By most measures, 180 ECF is a pretty decent level of chess - not outstanding, but not bad.
In the January 2014 ECF grading list, there were around 800 UK players (including Jonathan Bryant) graded 180 or above, and over 9,000 (including me) graded 179 and below.
|180 - it's pretty good|
Unless you're some sort of child prodigy, getting to 180 ECF is hard. But staying at 180 is harder - anyone can improve or get worse at chess, but staying where you are takes some effort.
From a level where there's so much improving to do, for someone who takes the game seriously enough to play most weeks during the season, and writes a blog dissecting his games and those of others, improvement should be almost guaranteed.
Jonathan claims to be "more 180" than me - but let's take a look at the real facts about who of me and Jonathan is the most dedicated 180-strength player.
Who's more 180?
I re-started playing chess in 2011, after a few years off. My grade in the July 2011 ECF list? Interesting you should ask - it was exactly 180. Compare this to Jonathan Bryant's grade of only 172.
In fact, if you look at all six grading lists from 2011 to 2014, my grade was within 5 points of 180 in every list - it's only in the last list that Mr Bryant has even got close.
|Who's more 180?|
If you want to stay 180 Jonathan (and I'm assuming you do), I'd hold off on the rook endings and play some more dodgy exchange sacs.
The most 180 of all?
More dedicated than Jonathan I may be, but am I the most 180 of all? Absolutely not. Looking at the ECF gradings, there is a man who has been exactly 180 on all of the last 4 lists. Step forward Nick Keene of Wimbledon, the most 180 of all.
Now that's dedication to a grade...