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  1. #1
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    Glicko 2 Ratings

    Hello,
    Back in the year 2000 I was playing competitive chess in Queensland.
    I am a very ordinary player, but like most who play competition, I can probably beat 90% of those who play the game socially.
    Earlier this year I decided that I'd like to start playing in competition again and enjoy the social aspects of the game, passing time with like minded individuals.
    My old rating was still on the books at 1189 - Not something I thought was particularly good but not embarrassing.
    I noticed that a lot of those, who would be my competition, were rated below 1000; some 500 and a couple with 0 rating.
    I have always considered that a rating of 500 is an indication of a rank beginner and I had no idea what 0 indicated.
    My first game back was against a 1400 rated player and I played well enough to give him a good run for his money.
    Unfortunately my concentration faded after a couple of hours (I am 70 years of age) and I couldn't manage a draw.
    My next game was against a 500 rated player.
    A very young child who played so well that I was astonished at his skill level; Needless to say he beat me.
    I later ran the game through stockfish and it agreed with every one of his moves. [And most of mine for that matter].
    After 3 tournaments where I scored 3.5/7 and 2.5/5, my rating is now 720.
    I am at a complete loss as to how these incredibly low (and in my opinion unfair) ratings, are a true indication of the strength of players.
    I have read the Glicko 2 information sheet (http://www.glicko.net/glicko.html) and I when I see a person's rating at 0, I am confused.
    Mark Glickman states that an unrated player or a player who is returning after a few years of absence from competition should be given a rating of 1500 with an RD of 350.
    If this is not happening then it would explain why the Australian ratings are so low and so slow to improve.
    I simply cannot understand how ANYONE who knows the game and plays regularly could ever have a rating below 1000.
    I believe, if we want to get more people joining clubs and playing regular competition, then they must be rewarded for playing and certainly not penalised for losing to an obviously underrated player.
    I am rethinking my desire to continue with the game.
    David Carter (Brisbane Chess Club)
    It is easy to find the best move in chess; it usually becomes apparent immediately following the bad move you just made.

  2. #2
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocketknight View Post
    I noticed that a lot of those, who would be my competition, were rated below 1000; some 500 and a couple with 0 rating.
    The ACF system actually has a rating floor of 100. A player who appears to have a zero rating, whether in pairing software or on a crosstable posted on this site, actually has no ACF rating at all. Some games against unrated players can affect your rating and some can't - it depends on whether they've recorded results that allow the system to store an internal estimate of their playing strength. Even when the system does have an internal estimate, it takes less account of those games than games against rated players, especially reliably rated players.

    I have always considered that a rating of 500 is an indication of a rank beginner and I had no idea what 0 indicated.
    Ratings don't define any level for a beginning player. I have seen junior tournaments where if you could rate all the games with no rating floor at all you would end up with players rated minus several hundred or maybe even minus a thousand. And even the weakest players in those fields are better than most absolute beginners. That just comes from the maths of the system - if player A is good enough to score 99% against player B then they should be rated several hundred points higher. In some junior tournaments there are multiple tiers of strength where each tier scores very highly against the next tier down, except for the odd stalemate at the bottom.

    In my state there's a young player with a classic rating in the 200s (his quick rating is very much higher). His rating is that low because he has lost dozens of classic rated games in a row, typically against 1000-ish opponents. However he will reliably beat beginning juniors.

    I have read the Glicko 2 information sheet (http://www.glicko.net/glicko.html) and I when I see a person's rating at 0, I am confused.
    Mark Glickman states that an unrated player or a player who is returning after a few years of absence from competition should be given a rating of 1500 with an RD of 350.
    As mentioned above, the zero is not a real ACF rating.
    Also, the ACF system is an adapted version of Glicko-2 and doesn't use all the same methods. But in any case, the procedure Glickman recommends for unrated players only gives an unrated player that rating as the initial stage in a long and very complex calculation process. When that process discovers that the player is really nowhere near that strong, they will not end up with a rating anywhere near 1500.

    Cases of players "losing" hundreds of points on returning to competition after a very long absence are fairly common in the ACF system. They can also gain hundreds of points if they out-perform their old rating on return. The ACF webpage makes this clear - the old expired rating has little influence, it is the new data that carry the most weight:

    A x following a rating indicates that it has expired since the player has not played a rated game in over 10 years. If a player with an expired rating returns and plays in an ACF rated event their new rating will be closely linked and in line with their performance rating and not necessarily their old expired rating. A player with an expired rating is not an unrated player.

    It's a very unpleasant experience for inactive players to get a new rating hundreds of points below their old one, but the system is interested in what works best in trying to predict further results, and assuming that a player who has not played for decades will jump right back in at their old skill level doesn't work. If a player's new rating on return is inaccurate based on what happened in a small sample of games, or because they were just "rusty" when they came back, then it will quickly improve again with more games. I saw one long-inactive player lose 300 points in their first two events back but later recover them all.

    If this is not happening then it would explain why the Australian ratings are so low and so slow to improve.
    They are not slow to improve when the player's form indicates that their rating is too low based on their performance and the existing ratings of their opponents. One player I know just went up 440 points in eight games, four of which he lost.

    However, all ratings systems struggle to deal with very fast improving juniors, and adults who play against lots of very fast improving juniors are likely to become underrated too. Some juniors improve so fast that at any given time they are already performing stronger than any performance they have ever delivered in the past. The ACF system does its best to adjust by using intermediate ratings in its internal calculations to give a player some credit if the opponent they lost to played way above that player's existing rating in that period. The ACF system also takes more account of results against players whose ratings are reliable and stable than against those whose ratings are unreliable or unstable.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 25-10-2019 at 05:03 PM.

  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster ER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocketknight View Post
    I am rethinking my desire to continue with the game.
    David Carter (Brisbane Chess Club)
    Hi there David!
    I have a slight suspicion that you find your 720 rating a bit of embarrassingly low.
    Keep on playing, QLD at this very moment is a paradise for chess players of all strengths.
    Just enjoy the game and your rating sooner rather than later will reflect your real strength
    which I am sure is much higher than the present one.
    Cheers and good luck!
    ACF 3118316
    FIDE 3201457

    https://aus2020.chesschamp.net/

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ER View Post
    Hi there David!
    I have a slight suspicion that you find your 720 rating a bit of embarrassingly low.
    Keep on playing, QLD at this very moment is a paradise for chess players of all strengths.
    Just enjoy the game and your rating sooner rather than later will reflect your real strength
    which I am sure is much higher than the present one.
    Cheers and good luck!
    Thank you ER.
    Yes I am embarrassed by the rating and I believe that Kevin has missed the point completely.
    All justifications for the situation do not address the problem.
    FIDE 311214845
    All the best,
    David
    It is easy to find the best move in chess; it usually becomes apparent immediately following the bad move you just made.

  5. #5
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocketknight View Post
    Thank you ER.
    Yes I am embarrassed by the rating and I believe that Kevin has missed the point completely.
    I supplied information to cover a number of issues of fact raised in your post, including the issue of players having ratings of zero (they don't).
    I also don't see that your post had just a single point, let alone one that I completely ignored. It seemed to me it was attempting to make multiple points, one of which was that a rating below 1000 isn't credible for any regularly competing player and that such a rating must automatically be wrong. I pointed out why that isn't actually the case.

    I agree that getting a new rating hundreds of points below an old one, especially as a result of playing opponents who are underrated, will discourage some adults from continuing to play (this seems to me to be much more of an issue than adults getting initially low ratings). But the point of a rating system is to estimate how good players are relative to each other. Systems where players get thrown points to reward them just for playing don't do that.

    As for underrated players, it's clearly not as if it was just one - your results on the BCC website show you've conceded points to a number of players well below your old rating in two tournaments processed last period (the third hasn't been processed yet and I expect you will recover some points when it is). I assume that these are often juniors and it may well be they're very underrated. As mentioned, the system does its best to detect underrated juniors and reduce the impact for their opponents where there is evidence that the juniors are underrated. But if there is a nest of them mostly just playing each other, it can't find that evidence until they start playing more adults.

    Those adults who are sensitive to their ratings would be better off finding playing environments where they play fewer low-rated juniors and seeing how they go there.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post

    I agree that getting a new rating hundreds of points below an old one, especially as a result of playing opponents who are underrated, will discourage some adults from continuing to play (this seems to me to be much more of an issue than adults getting initially low ratings). But the point of a rating system is to estimate how good players are relative to each other. Systems where players get thrown points to reward them just for playing don't do that.
    Yes discouragement is exactly my point. Shouldn't we be trying to encourage everyone to come on board?


    Those adults who are sensitive to their ratings would be better off finding playing environments where they play fewer low-rated juniors and seeing how they go there.
    I don't understand the point of having a rating if it's not a sensitive issue. We work hard on theory and mastering the finer points of the game.
    It isn't as though we are playing golf where a handicap actually means something that will even the playing field.
    Perhaps I'll try to find such an environment as you suggest, but I don't hold out much hope of doing so.
    It is easy to find the best move in chess; it usually becomes apparent immediately following the bad move you just made.

  7. #7
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocketknight View Post
    Yes discouragement is exactly my point. Shouldn't we be trying to encourage everyone to come on board?
    Yes but that should be done through other methods, eg prizes (including age and rating categories) for those tournaments that are charging entry fees. A rating system where everyone tended to gain points just for playing might be encouraging for a while until everyone noticed that it didn't mean anything compared to the past because ratings were on the whole inflating and nobody much was going down.

    I don't understand the point of having a rating if it's not a sensitive issue.
    There are several points, even at club level. One purpose is to help the Swiss pairings system work better in sorting the field in a tournament quickly. Another is to set good boundaries for ratings prizes.

  8. #8
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    Thank you Kevin for taking the time to address my concerns.
    It is easy to find the best move in chess; it usually becomes apparent immediately following the bad move you just made.

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