Membership Services Area (MSA) FAQ's Print E-mail
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By US Chess Federation   
How long does it take to rate an event?

First we have to receive the rating report from the Tournament Director.

You can check the Tournaments Received search page to see if the rating report has been received by the USCF office.

Depending on how the TD submits the rating report, it can take as little as an hour to rate an event or several weeks. As of January 2006, about 60% of the events we rate are now being submitted online, most of those are being submitted within 2 days of when the event ends and are rated within a few hours of when they are submitted online.

Events sent to the USCF by mail take longer, the typical event received in the mail is rated about 10-14 days after it ended. However, not all TDs get their events submitted promptly, sometimes we don't receive an event until several months after it ends.

Why isn't my rating in the latest supplement?

The USCF issues six rating supplements a year.

The December supplement is also the annual rating list, it contains everyone who played in an event that was rated in the last year.

The June supplement is the mid-year update, it contains everyone who played in an event in the last six months.

The other supplements (February, April, August, October) cover only two months worth of events. Someone who played in an event rated in time to make the February supplement (usually from about the first week in November to the first week in January) but has not played since then will be in the February supplement but not the April supplement. That player will also be in the June and December supplements.

However, even if someone isn't in the most recently published supplement, his or her last published rating is still current, even if it was published years ago.

The crosstable for one of my events says that I finished in 3rd place, but I took 2nd place. Why doesn't the crosstable show that?

Crosstables are NOT SHOWN in tiebreak order. That's because we do not know what tiebreak methods were used! Even if we did know what tiebreaks were used, some of the tiebreak methods cannot be regenerated from the crosstable of an event. (For example, 'performance rating' will use whatever ratings the TD had for players at the start of that event, which are probably not the same pre-event ratings that show on the crosstable.)

We do sort the crosstables into point group order. Within a point group, players are in order by their post-event rating.

An event of mine shows up twice, one in the regular column and once in the quick column. How do I correct this?

Before the development of the current programming, USCF events that were dual-rated (ie as both regular and quick rated events) had to be entered into the USCF crosstable records twice. As a result these events will show up with two different 12 digit Event IDs.

Also, because of how the old programming worked, if the regular-rated event had the lower Event ID (which was usually the case), and if this was your first USCF rated event, your quick game count is likely to be twice that of your regular game count, because under the procedures for rating games your regular rating would have been used to start you quick rating. This is no longer necessary under current programming, but we do not have the ability to correct several years worth of events from the past.

If there is an actual duplication of an event, please report it to the USCF ratings department, [email protected]

I've never played quick chess, why do I have a quick rating?

Under USCF policy, events that are played at a time control of Game/30 through Game/60 must be rated as both regular and quick chess events. This is not an option, all events that are played at those time controls will be dual-rated.

I just played in my first quick or dual-rated chess event?
Why doesn't my tournament record indicate I was previously Unrated in quick chess?

A player who has a regular rating but no quick rating is given a starting value for the quick rating equal to his or her regular rating. If the regular rating is based on 10 or more games, the initial quick rating is treated as if it were based on 10 games. If the regular rating is based on fewer than 10 games, the initial quick rating is based on the actual number of regular rated games.

I've only played in a few events, and they were all dual-rated events. Why does it look like I have more quick-rated games than regular-rated games?

This was something that occured under our old ratings programming. Events submitted and rated after February of 2005 should not have this problem.

I just played in my first rated event, am I rated now?
If not, how soon will I have a published rating?

In order for you to have a published rating, you must have played at least 4 rated games.

You are still considered 'Unrated' until your rating has been published in a ratings supplement. We publish ratings supplements every two months.

To give you some idea of the time lags involved, the December 2005 annual list, which is the list TD's are generally required to use for events held in December and January, was created in early November and includes events received and processed through early November.

So, if your first event was in mid-November of 2005, you would still be unrated until the February 2006 Rating Supplement comes out. That means that you would still be considered unrated for events held prior to February 1st.

For your first 25 games, your rating is provisional. A provisional rating is indicated by a slash and the number of games upon which it is based. For example, a rating of 1213/16 is based on 16 games. (However, read the earlier answer on how quick ratings are started.)

Why doesn't my tournament record include an event I played in?

Here are three possibilities:

1. A rating report for the event was not sent in by the Tournament Director. If it is not listed on the Tournaments Received search page, contact the TD or the sponsoring Affiliate or club to see if the event was submitted for rating.

2. The rating report has been received but has not yet been rated, usually because there were problems with the details, such as missing or invalid membership ID's.

3. The rating report was received and rated but there was an incorrect ID. Try searching for the event by tournament name or sponsoring Affiliate using the tournament feature of MSA or the Tournaments Rated search page. If you can find the event but it does not show that you played in the event, see the question 'How do I report an error in a crosstable?'

How do I renew my membership online?

Please visit the USCF Webstore.

How do I report an error in a crosstable?

Corrections to rated events must come from the Tournament Director or the sponsoring USCF Affiliate . If you believe there is an error in an event you played in, please contact the TD or Affiliate to have them submit a correction.

Events that were initially rated after January 1, 2004, can be corrected and rerated, those from earlier events can be corrected but generally that correction will not affect your current rating.

Later this year we hope to be able to give TDs the ability to make corrections to their rated events using a new online editing form. Until such time that the online correction process is available, TDs should send corrections to [email protected]

In order to enter those changes quickly (or if sending corrections to the USCF office), here's a checklist of the information that will be needed:

  • The 12 digit USCF event ID and event name.
  • The section number and name.
  • The players' pairing numbers. (Keep in mind that the pairing numbers as shown on MSA may not match those in the original rating report. We need the original pairing numbers.)
  • The players' USCF IDs and names. (Please note: The pairing numbers in our internal records may not match the ones shown on MSA, because the MSA results are in final standings order. If an ID appears more than once in the crosstable, correctly or because of an ID error, you will need to provide enounformation, such as the final score or round-by-round results, to uniquely identify the pairing # that needs to be changed.)
  • If player IDs need to be changed, list the correct IDs and player names.
  • If game results need to be changed, list the results as originally reported and the corrections needed.

I reported a correction, when will my rating be changed?

Here's what happens when a correction is reported by a player:

  • The TD has to be contacted to confirm the accuracy of that report. The USCF cannot accept correction reports from players, as TDs are responsible for the accuracy of their rating reports. It usually speeds things up if the player contacts the TD directly.
  • The TD has to report (or confirm) the correction to the USCF ratings staff.
  • The ratings staff has to review the correction to make sure they have all the information needed to make the correction properly. This may require contacting the TD for clarification.
  • The records for the event have to be corrected.
  • The correction will be shown on MSA right away, but any ratings impact will not occur until after the event has been rerated.

We currently run rerates about once a week, but each rerate pass can take 4 or 5 days to complete, as once an event has been rerated all subsequent events for everyone in that event has to be rerated too.

This means it can take a week or longer for a correction to be reported, made and rerated.

The USCF always runs a full rerate before finalizing each new rating supplement, so the supplement should reflect the most current and accurate information we have at that time.

What's a 'ratings inconsistency'?

This is a message that is displayed when the USCF's internal records don't agree with each other, generally because the old ratings system is out of sync with the new system. (We figure it's better to tell you that we know the records are out of sync than for you to ask us why they are.)

There are several things that can cause this:

  • The 'current rating' in our member records and the detail in the crosstable history records don't agree. This is often the result of a correction to one or more USCF IDs in a tournament after it is initially rated. Until our new ratings system is completed, the correction of a crosstable record might not result in a change in the 'current rating' information that is stored in the member's record.
  • This can also happen if there is a problem with updating the ratings information due to problems with the USCF's old file serve. We have been having problems with the old equipment on a recurring basis. The good news is that this problem will go away completely once the new ratings software is completed later this year.
  • Another cause is a time lag between when the crosstable detail is updated and when the associated member records are updated. When this happens, the problem is usually corrected when the next data synchronization between the old and new ratings system is run. This normally runs between 6AM and 10AM every morning, though that can change depending upon when a ratings run is scheduled on the old ratings software.
  • There may have been a manual change in someone's rating, possibly as a result of combining several duplicate IDs under one ID or to correct a ratings problem by changing the members' ratings rather than the crosstable detail. Over the years the USCF has made many such changes, without always keeping a detailed record of what changes were made and why they were made. We do now keep track of ratings changes, so we have divided these into two categories: Those that were made several years ago and those that have been made more recently.

What's happening with the new software?

Quite a bit, actually. The USCF's TD/Affiliate Support Area is now available for TDs and Affiliates.

Currently TD's can submit memberships and get them processed within a few minutes. Affiliates can submit memberships and can also update their mailing address and club directory information. The club directory search has also been expanded.

Online uploading of rating reports is now available.

A complete rewrite of the ratings programs was completed in early 2005, this gives us the ability to rerate events to put them in proper chronological order and to have corrections to an event impact subsequent events for those players. Coupled with the ability TDs now have to submit their rating reports online, it is possible for a tournament to be rated and posted to the web within hours of when it ends.

A new webstore went live in September of 2005, it gives us the ability to process memberships and tournament entries with immediate update of USCF records.

In March, the USCF's new Online TLA Service was launched, affiliates have the ability to enter TLAs for all their events, even ones too small for a TLA in Chess LIfe or with insufficient lead time to get a TLA published. There is currently no charge to affiliates for this service.

Please report corrections to this document to [email protected]  Thank you!