Saturday, 1 December 2012

Blog 57– Catch up…and Seasons Greetings

After nine months of the “live” National Grading System, we will be making some changes in 2013.  A number of people had commented that the NGS grades were “too volatile”.  In fact, the volatility is there for a reason – that is to help even out the grades across the whole EBU, using a process we call “diffusion”.

The NGS team have now discussed how things  are going and have decided that from April 2013 we will make changes to the NGS calculations as follows:-

1. We will increase the maximum boards used in the calculation of a grade to 2000 and leave the NGS “gain factor” at 2 for the time being, so that we can see the effect of these reductions to variability before committing to gain = 1.5.  This will roughly halve the effect one session has on a player’s current grade, and decreases the rate at which older results are discounted.

2. There will be a one-off effect for all players, when NGS first recalculates a grade based on the new maximum number of boards.  This effect should be relatively small and may be either up or down. Sessions over three years old will be excluded from the calculations, as has been planned from the outset of NGS.  Players’ grades will continue to be regarded as mature once they have played 1000 graded boards. These changes will also be applied to partnership grades.

3. We will reduce the weighting of Green Pointed and other EBU events even if not Green Pointed from triple weight to double weight.  All other events will be weighted normally. This will not affect events which have been already graded.  NGS will of course continue to take account of the (usually high) strength of opponents in such events.

4. New players’ grades will be set at 42 – this has already been implemented.

We are still considering how we can include some team games within the NGS grading structure and hopefully we can do something about this during the next year.

I am also pleased to say that Scorebridge and PairsScorer, our two most commonly used club scoring programs, are now just about ready to utilise up to date NGS grades for handicapping. If you want to use this new facility I suggest you contact them as you will need to update your software.  If you use any other scoring program and the author wishes to include the same facilities, please contact our office for details.

Other matters; many of you will be as pleased to hear (as we are) that we have started work on a brand new website.  We are using a well known “content management system” to build the new facility and this will make many things much easier, including searching the site.   It will be at least March 2013 before this sees the light of day, and even then it will not be complete as we have tens of thousands of pages of data to consider importing to the new site, which is a far from trivial exercise.

We are delighted that we have recently welcomed back Rugby Bridge Club into the ranks of our club affiliates and that there are two or three more in various stages of rejoining the EBU.   During the last couple of years we have trained over 800 club tournament directors and well over 200 club teachers and the number of “player sessions” being played in our clubs is continuing to increase, which is a very healthy sign for the future of our game.  Our club “re-invigoration” programme seems to be working!   

With Christmas and the New Year bearing down upon us fast I would like to wish everybody the very best seasons greeting and a Happy New Year.  At the same time I would like to thank all of our volunteers for the amazing amount of work that they put into our game at all levels and especially thank my staff for another very hard years work.