Somedays, You Get Lucky

This happened to me a few months ago.

I lost and my rating went up?

I started playing correspondence chess on the ICCF server’s last summer and as you can see from this my rating, I am not that good. This is especially embarrassing given the fact we are allowed to use chess engines for help. But that’s not important right now. I received my first official rating coming into 2015 and held a 1682. Somewhat respectable, but not chessmaster material. Then this happened.

Oh, this is just embarassing
Oh, this is just embarassing

My first game in the new rating period finished on December 10th with a loss. So I asked the server to forecast my new rating and my rating went up! The forecast rating was 1688. I lost and picked up six rating points. So how does that happen?

The Elo rating system used by the ICCF counts the total difficulty of all the opponents. Alexandre Duchardt, who beat me, was rated much higher than I was. He was also rated much higher than my average opponent. So the net average difficulty went up and those prior few wins were worth just a bit more and the rating goes up.

For reference, if I predict today, I score 1722.

Public Financial Management, Week 3

According to this, all decisions are supposed to be made in triplicate (Mr.TinDC / Flickr)
According to this, all decisions are supposed to be made in triplicate (Mr.TinDC / Flickr)

Last week’s meeting of PUAD 702 included more students, since we did not have the looming threat of more snow. We began with an overview of budgeting models and methods, focusing on government applications. The last 45 minutes or so of the class discussing the objectives of our proposed nonprofit. Several solid ideas came out of the session and two seemed to have a grip on the group:

  • Adopt a nearby park
  • Provide tutoring services for local high school students

These are both admirable goals, but I think have missed the boat. When I asked, a couple of times, where the labor would come form. Each time, the answer was the students. While I salute their volunteerism, the goal of the project is to understand financial fundamentals in the context of a nonprofit. I suggested they could find a proposal to raise money to support some noble goal, since this was supposed to be an exercise in paperwork.

I also opened the possibility that the class could do this as a simulation. It would remove the “hard labor” aspect of the project and get them to focus on the finance question.

One student has identified a park lot near campus and taken the lead on putting this together. Through Trello, several other students have gotten behind the project and seem to support it. Over the last week, this seems to be coming together.

We should decide the answer tonight, but I am keeping the simulation idea in my back pocket.

Public Financial Management, Week 2

That's a nicer boardroom than we'll have (ShellVacationsHospitality / Flickr)
That’s a nicer boardroom than we’ll have (ShellVacationsHospitality / Flickr)

I will be using this space, weekly, to record thoughts on the PUAD 702 class project.

Last week, as I noted when I posted the syllabus, was the first week of class at the University of Baltimore. The first week night of class went well, but I wanted to record a few observations about the class project. Some students are a bit apprehensive, which not terribly surprising. A couple of students seemed really excited about the project. Generally, there was not a bit groundswell response one way or the other. One student dropped the course the next day. Most remarkably, only about half the class came the first night. I think this is largely due to the fact there was a largish snow storm and the University left decision to remain open on the table until the late afternoon.

Since I use Trello for essentially everything, I am also using it to manage the class project. The evening after our first session, I sent out an email to the entire class. This was mostly to get the syllabus into the hands of all of the students. In addition, I included directions on how to sign up for Trello and a request they send me a username. They get added to the project board and in a fit of transparency, I am also adding them to my course board.

At the start of week 2, it is not looking good. Less than half of the students in the class have signed up for Trello. However, project-related discussion is already taking place on the Trello card comments.