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How the grading system works
The Scottish Grading System attempts to give an accurate measure of a player’s chess strength, based on games in tournaments, leagues and clubs throughout Scotland, and on games in competitions outside Scotland. The Grading System has been tested and refined over many years and the gradings it gives Scottish chessplayers are generally respected as according with their own opinions of player “strength”.
The Chess Scotland Grading System is based on the ELO International grading system devised by Professor Arpad Elo, which is also used by FIDE, the World Chess federation, and most national chess associations around the world. Because a chess game can have only three clearly defined results – win, lose or draw – any player’s performance can be evaluated with great accuracy.
The Elo grading system is based on probability theory – a stronger (higher-graded) chessplayer should consistently beat a weaker (lower-graded) opponent. The greater the difference in strength, the higher the probability of this happening. The more games that are played, the better the information about a player’s strength.
When Laszlo Polgar decided to prove that prodigies are made rather than born, by giving his children intensive coaching in one chosen speciality, one reason he decided on chess (rather than music or mathematics) was that the Elo system could measure their record-breaking progress so efficiently.
Grades in the Scottish system vary from junior beginners with a minimum level of 100 up to top Grandmaster level of near 2600.
A list is published in early August each year using results from July 1 of the previous year up to July 1 of the current year. Games played in tournaments and leagues in Scotland are automatically submitted to Chess Scotland for grading by the tournament and league organisers. Games played in clubs are submitted by club secretaries directly to Chess Scotland for grading (individuals cannot submit club results ie just their own data, data must come from the organising club). Clubs have to be members of Chess Scotland before their domestic club games are graded. Games played outside Scotland can also be included for CS members.
A detailed explanation of how grades are calculated is available here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Many of the most frequently asked questions are available here.
If you’ve played games outside of Scotland and want to include them in your Chess Scotland grading calculation, the details are here.
To help you along, you can download a free Excel grading calculator devised by Alex Clark of Dundee.
Analysis of System Performance
Stan Oglesby has carried out a detailed analysis of the performance of the CS grading system. Download a copy of Stan’s report.