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Elo Plays Basketball

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Reader Jim Bartle sends in this link to sports statistician Jeff Sagarin's pages. He provides team rankings in various sports to the USA Today newspaper. In his page on US university basketball he talks about an "Elo Chess" rating for teams. He uses this term for a formula that only considers the result, not the score margin. Apparently this is because in chess it doesn't matter how long the game is, only the result. The new national champion team, Syracuse, was rated #5 by his system but #2 by the "Elo Chess" formula. As in chess, that's why we play the games...

In case you are thinking it would liven chess up to give a rating bonus to the winner of a short game, think again. No one would ever resign! All games would be played out to mate. This would be great for beginners and I'm sure the pros' technique would improve a lot. Still, it would be pretty ugly watching GMs play on in hopeless positions just to salvage a rating point or two. The ability to agree to a draw is ruining chess, but the ability to resign is one of its mercies.


Thank you for sharing this cool elo play basketball post! Keep posting and keep playing basketball!:)

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 9, 2003 9:31 AM.

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