The Yorkshire Chess Association released their new 2011 grading list earlier this week. These new ratings are based on all games played between 1st of June 2010 and 31st of May 2011. I’ve collected (and slightly edited) the list for Hebden Bridge Chess Club members below. You can also go to the YCA’s website and have a rummage around for even more details.
I’ve edited the list above in order to remove any inactive players. Here are some points and comments about this list points that I think are worth making as team captains start to plan for next year’s league campaigns.
- Both Dave Wedge and Matthew Wedge-Roberts will not be available as Dave is now working down in Cambridge during the week and Matthew is off to university. We wish them both the best of luck
- The highest new entry on the club list is Pete Leonard who makes an appearance near the top with a brand new grade of 158! Whilst it must be said that this grade has been calculated from a relatively low volume of data (7 games) we must congratulate Pete on this excellent result and also provide a well-meant word of warning to him that next season is likely to provide him with a much greater challenge as this new number will propel him into the upper reaches of the ‘A’ or ‘B’ team. I’m sure this will be something he will look forward to.
- Josh Blinkhorn takes the prize for “Most Improved Player” of the season increasing his rating by 15 points from 121 to 136. Congratulations to Josh for this result and I fancy there is still more improvement to come from him in the coming years.
- Other players with double digit improvements were Matthew Wedge-Roberts (+13), Dave Shapland (+11) and Dave Sugden (+10). Trevor De Luca improved by 14 points but that is based on only one game played last season.
- I should also mention Matthew Parson’s increase of 8 points which is significant because it elevates him to the lofty heights of 174 and places him amongst the elite players in the Calderdale league operating above the 170 mark. For the record these players are:
- Leo Keely (Huddersfield) 175
- Matthew Parsons (HebdenBridge) 174
- David Keddie (Huddersfield) 174
- John Morgan (Courier) 173
- Chris Booth (Huddersfield) 172
- David Firth (Huddersfield) 170
All I can say about this list is that I hope Huddersfield ‘A’ aren’t able to field all 4 players that fall into this bracket on a regular basis next season. There must be something in the water over there! Incidentally the 5th Huddersfield player on the list is John Lavan and his new grade is 169! That’s a pretty frightening Huddersfield ‘A’ team they might have there.
In my view this new annual list and the ongoing live ratings (Jon Griffiths the YCA Grader has announced his intention to publish monthly lists next season as well!) raise some interesting questions about how league teams should be selected and organised for the coming season. At present the Calderdale League guidelines states that…
“All players must be listed in order of known playing strength.
The quandary is should captains be using the live ratings or the 2011 ratings to help them determine this? Which should take precedence? Bare in mind that at the outset of the new season both the annual rating and the live rating will be the same but as the season progresses the live rating will change and become a more accurate reflection of a player’s current strength than the 2011 rating and the more games a player plays the greater the potential disparity between the two. Should captains therefore swap players around during the course of the year based on live ratings or continue to use the 2011 rating to guide board order regardless of current from?
At the heart of the matter is the fact that the current grading system doesn’t express a preference for the number of games it believes are required to calculate a robust rating. I seem to remember that in days gone by players who had played less than 10 rated games in the previous season got an ‘E’ (for estimated) placed after their grade and this enabled team captains and tournament organisers some room for latitude as they assessed the player’s strength. Now that we don’t have this standard it appears that there is a danger some new players will have to be thrown in at the deep end before they are ready and at the expense of more experienced players who perhaps should be playing further up the board order.
Of course the subject of gradings and how they are calculated and applied always stirs up passionate debate amongst chess players and it is certainly no different in Calderdale. For the record my opinion is that live ratings are a good idea but I also believe we need to adapt our league regulations and guidelines to reflect the new system. Specifically I think it is important that all team captains in the league use the same criteria to select their team order. They should all use the live rating or all use the annual grade and the regulations should be amended to enforce the preference.
I would be very interested to hear readers views on the subject of ratings or feedback on the new club list.