Fencing ratings

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by gillaspy, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. gillaspy

    gillaspy Rookie

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    Earning a rating is as much a matter of luck as skill:
    By the luck of the draw, an average fencer in a weak pool has a better chance of advancing than a strong fencer in a strong pool--and because of the way the DE's are chosen, the average fencer has a greater chance of fencing one of the weak fencers from his pool in the first, and sometimes the second, DE. This is especially true in E and D&under tournaments ​

    Individual matches in pools are relatively meaningless:
    Of course, the total wins and Indicators determine seed for the DE's. But, for example, if a lower rated fencer beats a higher rated fencer in the pools, that match means no more than a win against a equally or lower rated fencer.​

    Even when a lower rated fencer does well in a tournament, and COULD get a rating, that rating is often denied because of the rules about the number of high ranking fencers that must finish in the top group for all ratings to be awarded.

    Trying to earn a rating can be extremely frustrating:
    I know fencers, good fencers, who have been trying for years, yes years, to advance to the next rating. I know a couple that are better fencers than I am (E) but are still unranked. I had some good luck, but they never have. I wonder how many have left the sport because of that frustration. ​

    A proposal:
    The ratings system should be separated from placing in a tournament.

    1. Placing in a tournament should result in a trophy.
    2. Results from the matches in the tournament should affect the fencer's rating.

    Chess ratings work exactly this way. So for example, a fencer in his first tournament would receive an arbitrary (low) numeric rating at the beginning. Finishing the tournament, even with no wins, would result in, at least, an E rating. Losing matches lowers the rating, winning matches raises the rating (according to a formula, in chess: http://www.sizes.com/sports/chess_ratings.htm )
    Beating a higher ranked fencer would result in a bigger increase. Losing to a lower ranked fencer, a bigger drop. The tournaments would be exactly the same, except every match counts.

    In chess, the ratings are spread over about 2500 rating points. Chess has the same ratings as fencing, A through E, plus master and grand master ratings. Passing a rating threshold in points gives the player that rating. With numeric ratings, two A's would not be equal unless their numeric rating were equal. And the master and grand master ratings would give A's something to shoot for besides renewing their A's each year.

    For this to work, the existing rated players could be given numeric ratings near the top of their classification.

    Comments?
     
  2. peet

    peet Podium

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    You might want to search these fora. There have been extensive discussions here (not many conclusions, but many discussions! :D ) on this topic.

    cheers!

    -p
     
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  3. Frank Pratt

    Frank Pratt DE Bracket

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    True. There has been talk of adopting a numerical classification system for the past 10+ years. I'm all for it, but there are pleantly of downsides to the idea.
     
  4. MessiahFencing

    MessiahFencing Rookie

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    the downsidings being that good fencers will lose their ranks!
     
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  5. RebelFencer

    RebelFencer Podium

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    Who cares? If they deserve them then they will just re-earn them. Also, A rated fencers do have something to shoot for besides renewing their A...national points.
     
  6. Mitchell

    Mitchell hi Staff Member

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    afaik, the rating system is changing within the next 3 years.
     
  7. D+F+P=Hadouken!

    D+F+P=Hadouken! Rookie

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    Once you have your A, you realize how little it really means.

    Its alot of fun to chase after though.
     
  8. gillaspy

    gillaspy Rookie

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    In my proposal, they would not lose their ranks, unless they did poorly in matches, and then they would deserve to drop in ranking.
     
  9. peet

    peet Podium

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    I wouldn't take anything you may have heard about that as a certainty. A possibility, yes, but not a certainty.

    -p
     
  10. Mitchell

    Mitchell hi Staff Member

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    i'm taking it with a grain of salt, and all, so i tacked an extra year onto what i "heard" was "almost definitely" happening
     
  11. BySword

    BySword Rookie

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    but then again, fencing is not at all logical as in chess. there can hardly be any absolute measure of skills. I mean rating is just a letter that helps tournament organizers to seed people and make as even pools as possible.I suggest you not get too caught up in the whole rating deal. I once made a very big deal out of rating and entered tournament with the sole goal of earning a rating. My training progress staggered a little and I never performed quite as what I expected. Now I am able to set the whole rating deal aside and see things more clearly. I think I am making better progress now.
    And the problem you point out probably only exists in pool and in first couple round of DEs, once into top 8 or semis, it's irrelevant. It may take a little bit luck to get through one or two rounds of DEs and get a rating. but winning a tournament requires a lot more than that.
     
  12. mrbiggs

    mrbiggs Podium

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    The same is true of chess to a certain degree. That's the idea of the Elo system.



    With regards to the OP, I can't agree that a letter is "as much luck as it is skill." Is luck involved? Yes. Am I going to get an A tomorrow if I get lucky? No.
     
  13. qatet

    qatet DE Bracket

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    An example of possible drawbacks

    I routinely fence in tournaments where I don't perform as well as could/ should be expected. As a coach at my club, sometimes I just don't want to be there, but I'm running the tournament and might as well fence and put another body on the floor. Sometimes I'm working on something from my own training and not worried about how I do as much as about how I do whatever I do.

    In the chess-rating system, these factors would negatively impact my rating. Not such a worry for me (my only concern for my rating is that it gets me into Div I NACs), but there are sure a lot of people who complain about having underrated fencers in their pools. "But he's an A in epee, how does he get to fence this U sabre event??!!??!?!" "But she's on the national team in this other country, why's she fencing Div III?!!!!???!?" "But she's an A-strip collegiate fencer - how's she an E05?!!!??!?!"

    I'm not likely to start treating every meet as OMG BIG IMPORTANT MEET, so I'd always be "underrated" in this system. There's no ratings incentive for me to do so (unlike, say, incorrectly slotting A, B, and C strips in a team tournament where As only fence As), but there's a pedagogical incentive for me to continue on my current path. As things stand, I don't currently go to meets to hunt down ratings, so it wouldn't change my approach. And thus, the complaints about "But, but but!!!!"

    On the other hand, this system could harm fencers who are too driven by rankings, by depriving them of "safe" opportunities (neutral impact, rather than negative) to transfer skills that are only newly acquired in practice to the competition arena. If they see that all performances matter, and that poor performances are punished, then they're more likely to take fewer risks.


    (Bah... All this has been said before, and all of it will be said again. Why, oh why am I responding to this thread?)
     
  14. tchwojko

    tchwojko Rookie

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    "I'm a doctor, not an equine veterinarian!"
     
  15. gillaspy

    gillaspy Rookie

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    more comment

    If your fencers need tournament practice, hold practice tournaments.

    I did as one person suggested and searched for similar posts. Yes, it's been said before but nothing has come of it. Maybe this should be discussed again and again until the powers that be give it some consideration.
     
  16. qatet

    qatet DE Bracket

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    Anything that's not a NAC or a qualifier is a practice tournament.
     
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  17. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    As fencing continues to grow, the need of having finer gradiations for seedings will probably force changes in the current rating/ranking system. The tournament task force that recently met suggested the very same thing.

    Whatever replaces -- or modifies -- the current letter system will also be found unfavorable by a vocal group of fencers, and just as many threads on F.net will be devoted to slamming it as there are slamming the current system.

    The serious fencers in clubs across the country will continue to fence and pursue their own performance goals, irregardless of how the USFA measures or ranks them as fencers.

    A
     
  18. CvilleFencer

    CvilleFencer Podium

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    Any ELO type system I have seen try to be adapted to fencing sucks. It is horribly inaccurate, would punish fencers for attending well run tourneys with diverse skill sets (IE USFA) events, would probably hurt tourney attendance at local and national levels, and be just as likely to drive people out of the sport, especially kids and parents since there won't be any more ratings to chase.

    Wanna see an ELO idea in action and hear some of the arguments? Won't make a lot of sense to people who don't know a lot of the fencers in question but check out this
    and this for a sort of "what if" from one division. If nothing else it can give you an idea of the kind of math that would need to be done after every local tourney...
     
  19. Sciurus-Rex

    Sciurus-Rex Rookie

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    I've heard the two-year figure as well, so I'd likewise look to about three years down the road.

    The current system is of most importance to the fencers invested in the idea that a letter grade is akin to an Eastern martial arts belt rating. They're all a'scared that they're gonna be penalized somehow and lose their pretty black belt. It's going to be a painful realignment of that mental framework.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  20. Peach

    Peach Podium

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    Otherwise many of us wouldn't bother to go to most of them!
     

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