16 March 2008

Occam's Razor on Soviet Ratings

Getting back to a look at Soviet players after a pause of several weeks, I tackled a couple of open points from previous posts. In Soviet Players on the FIDE Rating Lists, I mentioned, 'It might be useful to investigate why the counts [of Soviet players] drop in certain years, e.g. 1982-83-84 and 1985-86'. After an analysis of 1982-83-84, I concluded that inactive players were removed from the rating lists. This activity undoubtedly outweighed the number of new players being added.

In The Year of Big Changes, I asked, 'Why the difference between 695 USR players in 1990 and 1123 ex-USSR in 1991?' Another analysis shows that substantial numbers of lower rated players were added in 1990. For example, there were 154 players rated between 2400 and 2499 in 1990, but 241 in 1991; 213 rated between 2300 and 2399 in 1990, but 376 in 1991; etc. It might be useful to see if the increase in lower rated players happened across all federations, or only in certain federations. I'll tackle that another time.

The most straightforward explanation is often the best.

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