New 'New junior grades'

General discussions about grading.
Sean Hewitt

Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:14 pm

David - The problem with averages is that they are almost always wrong for the vast majority of players!

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David Shepherd
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by David Shepherd » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:26 pm

Nothing is ever perfect!

Matt Harrison
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by Matt Harrison » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:02 pm

The new new junior grades (v5) seem to have reduced the new standard play grades for juniors by 4-10 points from what was proposed. (v3).

My son has gone from 171 to 162. His current grade is 138.

His playing performance so far this year is 162 (old grades), 167 (new new grades). (It was about 172 on the original new grades). He has played about 40 graded games so far this season, about 2/3 against adults (congresses and leagues).

At 138 he is undergraded. At 171 he was overgraded. At 162 (with adult grades at around that level having also increased) it seems about right.

Experiment of one and all that - danger of extrapolation - but the new new grades do seem a bit more reasonable than the first attempt. But this is for older juniors. The 20 point increment for under 11s does seem excessive.

Neill Cooper
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:26 pm

some interesting statistics: (looking at longplay grades)
Looking at players whose grade falls. Most are over 200, 4 are below 150. All from Wallasey.
The largest gains are +88.
The largest grade changes for players aged over 13 is +59, for 2 players graded 2 at present.
350 players have a grade increase of 50 or more
Over 2500 players have a grade increase of 30 or more.
The median and mean increase is 20.

Thinking about the ECF U100 county tournament:
For all players graded between 90 and 110 the average grade increase is 25.
For under 13s graded between 90 and 110 the average grade increase is 50.
Should the ECF change the grade boundaries?

Sean Hewitt

Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:18 pm

Neill Cooper wrote: Thinking about the ECF U100 county tournament:
For all players graded between 90 and 110 the average grade increase is 25.
For under 13s graded between 90 and 110 the average grade increase is 50.
Should the ECF change the grade boundaries?
I understand that that very subject is to be discussed at the April council meeting.

Richard Bates
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:44 pm

I think the other problem with any attempt to anticipate improvement in Juniors in their grades is that it is simply a fact that Juniors do not as a rule improve in a consistent fashion. In fact in my experience it is perfectly normal for juniors to hit brick walls completely unexpectedly, and simply not improve at all for many years, and often forever.

Richard Bates
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:47 pm

FM Jack Rudd wrote:Age 8, by the way - I was in the same age-band as Bates.
But once he overtook Rudd, he never looked back ;)

Some tournament in Rutland that did the trick, from memory 8)

Martyn Harris
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by Martyn Harris » Sat Mar 07, 2009 10:47 am

Hi all

Never posted to one of these forum thingies before, so please be gentle with me if I go over old ground, am overly pedantic or just plain wrong.

It seems to me that there is a fundamental tension in any grading system between what a grade is and what it is used for. A grade is a backward looking assessment of performance. No problem if all we wish to do is award players certificates: "congratulations Bloggs, your grade is 127", pause for polite applause. However we also tend to use grades in three areas.

Firstly we use them in calculations of other players grades. On the GIGO principal we need the grades to be as accurate as possible, whatever accurate means in a grading context. This is where Sean's idea of recalculating junior grades from scratch each year bears fruit. However it is not only juniors whose grade can increase substantially year-on-year. Perhaps an alternative would be to recalculate from scratch the grade of any player who on a single pass calculation (without increments) increases by at least say 15 (says he picking a number from thin air). In effect say that anyone whose grade has changed that much has fundamentally changed their standard rather than just suffered a random variation.

Skipping secondly to lastly brings me to personal uses, be they target setting, making judgements about the strength of players they haven't met, or any other personal use. Whilst it is nice to to be able to use grades for ones pet projects, to regard it as essential would be to allow the tail to wag the dog. Thus I see no reason for the third set of uses to be a problem.

Back to secondly. We use grades to resolve questions of eligibility, which covers not just which section you may play in in a congress or other grade limited event, but may also affect board order or even selection for a team. Here we expect the grading system to order players according to current playing strength, which obviously is at odds with the backward looking nature of the grading calculation for anyone whose standard is not constant. No matter how accurately one assesses last year's performance of an improving player, it will be an underestimate of their likely standard of play for the following year. This will be true whether Sean's approach is used or my alternative (which I'm not claiming would be a superior one), or any other method I have seen put forward.

Thus rather than regarding the junior increment as an anti-deflation device, though it appears to be the only such weapon the ECF uses, it can be seen as an attempt to bridge the gap between players performances in successive years so that grades can sensibly be used for eligibility purposes. The gap will vary from player to player and is of course essentially unknowable in advance.

If no increment is used, then even the most accurate assessment of the previous years performance would leave an improving junior undergraded at the beginning of the following season, and possibly untouchable by his alleged peers by the end of it. I subscribe to the view that it would be fairer to established players to have a situation in which improving players start the season overgraded and end it undergraded. To achieve this needs an increment, which in an ideal world would be prescient of each players future improvement. This ideal is unattainable. Unfortunately the ECF idea of regarding the rate of improvement as a function of age is horrendously crude and is liable to give rise to numerous injustices. Modifying it to take into account the number of games played - those who play more tend to improve more (no I am not claiming perfect or even near perfect correlation) - or momentum or experience may reduce the number or size of the injustices and so be worth considering. However neither no increment nor any formulaic increment is going to correctly order all players for eligibility purposes. Consequently the question is not one of "What is the right treatment?" but of "Which is the least bad?"

Paul Dupré
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by Paul Dupré » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:54 pm

Apart from Richard Bates, most of you are looking in the wrong direction (that includes the Howard Grist). Improvement is not based on age at all. It is based on how much help you get.

When I was a junior several centuries ago, I was a very weak player (some say I still am). However, I played a lot and improved gradually by osmosis. After leaving school gave up chess at around 113.

Played the odd tournament over the next 6 or 7 years. Starting playing again when I noticed there was a Chess Club in Addlestone, where I lived. The next two years with help from a team mate my grade went from 115 to 155.

Again, several years went by, mainly playing around 50 games a year. Now, running at 144 (not been above 154 again), had coaching from new team mate. Within three years I had reached 170.

My last 5 grades have been, 153, 160, 160, 161, 166. At the age of 106 next birthday I am expecting my highest ever grade. I put this (again) down to getting good advice from a friend.

Please explain Howard Grist how being a kid automatically makes you a better player year on year.
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JustinHorton
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:43 pm

Kids do have a capacity to learn, accumulate knowledge and improve in a way that adults don't seem to have: what's hard work for us is a natural process for them. They will nearly always improve simply by playing a lot: will an adult?
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John Hickman
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by John Hickman » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:00 pm

Paul Dupré wrote:When I was a junior several centuries ago, I was a very weak player (some say I still am). However, I played a lot and improved gradually by osmosis. After leaving school gave up chess at around 113.

My last 5 grades have been, 153, 160, 160, 161, 166. At the age of 106 next birthday I am expecting my highest ever grade. I put this (again) down to getting good advice from a friend.
Great that you're still playing chess at 106, but I'm not sure how you left school at 113 :?

I'm not sure you can conclude much from a statistical sample of 1, but then that never stops people from trying :wink:

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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by John Upham » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:14 pm

John Hickman wrote:
a statistical sample of 1
Is this an oxymoron?

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxymoron
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Neill Cooper
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by Neill Cooper » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:39 am

I'd value help from those who have access to the master grading list.

From the above discussion using the 'shadow' grades on the ECF Grading website, I was going to change the SCCU U14/U90 to be the U14/U140 for next season. But I am now getting conflicting information about the junior grading calculation having been changed since then. One person says the change will be similar to adult (so U90 would go to U115), and another that it is back to being close to the listed values.

I would prefer to be inclusive (that is use too high a grading limit), but if it should be U115 then U140 could be too generous to counties with lots of U14s to choose from (such as Surrey).

David Sedgwick
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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by David Sedgwick » Sat Jul 04, 2009 2:13 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:I'd value help from those who have access to the master grading list.

From the above discussion using the 'shadow' grades on the ECF Grading website, I was going to change the SCCU U14/U90 to be the U14/U140 for next season. But I am now getting conflicting information about the junior grading calculation having been changed since then. One person says the change will be similar to adult (so U90 would go to U115), and another that it is back to being close to the listed values.

I would prefer to be inclusive (that is use too high a grading limit), but if it should be U115 then U140 could be too generous to counties with lots of U14s to choose from (such as Surrey).
I hope that there'll be more information by the time of the SCCU Annual Council Meeting on July 11th.

If not, I think that Council will have to delegate the decision to be taken by the Officers later. So long as the 2009 Grading List comes out by early August, I would hope that that wouldn't be too much of a problem.

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Re: New 'New junior grades'

Post by Howard Grist » Sat Jul 04, 2009 3:48 pm

Neill,

I will agree with David's comment.

I will also add that any current master list will not really assist you as the calculations are currently under review, although I can say that having an under 145 grading limit is not going to exclude very many U14 players next season.
Former ECF Grading System Programmer

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