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USCF sells out again

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ABlue892

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Dec 18, 2000, 12:04:57 AM12/18/00
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What follows in the quotes is a copy of my recent letter to USCF/Chess Life:

"I recently had what for me was a very successful tournament (even score in an
Open section), and was dismayed to find that I was only scheduled to receive
about two thirds of the points I normally would have. It was explained to me
that this is a result of the new "improved" rating system.

I had just started to make some real headway towards my goal of an Expert
rating only to find out now that the USCF has intentionally made this twice as
difficult, while at the same time attempting to artificially inflate the
ratings of weak players. This discovery was extremely discouraging and has
significantly dampened my desire to play tournament chess. This is compounded
by the fact that the formula for determining rating points is now so complex
that I cannot even enjoy, as I and many others have in the past, calculating
potential rating gains "on the fly" during a tournament.

It seems you are trying to discourage A players such as myself, as well as
perhaps B players and experts, from playing tournament chess. I am curious why
this is. Are you trying to make the USCF a more scholastic league, or a league
primarily of casual players and Masters, with no in-between? If so, couldn't
you consider separate scholastic and master leagues and retain a league for
competitive tournament players, rather than force them out? Was this the only
alternative for some reason? Just curious."

. I doubt I will receive any response. What I suspect has happened is
that the heavily debt-ridden USCF has realized that there is more money in
bringing in lots of patzers and kids and getting those dues, then in making
their existing players happy. Thus, they choose to artificially inflate the
ratings of new players who have no chess skill but lots of cash, in order to
keep them coming in, and hold down the ratings of competitive players who are
trying to improve such as myself, as this does not bring in any significant $$
for the organization. Presumably the decision to make the formula one which
requires a degree in calculus to decipher is a way they hope to sort of sneak
this decision by, since they know we can't do anything to stop them from
screwing us, but would like to keep us quiet. This is just one of many
examples of the USCF selling out, including making the September issue of Chess
Life a walking advertisement for Garry Kasparov, who has been not nearly the
Saint of chess they would have you believe, and using young superstar players
to promote their internet chess site without those players' knowledge or
permission. I urge one of you out there, perhaps a wealthy dotcom-er who is
one of the A, B or Expert players being screwed to line the USCF coffers, try
to put together a parallel Chess Federation that considers the needs of its
competitve players, and can run itself well enough not to have to sell out to
anyone who can wave 5 bucks in front of its face. At the very least, send some
letters to the USCF letting them know you don't appreciate being pushed around.
The Seattle Chess Federation, which now sponsors the US Championships, is no
better, as they are already suggesting discriminatory policies towards female
players, by 1) attempting to abolish the Womens Chess Championship, and 2)
failing that, sabotaging it by scheduling it during the first two weeks of
school, when the most talented young women, who are still in college, will not
be able to compete.

SPF

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Dec 18, 2000, 6:39:38 AM12/18/00
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This is a sorry story, but not unusual. You might like to try International
Correspondence Chess, the ICCF gets you in contact with lots of interesting people
all over the world. They also do have a "what if..." ratings calculator on their
web site, if you like that sort of thing. The USCF could at least implement that
simple bit of technology, maybe?

ABlue892 wrote:

--
Dr Simon Fitzpatrick, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics,
The University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009
Telephone +61 8 9380 3389, Facsimile +61 8 9380 1028.


Sam Sloan

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Dec 18, 2000, 7:49:56 AM12/18/00
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I am wondering why you did not post this to rec.games.chess.politics
as it really belongs there.

The scheme to abolish the rating system in favor of fiddle points is
the brain-child of Tim Redman, who is rapidly becoming the most hated
man in chess.

Did you read the letter to the editor on page 6 collumn two of the
December Chess Life entitled "Concerned Committee"?

Everyone says don't worry about it because Redman's term expires in
August and he says he is not running again (he better not) and
thereafter sweetness and light will prevail throughout the land.

Sam Sloan

dcle...@my-deja.com

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Dec 18, 2000, 12:02:11 PM12/18/00
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It is sad, but the truth is most players are working to increase their
ratings. I think the overall goal of each player should be to improve
his play. If you improve your play to the Expert level then it should
be only a matter of time before you reach your goal.

I have been aware of the the "new player/ratings deflation" problem for
some time. After a discussion with my friend Carl Dunn, he sent a
letter to the USCF about the problem. They assured us that major
changes were being worked on.

My viewpoint is that new players come in with low ratings. They usually
work on their game and improve dramatically. Consequently, when they
are no longer provisional, the points they gain are taken from existing
players.

I guess every system has its faults. They correct one problem and
create another. Interesting....

Sent via Deja.com
http://www.deja.com/

ABlue892

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Dec 18, 2000, 1:33:18 PM12/18/00
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>If you improve your play to the Expert level then it should
>be only a matter of time before you reach your goal.

But the reality is one must play HIGHER than the expert level to reach this
goal. If one assumes that an expert loses to other experts half of the time,
the rating gain for an A player trying to reach expert level is only the number
of points per gain represented by the difference between their rating and that
level, 100 or 200 points. This difference used to be between 4-8 points, and
now it seems like even less, meaning the matter of time you refer to could be
hundreds of chess games, which is frustrating. Saying "one should want to
improve their play, rather than their rating" is meaningless, because so many
of USCF members are self-deluded egotists who rate their "Chess strength" as
200 points higher than their Elo even though this is usually ridiculous, and
the only reasonable measure of someone's actual "strength" is their rating.

ABlue892

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Dec 18, 2000, 1:34:23 PM12/18/00
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>I am wondering why you did not post this to rec.games.chess.politics
>as it really belongs there.
>

I dunno, I thought Id try to liven up this newsgroup a bit : ) . Besides
don't tell me all the "FIDE sucks" stuff doesn't belong in RGCP also : )

Matt Nemmers

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Dec 18, 2000, 2:08:30 PM12/18/00
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Sam Sloan wrote:

"I am wondering why you did not post this to rec.games.chess.politics as it

really belongs there..."

This is r.g.c.miscellaneous, Sam. Anything chess related is fair game.

Besides, it's debatable whether or not most of YOUR posts belong here.

ske...@my-deja.com

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Dec 18, 2000, 2:07:01 PM12/18/00
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In article <3a3e0646...@nntp.mindspring.com>, sl...@ishipress.com

(Sam Sloan) wrote:
> On 18 Dec 2000 05:04:57 GMT, ablu...@aol.com (ABlue892) wrote:
>
> >What follows in the quotes is a copy of my recent letter to
USCF/Chess Life:
> >It seems you are trying to discourage A players such as myself, as
> >well as perhaps B players and experts, from playing tournament chess.
> >I am curious why this is. Are you trying to make the USCF a more
> >scholastic league, or a league primarily of casual players and
> >Masters, with no in-between? If so, couldn't you consider separate
> >scholastic and master leagues and retain a league for competitive
> >tournament players, rather than force them out? Was this the only
> >alternative for some reason? Just curious."

I don't know. I think a separate SCHOLASTIC rating system would make
sense, as it would prevent abuse such as seen in the "twenty game match"
incident, seen somewhere else in a thread.

> > I doubt I will receive any response. What I suspect has happened is
> >that the heavily debt-ridden USCF has realized that there is more
> >money in bringing in lots of patzers and kids and getting those dues,
> >then in making their existing players happy.

Speculation. USCF needs all its chess players.

> >I urge one of you out there, perhaps a wealthy dotcom-er who is
> >one of the A, B or Expert players being screwed to line the USCF
> >coffers, try to put together a parallel Chess Federation that
> >considers the needs of its competitve players, and can run itself
> >well enough not to have to sell out to anyone who can wave 5 bucks
> >in front of its face.

We could hope.

> > The Seattle Chess Federation, which now sponsors the US
> > Championships, is no better, as they are already suggesting
> > discriminatory policies towards female players, by 1) attempting
> > to abolish the Womens Chess Championship, and 2) failing that,
> > sabotaging it by scheduling it during the first two weeks of
> > school, when the most talented young women, who are still in
> > college, will not be able to compete.

Can you verify that?

> I am wondering why you did not post this to rec.games.chess.politics
> as it really belongs there.

Actually, it's one of those rare posts that belong in *both* forums.

> The scheme to abolish the rating system in favor of fiddle points is
> the brain-child of Tim Redman, who is rapidly becoming the most hated
> man in chess.

I dunno, Sam; I still like Tim. I may not agree with everything, but
he's doing *something*.

> Did you read the letter to the editor on page 6 collumn two of the
> December Chess Life entitled "Concerned Committee"?

Goodness no. I haven't had the time to open the mag yet.

> Everyone says don't worry about it because Redman's term expires in
> August and he says he is not running again (he better not) and
> thereafter sweetness and light will prevail throughout the land.

Oh, I hope not. At least, not the Sweetness and Light of the Schultz
years.

SK

ABlue892

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Dec 18, 2000, 6:44:15 PM12/18/00
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>I don't know. I think a separate SCHOLASTIC rating system would make
>sense, as it would prevent abuse such as seen in the "twenty game match"
>incident, seen somewhere else in a thread.

AGREED AGREED AGREED. This is the obvious solution to many of the USCFs
problems, a separate league/system for scholastic players, and even perhaps an
internet chess club for kids...I guess it takes a non chess professional to
figure that out.

>Speculation. USCF needs all its chess players.

One would think....

>> > The Seattle Chess Federation, which now sponsors the US
>> > Championships, is no better

>Can you verify that?

My information comes from one of this year's competitors, based on what she
heard at the SCF's board meeting during the US Championships.

Eric Mark

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Dec 18, 2000, 10:03:35 PM12/18/00
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Please remember that the fiddle/activity points are schedued to take
effect on Jan. 1st, if the computer system cooperates.

For those unfamiliar with this proposal, any player who enters a
USCF-rated tournament rated under 2000, and who plays at least three
games in that event, will be awarded two "activity points" for each game
played.

Actually, this means that any A-player with the available time and money
can all but guarantee that he will attain an Expert rating some time
next year, just by remaining very active, and avoiding total meltdown in
his/her results.

(Once you pass 2000, the fiddling ceases to be heard.)

That's why I'm not a fan of fiddling with ratings in this manner.

In my case, I find that I can maintain 1950 'relatively' easily, but
2000 is much tougher. I don't like the idea that next year, I'm almost
certainly going to top 2000 again just by showing up. I'd rather earn
it.

As for the new rating system, there seems to be no clear agreement as to
when it will take effect. OR whether or not it already has done so....

The info on the USCF Ratings webpage has been somewhat less than
transparent, and USCF President Tim Redman has stated on RGCP that he
expects both the new system and the activity points to take effect on
Jan. 1st. Don't bet too much on any time-frame involvng the USCF
computer system, though.

As to the rating result in question here, are you sure that the event
was rated under the new system? Have you checked the tournament
crosstable, or your updated rating at the USCF webpage?

Please consider that the new system features bonus points, to reward
players who achieve much higher than expected TPR's. The apparent
absence of such bonus points in this case makes me think that this event
was not rated under the new system, and that there may have been some
other snafu in the rating process.

If it was in fact rated the "new way," that should at least answer the
question of which system is currently being used.

I hope....

As to the frustration over the reduced rating gain, I feel your pain,
but think about this: had you achieved a very poor result in this event,
your net rating loss would also have been lessened.

If I understand aright the new sliding-K factor concept, (a big "if"),
an active, established adult A-player with moderately stable results
will achieve very nearly the same net rating gain or loss over the
course of say, a year or so, under both systems. (Corrections from the
better-informed gladly accepted.)

Which is probably not going to be much consolation to ANY player the
first time he/she sees a lower-than-expected rating boost from a good
result.

But I hope Chess Life prints this letter, so this issue can be brought
to more players' attention sooner rather than later.

Best,

Eric M.

Chesspride

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Dec 18, 2000, 11:24:47 PM12/18/00
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>
>Actually, this means that any A-player with the available time and money
>can all but guarantee that he will attain an Expert rating some time
>next year, just by remaining very active, and avoiding total meltdown in

Actually, what it means is that any current 1950 should have been around 2020
if the system were not deflated.

It's a correction, Eric...

Eric C. Johnson

Chesspride

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Dec 18, 2000, 11:27:16 PM12/18/00
to
>
>If I understand aright the new sliding-K factor concept, (a big "if"),
>an active, established adult A-player with moderately stable results
>will achieve very nearly the same net rating gain or loss over the
>course of say, a year or so, under

Only if he plays more games/is more active....K is going down...so the
variability is going down.

That fellow rated 1925 might see his range shrink from 1890 to 1960, instead of
1840 to 2010. Less variability, but less chance that a person on the border of
a class will be reinforced by temporary forays into the next class.


Eric C. Johnson

Włodzimierz Holsztyński

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Dec 18, 2000, 11:33:02 PM12/18/00
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In article <3a3e0646...@nntp.mindspring.com>,
sl...@ishipress.com (Sam Sloan) wrote:

> [...]


>
> I am wondering why you did not post
> this to rec.games.chess.politics
> as it really belongs there.
>

> [...]
>
> Sam Sloan

Detailed issues of a chess organization, its
personal issues, etc. may often belong to r.g.c.politics.

But broad issues certainly belong here, to rgc.misc, too.

I am thinkig about a series of 3 posts:

1. No awards for mediocrity'
2. Decentralised, selforganized global world chess;
3. Implementation of the decentralised model.

The first post will hacve a very narrow scope but
illustrates ethical, principal thinking which should
guide us in general, looking at things from a distance.
The second will show how easy today it is to have
a very healthy, organized chess activity on the global
scale. The third one will be an actual suggestion
plus basic details.

I think, and the tradition of this list supports me,
that these three posts will be proper for rgc.misc

Regards,

Wlod

Eric Mark

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Dec 19, 2000, 12:24:17 AM12/19/00
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Eric Johnson wrote:

(referring to the new USCF rating system)

"That fellow rated 1925 might see his range shrink from 1890 to
1960, instead of 1840 to 2010. Less variability, but less chance that a
person on the border of a class will be reinforced by temporary forays
into the next class."


Good point, Eric, but remember the activity points, if/when they are
implemented.

"That fellow" will get to 2000, if he only plays a whole lot of events.

When we see a sample of results and rating ranges based on the new
system sans activity points, and if the rating ranges are 'much'
narrower than they were, or "should be," you will be proven right, and
we can have another crack at a system fix.

Players currently floored at or above 2000, of course, won't see any
direct "benefit" from the fiddling, but I suspect the effect wil trickle
up.

For instance, suppose you and I play sometime late next year, and I'm
rated 2025 rather than 1970, due to being handed fiddle points I didn't
really want.

That's an extra coupla points rating gain for you, when you crush my
unsound Budapest, and if I drop back to 1990 after that event, all I
need do is play a few more games, avoid any major upsets, and, voila,
I'm an expert again.

What a sense of accomplishment....

Best,

Eric M.

Chesspride

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Dec 19, 2000, 1:00:19 AM12/19/00
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>
>For instance, suppose you and I play sometime late next year, and I'm
>rated 2025 rather than 1970, due to being handed fiddle points I didn't
>really want.
>

Ah, but it is a measurement scaling issue, Eric...not an issue of "earning" or
"wanting"...

..for if the system had not been deflating for 10 yrs...your 1970 rating would
BE 2025.

It's a correction...view the activity points as a correction.

The rating committee had the chance to endorse a one-shot point correction, and
didn't do it. Now they are stuck with activity points.

So long as the duration of the promotion is short, it amounts to pretty much
the same thing.

ECJ

Eric Mark

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Dec 19, 2000, 1:14:18 AM12/19/00
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Eric Johnson wrote:

"The rating committee had the chance to endorse a one-shot point
correction, and didn't do it. Now they are stuck with activity points.

So long as the duration of the promotion is short, it amounts to pretty
much the same thing."


Not to belabor this point forever, but there will be players next year
who gain HUNDREDS of actvity points.

Even the most extreme advocates of a one-time correction didn't support
such an extreme ratings boost.

Hey, I really hope it works, I just don't like it....

But the original poster was not talking about the relative merits of
activity points.

Does anyone here know for sure which rating system,-"old" or "new"-, is
currently being used to rate USCF events?

Best,

Eric M

ABlue892

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Dec 19, 2000, 3:04:35 AM12/19/00
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>Actually, this means that any A-player with the available time and money
>can all but guarantee that he will attain an Expert rating some time
>next year, just by remaining very active, and avoiding total meltdown in
>his/her results.
>

Considerable issues of available time and money aside, I happen to think trying
to cram in 300 games a year is just not conducive to good chess. Chess
requires a clear and relaxed mind, and I know from experience that playing 4-8
games a week simply deteriorates the quality of my play.


>In my case, I find that I can maintain 1950 'relatively' easily, but
>2000 is much tougher. I don't like the idea that next year, I'm almost
>certainly going to top 2000 again just by showing up. I'd rather earn
>it.

Well if the amount of points I gain under the new system is cut by a third, at
best it seems the fiddle points are helping me break even, while still keeping
the problem of artificially inflating the total fish. (correction my ass, some
people just can't face the fact that they are just not good. I have never met
a person U1800 who didnt think they were underrated by at least 200 points, and
if EVERYONE thinks that way, the system works, it's the players egos that don't
work. THIS is the correction the USCF is catering to)

>As to the rating result in question here, are you sure that the event
>was rated under the new system? Have you checked the tournament
>crosstable, or your updated rating at the USCF webpage?

The tournament website rating changes list clearly says across the top
"According to the NEW USCF rating system" Whether they just did this to
delight and amuse the players and in fact the tournament is being rated under
the normal system, I do not know since the USCF hasn't gotten around to rating
it yet.

>Please consider that the new system features bonus points, to reward
>players who achieve much higher than expected TPR's. The apparent
>absence of such bonus points in this case makes me think that this event
>was not rated under the new system, and that there may have been some
>other snafu in the rating process.
>

I have been trying to figure out if I was entitled to bonus points or not.
Unfortunately I do not have a degree in Advanced Calculus.

>If it was in fact rated the "new way," that should at least answer the
>question of which system is currently being used.
>

Doesn't seem to have.

>As to the frustration over the reduced rating gain, I feel your pain,
>but think about this: had you achieved a very poor result in this event,
>your net rating loss would also have been lessened.
>

Yeah, the point is, I plan to win. : ) Seriously, this is what I mean about
being discouraged. The new system creates LESS incentive for me to win. If I
win, Im not that much closer to my goal, but if I lose, Im not that much
further away. Ho hum.

>If I understand aright the new sliding-K factor concept, (a big "if"),
>an active, established adult A-player with moderately stable results
>will achieve very nearly the same net rating gain or loss over the
>course of say, a year or so, under both systems. (Corrections from the
>better-informed gladly accepted.)

To paraphrase Homer Simpson: "A year??? But I want it NOOWWWWW" : )

>Which is probably not going to be much consolation to ANY player the
>first time he/she sees a lower-than-expected rating boost from a good
>result.

You got that right : )

cavema...@my-deja.com

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Dec 19, 2000, 10:25:10 AM12/19/00
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In article <20001218000457...@ng-ba1.aol.com>,

ablu...@aol.com (ABlue892) wrote:
> What follows in the quotes is a copy of my recent letter to
USCF/Chess Life:
>
> "I recently had what for me was a very successful tournament (even
score in an
> Open section), and was dismayed to find that I was only scheduled to
receive
> about two thirds of the points I normally would have. It was
explained to me
> that this is a result of the new "improved" rating system.

The new rating formula does not go into effect until next year.

>
> I had just started to make some real headway towards my goal of an
Expert
> rating only to find out now that the USCF has intentionally made this
twice as
> difficult, while at the same time attempting to artificially inflate
the
> ratings of weak players.

Unfortunately, this shows a great misunderstanding of the new rating
system, since neither of the statements is true.


> This discovery was extremely discouraging and has
> significantly dampened my desire to play tournament chess.

The author should reconsider. If anything, part way into next year,
the "anti-deflation" of lower ratings will help to ease his task.

> This is compounded
> by the fact that the formula for determining rating points is now so
complex
> that I cannot even enjoy, as I and many others have in the past,
calculating
> potential rating gains "on the fly" during a tournament.
>

Again, not a true statement. Except for the calculation of K, the
system is very similar. Consequently, just find a good way to estimate
your K factor, and you'll be in the same place as before!

> It seems you are trying to discourage A players such as myself, as
well as
> perhaps B players and experts, from playing tournament chess.

Exactly the opposite. Unfortunately, the author terribly
misunderstands the changes.

> I am curious why
> this is. Are you trying to make the USCF a more scholastic league,
or a league
> primarily of casual players and Masters, with no in-between? If so,
couldn't
> you consider separate scholastic and master leagues and retain a
league for
> competitive tournament players, rather than force them out? Was this
the only
> alternative for some reason? Just curious."
>

You left our the correct alternative -- that your concept of the
changes was mistaken.

SNIP
--
Kevin Bachler
Caveman

"Caveman chess is chess without finesse."

cavema...@my-deja.com

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Dec 19, 2000, 10:29:49 AM12/19/00
to
In article <91ln8h$4no$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
ske...@my-deja.com wrote:
SNIP

> I don't know. I think a separate SCHOLASTIC rating system would make
> sense, as it would prevent abuse such as seen in the "twenty game
match"
> incident, seen somewhere else in a thread.
>
It would do no such thing.

> > >I urge one of you out there, perhaps a wealthy dotcom-er who is
> > >one of the A, B or Expert players being screwed to line the USCF
> > >coffers, try to put together a parallel Chess Federation that
> > >considers the needs of its competitve players, and can run itself
> > >well enough not to have to sell out to anyone who can wave 5 bucks
> > >in front of its face.

I missed this before. What does $5 have to do with anything??
SNIP

> > The scheme to abolish the rating system in favor of fiddle points is
> > the brain-child of Tim Redman, who is rapidly becoming the most
hated
> > man in chess.
>

LOL!! The original author complained about the new rating formula,
which recognizes the greater stability of higher ratings, and so awards
points at some levels more slowly, barring bonus and feedback (which
the author apparently didn't know about.) Then Sam tries to fault
Redman, who brought in a proposal to award EVEN MORE points.

What comic relief.

SNIP


--
Kevin Bachler
Caveman

"Caveman chess is chess without finesse."

cavema...@my-deja.com

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Dec 19, 2000, 10:32:36 AM12/19/00
to

> AGREED AGREED AGREED. This is the obvious solution to many of the
USCFs
> problems, a separate league/system for scholastic players, and even
perhaps an
> internet chess club for kids...I guess it takes a non chess
professional to
> figure that out.

If you'd think it through, you'd realize this would actually make the
problem worse, not better. FRom the rating perspective, such a
solution has already been considered by the ratings committee and
rejected.

Good young players would play under both systems -- which is
essentially what you have now. But you would exclude the kids who are
not quite as good, and who play in open tournaments from time to time
and leave points there.
--
Kevin Bachler
Caveman

"Caveman chess is chess without finesse."

Kathy Berkley

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Dec 19, 2000, 10:33:51 AM12/19/00
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WHATS-UP?

ABlue892

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Dec 19, 2000, 1:56:06 PM12/19/00
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>> that this is a result of the new "improved" rating system.
>
>The new rating formula does not go into effect until next year.

As I have explained before, the "New System Rating" changes, were posted on a
website. If the rating system is not in effect, I would imagine the USCF
should not encourage such postings.

>while at the same time attempting to artificially inflate
>the
>> ratings of weak players.
>
>Unfortunately, this shows a great misunderstanding of the new rating
>system, since neither of the statements is true.

Just because you say something is not true, does not make it so. Do you deny
that weaker players will gain many many more points for a successful tournament
than stronger ones under the new system? On what basis?

> by the fact that the formula for determining rating points is now so
>complex

>Again, not a true statement. Except for the calculation of K, the
>system is very similar.

Right, except for the complex calculation part, the system is very similar.
You are quite good at doublespeak. You must work for the USCF.

>Exactly the opposite. Unfortunately, the author terribly
>misunderstands the changes.

Don't you think there is a problem when the players misunderstand the changes
so terribly, a situation which, if it is true, your denials have done
absolutely nothing to alleviate?


ABlue892

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Dec 19, 2000, 1:58:59 PM12/19/00
to
>Good young players would play under both systems -- which is
>essentially what you have now. But you would exclude the kids who are
>not quite as good, and who play in open tournaments from time to time
>and leave points there.
>--

The problem seems to be that good scholastic players, who have artificially low
ratings, are kicking butt on adults, who dont like having ratings in the triple
digits as a result of these losses. Having these students play in scholastic
leagues would alleviate this problem.

cavema...@my-deja.com

unread,
Dec 19, 2000, 3:18:25 PM12/19/00
to
In article <20001219135859...@ng-mm1.aol.com>,

I understand the problem. The ratings committee has discussed it, and
it has previously been debated here.

Your proposed solution DOES NOT solve the problem. You will still have
the same players kicking butt on adults, and adults will, as a result,
still lose rating points. Scholastic leagues do nothing to alleviate
that.

You have to understand that whenever ANY player improves, that
improvement causes the system to deflate. Young players are often
improving, so their very existance in the system will cause deflation.

Ex: Suppose 4 players form a closed pool, and all 4 are rated 1500
exactly. Further suppose that one player instantly jumps up to 1700
strength, and that the players all play a large number of games. What
will the ratings look like in a year?

Answer: I can't give an execat answer with only the above information,
but I can tell you what it will look like and not look like. You will
not have 1 player at 1700 and 3 at 1500. What you will have is 3 at a
number, perhaps 1400, and the 4th will be 200 points above that, at
1600. Because the one player is improving, the system will determine
their relative strength, but in a deflated way. (And the numbers
chosen above are examples only, you might have 3 players at 1475 and
one at 1675, but the concept is the same.)

Scholastic leagues will not fix that problem. The new rating system,
which awards feedback and bonus points, will.

cavema...@my-deja.com

unread,
Dec 19, 2000, 3:31:09 PM12/19/00
to
SNIP

> As I have explained before, the "New System Rating" changes, were
posted on a
> website. If the rating system is not in effect, I would imagine the
USCF
> should not encourage such postings.
>

Why not? People still need to understand the system. Originally, it
was to be in effect by now, but it was delayed, I believe due to the
added addition of Activity Points.
SNIP

>Just because you say something is not true, does not make it so. Do
you deny
> that weaker players will gain many many more points for a successful
tournament
> than stronger ones under the new system? On what basis?
>

Yes, I deny it. On what basis? Based on the ratings formula. As a
blanket statement, what you say makes no sense. It depends on many
factors including the actual results, the k factor of the players,
whether bonus and feedback points are involved, etc.

As a matter of fact (tested through significant statistical analysis by
the ratings committee) the ratings of higher rated more established
players are more stable than those of lower rated less established
players. Tne new k factors are set to equate with the actual rates at
which ratings change. They are reflective of reality, not an
artificial construct.

Note that you also keep ignoring bonus and feedback points.

> >Again, not a true statement. Except for the calculation of K, the
> >system is very similar.
>
> Right, except for the complex calculation part, the system is very
similar.
> You are quite good at doublespeak. You must work for the USCF.
>

Nope, I do not work for USCF. If you pay attention, and listen to what
I said, instead of just trying to pick a fight, you'll get it.

Much of the system is the same. The same rules of thumb you used
before will basically still work. You just need to adjust k.

Masters, senior masters, some experts, etc., had to do that already
under the CURRENT system, because they had a lower k factor. Just
estimate your k and you'll be fine doing what you did before.

> >Exactly the opposite. Unfortunately, the author terribly
> >misunderstands the changes.
>
> Don't you think there is a problem when the players misunderstand the
changes
> so terribly, a situation which, if it is true, your denials have done
> absolutely nothing to alleviate?


Yes, I do think there is a problem. The changes have been poorly
communicated, which is sad, because the changes are really very good.
As a result, chessplayers have, as they often do, assumed the worst.

Neither of those statements make your numerical complaints correct
(they aren't). I encourage you to volunteer to help write an
understandable explanation of the system so that other chessplayers
don't run into the same problems you've run into.

cavema...@my-deja.com

unread,
Dec 19, 2000, 3:32:13 PM12/19/00
to
In article <91lfu8$tlq$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

Improvement causes deflation.

--
Kevin Bachler
Caveman

"Caveman chess is chess without finesse."

cavema...@my-deja.com

unread,
Dec 19, 2000, 3:35:58 PM12/19/00
to
In article <20001218133318...@ng-ba1.aol.com>,

ablu...@aol.com (ABlue892) wrote:
> >If you improve your play to the Expert level then it should
> >be only a matter of time before you reach your goal.
>
> But the reality is one must play HIGHER than the expert level to
reach this
> goal.

This is a false statement.

>If one assumes that an expert loses to other experts half of the time,
> the rating gain for an A player trying to reach expert level is only
the number
> of points per gain represented by the difference between their rating
and that
> level, 100 or 200 points. This difference used to be between 4-8
points, and
> now it seems like even less, meaning the matter of time you refer to
could be
> hundreds of chess games, which is frustrating.

Some of your analysis above is roughly correct, and then you come to an
incredibly wrong conclusion.

If, against mid-experts, an mid- player who is expert strenghth, is
gaining roughly 4 points per game, it will take roughly 25 games, not
hundreds, to reach the expert level.

> Saying "one should want to
> improve their play, rather than their rating" is meaningless,

No, it is the most meaningful statements. Ratings measure performance.


--
Kevin Bachler
Caveman

"Caveman chess is chess without finesse."

Chesspride

unread,
Dec 19, 2000, 11:09:10 PM12/19/00
to
>
>Good young players would play under both systems -- which is
>essentially what you have now. But you would exclude the kids who are
>not quite as good, and who play in open tournaments from time to time
>and leave points there.

And an active rating administrator couldn't fix this with annual point
adjustments?

Eric C. Johnson

Chesspride

unread,
Dec 19, 2000, 11:16:35 PM12/19/00
to
>
>Not to belabor this point forever, but there will be players next year
>who gain HUNDREDS of actvity points.

Yes...perhaps 1 percent of the playing population. I suggest that the rating
officer monitor the pool and take a hard look at these particular cases, and
recommend corrections at year's end.

I favor an active rating administrator.

Eric C. Johnson

li...@ork.net

unread,
Dec 20, 2000, 9:45:43 AM12/20/00
to
Chesspride <chess...@aol.com> wrote:

Nothing beats attentive subjectivity, right Eric?

Chesspride

unread,
Dec 20, 2000, 4:10:08 PM12/20/00
to
>
>> I favor an active rating administrator.
>
>Nothing beats attentive subjectivity, right Eric?
>

Elo himself favored an active rating administrator.

Eric C. Johnson

li...@ork.net

unread,
Dec 20, 2000, 4:26:30 PM12/20/00
to
Chesspride <chess...@aol.com> wrote:

ELO also favored selective prosecution?

cavema...@my-deja.com

unread,
Dec 20, 2000, 4:51:57 PM12/20/00
to
In article <1408-3A3...@storefull-296.iap.bryant.webtv.net>,

Eric,

The old system is currently being used. For events held (rated!?)
after 1/1/01 the new system -- perhaps we should call it ELO ME --
will be used.

The current plan is that Activity points will also be implemented
then. However, my understanding is that this has not yet been
programmed.

ABlue892

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 1:39:29 AM12/21/00
to
>perhaps we should call it ELO ME --
>will be used.

for ELO MEssed up? God...why couldnt they leave well enough alone? Dont they
get enough complaints?

cavema...@my-deja.com

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 9:25:23 AM12/21/00
to
In article <20001221013929...@ng-fj1.aol.com>,
Yes. And the complaints they were getting were about people being
underrated. And testing showed that yes, much (but not all) of the
rating population is underrated (There is a segment that is actually
overrated)

So they changed the system to raise ratings, and to raise them more
quickly. You misunderstand that, and complain that it is harder for
you to gain points.

I'm uncertain how to respond to that complaint.

cavema...@my-deja.com

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 9:39:30 AM12/21/00
to
In article <20001219030435...@ng-fj1.aol.com>,

ablu...@aol.com (ABlue892) wrote:
> >Actually, this means that any A-player with the available time and
money
> >can all but guarantee that he will attain an Expert rating some time
> >next year, just by remaining very active, and avoiding total
meltdown in
> >his/her results.
> >
>
> Considerable issues of available time and money aside, I happen to
think trying
> to cram in 300 games a year is just not conducive to good chess.
Chess
> requires a clear and relaxed mind, and I know from experience that
playing 4-8
> games a week simply deteriorates the quality of my play.

The example given is extreme. Understand that all of your opponents
will also be gaining points, and there should be a "trickle-up" effect.

SNIP

>
> Well if the amount of points I gain under the new system is cut by a
third,

Where in the world did you come up with that?? That's just wrong.

Question: Suppose you had a base salary of $75,000. Your company gets
bought, and the new owners say:

"Your new base salary is $50,000. Your target bonus for average
perfomance is $50,000. YOu are also now a partner in the firm, and
your annual partnership payout is $50,000."

Would you argue that you were going to be paid at only 2/3rds the rate
you were before? Look at the system and all the available points --
Bonus, Feedback, activity, regular, plus the fact that your opponents
will be the same strength bt rated higher.

The arguments are analogous.

>at
> best it seems the fiddle points are helping me break even, while
still keeping
> the problem of artificially inflating the total fish.

No. The only artificial inflationary item in the above is activity
points. It will be in place for only a year, and should help the
system to self-anti-deflate more rapidly. It is possible that activity
points will be inflationery in some realms. However, don't you see
that if weak players are temporarily inflated, that makes it EASIER for
you to gain points??

> (correction my ass, some
> people just can't face the fact that they are just not good. I have
never met
> a person U1800 who didnt think they were underrated by at least 200
points, and
> if EVERYONE thinks that way, the system works, it's the players egos
that don't
> work. THIS is the correction the USCF is catering to)
>

No, its not. Deflation is measurable, and demonstrable. Elo
recognized that the inherent flaw of this system is that it is
naturally deflationery, and he proposed several tools to combat this --
many of which are part of the changes that you are complaining about.

> >As to the rating result in question here, are you sure that the event
> >was rated under the new system? Have you checked the tournament
> >crosstable, or your updated rating at the USCF webpage?
>
> The tournament website rating changes list clearly says across the
top
> "According to the NEW USCF rating system" Whether they just did this
to
> delight and amuse the players and in fact the tournament is being
rated under
> the normal system, I do not know since the USCF hasn't gotten around
to rating
> it yet.
>

The new system is not yet in place. In a conversation 2 days ago with
the ED, the plan is to make it effective 1/1.

> >Please consider that the new system features bonus points, to reward
> >players who achieve much higher than expected TPR's. The apparent
> >absence of such bonus points in this case makes me think that this
event
> >was not rated under the new system, and that there may have been some
> >other snafu in the rating process.
> >
> I have been trying to figure out if I was entitled to bonus points or
not.
> Unfortunately I do not have a degree in Advanced Calculus.
>

Bonus points aren't that hard.


> >If it was in fact rated the "new way," that should at least answer
the
> >question of which system is currently being used.
> >
> Doesn't seem to have.
>
> >As to the frustration over the reduced rating gain, I feel your pain,
> >but think about this: had you achieved a very poor result in this
event,
> >your net rating loss would also have been lessened.
> >
> Yeah, the point is, I plan to win. : ) Seriously, this is what I
mean about
> being discouraged. The new system creates LESS incentive for me to
win.

Then you misunderstand the new system. There is actually increased
incentive.

> If I
> win, Im not that much closer to my goal, but if I lose, Im not that
much
> further away. Ho hum.
>

Ratings are not rewards. They are performance measures.

> >If I understand aright the new sliding-K factor concept, (a
big "if"),
> >an active, established adult A-player with moderately stable results
> >will achieve very nearly the same net rating gain or loss over the
> >course of say, a year or so, under both systems. (Corrections from
the
> >better-informed gladly accepted.)

The range narrows, appropriately so.


>
> To paraphrase Homer Simpson: "A year??? But I want it NOOWWWWW" : )
>
> >Which is probably not going to be much consolation to ANY player the
> >first time he/she sees a lower-than-expected rating boost from a good
> >result.

>
> You got that right : )
>

--

ske...@my-deja.com

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 9:36:28 AM12/21/00
to
In article <91t3se$564$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, cavema...@my-deja.com
wrote:

> In article <20001221013929...@ng-fj1.aol.com>,
> ablu...@aol.com (ABlue892) wrote:
> > >perhaps we should call it ELO ME --

Based on the previous thread regarding Windows ME and CB 8, I'd leave
off the ME. How about "ELOPlus!" or "ELO+"?

> > for ELO MEssed up? God...why couldnt they leave well enough alone?
> > Dont they get enough complaints?
>
> Yes. And the complaints they were getting were about people being
> underrated. And testing showed that yes, much (but not all) of the
> rating population is underrated (There is a segment that is actually
> overrated)

I think I constitute that segment. :-)

> So they changed the system to raise ratings, and to raise them more
> quickly. You misunderstand that, and complain that it is harder for
> you to gain points.
>
> I'm uncertain how to respond to that complaint.

Me too. Is there *any* possibility that the rating report refered to
earlier (where someone gained fewer points than expected) was QUICK
CHESS rated? Any?

SK

Louis Blair

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 1:46:47 PM12/21/00
to
cavema...@my-deja.com wrote:

> Deflation is measurable, and demonstrable. Elo
> recognized that the inherent flaw of this system is that it is
> naturally deflationery, and he proposed several tools to combat this --
> many of which are part of the changes that you are complaining about.

I would be very grateful if specifics were provided
on where Elo's comments on this subject could be
found.


cavema...@my-deja.com

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 2:44:47 PM12/21/00
to
In article <3A425017...@pilot.lsus.edu>,
I don't have a copy of The Rating of Chessplayers here at the office to
quote the exact section for you, but Elo devotes a fair amount of time
to it in this book.

signthescoresheetoldman

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 4:59:46 PM12/21/00
to
Having been a class A player for over 25 years, I can agree with this.
The USCF membership and ratings are like the economic system of a small
country with terrible de-flation. Rating floors don't solve the problem.
We need an Alan Greenspan to come in, take action and infuse more points
into this economy, or eventually the middle class will revolt.

Steve Loring

ske...@my-deja.com wrote in message <91ln8h$4no$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>...
>In article <3a3e0646...@nntp.mindspring.com>, sl...@ishipress.com
>(Sam Sloan) wrote:


>> On 18 Dec 2000 05:04:57 GMT, ablu...@aol.com (ABlue892) wrote:
>>
>> >What follows in the quotes is a copy of my recent letter to
>USCF/Chess Life:

>> >It seems you are trying to discourage A players such as myself, as
>> >well as perhaps B players and experts, from playing tournament chess.

>> >I am curious why this is. Are you trying to make the USCF a more
>> >scholastic league, or a league primarily of casual players and
>> >Masters, with no in-between? If so, couldn't you consider separate
>> >scholastic and master leagues and retain a league for competitive
>> >tournament players, rather than force them out? Was this the only
>> >alternative for some reason? Just curious."
>

>I don't know. I think a separate SCHOLASTIC rating system would make
>sense, as it would prevent abuse such as seen in the "twenty game match"
>incident, seen somewhere else in a thread.
>

>> > I doubt I will receive any response. What I suspect has happened is
>> >that the heavily debt-ridden USCF has realized that there is more
>> >money in bringing in lots of patzers and kids and getting those dues,
>> >then in making their existing players happy.
>
>Speculation. USCF needs all its chess players.


>
>> >I urge one of you out there, perhaps a wealthy dotcom-er who is
>> >one of the A, B or Expert players being screwed to line the USCF
>> >coffers, try to put together a parallel Chess Federation that
>> >considers the needs of its competitve players, and can run itself
>> >well enough not to have to sell out to anyone who can wave 5 bucks
>> >in front of its face.
>

>We could hope.
>
>> > The Seattle Chess Federation, which now sponsors the US
>> > Championships, is no better, as they are already suggesting
>> > discriminatory policies towards female players, by 1) attempting
>> > to abolish the Womens Chess Championship, and 2) failing that,
>> > sabotaging it by scheduling it during the first two weeks of
>> > school, when the most talented young women, who are still in
>> > college, will not be able to compete.
>
>Can you verify that?
>
>> I am wondering why you did not post this to rec.games.chess.politics
>> as it really belongs there.
>
>Actually, it's one of those rare posts that belong in *both* forums.


>
>> The scheme to abolish the rating system in favor of fiddle points is
>> the brain-child of Tim Redman, who is rapidly becoming the most hated
>> man in chess.
>

>I dunno, Sam; I still like Tim. I may not agree with everything, but
>he's doing *something*.
>
>> Did you read the letter to the editor on page 6 collumn two of the
>> December Chess Life entitled "Concerned Committee"?
>
>Goodness no. I haven't had the time to open the mag yet.
>
>> Everyone says don't worry about it because Redman's term expires in
>> August and he says he is not running again (he better not) and
>> thereafter sweetness and light will prevail throughout the land.
>
>Oh, I hope not. At least, not the Sweetness and Light of the Schultz
>years.
>
>SK

Chesspride

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 5:06:55 PM12/21/00
to
>
>>
>> Well if the amount of points I gain under the new system is cut by a
>third,

>
>Where in the world did you come up with that?? That's just wrong.

No, ain't wrong at all.

K is being reduced...to keep ratings more stable and variability down.

If Player X has an unusually good performance...he gets roughly 2/3 the point
boost from the new formula as the old one.

You will counter by saying that bonus points are available...but they are only
available for certain types of events...of a certain number of rounds.

Are they available for 5 rounders? 4 rounders? 3 rounders?

If they are only available for 4+ rounders...and your local club runs weekly 3
rounders...then the local population will be getting ZERO bonus points.

And the gentleman is correct, that under those circumstances...to get the same
level of point boost as under the old system...under the new system he will
need to either win more games...or score better over a longer patch of games.

>Bonus, Feedback, activity, regular, plus the fact that your opponents
>will be the same strength bt rated higher.
>

Bonus points affect only games played in events of sufficient number of rounds.
If memory serves, a typical one-day three round event (like we run at our club
every week) will not qualify.

Feedback points (same issue??)

Activity points. Here, the committee fought against the idea, and activity
points were not part of the new formula. So it really is disingenuous to claim
them as part of the new (improved?) overall formula. However, activity points
*are* available to three-round events, so they alleviate some of the problem
for clubs that can only run weekly three-round events.

>
>No. The only artificial inflationary item in the above is activity
>points. It will be in place for only a year, and should help the
>system to self-anti-deflate more rapidly.

Ok, then don't include these much-hated activity points in your answer above.

>However, don't you see
>that if weak players are temporarily inflated, that makes it EASIER for
>you to gain points??
>

His point was a general one: it will take him more effort, over a larger
number of games, to climb to a new rating peak.

Your counter is that it would take him more games, and more bad performances,
to fall as far down.

He's not impressed by that insurance.

He wants to have a particular good performance, climb over a plateau...and feel
he can bank the points. Might be misguided thinking on his part, but it is
part of the USCF culture right now.

>
>The new system is not yet in place. In a conversation 2 days ago with
>the ED, the plan is to make it effective 1/1.

Here, I humbly assert that it behooves the federation to trumpet the
implementation date LOUDLY and OFTEN prior to implementation...so that folks
are not forced to rely on private phone calls to the office.

The idea that it is Dec. 21 and USCF is not loudly announcing these plans on
its website yet...is very bad indeed.

They have mis-announced the implementation date on several earlier occasions
too...so it's a bit like the boy who cried wolf.

>
>Ratings are not rewards. They are performance measures.

Agreed 100 percent...which is why I have always said that any necessary rating
corrections need not be tied to future wins/losses/draws by the individuals
involved...but should be made based on the parameters of the entire rating
database.

Yet you came back with an argument that we could not do so...because future
corrections should be "earned" through future play...a point that conflicts
with your (correct) assertion here.

Eric C. Johnson

ABlue892

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 6:17:30 PM12/21/00
to
>
>Me too. Is there *any* possibility that the rating report refered to
>earlier (where someone gained fewer points than expected) was QUICK
>CHESS rated? Any?
>

No, there is none. The previous poster is trying to mislead you into believing
the new system awards more points to everybody when it is clear to anyone with
eyes that in the case of any player over a certain level (I think around 1600)
that it is not. He is uncertain how to respond because there IS no response.
I am beginning to suspect that the reason that the new formula is so much more
complex is because the USCF establishment like Caveman wants to obfuscate this
issue. The fact is, and I invite the USC establishment to dispute this, is
that under the new system, this previously constant rating factor, K, is
variable. Meaning there will be more variability for those players under 1600,
and less for those over. Meaning that players over 1600, or whatever the
number is, will get fewer points for a win, as well as lose fewer for a loss,
whereas weaker players will gain more for a win and lose more for a loss. This
is all well and good for very weak players, for whom it is easy to get points
to begin with, and for Masters, who dont want much variability because they
dont want to have to worry about staying masters, but everyone else, if they
are intending to continue winning more than they lose and thus improve, is
screwed. This fact that everyone complains about being underrated is simply a
result of ego..all weak players tend to say..Im rated 1400 or 1600 but Im
really 1600, or 1800, or whatever, its just (insert random excuse such as
problems playing tournaments, or bad luck, or whatever) here. If EVERYONE
thinks they are 200 points too low, then of course, the rating system is
perfect. Everyone is in exact relation to everyone else as they should be,
they just would like the number to be higher. For the USCF to pander to these
egotistial weaklings is pathetic, and if you are going to do it, why dont you
just give everyone a 200 point bonus so they can pretend they are good and be
happy and leave us serious players alone?

ABlue892

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 6:24:30 PM12/21/00
to
>Question: Suppose you had a base salary of $75,000. Your company gets
>bought, and the new owners say:
>
>"Your new base salary is $50,000. Your target bonus for average
>perfomance is $50,000.

Does the USCF hire directly from the IRS?? Are there a group of math majors
hired specifically to further obfuscate delicate issues? Under the old system
I got 50, under the new 35, 2/3s of 50 is a little less than 35. For you to
assert that my statement that 2/3 of 50 is about 35 is just WRONG, and to use
some unnecessarily complicated example about "base salaries" to justify it, is
outrageous, but perhaps, typical of the USCF.

ABlue892

unread,
Dec 21, 2000, 6:27:23 PM12/21/00
to
>The new system is not yet in place. In a conversation 2 days ago with
>the ED, the plan is to make it effective 1/1.
>

We will see. The tournament I referred to has not yet been officially rated by
the USCF. Perhaps they are holding it until 1/1 to get around this "effective
1/1" problem

Phil Innes

unread,
Dec 22, 2000, 6:14:38 AM12/22/00
to
In article <3a3e0646...@nntp.mindspring.com> , sl...@ishipress.com (Sam
Sloan) wrote:

> The scheme to abolish the rating system in favor of fiddle points is
> the brain-child of Tim Redman, who is rapidly becoming the most hated
> man in chess.

sam - this sort of sentence is very difficult to explain to russians

please explain what are fiddle points
is brain-child the same as idea
how fast is rapid? is tim redman pacing himself so that he becomes exactly
the most hated man in chess by august? (you think he is working on a book? -
pretty catchy title, huh?)

cordially, phil


> Sam Sloan