It is always good for a laugh to hear players and parents talking about how good a 1,000 player is. “Your next opponent is rated 968, be careful.” or I’ll hear a player say, ” Her rating was really high, just over 1,000!). ” I’ll do the best I can their rating is much higher than mine.”. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on parents and players alike for knowing so little about the rating system! If you pay a coach and your player still thinks a 1,000 rating means anything, that’s even worse!! Chess player egos are the most imagination driven egos in all of sports because the players, parents, and the coaches don’t make sure that everyone understands the rating system. I explain the rating system pretty early on to my private students, and within a tournament or 2 to all the others! If you don’t get to work at helping everyone understand the rating system, you are hurting your player’s growth. Over or under 1,000, they should not be playing blind!
Until you fully understand the ratings system, let’s talk about what to do when the pairings come up. 1) Look up the opponent’s history at USChess! The “General” page will give their rating and category. 2.) Look at their, ” Tournament History” to see how many events they have played in and the highest their rating has been. 3.) Go back to the “General” page and click on “Game Statistics” to see the strongest players they’ve played and the result. 4.) click on, “Record by Year” to see total games, and winning percentage. If you do this the moment the postings come out, you will not be late for the round. Even if you are late, it’s worth a minute or 2 to gather this info so that your player get’s the correct perspective on their opponent!
This past weekend the VSCA held a tournament at Maggie Walker High School. The player rated 908 finished with a perfect score of 4-0 and a new rating high of 1082. I’ll bet that none of his opponent’s knew that this player’s rating had fallen from 1077 in July of 2018, that they’ve only played 44 tournament games and that their record against opponents rated 1,000 or higher was a dismal 1 point out of 8 tries! If you look at all of your previous opponents that have a rating of 1,000 or lower, you will find that none of them have a positive record against players rated over 1,000! The next player finishing with 3.5 watched their rating go from 887 to 968. They’ve played 75 tournament games. they have 1 point out of 5 tries. The player that took 3rd with 3.5 points, watched their rating go from 687 to 964!! They’ve played 51 games, seen a player over 1,000 only twice and lost both times. One player at the tournament who’s rating was 948 at the beginning of the tournament has played 131 tournament games met players over 1,000 only 9 times and has a score of 3.5 against those opponent’s.
The part that makes things confusing is the k factor, (http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12201/221/). The K Factor tells what the maximum number of points a player can get for a win! For players under 1,000 the K factor is 52 or more points. For players at my rating high of 1943 the K factor is 27.5 points! What that means is even if I had scored 3.5 points against players that were rated 235, 198, 259, and 302 above my rating, my new rating would be just 2058. I would have picked up just 115 points, not the 277 that the 687 player got for the same numerical results.
The next time you get paired with someone who’s rating is 1,000 or less just remember, you are supposed to respect your opponent, not put faith in them!! The 964 of today may have been 687 of just 4 games ago! Learn the rating system, play intelligently, and know something about every opponent you play!