The USCF Executive Board has scheduled a conference call for Thursday, Jan 25 at 8 pm, the major purpose being further consideration of the controversial  activity points ("fiddle points") proposal that was enacted in October and limited to a maximum of 20 points per player at its recent meeting in Miami, Jan 20-21.  At least four Board members, a majority, are believed to support eliminating activity points at this telephone meeting, replacing them with a schedule of accelerated bonus points, based on performance rather than activity.

The new bonus schedule expected to be approved on Thursday had been accepted by the Ratings Committee by a vote of 7-1 prior to the Miami meeting.  An additional Ratings Committee member (Albyn Jones) later submitted his vote, bringing the current margin in favor of this proposal to 8-1.  

At Miami, Tim Redman and Doris Barry had proposed to limit activity points to 20 per player.  John McCrary moved to substitute the accelerated bonus schedule endorsed by the Ratings Committee, but his motion to substitute resulted in a tie vote with McCrary, Smith and Ippolito in favor, Redman, Barry and Pechac opposed, and Warren abstaining.  The Redman-Barry motion then passed by a vote of 5-2.  

Helen Warren has since indicated that even though she abstained on the motion to substitute, she prefers the accelerated bonus schedule accepted by the Ratings Committee to the motion that passed in Miami, and will move its adoption at the conference call.  This would presumably insure that proposal of at least four votes, a majority.

The Redman-Barry motion which passed in Miami had also been referred to the Ratings Committee (on Jan 18), resulting in a 4-4 tie vote being reported to the Board.  However, on Jan 19, Committee member Tom Doan pointed out that he was against this proposal even though he had been recorded as in favor, making the Committee vote 5-3 in opposition. And more recently, Albyn Jones submitted his vote and opposed the proposal, bring the tally to 6-3 against it.

Following is a description by the Ratings Committee co-chair, Mark E. Glickman, Ph.D., of the new bonus schedule expected to be approved at the conference call.

For a two-year period, commencing as soon as possible (in this case, the next rating run), and continuing through the 2002 annual rating, the threshold for Bonus Points would change from:

A.  16 x the square-root of the number of games (minimum 4 games) to

B.  10 x the square-root of the number of games.

Additionally, the bonus formula will be applied to tournaments of only 3 games, but due to rating system statistical limitations, the calculation will be done as though the tournament had been at least 4 games.

**IMPACT:  This design should approximately re-inflate the ratings to where the ratings were in 1996 when floors were changed.  The impact of changing the number on the threshold from 16 to 10 is that an 1800 player who would have had a 6% chance of qualifying for Bonus Points will now have an approximately 17% chance, a 183% increase in bonus point opportunity.

In addition, decreasing the threshold number of games in a tournament from 4 to 3 provides more opportunities for small clubs that focus on 3 round events to "re-inflate" their ratings.  Basically, players who would have received bonus points if the 3 round event had been 4 rounds will receive bonus points under this mechanism as though the event were 4 rounds.