Year Book 2018-19 Contents
ECF Grading-Data Submission Process
All results for grading have to be submitted to the ECF in a specific electronic format, which is either a “text” file designed for creation by computer software, or an Excel spreadsheet of prescribed format which can by filled in by computer software or directly by a human and has the added advantage of being easily readable and editable manually if necessary. Distinguishing between these formats is not really relevant here.
The way ECF grading-data submission files are created varies widely, but below are illustrated typical examples. The initial data-entry stage works typically as follows:
method 1 – raw result information is entered into the ECF League Management System;
method 2 – result information is copied and pasted from chess-results.com website into a user-written converter program *;
method 3 – result information is copied and pasted from a Sevilla file into a user-written converter program *;
method 4 – raw result information is entered into a user-written result-entry program *;
method 5 – raw result information is entered directly into a blank data-submission spreadsheet.
* Many ECF Graders will have written their own software of this type.
In method 1, when the time comes, the “button” will be pressed to create submission file output.
In methods 2 to 4, data is likely to be extracted or entered by the ECF Grader involved (as is the case with the current “Yorkshire Grader”). Then, pressing the “button” creates the submission file output.
In method 5 the submission file has been created directly.
The submission file should then be submitted to the ECF-supplied “checker” program. With methods 1 to 4, many checks performed will be unnecessary in that the generating program will have done things correctly, but with method 5 (applicable to very low-volume data) simple typing errors in grading reference codes etc will be picked up. With all methods, checking that supposedly “new” players are not already in the system is important. Failure to do this can result in a player getting a second grading reference code, and then appearing as two different players in the grading list. The checker program accesses the latest version of the “master list” (of players) to check player details match up okay, and accesses the latest club list to validate any club codes entered. If a player is entered without a grading reference code, then the program may suggest possible matches, some of whom may have only recently entered the system without the person supplying the data knowing.
The above pre-processing of the submission file needs to be done by an “ECF Grader”. If monthly grading lists are introduced, then it might be a good idea if local leagues in Yorkshire who use ECF LMS appointed their own ECF Graders, enabling the “Yorkshire Grader” to concentrate on congresses and to go on holiday!
In the fullness of time, the ECF may arrange to extract grading data directly from LMS, though that would put greater pressure on organisers to ensure data integrity and ensure supposedly “new” players are not lurking somewhere in the system. Currently, the “ECF Grader” provides useful independent checking. The day the whole process is completely computerised for all graded events is not foreseeable, and is unlikely ever to arrive.