Monday, 21 March 2016

Marshall's Handicap

Looking through the always interesting Chess Notes, I rediscovered the story of Frank Marshall once scoring 100% in an event, but still only finishing third. It was a tournament in Richmond UK in 1912, but was played under a 'handicap' scoring system. At the time these events were quite popular, but seem to have fallen from favour these days.
Nonetheless the scoring system is an interesting one. Players were ranked by class from 1 to 8 (with 1 being the best). If you won a game against a player in your own class you earned 16 points. You scores 2 points less per class for wins against lower ranked players, and 2 points more for each class for wins against higher ranked players. I assume for draws you scored half a winning total each. There was also  a modification at the end, where your final score was the points divided by total games, with a 0.1 per game played bonus added.
Of course the problem with Marshall was that he was classed above the rest of the field and was picking up less points than everyone else (Apparently there were not many class 2 players either). But as a 'hit and giggle' event for hyperactive junior players (or bored adults), such a format may still work under the right circumstances.

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