Join Bridge Winners
A better rating system

This month's Bulletin revisits rating systems. Paul Linxwiler, the Bulletin's editor, comes out in favor of working to develop and adapt a new system and lets us know that "An ACBL Board committee is actively working on this topic." 

My concern is that I can surmise that those ACBL committee Board members charged with this task are not club sanction holders or even regular club players. As 1st Alternate for District 24, I had the opportunity of sitting in on the Atlanta BOD meeting not too long ago and I can testify to this with some degree of certainty. If there is to be an attempt at a new rating's system, club players, and club owners and managers should have a seat at the committee's table and a voice in the process.

As Ping Hu points out in that same Bulletin issue, Masterpoints is a reward system. It is also a brilliant marketing tool. Though it is imperfect to say the least, it has stood the test of time. I'd also like to adopt a rating's system that includes rewarding a player for life time achievements.  In addition to Masterpoints, my idea is to have a two part rating system comprised of your current rating and your "Lifetime Rating". Your Lifetime rating would be defined as your best 25 consecutive results. By definition, it can never go down. Your current rating will most likely change after every game. As you age it will probably begin to deteriorate. This may discourage players from continuing to play. Having that second rating component, one that can never decrease, may offset this. We might even hold Lifetime Rating tournaments once in a while to celebrate this achievement. I like the idea of a floating 25 rating because it could give players an added goal to shoot for. Say you notice that you've recently strung a bunch of really good results together.  This could get those juices flowing again. While good results will bump up your current rating, because that rating is based on hundreds, even thousands of results, a few good games won't affect it much. But it could have a dramatic effect on your Lifetime Rating. And isn't this what we are looking to achieve...A rating system that actually rates a player's strength, and, at the same time, keeps them engaged and focused?  

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