This comment was made recently on the tournament forum for one of my current tournys:
"Why are there 18 players ranked over 1500 in this tournament? Do they purposely lose a bunch of games to get a low ranking b4 joining? The rating is suppose to be 1001-1200...not 1400-1900+!"
To which I replied:
"Well salt2001 your ranking is too high as well. (Only just - his ranking is 1216!)
My ranking was correct when this tournament started, nearly 4 months ago. I'm sorry that I've had the audacity to win games in between (not to mention 9/10 in the first round in this tourny) - that'll increase your ranking quickly. In fact I would have thought that it was impossible for the qualifiers for the later rounds to keep their rankings below 1200 given that they must have won a lot of games by definition.
As for purposefully losing to get into lower tournaments - thats just a dumb accusation. I would have to lose a lot of games to players way below me to get my ranking down that far, and that's not going to happen deliberately. It's just caused by these tournaments taking waaaay to long to play out. People will improve as it progresses - simple fact.
If it makes you feel better I had to join the 1401-1600 group for the 7th Chess.com tourny and my ranking is now too high for that group also - what do I do?? "
I mean no disrespect to the other player here, I'm just wondering who's right, If anyone. What do you think?
I agree Gonnosuke. You summed it up by saying that very few people will tread water for a year - they'll either improve drastically (if they are relatively new members) or more slowly if they have lots of games under their belts - the ones who are likely to win tournaments that is.
Frankly in any graded competition the later the round the better the players should be - that's obvious to me! I also think that high rating jumps may be more, not less, likely in the lower ranked tournaments simply because higher ranked players have less chance to improve their ranking significantly in just a handful of matches. Unlike lower ranked players who can improve quickly by just winning a few friendly games against better opposition.
And you're absolutely right that there shouldn't be a problem with no money at stake. If people are sandbagging simply to beat lower ranked players and win an avatar trophy from chess.com then I'm not angry at them, I feel sorry for them!
(PS - I love your avatar Gonnosuke, the man is a legend!)