Looking for an old rating

There is a player registered for a tournament I’m helping out with this weekend, Dale K Bradley from Oregon, who said he had an old rating of about 1860 from the late 70’s. I found a rating of 1863 for him in the 1979 annual list in the digital archives. Looking through all the digital archives was getting very tedious (I don’t know what editions of the old magazines that rating supplements appear in, trying to search for his name using “control f” wasn’t working, the digital magazines were taking a long time to load, etc.) Does anyone who has the paper copies of the magazine know if he has a later rating?

The annual lists were usually in either the December or January issue, more likely the former.

I assume the office kept their set(s) of paper rating supplements, but I don’t know who actually works in the office these days. I’ve been hoping the office would find the time and money to digitize the whole set.

Where there just annual lists or were there more frequent lists?

The annual lists were cumulative—it would include anyone who had a game rated during the time since the last annual list. The bimonthly’s just had anyone who had a game rated in the covered two month period. So there is no reason to look in anything but an annual list.

They may have published some mid-year lists in Chess Life back in the 60’s and 70’s.

I don’t know when they started printing separate ratings supplements, which were monthly for a while, then every other month, with the June and December supplements being YTD cumulative.

I have those paper lists. I checked the ones for 1980-83 and did not find a listing for him.

– Hal Terrie

Thanks Tom, that narrowed my search a lot. 1863 from the 1979 annual list was his latest rating.

The 1985 annual had everybody up until then, so there is no need to look for an earlier rating. After that the semi-annuals (June and December) would be the ones to look through. With the move to digital supplements (particularly the Golden Databases) our club stopped keeping those old magazines more than two decades ago.

The 1985 list doesn’t quite have everyone, but it has just about everyone who had a published rating from around 1980 to 1985. This annual list was generated just before US Chess purged inactive IDs from the membership file to save on disk space. (Disk space used to be very expensive, something younger people don’t understand.) Whether this was the first such purge since computerization is not clear.

There were also many members who were active before the first computer system was installed (around 1977) who were never assigned a member ID.

The published rating lists are available in the Chess Life and Chess Review Archives | US Chess.org Chess Life digital archives. For example, the 1985 list appears in the January 1986 issue.

Why would any of this matter? You found exactly what you were looking for (“about 1860”) on your first try. Just use it as his pre-event rating in your tournament pairing software. If he objects (and why would he?) just tell him you’ll use 1863 unless he can furnish proof of a more accurate (or more recent) rating.

When you submit your rating report to U.S. Chess, they’ll ignore whatever rating you put down anyway. They’ll use whatever rating their formulas tell them to use, regardless. Problem solved. Or, perhaps more accurately, problem non-existent.

Bill Smythe

There is a potential class prize issue if Micah’s tournament has an Under 1900 prize, Micah stops looking with, let’s say, an 1863 rating in 1979. and in 1980 the player reached 1912 while Micah awards him the Under 1900 prize.
In that case Micah did not solve an existing problem. The player Micah is looking for may not object but the Under 1900 player(s) that did not get that prize might.

There are three U1850 prizes in the U2000 section he is playing in!

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That’s not quite how it works. Unless the office knows to look up an old ID and/or rating, manually adding the latter either to the old ID or to a new one, the player would be treated as unrated and (unless there is other ratings information available on that ID, which may not be the case here) the pre-event rating would likely be based on the player’s age, capped at 1300. But if an old (presumably established) rating is inserted manually, then it would be used as the pre-event rating.

But unless the office is notified of this, they won’t know to look up the old ID/rating. (And, no, mentioning it here isn’t sufficient notice.)

They aren’t “ignored”. There is a sanity check if the rating on the submission looks very wrong. I would suspect, however, that a hard number where the US Chess database shows unrated wouldn’t trigger anything. Maybe it should if the number is high enough (say >1600) as that would likely mean that the TD had some outside info that should have been reported if it wasn’t already.

An interesting idea, but it might generate mostly false positives. I’ll have to do some testing to see how many times such an alert might have been raised.

If I look at regular rated events from 2021 on, there are nearly 1100 cases of a new player coming in with no rating information, including other sources, and having a post-event rating of 1600 or higher, and around 400 of them were post-event ratings of 1800 or higher, 128 with a post-event rating of 2000 or higher, 38 with a post-event rating of 2200 or higher.

How many of those would have been cases where some external information was available but not provided to US Chess? I don’t know an easy way to check on that.

Although I think it unlikely that someone would have a 2200+ initial rating with no previous OTB experience in any known rating system, my thought was to look at the rating that was included in the tournament report. If the TD put a previously unrated in at a fairly large number, AND, the there was no information from the TD that the person had a FIDE/CFC/old US chess rating, then I would be curious where the big number came from. I wouldn’t be surprised if the TD either failed to notify, or thought there was no further need.

Although the draft version 2 format does have a field for player rating, we aren’t doing anything with it during validation at this time, mostly because we could never decide what to do with it, and it is not used in the ratings process.

We do not attempt to compute an actual rating during validation, just a simplified performance rating to look for odd ducks, so we don’t have a very good way to check whether the rating in the upload file is consistent with the results from the event, though I suppose something could be added to the odd duck checks. By the time an event is being rated, it’s a bit late to be complaining about what ratings the TD used for pairing the event, though it could be used to send an after-rating report to the office and/or TD noting any significant deviations from the rating supplied in the upload file and the pre-event or post-event rating for a new player. (Should we do this for ALL players, even those who have a rating, to make sure the TD is using a somewhat accurate rating? Is this destined to become another report that nobody follows up on?)

It looks like about 30% of the recent event records have either a null or a zero rating value, some of those may be tournaments submitted using the original upload format or ones entered using the online editing form.

As we’re in the process of soliciting bids for the rewrite of the tournament submission and ratings systems, this is an issue that might be brought up when designing the new validation process.

Another person who is helping out with the tournament notified the office about this players old rating about two weeks ago now I think but for some reason the old rating hasn’t been applied yet. I also informed this office about this a few days ago.