Sunday, 19 February 2023

Do you play for ratings or conditions?

 One of the tasks attached to my role as FIDE Qualification Secretary is to answer requests and comments concerning the FIDE Rating System. Sometime these are technical questions (eg "Why wasn't tournament X rated?") but some are to do with the operation of the rating system itself.

Without delving into details, the topic of 'underrated' players has come up. It turns out that this is a familiar topic to me, as when I was the Australian Ratings Officer way back in late 1980's, this was something I also dealt with on a regular basis. What hasn't happened over the past 35 years is a solution that makes everyone happy (that is also statistically sound).

One of the arguments about how the rating system is 'broken' is that it discourages strong players from playing open events with lots of lower rated players. But is that really the reason? Certainly the lure of playing other strong players attracts strong players to the event (and also lower rated players), but is the opposite true? I would like to think ratings is only one factor, and other issues like prizes and conditions are also important. 

Any way, when this issue came up 15 years ago I even made a blog post about it then. Click here

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