Wednesday 18 March 2009

Changes to FIDE Ratings

FIDE have released the changes to the FIDE Ratings system, which will come into effect on the 1st July 2009. There have been some significant changes, some of which may not be popular at all.
The most benign change is the lowering of the rating floor to 1200. This change has been expected and I would be surprised if the list goes below this, at least in the next decade.
The rating difference limit that was previously 350 points has been increased to 400 points. This means that if the rating difference between 2 opponents is greater than 400 points, it will be adjusted to 400 points for the purpose of calculating ratings. The worry with this change is that it will dissuade higher rated players from entering events with lower rated players. In fact one proposal was to abolish the limit altogether, but the Ratings Committee rejected this proposal.
The other big change is to increase the K factors to 20 for players who have reached 2400 on the rating list, and 30 for players who have yet to reach this level. This essentially doubles the previous k factors (10 and 20), and abolishes the 25 factor for players who played less than 30 games.
I suspect this will be the most unpopular change, as a players FIDE rating is almost like currency in the world of professional chess. The new changes will means ratings will change much more rapidly, and in the case of some players, drop faster than they will like. Consequently, a bad tournament or two may drop a player off the list of invitees to some of the more lucrative chess events.

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