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EUCS Transition Part 4: Ranking System


The myth, the vision, (the illusion? the legend?), the ranking system. 

As you read the other articles you find many references to this. To be clear from the beginning: we currently have no ranking system in place but we work on finding (or even creating one).


Since this topic is something well known in the mathematicians' community, we would like to ask the community, like you, if there are experienced people or people with math expertise willing to help in this process. 

First Steps

So far a task force has worked on this topic where they talked about different criteria that would be necessary to include. Thanks to Leena Rapottnig, Simon Hill, Ted Beute, Ned Garvey, Haude Hermand, Grazyna Chlebicka and Giacomo Tenaglia for making the initial steps. 

The first test runs were made with the Elo system. Teams have a rating that changes as they play games. They gain rating points when they win games, and lose points when they lose games. The number of points they win or lose depends on a comparison of the teams’ rating points before the game. The system was initially used in chess but is commonly used in other sports, perhaps most famously by FIFA.  

However, it will probably not work very well for our situation. We think it will require too many games to converge to a good ranking, and may particularly suffer from the problem of encouraging some teams to avoid playing ranking games in some situations.  We plan to use the system to make important qualification decisions, so it is important to at least compare this approach with other alternatives.

What are we looking for?

  • Ranking points awarded based on results of individual games (not tournament finishing positions).
  • Teams must play a minimum of 10 games in the season, which means we need to be confident about the rankings after some teams have played only 10 games.

  • The date of the game should not affect the value, i.e. ranking games in the spring should have the same weight as games in the late summer.

  • Only results between teams that are part of the system will be used.

  • We have not fixed whether to use win/loss or include the game score; this may depend on the algorithm.

  • The rankings from the previous year may be used to improve accuracy, but ideally, a new team should be able to qualify to EUCF within one season as they can now.

  • We want to encourage as much ranking play as possible and avoid creating incentives for teams to stop playing partway through the season.

How to gain ranking points?

In the ideal world every team that is willing to take part in the EUCS and fulfills certain requirements (game length, roster rules, etc.) should be able to submit a game that is played against another team that is also taking part in the EUCS. 

In theory that can be a national championship, or for example some other already existing tournaments that are willing to provide those requirements.* It should also be able to host single matches in your region and submit them and the new tournament structure for the EUCS (Elite-, Spring- and Summer Invite) shall be the bigger stages where every game counts. 

How do we get there?

As said in the beginning, we need some more people working on this system. 

We would like to include people with experience in: (either)

  • IT
  • mathematik

  • Ranking system especially

  • Webdesign


The task force made some suggestions on next steps in terms of investigating other options, but needs other people to help out with the details (i.e. USAU - algorithm, we already have a specific paper at hand that we want to go through). 


That is where we’re at right now. We know it isn’t a lot and there are still many question marks. Please contact us if you have ideas or interest in working on this. 


You can give us feedback, questions or comments here: or


This is our last article before the XEUCF and we are looking forward to see a lot of you there. We have some more articles planned afterwards so please be sure to follow us wherever you are!


*Obviously there is no obligation for any tournament to take part in this, the EUF does not want to threaten any existing tournaments.