I was waiting for revenge, but it never came.

Here is my game against Batraski from last night.  I'm now 3-0 against him in regular slow games (G/2hrs with 5sec delay).  Hence the title.  I was waiting for him to get his deserved revenge, but...  Maybe next time, Guy.

This game has an interesting consequence in terms of ratings.  I used the USCF ratings estimator to see what this 250 point upset would do to my rating.  Here is the setup:

My rating: 1682

Round 1 - HP bye

Round 2 - win vs Cesar (1654)

Round 3 - win vs Guy (1939)

That puts my performance rating at 2339, and my new rating at 1719, for a 37 point gain.  Not bad, but it gets interesting depending on who I play in the final round.  For example:

Round 4 - ??? vs Mariyan (1823)

If I win, I gain a whopping 97 points for a new rating of 1779.  But if I lose, I still gain 42 points, for a new rating of 1724, more than I would have gained by not playing at all!  Does anyone out there have any understanding of this?  It seems wrong to gain rating points just for showing up to one's game.

It gets worse!  Besides Mariyan, I could end up playing Blazo (2110) or Richard (2213) in the last round.  Here's how it could all work out:

Round 4 opponent New rating if I win New rating if I lose
no one, stay home 1719 (+37) 1719 (+37)
Mariyan (1823) 1779 (+97) 1724 (+42)
Blazo (2110) 1791 (+109) 1736 (+54)
Richard (2213) 1793 (+111) 1738 (+56)

Could someone explain the mathematics that results in this strange phenomenon?  I don't believe one should be rewarded for showing up and losing.  On the other hand, if it's correct, it shows why you should strive to play higher-rated opposition.  Not only do you learn more chess, but your rating will go up faster, even if you lose, allowing you to be paired with even stronger opponents.


  • 5 years ago


    To answer your question, Marc — and what is to follow is probably a gross oversimplification — I believe that even though your performance rating drops by losing to Mariyan in your scenario, it gains more "pull" on your rating because more games were played to generate it. Your original rating is low enough that the extra pull of the lower performance rating is enough to compensate for the loss of the much higher PR (which had very little pull because it was the result of playing only two games). If your orgininal rating was, say, 100 points higher (1782), you would not see this effect (1808 after winning both games; 1799 after going 2/3).

  • 5 years ago


    No, I was taking a class last 2 Thursdays. Thanks for asking. I'll stop by tomorrow and will start playing again next Thursday.

    Yes, you gonna need luck but your game is on a great level so I'm sure you'll put up a good fight regardless!

  • 5 years ago


    @alzhin - Thanks for wishing me luck.  I will need it.  Are you still sick?  Why aren't you playing?

  • 5 years ago


  • 5 years ago


    That's nice mate! Great game Marc. I wish you win your last game.

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