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Suggested Idea for Performance Grading

Posted By: Timothy Chow
Date: Saturday, 4 October 2014, at 12:02 a.m.

In Response To: Suggested Idea for Performance Grading (Rick Janowski)

I like the idea of extending Mochy's 4.0 club to something more comprehensive. However, I'm not sure I like this particular formulation of it.

As others have mentioned, the titles in chess are based on results rather than computer analysis. It doesn't sit quite right with me to use the same titles in backgammon, if we're not going to base them on results. I understand the difficulties with using results in backgammon to judge skill, so I'm not advocating that. However, given that we're accepting that backgammon is different from chess in this way, why do we feel the need to use chess terminology for the titles?

Another difficulty with using the titles is that there's a rather high risk, in my opinion, of lining up titles and PRs in a way that will end up seeming silly ten or twenty years from now. Somewhere in this thread, Dmitriy said that GM in chess felt harder than PR3.5 in backgammon, and IM felt harder than PR5.0. I happen to agree with Dmitriy, but whether you agree or not, the point is that there is a significant chance that the general standard of backgammon play will continue to rise in the future. It may seem reasonable today to use the term "super grandmaster" (which doesn't formally exist in chess, of course) for 3.0, but what if twenty years from now there are 30 players playing under 3.0 and 5 players playing under 2.5? Will we want to introduce a new title? What title would that be? Super-duper grandmaster? Mega-ultra-kickbutt grandmaster?

Though it would mean more work, I think that it makes more sense to begin by maintaining something like a public Elo rating list, except with XG PR instead of Elo rating. Any predesignated live match satisfying certain criteria would count towards your ongoing public PR. Something like the formula that XG uses to compute your "overall PR" could be used to weight your recent results more heavily (although I would be in favor of tinkering with that formula to make it even more skewed towards recent results—e.g., perhaps anything more than 100 matches ago is completely ignored). In order to simulate titles (which, once earned, cannot be lost), we could track not only your current "overall PR", but your "PRPR" (Performance Rating Personal Record), i.e., the best "overall PR" that you've ever achieved (after a minimum of 10 matches, say). This would, I believe, have a similar motivating effect while addressing some of the objections that have been raised against a system of titles.

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