Ratings Schmatings!?! What’s your “Handicap”?

The thing is, your actual strength, the thing that most determines if you are following grandmaster advice is your, “Category”. Your Category is actually supposed to lead your rating, not the other way around! Following grandmaster advice it is possible to have a category result with a performance of 1-2-2. I know because that’s the score I got in the under 2200 section while my rating was 1880. My post tournament rating went to 1910. If US Chess started calling bonus points a, “Handicap” more people would understand and play up. Today everyone wants to play in the prize section.

If your rating is 1100 and you play in the under 1200 section and you win with a score of 4.5 you will get to 1276. 73 of that is bonus/handicap points. If you played in the under 1400 and got 3.5 your new rating would be 1270, with 71 bonus/handicap points and it would be a category 3 result.

Earning a category has no rating requirements. Earning a title does have category requirements. As you improve, Category results are harder and harder to get because the people you need to play to get that category are becoming rarer and rarer. To make it even more difficult, you are playing people that are in decline. By that I mean there are more former masters in the expert section than there are former experts in the under 1900, and under 1800 sections. By playing up and using your “handicap” you will always have the opportunity to achieve the category before the rating!!

“3 Norm and Title rules
The following table specifies the set of titles, and whether a player needs to have attained an
established rating above the rating level to earn the title.
Rating Level Title Rating Requirement?
1200 4th Category No
1400 3rd Category No
1600 2nd Category No
1800 1st Category No
2000 Candidate Master Yes
2200 Life Master Yes
2400 Life Senior Master Yes

  1. Norms can only be earned in events of 4 rounds or more.”

A critical requirement is that your result in a tournament has to be more than a point higher than your statistically averaged expected result. If you would be expected to average 3.48 points in six rounds then you would have to score at least 4.4801 points (actually 4.5) in the six rounds. If you play tournaments where you are near the top-rated in the section then it may be difficult to get that exceptional performance because even going 6 out of 6 is not enough when your average expected result is 5.03 out of 6 (kind of hard to exceed a perfect score).

Don’t forget also that the ELO chart was originally for titled players…Candidate Master and up. That’s why the spread only covers 677 point of differential up or down. The ELO system didn’t originally have k’s or bonus points. The rating systems used by websites don’t offer bonus points or categories. That’s because websites are a toy until you make them a tool, not a tool that you’ve turned into a toy.

Today there are players and parents that are treating chess like bridge. In chess, you are wasting your money by just playing all the time. Only in chess is other people’s experience the best teacher!?! Go to the top 100 list of ages 7 and up and look up their history. You will find that more than 80% of the people on the list got their rating points from playing down, that they have a category 2 and even 3 levels below their rating, most have no category at all, and they are averaging less than 4 points per game they play since acquiring a established rating. (more than 25 games). How do you reach 1800 and have no Category after 282 games!?! They don’t have their ratings because of how hard they work!?! They are not the product of following grandmaster advice!?! They have their rating because of how often they play. When you go to statistics by year, some of them are playing 125, 150, 175, even 200 games a year. They are coming away with 50, 150, or 250 points a year!?!(sad) Don’t take my word for any of this. Go check. After looking at the histories you’ll never be afraid of someone higher rated again!!

2021 is your year. What are you doing to figure out how to get the most of your time in chess. You owe it to yourself to get some coaching and save some money in the coming years! We have a proven system against players under 1800. Our students typically earn 8-15 points per game. They achieve the same ratings as other players with less than 100 games a year! If that interest you, please contact us for FREE information!

SCBC 2020 in Review!!

Sundays: 430 pm – 630 pm Nov 29th – Dec 27th or, Monday Dec 28 – Thurs Dec 31st 10am – noon daily!!


Get the inside track on everything we learned in 2020?

1.) With no tournaments, how do players know they are making progress?
We’ve been accurately translating Chess.com numbers into over the board strength for years! That’s just one of the reasons Chess.com chose us to provide the post round analysis for the 2014 and 2016 Virginia Scholastic Championships!

2.) All of our students know to look for checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices on kings and queens and rooks. We are ready to share 2 more, “no skill required” factors that will help anyone win games faster.

3.) When we asked students to tell us the properties of the pieces, they told us how they moved, not what their properties were! This exercise gives an instant boost in understanding and playing strength!

4.) Pawns are fast!? Players were smiling ear to ear when we focused on the way pawns are supposed to be used. Find out their true value and the entertaining threats they pose when your opponents think that pawns are slow and expendable!

5.) A draw is a win! The key to being a better player is playing up! Understanding the rating system will help you get as many points from a draw as you do from a win!!

Registration is from today until the 28th of November or until Dec 27th depending on which class you pick. Cost for this great year ender is just $99.00! Slots are limited so please register early! Email your name, ratings of any kind, and which course you want to; waterman2010kir@aol.com. We will confirm and send you an invoice.

May your holidays be full of chess!!
Coach Mike C

Turning Draws Into Wins! Just 3 fall slots left!?!

Whether it’s chess or body building, every sport is constantly evolving. Some of the variants that are coming out from Alpha Zero are going to change chess training for sure. One of the ways we evolve is to get rid of old ideas and habits! Competitive Chess Players must gain experience at managing risk!! When chess is a toy, there is no risk, not even to the ego!! It’s OK to win, lose or draw and it doesn’t matter how much you miss because there are no rating points on the line.

Let’s talk about the value of a draw and help you understand that a draw is just as good as a win if you manage your risk correctly. To do that, we need to explode a couple of long held myths! Once you enter into competitive chess, it’s win, draw, and never lose. By managing your risk, you can get 25%- 60% more points for a win, enough points to feel like you won from a draw, and if you do lose, they take less points away!

If you played in a quad as a 1200 against a 1400, 1300, and 1200 and scored 1.5, your new rating would be 1220. 2 points would make your new rating 1262!! 1 point would only drop you to 1195. If everyone was rated 1200, 1.5 gets you 1200, 2 points only get’s you 1225, and 1 point would drop you to 1175!! For the lower rated player, a 1300 gave them odds of 9-7 and the 1400 gave them odds of 5-3. These odds, the risk, are all imaginary until you have reached the 1st Category, 1800 and above!! You should expect to lose when chess is a toy. You are obligated to win or draw when it’s a tool! When you lose 3-5 days from work, pay lodging, pay transportation, meals, entry fees, and other expenses, that’s a really expensive toy!!

Myth # 1 … “Look for the best move every time.” Simply ridiculous!?! Look at this position with white to move:

There are 16 equally good moves in this position. There is only the move that suits your taste. I’ll say it again, Grandmasters beat other Grandmasters by making their opponents play unfamiliar middlegames from familiar openings. If you put any classic line on your computer, after about 12-14 moves the positions will read, “=”!!

Myth #2 “Draws don’t get you anywhere?!” Ridiculous!! Draws don’t get you anywhere among equals, but when playing up, you can have more draws than wins and get a, “Category” result.

15 | MICHAEL CALLAHAM |2.0 |D 13|W 4|L 7|D 16|L 6|
VA | 12417373 / R: 1881 ->1910 |N:1

I was playing in an under 2200 section when I earned that performance.

Myth #3 “Experience” is the best teacher”

In chess this is only half true!?! With 100’s of years of games and advice available, why would you be learning from your experiences when you can use someone else’s? Jason Morefield has gotten his rating all the way up to 2337 in just 407 games and only 84 events. He achieved the Category of, Life Master in Jan 2019!! All this talk is about saving the family time, money, and effort. No one is better at that than us! Call for a free consultation and quote! Your wallet, spouse, and other children will thank you!! Call Mike Callaham today. 804-426-6058.

SCBC Coaches Score 10.5/15 At The George Washington Open

This weekend 3 SCBC coaches played in the George Washington Open in Reston VA.  Mike Callaham played in the Under 1800, Master Coach Jason Moorefield played in the Major, and Coach Avijith Rajan in the Under 2100. Mike earned 4/5 = 3 wins 2 draws and 0 losses, finishing 2nd, 2nd/61, Coach Jason earned 3.5/5 = 3w 1d 1l finishing 3rd, 8/64 and Coach Rajan earned 3/5 = 3w 0d 2l, finishing 4th, 12th/48!  Our carpool of fun and laughs was from left to right; Mike Callaham, Mike Valentino, Patrick Spain, Avijith Rajan.

the boys

We came we saw and we did some damage.  I’m never going to tell my students that with what we teach, it’s Ok to lose chess games.  I see and hear it all the time!  You can’t win them all, you have to get experience, you learn more from your losses… It’s all nonsense! I encourage my students by telling them, “Your opponent’s parents, coaches, friends and family expect them to lose games in this tournament!  Your job is make sure you don’t disappoint them!!  At SCBC we’ve got a formula that explains success and failure at the chess board!  The formula can be used by anyone that knows when a chess game is over!  Winning and losing are now a will or won’t not a can or can’t.  As your rating increases and the opponents get harder, the only thing needed is more discipline!  Why am I so serious?!  For years I’ve been telling everyone around me, if you’re losing with the SCBC system, it’s because you don’t really care about winning! I’ve listened to student after student and class after class repeat word for word what they are supposed to be doing at the board.  Then when they get to a tournament they’re as bad as a chef who keeps trying to turn, ‘over easy” eggs with a fork, a knife, spoon, an ice-pick, toothpick, or anything  instead of a spatula?!  Our system is so simple that if you’ve been taught it and won’t use it, it could be said that checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices just aren’t important to how you, “want” to play chess?!  I don’t make this stuff up, I’m just reporting. lol

The looks my wife would give me if I told her we are going for a 2 hour drive to pay to enter a tournament, pay for lodging, pay for food, take up the whole family’s day or weekend, and I will habitually be ignoring checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices that exist for both sides!? LOL!

Our mantra has 4 parts!  We gave out part 1 of the rule in 2011, then part 2 of the rule in lessons, classes, lectures, camps, training guides and videos. Rajesh Pandit’s whole family increased over 1200 points in just 6 months.  We’ve had tremendous success at getting kids over 1000 but they have other activities and the proximity of events that will test them requires travel.  I’m working on it and that’s beset with many unique and hidden challenges as well!  We continue the never ending search for another Jason Morefield, Jennifer Yu or Praveen! Someone that wants to win and is willing to work!  If parents, spouses, and coaches got the Mike’s wife face more often instead of coddling them with,  ” Do you understand? “, that would cause their ratings to go up a lot faster!?

Thanksgiving newletter 096

I’ve decided to just go get the examples of the system in action myself!  Last year I set a goal to see just how unbeatable I can become using discipline and my SCBC System!!

gwo 1

The 6 points and 8 winning positions I produced in the World Open in July did little to change peoples behavior!  They were still doing the chant without doing the dance!?  So I decided that 1, whether they use it or not, I will teach it to my coaching staff.  Then 2, I will lead by example!

tired 1  new cbd line up

At 57 the biggest challenges are fatigue, being able to make good decisions from the information my system gives me about the position, and having the fortitude, strength, discipline and character to fight relentlessly for a win, a draw, and no losses.  I’m usually abhorrent about things like 5 hour energy and the like but for this tournament in addition to my CBD, I used our, “My Daily Choice” Boost and the Brain sprays before the beginning of each round.  The change in my alertness was instantaneous, invigorating, and enduring.  I didn’t have so much as 1 yawn while I was playing.  The also helped me get to form faster!  I should have used them at the World Open!!  I won’t play in a tournament without them again!  Don’t get me wrong, I need to be in better shape and I need to study, but it’s a relief knowing that I won’t be falling asleep at the board anymore!

I’ll be posting the games from the GWO just like I did for the games from the World Open!  Round 2 and 5 may be of theoretical importance.  Next stop is The Northern Va Open 20-22 March!!