Help includes how to use the online list. Plus other notes, including an explanation of calculations.
Table of Contents
Introduction: what this database is and is not
The Grading Season
Lookups and wild cards
Errors and Corrections
How Grades are Calculated
Game Eligibility & ECF Membership
ECF to Elo conversions
This database is a monthly snapshot of the central grading database. It does not change in real time. Additions and corrections are made continuously in the central database but will not appear here until the next monthly revision.
THE GRADING SEASON
The grading season runs from 1st July to 30th June.
Grading lists are produced twice a year in late January and late July, with playing cutoff dates of 31st December and 30th June. Please do not contact the Grading Administrator to ask exactly when a list will appear. He will not know, with any certainty, until it appears.
Revisions are published monthly, late in the month (again, do not ask the Administrator for an exact date). Revisions do not represent fresh grading lists. They are based on the same grading period as before, and any revised grades in them are due to corrections. But note that the August revision to the Standardplay list has a special status. Many leagues, including ECF competitions, use grades from the August revision throughout the season, even after the January list has appeared.
The great majority of leagues, and many club internal competitions, send interim halfyear reports based on the period 1st July to 31st December so that their early-season results can go into the January grading list. To see which events have done so, refer to Events Received for Grading (see below).
Results reported late
If an event does not send interim results, all its results will go into the July list, calculated using January grades. The January list will not be amended retrospectively to accommodate results reported late. The same principle applies to any event reported too late for its correct grading list. Events that miss a July list will go into the following January list, calculated using July grades.
Events Received for Grading in any year are listed in the ECF website’s Grading page.
Up to and including 2005-6, grading lists were produced once a year in late July, on a playing season running from 1st June to 31st May. Twice-yearly Rapidplay lists were introduced in January 2007, with a halfyear split at the end of November. Twice-yearly Standardplay lists followed in January 2012. This involved moving the grading season on by one month so that the halfyear split occurred at 31st December as a better fit for the “winter” league season. 2011-12 in consequence was a transitional 13-month season.
LOOKUPS and wild cards
You can search for Players by name; for Players by grading reference (Ref); or for Clubs. Type the whole thing, or the first few characters; the display will show all items that match the characters you typed. Searching is not case sensitive.
If you are unsure of a spelling, the wild cards * and ? can be useful. ? will match any single character, and * will match any string of zero or more characters. Thus m*cdonald will find both McDonald and Macdonald; sm?th will find Smith, Smyth and Smythe (as well as Smethurst, Smithers and Smithson). Combinations like m*cl??d, (note the comma indicating end of surname) are possible.
Type the player’s name (surname first followed by a comma), or the first few letters. You will get a list of many players or few, depending on what you typed. There may be none if the player you seek is not there.
The database includes everyone who has played graded chess, even 1 game, since the early 1990s. Currently (April 2013) the total is 102,530 players, of whom 12,762 have current grades. By default you will see only players with current grades. To see everyone, click on “include ungraded players”.
Sometimes a player will be highlighted in blue. This means his grade has changed since the original August (or January) list. See below under Grade.
A 6-digit number followed by a letter. This is the Grading Code used to uniquely identify players within the Grading Database. Clicking here takes you to the player’s Profile page with much additional information on the player, including his history back to 1994 (which is as far back as the electronic records go).
For some of the following items, you need to be looking at the player’s Profile.
With each grade is a Category that indicates the extent to which games from earlier periods have been incorporated. Grades are based on the most recent 36 months maximum, and all Categories except X (the most active) are based on the most recent 30 games in that period, where 30 are available. Categories D and E may indicate that fewer than 30 games are available.
The Categories were formerly different for adult and junior players, but this distinction has been dropped.
X – Grade based on all games (at least 30) played in the latest halfyear
A – Grade based on the 30 most recent games, all played in the latest 12 months
B – Grade based on the 30 most recent games, all played in the latest 24 months, including at least 20 in the latest 12 months
C – Grade based on the 30 most recent games in the latest 36 months, of which at least 10 were played in the latest 12 months
D – Grade based on 15 or more games in the latest 36 months, of which at least 5 were played in the latest 12 months
E – Grade based on 9 or more games in the latest 36 months, of which at least 1 was played in the latest 12 months
Players not meeting any of these requirements are ungraded.
Players may have a Standard or Rapid grade or both. The grade is self-explanatory, unless it is zero. A grade of zero is not a grade. It means the player’s performance is zero or negative.
The Profile shows the current grade twice. Normally both versions will be the same. The first is the player’s up-to-date grade, including any revision made since the original August (or January) List. It will be highlighted if it differs from the second. The second version is the August (or January) grade.
Revised grades are official and will be used in calculations for the next grading list. For eligibility purposes, however, the ECF will use August grades throughout in its season-long Standardplay competitions. Other organisations may wish to do the same.
Up to six clubs are shown. Where a club (or County) name is followed by an asterisk (*), it denotes a location rather than a club.
Clicking on a Club takes you to a list of the club’s members. They can be listed in alphabetical order (click on ‘Name’), in Standardplay grading order (click on ‘Grade’), or in Rapidplay order (click on ‘Rapid’).
If a club name appears twice, this means that at some time in the past the club merged with another club. Both club references have been retained temporarily.
It is also possible to access a club (or county) by means of the Club lookup box. See below: Club Lookup
The first figure is the number of games played in the 12 months leading up to the current grade. The second is the total number of games counted. It may be greater than the 12-month figure if games have been used from the previous two seasons. It may be less in the case of an X grade, because X grades are calculated over 6 months only.
The player’s rank (Standard or Rapid), excluding FIDE-registered players with nationality other than English. Players graded 0 are not ranked. The total number of ranked players is currently 9,655 (Standard), 4,275 (Rapid).
For FIDE-registered players this shows their FIDE code. Clicking on the Code takes you to the FIDE website, which gives the rating details.
PLAYERS WITHOUT A CURRENT GRADE
By default, a lookup will only show players with a current grade. But everyone is in the database, including last month’s single-game new players as well as people who have not played since the early 1990s. To see everyone, tick the “include ungraded players” checkbox. This will usually increase the number very substantially.
Note that deceased players are treated as ungraded for this purpose, even if they have a current grade.
It is possible to access a club or county directly through the Club lookup box. Type the club (or county) name, or the first few letters. In the resulting display:
1) The first column shows all clubs (and counties) whose names match the letters you typed. Click on one to see all its members. If it is a county, you will see everyone who has played for the county.
2) The second column does nothing the other columns won’t, and is best ignored.
3) The third column (“code”) gives the club code (or county code, if it is a county). Clicking on it is exactly the same as clicking in the first column.
4) The fourth column (“County Team”) gives everyone who has played for the county to which the club is affiliated.
5) The fifth column (“Union”) speaks for itself. It merely gives information; clicking does nothing.
6) The last column (“Clubs in County”) is the most inclusive. Click to see all players in the county, whatever their club.
In all these cases, players are listed alphabetically unless you choose otherwise. To sort by grade, click on “Standard” or “Rapid” as required.
On the accuracy of club affiliations, see Club affiliations under Errors and Corrections further down.
The player’s Profile is accessed by clicking on his Grading Code (“Ref”). Among other things it shows his Grade History and gives access to his Game Lists.
The grades in a player’s Profile go back to 1994, which is as far back as the electronic records go. Remember that grades earlier than July 2009 are Old Grades. For the switch to New Grades, see the New Grades page.
The grade shown for a period is the player’s definitive grade for that period, after any corrections made since it was first published. Sometimes you may wish to see the original uncorrected grade, or (in the case of a July grade) the grade published in an August revision and used throughout the season in certain leagues. These (going back to July 2011) may be found in the Downloads page. The downloads are csv files (readable by, for example, MS Excel) showing all grades as published in the month in question.
These were introduced in January 2012. From a player’s Profile you can access his game results for the current period (as reported so far), or for previous periods. Either click “View” for your chosen period in the Grade History section, or click “Standard Games” or “Rapid Games” at the top. You can navigate between one period’s games and another.
Game lists cover 6-month periods (or 12-month periods, prior to January 2012). They may not show all games that went into the grade for that period. The grade may have included games brought forward from earlier periods, and to see these you must refer to earlier game lists.
Opponents’ grades (and “starting grades”)
In a game list, the opponent’s grade is given with each game. This is the grade which was, or will be, used in calculating your next grade. Normally it will be his grade at the time of the game; but note that if a game has been reported late and gone into the “wrong” grading list, the grade used – and shown – will be the one current at the time of grading.
Note the special treatment of opponents who are ungraded or juniors. There are two different cases:
(1) In a current-period game list, ungraded players are shown without grade; juniors are shown with their actual grade, but in brackets to show that it will not be used in calculating your grade (see How grades are calculated below).
(2) In a previous-period list, ungraded players and juniors are shown with the “starting grade” which was actually used in calculating your grade. It will be marked with an asterisk. A junior opponent’s “starting grade” may be quite different from his previous published grade. Again, see How grades are calculated.
Players without games
You may occasionally come across a player who appears never to have played any games. There are about 200 such players in the database. They have played, but only in isolated pools consisting entirely of ungraded players. In this circumstance calculating grades is impossible and not attempted, and the games will not appear. They remain on record and may still be used if the player plays again in the next year or two.
Events in italics: “Yorkshire Specials”
A player’s results in a particular event will sometimes be entirely in italics. This means they have not been counted toward his grade. The event was a Yorkshire Special, in which results are counted only for ECF Members, and he was not at the time a Member. Yorkshire Specials – that is not their official name, they do not have one – are events which do not pay ECF fees for non-Members. In practice they are confined to Yorkshire.
It must not be supposed that all Yorkshire events are Specials. The Yorkshire and Leeds Leagues, and most Yorkshire congresses, pay ECF fees for non-Members and are graded normally.
Yorkshire Specials are abolished with effect from September 2012. Events that do not pay ECF fees for non-Members are no longer accepted for grading.
A major problem experienced by graders is the identification of players. Players with similar names are sometimes wrongly conflated. More often, a single player acquires two (or even three) identities because no one is sure whether it is the same person each time. It is helpful if:
(1) Event organisers and match captains ensure that they report: players’ forenames (not just initial and surname); their date of birth if known; and, where possible, their Grading Code from this List. In the case of new players, congress organisers must report the club (or place of residence). For existing players, if they report the club they must ensure that it comes from the player himself. Not from this list. Clubs in this list may be out of date.
(2) Players make sure that event organisers have their correct details. If moving to a different area, or playing in a new event, players should ensure that match captains and congress organisers know where they are from and enter their Grading Code and full name on result sheets and pairing cards (or in their computer files as the case may be).
Date of Birth and Age
Date of birth is very helpful in player identification. Additionally, as the junior grading enhancement is based on age, it is especially important that we have the DoB for juniors. (See below: How ECF Grades are Calculated)
Date of birth is not published. Age is published for Juniors only. For a July or August list it is their age on 31st August in the year of publication. For a January list it is their age on 31st August preceding publication.
ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS
Every effort is made to ensure that this list is as accurate as possible. Statistical checks on the integrirty of the list are performed. Additionally, among other things:
1) Events are monitored to ensure, as far as possible, that nothing slips the net. There is constant contact between the ECF and the local graders.
2) A list of Events Received for Grading is published on the ECF website so that players can alert us to possible missing events. This list is continuously updated.
But errors of detail will occur, and the ECF is always ready to correct them. Corrections will not appear in the online list at once. They will appear in the next monthly update. If corrections are made to a previous grading period, grades will be corrected retrospectively.
To notify an error:
1) Player details. Please let us know if your name (or your age, or other detail) is incorrectly recorded. Write to the Grading Administrator via the Contact form (see menu). Or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also let the Administrator know if you find you have two (or more) different entries in the list. He can easily merge them. Until they are merged, your grading calculations may be incorrect.
2) Game results. Players are advised to check that their current-season results (as published on this site) are correct. Please check as the season progresses: don’t save everything for the July/August logjam. Remember, however, that games will not appear at once. Leagues usually report only twice a year, and congresses vary in promptness. (Check “Events Received for Grading”.)
In the case of incorrect or missing results, your first contact should normally be with the organisers of the event. The ECF can only grade what organisers send. But it will always correct errors which can be confirmed by the organiser, by the local grader, or indeed by the opponent. There will be cases where it is best to contact the Grading Administrator direct. (For example, you may find you have been credited with games in an event you did not play in.)
Do not worry about incorrect or meaningless board numbers, or even incorrect colours. Such errors are not rare, but they have no effect on grading. Game dates are sometimes approximations, especially in the case of club internal events where dates may not be known. Rarely, a league may not report its match dates (so all games are given an arbitrary date, eg 1st September). This is discouraged but is outside the ECF’s control.
Note that one class of correction is usually not feasible:
Club affiliations cannot be always up to date. Your most recent known club will be listed, whatever its vintage. Otherwise, clubs listed are those you are known to have belonged to over the last two or three years. Please do not write to say you have joined a new club, or left an old one. The system is automated. Your new club will be registered automatically as soon as the ECF receives results going with it. Your old club will disappear automatically after two or three years, and in the meantime is useful for identification purposes.
Sometimes the automatic deletion fails because organisers have gone on quoting your old club (don’t let them do this!). Please write if a lapsed club, other than your most recent, lingers for more than three years.
HOW ECF GRADES ARE CALCULATED
The basic method of calculation is as described in the next few paragraphs. For juniors, however, there are differences as described further down.
Points are allocated in respect of each game. For a win you score the opponent’s grade plus 50, for a draw the opponent’s grade, and for a loss the opponent’s grade minus 50. “Grade” means his grade current at the time of grading †. There is a proviso that if your opponent’s grade differs from yours by more than 40 points it is assumed to be exactly 40 above (or below) yours. This applies whatever the result. If an opponent (or the player himself) is ungraded, a grade is estimated, using all available information. See Estimating a starting grade for an ungraded player below. Note that foreign opponents without ECF grades are treated as ungraded. FIDE (or other foreign) ratings are not used.
† In the interval between the end of a grading period and publication of the new grades, the “current” grade for calculation purposes is the new, as yet unpublished, grade.
The grade is calculated by dividing the total number of points scored by the number of games played. If there are 30 or more games in the most recent halfyear, then the grade is based on these games alone. If there are not, it is based on the most recent 30 games played; or on all the games played in the last 36 months if that is less. In no case does calculation go back more than 36 months.
• How is “most recent 30” interpreted if a number of games share a date and only some of them are required to make up the 30? Answer: the system takes as many as are required, at the average score for the date.
• How is “most recent 30” interpreted if a game has been reported late and graded in the “wrong” period? Answer: the game will always be listed under the grading period in which it was calculated, and it will go into that period’s grade. However, if it later needs to be brought forward as a “previous-period” game to make up the 30, its real date – the date on which it was actually played – will be used to determine whether it is in the most recent 30.
The treatment of juniors, since 2009, is different. Junior grades become so rapidly out of date that it has been decided to treat juniors, effectively, as new players each year. See Estimating a starting grade for an ungraded player below.
For juniors, an enhancement is added to the grade to take into account their expected improvement over the year.
The enhancement is added after all calculations are done, and is included in the published grade.
Estimating a starting Grade for an ungraded player
A Rapid grade, where available, will be used in default of a Standard grade; and vice versa. If the player has no grade at all, a starting grade is calculated as follows, using all his games in the latest three years (for adults) or one year (for juniors), inclusive of the current year.
Stage 1 is to calculate a ‘grade’ for each ungraded player on all his games against graded opponents in the relevant period. The 40-point rule is not used. If all his opponents are graded, it stops there and the result will be used as his starting grade.
Stage 2 brings in games between the ungraded players. Once again the 40-point rule is not used. The players are ‘graded’ on all their games, using as starting grades the figures obtained from Stage 1.
The resulting ‘grades’ will not be very accurate. So they are fed in again as new starting grades, and Stage 2 is repeated. This continues, with increasing accuracy each time, until the figures (more or less) stop changing. The starting grades can then be considered accurate.
These starting grades are then used in the grading proper.
GAME ELIGIBILITY FOR GRADING
Games can only be graded if they are played under acceptable conditions, with clocks. Lightning and Correspondence games are excluded.
It is required that:
a. The FIDE Laws of Chess are used.
b. One of the following rates of play is complied with:
Each player must have at least 15 minutes but less than 60 minutes for all moves. This includes both the initial time control and any subsequent time controls or quickplay finish. When Fischer (cumulative) mode is used, the time available for each player is calculated on the assumption that the duration of the game is 60 moves.
Each player has more time than the maximum defined above for Rapidplay.
Of course events must also conform with the ECF’s Membership and payment requirements. Events, or sections of events, are graded whole or not at all. Results are reported by the organisers; they are not accepted from individual players. There is one exception to this: results can be accepted from individual Direct Members in otherwise ungraded events which are played outside England. See Sending results from foreign tournaments.
Can a non-Member have a grade?
Yes. ECF Membership is not a requirement for a published grade.
CONVERSION BETWEEN FIDE ELO, NATIONAL ELO and ECF Gradings
ECF x 8 + 650 = FIDE
(FIDE – 650) / 8 = ECF
ECF x 8 + 600 = National Elo
(National Elo – 600) / 8 = ECF
For convenience, here is an illustrative table:
|ECF||FIDE||Other National||ECF||FIDE||Other National|