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View Full Version : Suggestion - national-level titles?



shan_siddiqi
24-07-2009, 12:59 AM
One difference I've noticed between the ACF and the USCF (I just came from the US recently) is the existence of classes and national titles. In the US, everybody below 2000 is sorted into "rating classes", where 1800-2000 is "Class A", 1600-1800 is "Class B", etc. When you reach 2000, you get a psuedo-title called "expert" (some would say you're in the "expert class" rather than saying that you have a "title"), and at 2200, you're a "national master". I think that the existence of these titles/classes serves a few purposes:

-Lower-rated players get more structured rating goals, so they can feel a sense of accomplishment when they move up into the next class (often, prize money is also divided by class). Otherwise, the arbitrary rating increases seem fruitless when you're so far away from a real title.

-Higher-rated players are more motivated to play in tournaments that aren't FIDE rated, since they're working towards the expert or master title.

-People have more respect for IMs and GMs, since you really start to realize how hard it is to get to that level.

-Since people are slightly more motivated to play in tournaments, attendance increases slightly - which further motivates some arbiters to host more tournaments.

-The existence of titles like "expert" often convinces promising young kids to keep playing because they have something to work towards, especially since it takes years for a FM-level player to actually get his FIDE rating up to 2300 (case in point: J.Morris, who is now a 2100-rated IM).


After looking at the crosstable for the Coffs Harbour Open, in which there was only one player over 2000, I get the impression that higher-rated players usually aren't willing to travel for a tournament that isn't FIDE-rated. What would you guys think about considering something similar to the USCF system?

As a side note - most of the time, even national masters in the US aren't generally considered to fall under the scope of "titled players" - that colloquial term is reserved for IMs or higher. USCF masters are just referred to as "master" in the US, and IMs/higher are "titled players".

I just get the feeling that this sort of system gives some extra motivation for a 1900-rated player to push for 2000, or a 2100-rated player to push for 2200 (especially since a 2200-rated ACF player is probably at 2300-level FIDE strength anyway). Personally, I know that I'd put a little bit more effort into chess if I had the goal of "moving up a class". I'm sitting in the very annoying mid-1900's, where you really want to break 2000 (just for the sake of doing it), but once it happens, it's totally anticlimactic.

Axiom
24-07-2009, 01:10 AM
Very strong convincing argument .

Rincewind
24-07-2009, 01:12 AM
After looking at the crosstable for the Coffs Harbour Open, in which there was only one player over 2000, I get the impression that higher-rated players usually aren't willing to travel for a tournament that isn't FIDE-rated. What would you guys think about considering something similar to the USCF system?

I don't think FIDE rating the the sole determining factor for tournament entry of high rated players. It may be a deciding factor for some players, especially those on the move who want to get their rating up. But other than that, why bother? Or to put it another way, how many more entries would Coffs Harbour have received if it were FIDE rated? Maybe one or two, and only maybe.

Anyway, regarding the title idea, perhaps a national master title has some value, and it has been discussed on here before, but I don't think it will do much (if anything) in the way of motivating players that will make the slightest difference to participation numbers. The grades concept even less so. The only thing that may do is tend to establish de facto standard grade groupings for tournaments. It is not clear that this de facto standard would be useful though.

Miranda
24-07-2009, 09:39 AM
I don't think enough people play chess in Australia to consider having "classes", unless it was with rather large tournaments. Also, kids can just set rating goals instead of the goal of going up a class, because they are the same thing. Although it might be slighty more motivating to be a "national master" than a 2200, most 2200s are already aiming for a 'real' title anyway.

shan_siddiqi
24-07-2009, 11:16 AM
I don't think enough people play chess in Australia to consider having "classes", unless it was with rather large tournaments. Also, kids can just set rating goals instead of the goal of going up a class, because they are the same thing. Although it might be slighty more motivating to be a "national master" than a 2200, most 2200s are already aiming for a 'real' title anyway.

It may be the same thing, but there's a psychological difference. There's a certain feeling of accomplishment that comes with "moving into the A-class" that doesn't come with moving your rating from 1799 to 1801.

Regardless, I agree that the difference in attendance may be minimal, but I don't really see a downside.

SHump
24-07-2009, 04:10 PM
Re numbers of chess players in tournaments - yes, many times there will only be 1 or 2 people in a particular 200-range rating band, except for the large tournaments. If you were to give out say 5 rating group prizes based on classes A to E (and those under 1000?), then that is probably worse than dividing the numbers of those under 2000 by 5?

To see how it would like Australia wide, from the June 09 ratings list, this would be how many people are in each band, labelled as per the topic:


38 National master (2200+)
88 Expert (2000-2199)
188 A (1800-1999)
322 B (1600-1799)
437 C (1400-1599)
378 D (1200-1399)
266 E (1000-1199)
185 F (800-999)
146 G (600-799)
110 H (400-599)
93 I (200-399)

Well, I am not sure if this is a good or bad idea - but it is an idea. Anything to get people more interested in chess, or chess improvement must be good.

While on the subject of chess NUMBERS, the ACF lists 2288 active chess players in the June 09 listing. Maybe people are ignoring the elephant in the living room, and I do NOT know much about 'Chess Kids', but they claim to have 645 schools playing chess in 4 states of Australia, and claim 9000 kids playing interschool chess. Even if it is just 4 kids per school, then chess numbers are many more than just those in the ACF system. Sure there will be kids in both systems as well - but every kid gets a rating. Ask the kids that played at the recent CV Junior or U18 tournament their ratings - and they could respond with - in which system?

shan_siddiqi
24-07-2009, 04:28 PM
When rating group prizes are divided further, they usually end up just having a 1st-place prize in every class rather than 2-3 prizes. I'm not saying that this might be the best way of doing it, but it's something to consider (i.e. a 1300-rated player might be happier with the opportunity to win a D-class prize rather than an under-1700 prize).

I was more interested in the idea of creating a group of "experts" and "National Masters" separate from the FIDE group. I think that the existence of those two titles (and possibly the "class" distinctions, but maybe not necessarily prize groups) encourages improving players to work towards a specific achievement rather than just an arbitrary rating increase. When people reach a specific achievement, they're more likely to be satisfied with themselves (and, consequently, with the game).

I can't imagine that it'd make a huge difference in attendance, but I think that people might enjoy it on a personal level. As it stands (reserving "titles" for the elite and not having "classes" for normal-level players), it's demoralising for a person who works hard to go from 1000 to 1500, only to realise that he still has light years to travel before he can actually move up to "the next level."

It's sort of like the belt system in some martial arts. If a 12 year-old beginner was told that he had to work hard for a decade to get a black belt (i.e. a "master" title), they'd get fewer beginners. On the other hand, if a beginner has the opportunity to get a yellow belt after a few months, he has a more achievable goal to work towards. Then he can go for green and red and blue and brown (not sure about the actual progression), until finally he's a 2200-level player who is competing for the FIDE Master title (or the black belt). Once he's a master, he competes for higher degrees of black belts (IM, GM, etc.), but he still gets some recognition for the hard work that he put in earlier.

Kevin Bonham
24-07-2009, 05:44 PM
The US master titles are for life; is the same true of the "expert" title?

shan_siddiqi
24-07-2009, 05:56 PM
The US master titles are for life; is the same true of the "expert" title?

No. "Expert" is sort of a hybrid between a "rating class" and a "title"... more of a "status" than anything else. You can always lose the status if your skill level drops.

Also, I think they've changed their rules several times regarding whether the NM title is for life... I've known people who have been over 2200 at some point, but they ceased to be masters when their rating went back down. I think that the "life master" title goes to people who hold the 2200 rating for 300 games, or reach the 2400 rating.

Kevin Bonham
24-07-2009, 06:27 PM
Also, I think they've changed their rules several times regarding whether the NM title is for life... I've known people who have been over 2200 at some point, but they ceased to be masters when their rating went back down. I think that the "life master" title goes to people who hold the 2200 rating for 300 games, or reach the 2400 rating.

I was reading about this recently and came across a comment that NM is now for life although as you mention there is the distinct "life master" title.

I think it would be pretty silly having whether you were a "master" or "expert" or not hovering backwards and forwards from rating period to rating period as your rating went above and below the threshhold.

Bill Gletsos
24-07-2009, 06:50 PM
The USCF "titles" and requirements have changed over the years.

Therefore like "Transformers" there is a lot more to the USCF "titles" than meets the eye.

Denis_Jessop
24-07-2009, 09:14 PM
I have never sensed a grass roots desire among Australian chess players for classes or the like in my experience going back to the 1950s. In the St Kilda Chess Club where I played in the 1960s one member introduced a rating system in the club based on the East European category system - this was in the days before ELO ratings here. The whole thing was of minimal interest to the club members who just preferred to play chess.

DJ

shan_siddiqi
25-07-2009, 12:04 AM
Of course, most people will just want to play. The interest in this sort of system develops if it's implemented widely (since it becomes a standard) for a couple of years (so that people can start to get settled). I can't imagine there'd be a grassroots desire for something so minor that most people don't really even know about; it'd be a small change that might lead to a small improvement at best. The only reason it's even worth considering is because it wouldn't take any effort to implement, and it doesn't seem to have any potential negative consequences (even if the positive consequences are minor at best, they still might exist). It'd just be a way to fine-tune a system that's already pretty good.

FM_Bill
08-02-2010, 09:26 PM
Ive played in the US and I like this system.

It can be a simple way of describing a player's level, e.g. x is an A player
or y is an expert, instead of saying x is an 1800 player.

When i was there 2400+ was a senior master.