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Information for Area Graders
Area Graders are responsible for submitting results for grading. They are given access to the Chess Scotland grading program. Details on how to download, configure, and operate it are listed below.
All data should be submitted to Chess Scotland in computer readable format using the official Chess Scotland grading program. Leagues and tournaments will usually nominate someone to act as an Area Grader (AG). The AG will then submit the data directly to Chess Scotland for processing.
Club secretaries are responsible for submitting their own domestic data, such as club championships. Domestic data should also be submitted using the grading program.
We will happy to assist any new Area Grader if they have any problems setting up or using the program. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Area Grader – Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get started?
You download three files. (Please note this directory is password protected – if you are an existing or new area grader please email email@example.com for password information)
1) Download GradingSetup.exe from the install page and save it somewhere (eg: C:\downloads) You can save it to anywhere on your hard disk. 2) Download master.zip from the install page 3) Download emptylocal.zip from the install page
Find where you have placed GradingSetup.exe on your hard disk and double click it to make the installation start. GradingSetup.exe is only an installation program which will set up the gradings directory and the basic program – you dont use GradingSetup.exe again after the installation has been made.
The installation program will create a “Chess Scotland Gradings” directory as a subdirectory of Program Files. You don’t need to create the directory – the installation program does it for you.
The installation procedure should also have installed an icon on your desktop called “Chess Scotland Gradings.exe” with a small picture of a chessboard. You click that icon to make the program start.
You then unzip the contents of master.zip and emptylocal.zip to the Chess Scotland Gradings directory.
What does unzip mean?
A zipped file is a container which holds one or more files. You need to get the files out of that container (extract). Windows XP and beyond has built in support for zips. Earlier operating systems will require specific software eg Winzip. This was often given away free in the software bundles in computing magazines.
The content of master.zip is a file called ‘grading.mdb’. The content of emptylocal.zip is a file called ‘local.mdb.’
NB – you are not opening the file inside the zip – you are extracting the contents of the zip. If you try and open the grading.mdb which is contained in master.zip it will prompt you for a password. You dont need to open grading.mdb – this is only for programming purposes.
Once you have successfully unzipped Master.zip and emptylocal.zip if you now view the ‘Chess Scotland Gradings’ directory you should see the three files ‘Chess Scotland Gradings.exe,’ ‘grading.mdb,’ ‘local.mdb.’ Only now is the program correctly set up and ready to input results.
Windows 7 and Vista
September 2010: Users of Windows 7 and Vista may require a slight modification to the above instructions. (Thanks to Andrew McHarg and Andy Howie).
In modern computers there is a directory called ‘Program Files’ and one called ‘Program Files (x86)’. Not happy reading for non-techy people but if you must learn why then try here.
The Chess Scotland Gradings.exe installer will create the Chess Scotland Gradings Directory within the Program Files (x86) directory instead of Program Files. However the program can still be run from that location with only mild tinkering.
1. Go to Start button on bottom left of computer. In ‘Search Programs and Files’ type in something like ‘Chess Scotland Gradings’ (don’t click enter, it auto-searches on key-press).
2. On the Chess Scotland Gradings program that should appear, right click and select ‘Send to’ and then ‘Desktop (Create Shortcut)’.
3. You should then see an icon on the desktop, double click on it and the program should work.
New version of the program
The program prompts you to try and download a newer version. At the moment there are no new versions so this message can be ignored. This message was from a time when new versions were appearing regularly.
I am an existing AG – how do I get the latest Master.zip updates?
The install page indicates the date when the Master.zip file was last updated.
How do I create an event?
In the Area Grader menu of the Grading program click “Add an event” and fill in the boxes. Try to pick an appropriate name – “Club Championship” or “Allegro” are not good names – use something more specific eg your club name. Do not make the event name too long. Put in the PNUMS of the players – go to each record in turn and put in the results. You don’t have to finish entering the event in one go – you can save the work done already and “edit” the event later when you want to add more data. To close and save the event hit the red cross box on the top right.
Although the program is quite robust it will sometimes object if it gets an unexpected series of key presses. If the program crashes you will lose any unsaved work. Therefore it is worthwhile to do periodic saves so that any crash means you can at least start editing from the last saved point.
Many graders now supply regular updates to events which run over weeks or months eg a league or club championship. To submit regular updates to an event you submit the WHOLE event every time – not just the new data. The Chief Grader will then delete the older version of the event and retain the new thus getting the data up to date.
How do I update the database?
New players are added and corrections made continually throughout the season. When you update the database you get to see these new and corrected players in the player file. Go to the install page and download the latest master.zip – the install page indicates the date of the most recent database.
You unzip the contents of that zip to the Chess Scotland Gradings directory on your hard disk. The program will prompt you that a file of that name already exists and do you want to overwrite – you answer yes and will thereby update your database to the latest version.
What is the ‘local database’?
The local database is the file on your hard disk where an area grader creates the events to process for grading. You don’t create events in the master file – you create them in your own local file. NB: It is important that a new area grader only downloads the local file just once per season. If you download it a second time problems may occur. If you have added any dummy players then you will corrupt the dummy player numbering since you are telling the program to start renumbering the dummies from the start when you download a second local database. The central program keeps a record of the dummies already added by each AG so if it sees dummy 1650 from the new local file it already has another dummy player with that number from your initial local file. If you have to start again please tell the chief grader in advance of submitting new data and the dummy records can be wiped.
If for any reason you have lost the results in your local file you can retrieve the version held on the master database and copy it back to your local database. Go into the “Season’s Events” list – highlight the event – go up to the copy icon and click it – you will be prompted that this will copy the file to your local database.
Using more than one computer
A second computer will run into the same issues indicated earlier of possible corruption of dummy numbering. If you want to switch to another computer during a season you could copy the existing local database from the first computer. Contact the chief grader to advise.
How does an existing area grader start a new season?
Download and install the latest Master.zip and switch the date to the latest season. That is all that is required. Your existing local database will be blank – you do not need to download a new one.
How do I find a PNUM for a player who is inactive?
Use the VIEW menu – ADVANCED PLAYER SEARCH menu item. This file contains every player who has been in the grading system since 1991-1992 season. Pnums started at 3001, currently we are using numbers near 25000. Any player who last played prior to 1991-1992 season will not have a valid PNUM and will need to be added with a new PNUM.
How do I reactivate an old PNUM?
At the moment it is not possible for an AG to re-activate an inactive player. Just follow the procedure below for ADD A NEW PLAYER and let the chief grader know that one of your additions is the same as a player in the advanced search – give the old PNUM if known. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and request that a particular PNUM is re-activated. The reactivated player will appear in the database the next time an upload is made (usually once a week). You can then install the latest database which will include the player you requested.
How do I Add a New Player?
If a player is not in the current database an AG can add the player to the database. (NB: This also applies if you want to add an inactive player who has an existing PNUM but is not in the current active database). Go into the VIEW menu – PLAYER DETAILS – top left hand corner click ACTIONS – ADD A NEW PLAYER and fill in the boxes for at least player name and club. The grading system will add the new player to your player file with a DUMMY NUMBER starting at 1650. When the Chief Grader receives your results the dummy number will be replaced either with the existing PNUM of that player if they were inactive or with a completely new PNUM. When you download a database refresh the dummy PNUMS in your local database will be automatically replaced with the actual new PNUMS.
How do I show byes and defaults in results?
If you take your mouse over the RESULT field you will see the instructions for byes/defaults. W = Win by default; L = Loss by default; V = void, B = 1/2 point bye, P = full point bye. NB:A simple rule is use numbers for games which have taken place – use letters for byes/defaults.
When using the League program how do I remove players and matches?
If you want to remove a player from a TEAM POOL put the mouse on the line containing the player just to the left of the pool number on the grey box – this will bring up a black arrow and the whole line should go BLUE in colour. If you now do a RIGHT MOUSE CLICK it will invite you to remove the player from the pool.
If you want to remove a whole match – go into the match list and touch anywhere on the line – this should be enough to make it go blue – then right mouse click as above.
If you want to remove a player from a match and change for a different one then you just touch the player and this will bring up a drop down menu listing all the players in the pool – just pick the other player required. If the player you want to change to is not there then you will have to add them to the pool first.
When using the League program why are boards 5 and 6 in italics on the web display.
The default number of boards in the league program is 4. If your event uses a different number then you have to manually change the number of boards in the box on the opening screen. If you forget to change this it will not affect grading calculations – however the web displays will only include the default 4 boards with any remaining boards in italics.
How do I change the club code, spelling, age of a player?
At the moment the simplest method is to send an email list of your requested changes to the chief grader.
How do I report Grand Prix results?
Grand Prix data is a by-product of grading. Simply submitting the results is sufficient for an event to be included in the Grand Prix. The Chief Grader will mark the event to be included with a single or double GP multiplier and it will be processed for the next Grand Prix report which is usually updated at the same time as a grading update.
Send results to the Chief Grader
You send results to the chief grader by clicking FILE – EXPORT – SEND EVENTS TO CHIEF GRADER which creates a zip file with the default name AreaEvents.zip. This is an xml file which is a mass of html codings which can be read by the grading program – do not worry that the content looks like random data compared to the nice columnar format in which you originally created the result data. You then email this zip file to the Chief Grader at email@example.com
Sometimes the chief grader will say that the file is empty (ie does not contain any event data). This can happen if you try to send events twice in quick succession eg you think the transfer hasn’t worked and then try and send the events again. The program has a SENT AWAY box which contains the date when the event was sent. When you export your events this will fill this box with the sent away date. The program will only send events to the chief grader when this sent away box for that event is blank. So when you send the events the second time the sent away box is no longer blank and it will not send that event again. The idea of the sent away flag is to avoid sending a completely unchanged event again.
The program does actually warn if the export file is blank.
To MARK events to be sent you need to make sure the SENT AWAY box for the event you want to send is blank. This box becomes blank the moment that any change is made to an event, eg like adding a new result. It is also possible to manually make a sent away box blank – do a right click on the event you want to send this will bring up a dialogue line asking if you want the event to be marked as one to be sent – if you click the query then the sent away box becomes blank and can then be exported.
Should I send a covering note in the email when sending the zip to the Chief Grader?
Yes! Please say exactly what events are contained in AreaEvents.zip. You may think you have exported all four sections of the club championship but for whatever reason the Chief Grader has only imported three. It may be some time later or never that you both realise that what you thought you had sent was not what was processed.
The error may be connected with the Sent Away flags from the previous paragraph but rather than fathom the reason for the mistake it is much easier to avoid errors by saying how many events are in the zip – the Chief Grader will get back to you right away if the numbers don’t match.