Ringwood Chess Club Membership

At the time of writing these notes (Oct ’18) , the club has a relatively small membership with around 16 players regularly taking part in league matches. Like most clubs, there is a wide range of playing strength from a few quite new to the game to players graded over 180. In this sense, there is something for all and that is reflected with the club teams taking part, for example, in the strong Division 1 of both the Southampton and Dorset League, but also being participants in Division 5 of the Southampton League, where opponents are frequently graded less than 100.

The best way to view the grades of the Ringwood members is to go to the website of the English Chess Federation (ECF) League, Management System (LMS) through this link: http://ecflms.org.uk/lms/league/club/559/408/plist

How the ECF Grades are calculated

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 “starting grade” is estimated, using all available information. See Estimating a starting grade for an ungraded player below. Note that FIDE ratings are ignored. An opponent who has only a FIDE rating will be treated as ungraded.

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of a grading period and publication of the new grades, the “current” grade for calculation purposes is the new, as yet unpublished, grade.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 12 months, 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. Where games are brought forward from a previous period, they are not recalculated. The number of points scored for a game always remains the same.

** “Most recent” has a special meaning here. In principle the program counts backwards till it reaches 30 games. But there are certain disadvantages (see Appendix) to applying this naïvely. Instead, if the 30th game falls part way through a 6-month period, the program will take as many games from that period as it requires in order to make up the 30; but they will be notional games calculated at the average score for the whole 6-month period.

How is “most recent 30” interpreted if a game has been reported late and graded in the “wrong” period? Answer: the game will be listed under the grading period in which it was reported and calculated, and it will go into that period’s grade with a notional playing date of 1st January (or 1st July as the case may be). This notional date will be used, where necessary, to determine the game’s position in the backward count to 30.

Grades are calculated to the nearest whole number (halves go up). Rounding is done once, at the end. A grade, once rounded and published as a whole number, is henceforth deemed to be that whole number.


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. F grades are treated in the same way.

For juniors, an enhancement is added to the grade to take into account their expected improvement over the year.

To find out how the grading system works details can be found on the ECF website.