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View Full Version : Ratings ... broad picture philosophical stuff ... or something like it ...



Kerry Stead
20-02-2011, 08:45 PM
Let's all take a few deep breaths & relax ... yes the recent debate about rating systems, rating changes, grand prix prizes, gender issues & the like on here (and elsewhere) of late has been quite heated at times ... but I want to go backwards for a bit ... and ask some questions ...

The ultimate question is why do you play chess ... but there are a few questions that need to be raised before we get back to that question, particularly in light of recent posts on various issues ...

Ratings:

What is the purpose of having ratings?

* Is it purely utilitarian (pairings/draw)?
* Is it about ego (mine's bigger than yours)?
* Is it about relative merit & some assessment of skill (1500s can do this, 2000s can do that AND this, etc)?
* Is it for some other reason?

* Is the purpose tied to some other assumption (eg: for pairings purposes using a swiss system)?
* Why do we have these other assumptions (ie: is a swiss system the best for what we are trying to achieve, whatever that may be)?
* Is there another alternative?

* Is there a need for comparisson with other systems?
* Does it matter if Australian ratings are different/similar to FIDE, USCF or any other system?

* Is there a need for a rating system to be predictive?
* Does a rating system take into account off-board factors (stress from work, argument with partner, traffic, etc)?
* Should a rating system be based on something other than results of tournaments?
* Should ratings perhaps be based on skills, or some other non-results-based methos?

Prizes:

Why do we have prizes in chess?

* Is it to reward achievement?
* Is it to encourage future participation?
* Is it a 'carrot' for effort?
* Or something else?

* If we assume that there is a need for prizes, how do we decide who gets them?
* Should they be tied to some other measurement (eg: rating), or should they be somewhat independent?
* If they rely on something like rating (such as divisional prizes, Grand Priz, etc), why do we select the boundaries that we do?
* Why U1600 & not U1500? Why U2000 & not U1875?
* Are these arbitrary boundaries there for any reason other than convenience (for some) in awarding prizes?

Competition:

What is the point of competition & tournaments?

* What is the ultimate goal of a chess tournament?
* Is it to publicise the game of chess?
* if so, why is this important?
* Is it to find out who is the best player at a particular time, place, etc?
* If so, why are there prizes for people who aren't the best (2nd, 3rd, divisions, etc)?
* Is a swiss system the best way to achieve this?
* Why not use some other format for determining the 'best'?

Why do YOU play chess?

* Is it for the challenge?
* Is it for the thrill of victory?
* Is it for the glory?
* Is it for the prizes?
* Is it for some other reason?

Yes, it may look like I just decided to post 30 or so questions ... and they are intended as rhetorical questions (so please don't post a question-by-question response) ... the point of which is to get you to THINK ...

Is there really a point to all this bickering of late about ratings, prizes, genders, etc??
Ultimately we are all here because we enjoy (in one way or another) the game of chess ... try not to lose sight of this ... others enjoy the game too!

Kevin Bonham
20-02-2011, 09:30 PM
I tried to start a thread about the point of rating systems here (http://chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=4902) and gave comments vaguely relevant to some of those questions but I didn't get a lot of action. Good luck with yours, hope it does better, though my reply may not help in that quest.

The main reason I started mine is that I believe that some of the critics of the ACF system think that certain things should happen in a rating system, but most of them don't seem able or willing to reflect theoretically on what a rating system is actually supposed to do and tie that back to their position. This is especially a problem with most (but certainly not all) ELO-advocates.

As for all the "bickering" I actually think it's nothing compared to 2004-6 and it's just that at the moment we happen to have a few high-volume debates going on at once in a way that hasn't happened on here for a while. Much "bickering" that goes on around chess can be explained by similarities in the skills required for arguing and chess. This similarity was noted by the Godwin's Law FAQ writers, who recommended "experience with chess and alt.flame" to those who wanted to bait opponents in arguments into mentioning the Nazis. Chess even attracts people who say that the level of arguments baffles them, but then argue about why chessplayers argue so much. A lot of the rest can be accounted for by Henry Kissinger's comment "The reason student politics are so vicious is because the stakes are so small".

Rincewind
20-02-2011, 09:42 PM
I don't know if we got to Nazi's all that quickly in the old thread but I did compare Cat unfavourably with Dr Patel - which Bergil found amusing.

Kerry Stead
20-02-2011, 10:41 PM
I tried to start a thread about the point of rating systems here (http://chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=4902) and gave comments vaguely relevant to some of those questions but I didn't get a lot of action. Good luck with yours, hope it does better, though my reply may not help in that quest.

The main reason I started mine is that I believe that some of the critics of the ACF system think that certain things should happen in a rating system, but most of them don't seem able or willing to reflect theoretically on what a rating system is actually supposed to do and tie that back to their position. This is especially a problem with most (but certainly not all) ELO-advocates.

Ah, so once again it becomes about going around in circles & re-inventing the wheel (or doing the chess equivalent) ... sometimes for little benefit!

Kevin, maybe you need to make your posts more interesting!? :hmm:
I've noticed a much greater use of smilies in your more recent posts compared to the 2006-era thread :clap: :owned:

Spiny Norman
21-02-2011, 06:07 AM
I play chess for personal enjoyment. I find the game challenging and there always seems to be something new to learn. I'm an extremely competitive individual in almost all areas of life.

Ratings provide me with a fairly objective measurement of my improvement over time (from 1100-ish to 1600-ish over 6 years). Without published ratings I would only have a fairly vague measrement of that improvement.

Basil
21-02-2011, 08:40 AM
Kevin, maybe you need to make your posts more interesting!? :hmm:
What, like this one, which drew no interest on the topic
http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=4456

or this one, which remains unanswered in over six years?
http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=1035

or this one, which descended into spiraling confusion before lying dead at the bottom of the stairs?
http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=495

and so it goes on ...
http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=6657

ER
21-02-2011, 12:43 PM
or this one, which remains unanswered in over six years?

was it Arsen's

Oh mon Dieu ! Six ans et moi n'avons rien ! Pourquoi pas ? :P

Kerry Stead
21-02-2011, 01:33 PM
What, like this one, which drew no interest on the topic
http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=4456

or this one, which remains unanswered in over six years?
http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=1035

or this one, which descended into spiraling confusion before lying dead at the bottom of the stairs?
http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=495

and so it goes on ...
http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=6657

The idea behind some of threads relates to the history of the site & possible ideas & directions it may have gone in ... but perhaps it was my lack of interesting content that helped steer the site towards the direction the forums has now become ... for that I apologise :uhoh:

If you're going to dig up past threads, at least choose ones that had some life before they died (and are somewhat related to the current topic):

http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=5655

http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=3643

Does anyone have a sense of de ja vu ... :hmm: :rolleyes:

Desmond
21-02-2011, 01:51 PM
I am very fond of my rating. If I could use it to bear my children, I would.

ER
21-02-2011, 02:39 PM
I am very fond of my rating. If I could use it to bear my children, I would.

:lol:

Hobbes
21-02-2011, 02:43 PM
I am very fond of my rating. If I could use it to bear my children, I would.

If you really want to f*** your rating you could start playing the Tromp!

Basil
21-02-2011, 02:57 PM
Moderator! moderator!! Hate speech in progress. Minority opening being attacked. Squeal!

ER
21-02-2011, 03:15 PM
Moderator! moderator!! Hate speech in progress. Minority opening being attacked. Squeal!

that's not an opening, it's a givin' away a bishop for nuthin' charity! :P