US Chess Federation is the national chess affiliate. As such, they have some roles and duties.
One of the most important one is to maintain a national rating system, it's called USCF ratings.
Every player in a USCF-rated game has their scores sent to US Chess for rating by the tournament organizers and directors. Each player's rating is updated and maintained based on strict rules and formulas.
But what kind of ratings are there and is one more important than the other? How do we navigate between numbers?
There are three rating systems: Regular (slow), Quick (fast), and Blitz. These three types exist for OTB (over-the-board) and for ONL (online) games. Therefore, a player can have up to six different ratings if they are active in both OTB and ONL.
If the regular rating system is used, the playing time for each player is greater than 65 minutes.
The quick rating system is used if the total playing time for each player is more than 10 minutes but less than 30 minutes. A game is dual rated, both regular and quick ratings affected, when the total playing time for each player is between 30 and 65 minutes. Dual rating is only applicable for OTB events. Finally, blitz rating system is used and blitz rating is affected if the total playing time for each player is between 5 and 10 minutes. Of course there are other fine prints in the regulations, but the main guidelines are based on the time controls.
How can the total playing times be calculated? Take the time control: G/minutes and inc/seconds or d/seconds: total time equals minutes plus (seconds times 60) or minutes + seconds. For example: our common time controls: G/120 d5 = 120+5 = 125 minutes, G/40 d5 = 40+5 = 45, G/15 +2s = 15+2 = 17. Easy, right? Just need to practice some mental math :)
Finally, two other definitions to keep in mind: Actual and Supplemental. Actual rating is the rating that is changing after every rated game, after every rated tournament. This can be checked at the last page of everyone's USCF (MSA) page. Supplemental rating is a rating that is determined for each player on the third Wednesday of a month, by taking a snapshot, or freeze, of the rating, and it is used for the following month, for the entire duration of the month. It's also called monthly (supplemental) rating. Any player must have at least four rated games in order to have a supplemental rating. Most tournaments use supplemental ratings when running tournaments, like Mechanics' Institute does as well.
It may be confusing at first, but as players start to enter tournaments, and learn to check their entries, this becomes very clear and easy to understand and monitor.
Any questions? Coach Judit loves answering any and all questions when it comes to chess rules and regulations! Email her at email@example.com
To be continued - Part 4 - Tournament Etiquette