Today’s hot news (that has been keeping the media busy) is the timely publication of the new fangled ECF Grading (not Rating) list. January 2012 sees, for the first time grades published at a roughly six monthly (but not quite) interval since the publication in August 2011. Normally, one would have to remain on tenterhooks until August 2012 for new numbers to be made public.
The grading system was devised by Sir Richard William Barnes Clarke and was first published in 1958. Originally the system used a digit and a letter to indicate a grade such as 1a, 2b, 4a etc.
The highest graded English player is Luke McShane who has elevated to 275 rising 10 points from his August 2011 grade. We are attempting to validate if 275 is a record for a UK domiciled English player: perhaps you already know the answer?
The highest grade on the system is that of Vasyl Ivanchuk (UKR) who with 10 graded games has just fallen short of breaking the 300 barrier at 296.
Most leagues will no doubt continue to use the August list as definitive for the purposes of eligibility but may allow the new ones when settling board orders. The debate could easily last for many months.