I recently went to a USCF tournament. Although it was quick/blitz rated, regular ratings were used for the purposes of pairings and prizes.

This led me to wonder: are regular ratings actually better predictors of results in quick/blitz games than the quick/blitz ratings themselves are?

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    Rapid/blitz ratings are quite recent, that's why they probably still rely on classical ratings – David Oct 7 '19 at 9:10
  • @David I'm looking at the tournament history of a random older player and seeing a quick-rated tournament from 1995, so the quick ratings, at least, are a minimum of 24 years old by now. Surely that's enough for them to be established enough to use. – D M Oct 7 '19 at 11:22

Probably not technically if everyone played a lot of rapid games, however, I have seen organizers do this before since the regular ratings usually have a more established basis. In other words, because people have usually played a lot more standard rated games, in that respect, they are more accurate. It helps prevent sandbagging.

In reality, in rapid and blitz, a better predictor is probably age. Kids often perform better than their standard rating the faster the game. I once won an under-1800 blitz tournament when I was an under-rated 1100-player (I went up to 1254 after the main tournament). I was about 18, and the mind was very quick back then (there also were not a lot of kids like there are today).

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    I wouldn't say age is a better predictor; you're still using the regular rating as a base there and just modifying it. – D M Oct 7 '19 at 11:14
  • Age is a big factor as there are so many young players who are so far better than their ratings and they do play better at blitz than older folks. I used to play fine at 5SD decades later I did better with 10SD and now I am needing 15SD to avoid mistakes. – yobamamama Jan 11 '20 at 18:18

There's a tradeoff involved here. On the one hand, blitz ratings tend to reflect a player's strength in blitz (by definition). But on the other hand, most players play many more standard rated games, meaning that rating could be considered more accurate.

In general though, standard ratings are a reasonable enough indicator of blitz results. Most players who are good tend to also be good in blitz, although there are of course exceptions (older players, for example).

Of course, if you're referring to online blitz ratings vs USCF standard ratings, the online blitz ratings are clearly a better indicator. People play far more online blitz games than OTB games.

  • Whether online blitz (which the USCF does have a seperate rating for) and OTB blitz are correlated is a whole other question, probably. – D M Oct 7 '19 at 11:17
  • why wouldnt they be? hard to cheat online at that speed. – yobamamama Jan 11 '20 at 21:04
  • @yobamamama It's definitely true it would be hard to cheat at that speed (unless you wrote a bot that played online blitz somehow). In general both ratings are roughly correlated, although some people prefer playing online or over the board. Online allows you to move faster, and there are tricks like premoves. – Inertial Ignorance Jan 12 '20 at 1:20
  • true but premoves can byte them in the buttkowsky too – yobamamama Jan 12 '20 at 1:26

Classical ratings aren't designed to predict blitz play in any way. Yes, they might be predictive but you are backwards inferring by association rather than using any actual proof. I would prefer actual numbers that mean something over guesses regardless of how accurate the guesses might be.

  • I would love actual numbers, if you have them. – D M Dec 9 '19 at 22:43

No. They are used because too few people have faster ratings in many tournaments.

They are generally as accurate for pairing as other rating would be although some players do play better at fast speeds so it would not be as good as truly VALID speed ratings for ALL players would be.

They might actually be better as the speed rating bracket covers way too wide a time to be valid. As I recall it varies from, which for me would be virtually postal to way too fast to play well. My sweet spot is in the bracket but at one extreme I would do a little worse and at the other terrible bad.

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    Quick rating is affected for games between 10 minutes and 60 minutes a side. I agree that this is a rather large range. – D M Jan 9 '20 at 23:45
  • And on that note, perhaps I should clarify that I'm mostly asking if they're more accurate in games which are less than 30 minutes a side (so they aren't dual-rated for both regular and quick.) That would narrow the range at least a little. – D M Jan 10 '20 at 0:15
  • Yes but it does not narrow the range enough. Ten minutes is fast but 30 minutes, to me at least, is like postal chess. Widely different results with those two speeds. – yobamamama Jan 11 '20 at 18:21
  • It's also true that the regular rating covers a very large range, though. A 25 d5 game and a 120/40 SD/60 d5 game are very different, but both would get a regular rating. – D M Jan 11 '20 at 18:51
  • And that is another problem with regular ratings. Apparently they are less interested in accuracy than convenience but were forced to have some additional rating speeds if they wanted to have more tournaments with them and get players to come who did not want to risk their 'real' rating. – yobamamama Jan 11 '20 at 20:09

Speculation is all well and good, but I wanted data. I selected an OTB quick tournament from February and compared final scores with initial quick and regular ratings. After removing any previously unrated players, (surprisingly, everyone who previously had a regular rating also previously had a quick rating) the scatterplots looked like this:

Scatterplots of score vs quick and regular ratings

The regular ratings did appear to be slightly better predictors in this case than the quick ratings.

Of course, this is a rather small sample size (27 players in one 4-round tournament) and they aren't independent since the players were playing each other. By using score as a measure I'm ignoring strength of opponents. Also, some players received one half or full point bye, and this of course affected their final scores.

Then I took a blitz tournament at the same day and location. (Mostly chosen so I wouldn't have to re-look up the regular ratings of most of the players; there was a lot of overlap in the player pool between these two events.) After removing players with no previous blitz rating, and also removing a withdrawal and a late entry, I got this:

Scatterplots of score vs blitz and regular ratings

It's a lot harder to say by looking whether the correlation is better between the blitz and the regular. Again, it's just one small tournament (10 rounds, and only 16 players after removing the ones without a previous blitz rating.)

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