ECF Grading Overhaul for 2009/2010

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The English Chess Federation (ECF) has announced plans to change its rating system from next season. After many seasons of alleged rating deflation, the ECF has worked back through years of calculations to fix the issue. The biggest issue however is a percieved stretching of the rating system. It means that most ECF rated players in the United Kingdom will see their ratings rise next year.

As an example, my ECF grade is 90, but under the new system it would be 133. A friend is graded 160, but it will be 176 under the new system. It therefore would seem to benefit players with a lower rating. Presumably, a GM with a grade of 220 or so will see very little change to his grade.

This is good for tournament chess in the United Kingdom, as most of them have sections for Under 100, Under 125, Under 150, Under 175 and Open, in accordance with the Grand Prix, or in other cases minor sections but divided differently. It also makes tournaments much more accessible for players new to the rating system, because the Under 100/125 sections would become open to players who are initially weaker (particularly good for getting young players into these sections at tournaments).

For conversion to FIDE, the formula of ECF x 8 + 650 will become the applicable standard. Again, my grade is 90, which works out at 1370 FIDE, but if it was 133, it would be 1714 FIDE. On, my rating is mostly between 1650 and 1750, so that seems to work well.

It can only be good for boosting the attendances at tournaments, so well done to the ECF for getting the statistical issues sorted out.

The ECF explain the "new grades" here:

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