like to put forward an idea.

Recently a new grader took over in the North East. For the previous occupant I used to send an Excel file derived from Swiss Manager (which I used for pairing). It can actually be extracted from the chess-results web page for the tournament via the "Export to Excel" link. The new occupant was very happy with this format and went one further. I could just send him the link to chess-results and he would click on the right links.

How about using the format of that Excel file as one of the acceptable tournament report formats? Of course it would be even nicer if I could continue to just send the link but I realize that is probably asking too much.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

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