28 June 2008

FIDE Struggles with the Growing Popularity of Ratings

Continuing with Growth of the FIDE Rating System, the years 1997-9, show an anomaly similar to the years 2001-3, which I discussed in my post on Inactive Players Missing. The following table shows a count of players for each year:-

1997 - 22.670
1998 - 20.916
1999 - 30.204

Why did the count decrease slightly from 1997 to 1998, then increase dramatically from 1998 to 1999? The first point to notice is that FIDE IDs were introduced in the data for 1999. For example, I was assigned FIDE ID 2003740, even though I hadn't played a FIDE event since 1990.

The second point is that the format of players' names was standardized in 1999. For example, the first two names on the 1997 list were 'Aaberg,Anton' and 'Aagaard,Jacob'. The third name was 'Aarland, Stein Arild'. There is no space after the comma in the first two names, but there is a space in the third. This, it turns out, is related to the decrease in the number of players from 1997 to 1998.

A total of 5576 names were listed with comma-space (', ') on the 1997 rating list. As far as I can see, they follow no particular pattern. Of those names, 4329 disappeared from the list in 1998, then reappeared in 1999. 'Aarland, Stein Arild' was one of them.

My own rating history was a victim of the delayed introduction of the FIDE ID. In one of my first posts on this blog, The other M.Weeks, I mentioned, 'I took a hit for 30 rating points even though I hadn't played a FIDE event in years.' This happened on the 1998 list, when I went from 2235 to 2205. Manuel Weeks (FIDE ID 3202500) first appeared on the FIDE list in 1999, listed with his first name and with a 2245 rating. I continued to be listed as M.Weeks with a 2205 rating. As far as I'm concerned, FIDE owes me 30 rating points, plus interest, but I'll accept cash.

Why did so many players enter the FIDE rating pool at the same time that FIDE IDs were assigned? I'll look at that in another post.

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