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WCU Junior Rapidplay Ratings


Junior rapidplay ratings went ‘live’ in late August 2014.  There have since been a few ‘improvements’ within the site which can be found at


For those new to competitive chess, ratings are used to compare the playing strength of the players, the higher the number, the better the player.  They are used when pairing players in tournaments, and are particularly useful for selecting teams, and then putting the players chosen into board order.  Hopefully a child’s rating will improve as they get older and play more chess.  Because of such improvements and also even how the players are feeling on a given day, they shouldn’t be taken literally.  Differences in ratings particularly with juniors should not be treated as too significant, since players within 80 points of each other are able to beat each other very regularly.  

When a player has reached a rapidplay rating of around 900, that player is at a level where he or she should be competitive with and playing longer games with adults at lower club level, either in full weekend tournaments or by joining a club.  I would encourage parents to take this step to further improve the standard of their child as one of the best ways for a player to improve is by regularly meeting competition within 250 points of the player’s rating, which hopefully will itself be steadily rising and requiring increasingly strong opposition.


As a rough guide, when two players meet, the likelihood of success of each player can be worked out by comparing the ratings:

For a rating difference of :-

120 - the higher rated player should expect to score about 2 from every 3 games played

200 - the higher rated player should expect to score about 3 from every 4 games played

240 - the higher rated player should expect to score about 4 from every 5 games played

300 - the higher rated player should expect to score about 8½ from every 10 games played

450 - the higher rated player should expect to score about 9½ from every 10 games played

700 - the higher rated player should expect to score about 99 from every 100 games played


You may notice that the success rate rises particularly steeply as the rating difference increases from 200 to 300. When the lower player does better than he should, his rating will go up and the higher rated player will find his rating goes down, to reflect better what has happened in the game or series of games.  Any win, even if expected, will produce an increase in a player’s rating and a loss of rating points for the opponent.


The ratings are calculated in a very similar way to those produced by zonal officers on the WCU’s live rating sites.  A player’s live rating will change after every game depending on the result of that game, with possible much smaller effects on other players.  A new rating (R2, R3 ...) is being used in a player’s calculations after approximately 10 games, (about 2 events) because of the speed of change in standard of many juniors.  These new ratings can be found as ‘batch ratings’.


In general within the list, the lower rated players will be the younger ones, who are likely to improve the fastest.  For those technically minded, the speed of movement is reflected by a K-factor which has been set at 50 for those under 800, 40 for those between 800 and 1000 and 30 for those over 1000 to account for this.


A few people have responded to the initial list and there have been some changes to individual details as a result. 


I would like to have all competitive rapidplay games played in Wales rated (those where clocks are initially set to under 1 hour for all moves), but am dependent on the event organisers to send me all the results.  If I have had these, you can expect the players’ live ratings to be updated within a week of an event.  I may have to rely on parent ‘pester power’ for this to happen.  If an event hasn’t appeared in your live rating within a week of the event, please contact the event organiser before contacting me as to why the results haven’t appeared.  If you play rapidplay games outside Wales, for these to be rated you would need to send me the detailed results yourself.  After a year of inactivity, a player’s name will be removed from the list.  Those listed in the initial data as Y14 are printable list, and appear in the archive, but are not now in the live rating list. 


If your name has been mis-spelt or your birth year or school year (from Sept 2014) is wrong or missing, please let me know.


Paul Tew is the brains behind the rating program and the technical aspects to get the list available on the internet, and I am very grateful for all the help and assistance he has given.  I can input data but without Paul’s expertise there would have been no way for me to turn this into the lists as you see them.  I hope between us we have produced something you find informative and useful.


My intention is to have printable lists available for download from the main WCU web-site shortly after September 1st when the new rating year will start and early in January each year. 


If you want my first printable list as a download, please press HERE


September 2014


John D Thornton (WCU rapidplay rating officer)   


For corrections, information or comment, e-mail me at

Junior chess activities are generously supported by a

 grant from the

Welsh Assembly