SCA Bulletin 6 (Jan - Mar 1962)

The Scottish Chess Association hopes to publish towards the end of each year a list showing Scottish players in approximate order of strength. Each player will be given a number and the number system used will vary only slightly from that used by the British Chess Federation. The British Chess Federation, however, does not publish the actual number allotted to each player but separates the players into classes or grades. The highest BCF grade is 1a and players in tbis grade are those with numbers between 2400 and 2480. In the BCF grading list for 1961only two players, Jonathan Penrose and Kottnauer are included in la and only three, Alexander, Clarke and Golombek are included in 1b (numbers between 2320 and 2400).
The method of re-assessing a player's number reflects with reasonable accuracy a player's average strength over a period. As an indication of what differences in strength are represented by difference in number we can say that a difference of 250 points between two players means that the player with the lower number can expect to draw one out of two games or lose a match of six games by 1½ - 4½. A difference of 300 points means that the lower numbered player can never expect to win or draw a game against the higher numbered player. It is important to remember, however, that a player's number is related to his average strength, and not to his best or worst performance. Small differences are not significant. The Preliminary Ranking List now given has been based on all the information obtainable which, however, could, not be complete or fully objective. A Ranking Sub-Committee of the SCA Council will aim at bringing in more names and perfecting the ranking as results of play are accumulated. The number preceding the name is used in the recalculation. It is high for an established player and low for a newcomer or a young player improving rapidly. It has no other connection with the ranking number.

JM Aitken 2240
PBAnderson 2120
M Fallone 2060
G Dickson 2050
RC Nairn 2050
NA Perkins 2030
I Middleton 2030
M Macdonald Ross 2020
DR Thomson 2020
RW Baxter 2010
M Boyson 2010
N Macleod 2010
G Bonner 2000
HW Richardson 2000
EG Beckingham 1990
E Allan 1980
WS Smerdon 1980
AA Thomson 1980
G Weedon 1980
P Coast 1950
CM Malcolm 1940

D Munro 1940
T McKelvie 1930
I Morton 1930
J Wilkes 1930
C Brisebois 1920

DS Clunie 1920
CW Marshall 1920
A Gollnick 1910
G McGowan 1910
W Nowosielski 1910
JA Johnstone 1890
J Smail 1890
A Goldberg 1880
T Russell 1880
MD Thornton 1880
DH Beattie 1870
MJ Freeman 1870
K Joerg 1870
WG I-Fortescue 1850
GD Campbell 1840
RF Hayman 1840
I Kirkwood 1840
R Mongredien 1830
DWeir 1830
PL Davies 1820
I Hamilton 1820
P Hansen 1810
J Phillips l810
W Armstrong 1800
I Brown 1800
N Maclean 1800

CW Milne 1800
L Czarnek 1790
AG Laing 1790
H Deas 1780
JA Smith 1780
AG Wilson 1780
N Uri 1780
JE Bothwell 1770
WE Bruges 1770
I McRobbie 1770
JC Neill 1770
CC Jackson 1760

J Marr 1760
RJ Austin 1740
A Galbraith 1740
R Rodger 1740
NV Bull 1720
D Donald 1720
RF Twort 1700
AN Nicol 1690
H Ehrbich 1690
A MacLaren 1680
JH Bendall 1680


In 2014 David Watt of Polytechnic Club commented on the above article.

I designed and implemented the grading system that was launched in 1969. It was initially sponsored by the GCL, but covered the whole of Scotland. It covered major competitions in Scotland (e.g., Scottish Championship, West and East of Scotland Championship, city leagues) and elsewhere (e.g., Olympiad, British Championship). Quite soon afterwards the SCA assumed sponsorship. As you know, it expanded rapidly in the following years, taking in minor competitions like club championships.

I must admit that I was completely unaware of the 1962 grading list! That must have been a short-lived project. I remember MD Thornton being sceptical about whether the 1969 project would be sustainable; with the arrogance of youth I dismissed his concerns at the time. Fortunately I was proved right stronger than ever 45 years later!

At the time I made the decision to use the BCF 3-digit grade scale because I expected that there would be more interplay between Scots and other Brits than with players from countries using the Elo 4-digit grade scale. At that time (if I recall correctly), the Elo system had been adopted by the USCF but not yet by FIDE. However, I used the Elo method of calculation from the very beginning, not the BCF method which was not a proper statistical calculation. It was a straightforward matter to change to the Elo scale when it became the international standard.

Professor David Watt

School of Computing Science
University of Glasgow


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