JSM Preliminary Online Program
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Activity Number: 174
Type: Roundtables
Date/Time: Monday, August 3, 2009 : 12:30 PM to 1:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistics in Sports
Abstract - #303719
Title: Rating the Competition: Lessons from the World of Tournament Chess
Author(s): Mark Glickman*+
Companies: Boston University School of Public Health
Address: EN Rogers Mem Hospital (152), Bedford, MA, 01730,
Keywords: Paired comparisons ; chess ; rating ; Elo ; playing strength

Sports fans, handicappers, and fantasy league members constantly seek the ultimate quantitative approach to evaluate their favorite teams or players. Unfortunately, there are as many methods to rate competitors as there are quantitative sports analysts. So what's a sports fan to do? It turns out that this question has been considered in a rigorous manner as far back as the 1950s in the context of tournament chess. As Ratings Committee chairman of the U.S. Chess Federation for the last 17 years, I will describe the current approach to rating tournament chess players in the U.S., and some of the key insights learned over the years into making chess ratings reliable measures of playing strength. I will also discuss how ideas from chess rating methods can be translated to rating competitors in more traditional sports.

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Revised September, 2008