Mark Glickman's World

US Chess Ratings:


I was the chairman of the US Chess ratings committee from 1992 through 2019. I am now currently a committee member. Besides having helped to maintain the integrity of the US Chess rating system, much of my research is devoted to ratings-related issues.

Below are some recent US Chess ratings reports and other assorted ratings-related items.

Important: The following documents are pdf files unless otherwise noted.

Here is the specifications of the current US Chess rating system. This revision, current as of March 1, 2024, includes the updated FIDE-to-USCF conversions based on the recent changes to the FIDE system. The committee developed a set of approximating formulas that can be used for paper and pencil updates. This document has been revised as of April, 2017.

The US Chess title system is now currently implemented. The linked document (current as of February 2016) spells out the details of the new system. The current version clarifies that norms can be earned only in US Chess events in which the regular rating system applies. An Excel spreadsheet performing the norm calculations was created by Robert N. Bernard who let me post it on this site.

The US Chess Ratings Committee submitted a proposal in February 2024 to calculate a player's rating variability as part of the rating calculation. The proposal is under review by the US Chess executive board.

The feature article in the October 2006 issue of Chess Life Magazine was an interview of me (the article is posted here with permission of the US Chess Federation and of author Howard Goldowsky).

In the November 13, 2006, Boston Globe, Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolff wrote a flattering article about the Chess Life interview.

The Ratings Committee submitted a report to the US Chess Executive Board responding to the ratings proposal by the DDDE committee. The report was submitted at the end of September 2000.

A plot showing the distribution of ratings for players aged 35-45 over the 1990s indicates that ratings for this arguably stable group have been generally declining over time. This may be some evidence that there has been rating deflation. This analysis was performed by me and Ken Sloan.

Click here for a plot showing the relationship between US Chess rating and frequency of drawn games. This analysis was based on 1997 US Chess data between established players whose ratings are within 100 points. It seems to show that the probability of drawing is higher (for closely rated players) when players' ratings are higher, in general.

I am the inventor of the Glicko system, a rating system that extends the Elo's by incorporating a measure of uncertainty of a player's rating. If you are considering implementing the system, you should take a look at my description of the Glicko system for details. If you are interested in the mathematical derivation of the system, check out my technical paper on the Glicko system.

I have invented another system, called the Glicko-2 system, that improves on the original Glicko system. It is also in the public domain (i.e., you are free to use it).

A slightly less ambitious version of the Glicko-2 system I developed is the Glicko Boost algorithm, which I used when entering the Deloitte/FIDE Chess Rating Challenge.

Some ratings-related research can be found on my research page.