Monday, May 24, 2010

USCF's new title norm system

Those of you who are U.S. Chess Federation members already know that you can access your updated rating via the Member Services Area.   For example, here's my rating history and a graph of my ups and downs.  If you're a rated member, you have one of these, too !  (Please don't look at my tournament history: too many embarrassing results lately!)

And here's my current rating.  But note the new line added to this report: "Highest Norms-Based Title Earned."  What the heck is this?

USCF is awarding new titles based on your peak performances.  To earn (say) a 2nd Category (Class B) norm, you have to score more than 1 game point better than a 1600 would expect to score in a tournament.  Not easy!  But not impossible, either.  

To get the title, you need to earn five norms!  That might take several years, but again, it's doable.  

The system isn't perfect: I've been playing tournament chess since 1967, I've been rated over 2000 (with brief dips below) since 1981.  However, the MSA norm calculation only goes back to 1991.  We old-timers can deal with this, but this is a great way for youngsters to measure their progress.  (Forget your bad events; strive to have more peak results!)

The "more" tab includes the "milestones report" that displays norm titles earned, as well as a link to a report on norms in progress.  If you're only one norm away from earning a title, you need to be playing this weekend!

Thanks to Mike Nolan and the USCF Ratings Committee for a fabulous job! 


HubDiggs said...

Congratulations Candidate Master Bill Brock! You are in some fine company like Candidate Master Larry Cohen and Candidate Master Mariana Acosta and Candidate Master Jim Marshall and Candidate Master Len Weber.

When do you think it will happen that the US Chess Federation and FIDE will merge? I would think it would be just more efficient to have one rating system worldwide.

Bill Brock said...

Most of the people you mention are much stronger than me: good company!

And I know someone much stronger than me who only needs one more norm to get the same title:

The basic principle is that one must score at least 1 game point higher than the expected result for a person at the bottom of the given class. So to get a master norm, one must play like a 2300 for that event.

One wrinkle: the formula (a bit too complicated to explain here) expects one to win all games against people 200+ points below the norm level. I was shocked to see that Albert Chow did not get a Life Senior Master norm for his =1st in the 2004 US Open. He scored 1.5 out of 3 against GMs, but "only" scored 8 out of 9 against Andrew Karklins and a bunch of players around 2150. The 2500 performance rating wasn't norm-worthy, even though an IM would have been satisfied with it....

Bill Brock said...

2004 should be 1994