Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by sdubinsky, Mar 2, 2015.
What was used before then? What was the switch like?
My understanding is that George Masin created the rating system. I believe this was back in the 80's (or earlier), but not entirely certain of the year.
70s at least. I started fencing in the mid-80s, and people were already complaining about ratings inflation.
To answer the first question, according to a paper written by George Masin in 2010 (available on Fencing.net through a link included in post #5 of this thread), the current system dates back to 1956, when A, B and C ratings replaced the previous system which included "Senior", Junior" "Novice" and "Prep" (terms which apparently had different meanings back then). D and E ratings were added in the early-80's (probably around 1982 - IIRC it was about the same time the USFA replaced the AFLA), follow shortly thereafter by the introduction of systematic decay of ratings (prior to that ratings had pretty much been for life).
George did propose a numeric system based on the ELO rating system used in Chess back in the mid-90's (and I believe still promotes it from time to time) however it has never been adopted.
As far as the second question is concerned - that predates me (although I do remember the introduction of D and E - prior to that most local events consisted almost entirely of U's, as opposed to now when only half the fencers may be U's ).
I recall there also used to be an 'XA' (i.e., ex-A) classification for former A-classified fencers who had retired from regular competition.
To be pedantic, these are not ratings. They are classifications. The point of a classification is to help the competition organizers properly seed the tournament at the outset. The sole goal of the classification system is to help seed the event (and to determine the event's strength). Of course, people can and should display their classification proudly. But never forget the whole point of it.
The D and E came in because it was actually quite hard to earn even a C classification. So local competitions would have 2As, 4Bs, 5Cs and 30Us. You get the top fencers seeded into their pools, but then you look around and see folks who've been fencing for years and you (the organizer) know they're darned good, but they're all randomly shuffled among the other U's. Then the fencers complain, "Hey, how come so-and-so is in my pool? And why did Bill there get such an easy pool?"
You can say what you want about classifications vs. ratings but in addition to seeding, these things are also used to qualify/disqualify fencers for different events e.g. D1 (C&Over), D2(C&Under), D3(D&Under), etc.
We are all very fortunate that this never happens any more.
In early times, there were only two ratings: alive or dead. OLD SCHOOL!!
Thanks for polluting a potentially interesting thread with your useless garbage.
Oh, I forgot "Grumpy Douche"
It made me laugh.
Granted, old school ratings would be of little use in seeding a competition.
Reminds me of a scene from Errol Flynn's ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN (1948):
King Phillip III:
"We consider Don Lorca the greatest living duelist in Spain."
"That's certainly the mark of a good duelist, you majesty - to be living."
That being said, I agree that it might not be the most useful standard to use for seeding.
Well, that's actually putting the cart before the horse. It is because we have a convenient tool to use to create intermediate level events that we have intermediate level events.
We could use other methods to create intermediate level events. For example, after you have competed in 10 events, you can fence in the Div III competition. Once you have competed in 50 events, you are no longer eligible for Div III, but can compete in Div II. Once you have competed in 100 events, you can compete in Div I events. We can use any number of ways to create event categories. We just choose to use the classification, which is essential only for seeding, as a way to create additional events.
We could do a lot of things, but what we actually do is use classifications to qualify fencers for events, in addition to seeding those events. We *could* also use a different way to seed events, but we don't.
Aye, there's the rub
seems any talk of alternative seeding methods is shouted down, even by those who acknowledge the current method is not the most effective.
If the organization understood how to use technology better, then a method that took more into account than your best result in recent memory might make sense. However, if the railstation site is any indication, we need to keep low tech.
Given the number of recent threads related to qualification errors at events which did use alternate methods just to determine qualification (much less seeding) I tend to agree.
We do use alternative seeding methods at high levels, you know. Points.
What is it not the most effective at doing?
All the technology in the world won't overcome the bad effects of, for example, a seeding system that punishes you for fencing. Quantum computing wouldn't fix that. Monopole magnet drive heads running on solid unobtanium disks wouldn't fix that. Predictable bad effects are predictable, no?
Separate names with a comma.