SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
No doubt the CFC has one of the worse independent rating systems amongst FIDE members. I don’t think that there is a problem with the general rating formula as it is, but the politicians have messed things up over the years. In the past there have been a wide range of alterations to these CFC ratings: the occasional adding points to existing ratings or arbitrary alternations to the actual rules , such as creating bonus points to encourage players to participate in more tournaments during the year.
I seem to recall at one time in the early 1980’s getting as many as 100 points added to my rating (thankyou very much!).
I have to admit that I have never really paid much attention to it–most serious players use the FIDE elo’s as THE point of reference– until several years ago when Robert Hamilton unilaterally decided that some Toronto-area players were under rated and then he set out to convince the CFC executive to arbitrarily add on some 10,000 rating points to certain players (hand picked by Robert, ofcourse).
When I asked him how he arrived at these details, he tried to argue that it was all science and mathematics: apparently John McPhail–who was working with Robert on the magazine–had taken some discrete mathematics courses at university. Well, I don’t think that qualifies John to decide anything about ratings, but the CFC executive thought otherwise…I think my share of the loot was 17 rating points! (No, I did not ask how that number was decided…)
Fast forward today and more than a few people have discovered that the system is beginning to get out of control. Yesterday it was announced that GM Bator Sambuev’s new CFC rating was an astronomical 2725 and that there seemed to be little to prevent him from reaching 3000 in the near future if he continues to play frequently and at his normal strength.
Soon to be the highest rated player in the universe?
Below is a list of the top 20 rated players (?) according to the CFC, with a comparison with their FIDE ratings. As we can see, some of the rating differences are HUGE:
My take on things is that the CFC has to make a decision about the present situation. Hopefully , an intelligent decision. Most countries simply use the FIDE rating system. Some countries also have their own internal rating system. I don’t see any problem with the CFC having an internal rating system that is higher (or lower) than the FIDE rating system, but I do think that there is a problem if the internal rating system the CFC uses is just a run away train!
If all the tampering and tinkering done over the years has lead to a situation where the rating system is out of control , then the CFC must admit it and try to solve the problem. The members pay for their games to be rated, and they expect to get a rational and efficient rating system out of this.
As I am not a mathematician, I have no concrete suggestions to offer. And I would hope that the solution to this problem not be a democratic process, but rather be a solution taken by competent experts who have no person stake in what their rating will be! The Governors should have absolutely no say in the solution. It is time for people to know their place…
All of this being said, I think that perhaps the problem is not just a rating system contaminated by random and arbitrary decisions made by incompetent politicians. As some have pointed out on the message boards, most of the best Canadian players do not play in either the weekend swisses or even in the National championships anymore. Regardless of the reason why this is so, without their participation the rating system simply does not work as it is supposed to. So whatever solution the CFC –in its infinite intelligence–decides upon, not addressing long standing issues such as why the strongest players are walking away from the CFC will not really improve the situation.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS