Ratings deflation is now an accepted phenomenon at the lower end of the fide ratings scale, especially at below 2300. The mechanism for the deflation is driven primarily by promising young players getting a low initial rating, say 1700. When these young players improve to a stage when they can draw or beat higher-rated established older players, these young players take rating points off the established players. The established players would, more often than not, see their ratings drop each time they play in FIDE-rated events although their playing strength is maintained. This is a worldwide phenomenon.
Ratings deflation is now a given. The only debate is just on the speed of the effect now that the FIDE rating floor has finally reached 1000, meaning that we shall be seeing more and more young promising players start with lower and lower initial ratings.
The table below shows this phenomenon at work at the recently concluded Bangkok Open. The table lists junior players who gained 25 or more rating points and their ages.
Low Zhen Yu Cyrus
Tan Tze Lin Tommy
Karthik V. Ap
Zhao Zhouqiao Chn
|Liu Yan (13 y.o.)|
We can deduce from the above table that the main reason our friends from Europe lost ratings in Pattaya was because they were playing underrated young Asian boys and girls. The European players were primarily established adult players with stable ratings. Most affected were those in the 2100 to 2400 rating range who were hard pressed to hold draws against the young Asian players. The stronger IMs and GMs are still alright as they are strong enough to beat the up and coming players. Under the rating system, you cannot lose rating points so long as you win.
The clear implication is that the path to higher ratings will be like climbing a slippery incline. The slow developing player may find that ratings-wise, one step forward might appear to be followed by two steps backwards. The playing strength required to reach a specific rating will get higher over time.
Older players who has managed to maintain their playing strength will still see their ratings drop as they meet lower-rated younger players who catches up in playing strength.
For IM & GM norm chasers, the standards will be higher as the ratings deflation reaches the 2450 mark, if not already so. My personal view is that there is already a deflation of about 20 points at the 2450 level compared to 10 years ago. This means that the 2450 playing strength 10 years ago that is good enough to net an IM norm at say 6 points, would today be only good for 5.5 points, which is half-a-point short of the IM norm.
|Zhansaya Abdumalik (13 y.o.)|
So what are the implications on the quest to see our 1st Malaysian Grandmaster?