The controversy involved the unusual pattern of his results, specifically the way in which he seemed to score either very well or very badly, but much more rarely achieve a mediocre, mid-table score.
Using the ECF's grading database (for assistance, see yesterday's posting) I looked up Mr Crockett's standard play tournament performances for the season 2014-15 (I've omitted club games) which was the last full season in which he competed. It was also one in which he won the Grand Prix for the grading category 120-139. If I have rendered them correctly, they run as follows:
So out of twenty-one events, he was within a point of scoring 100% ten times and within a point of scoring 0% seven times. There was one score of 1.5/5, two scores of 3.5/5 (on both of which occasions, as it happens, he lost in the last round) and only one genuinely middling score, the 2/4 he achieved in the Bristol Summer Congress in August 2014.
That's an eccentric pattern, to put it mildly, with its near absence of middling results. It's a pattern which continued into the 2015-16 season, with the following scores:
That's another eleven tournaments, and in all but the last - played two days before he "quit being a circuit regular" - he was within a point of either a maximum score or a minimum. I wonder how common that kind of record is?
Seriously, if there are any comparable records among Grand Prix contestants, could anybody point me to them?
I mean some players do achieve consistently very good records, and there are some who suffer very bad ones. What's particularly curious about Mr Crockett's results is that they're almost evenly distributed between the two. Middling results, though, are harder to find. Particularly in his more recent record.
One other noteworthy feature of Mr Crockett's record is a tendency to score poorly across a tournament even when the opponents are all, or nearly all, lower-graded players, something that might not raise one's eyebrows quite so much if the same player wasn't winning four consecutive Grand Prixs (and for that matter, four consecutive Regional Grand Prixs too).
For some reason the grading database doesn't give opponents' grades for the 2015/6 season, but here's a couple of choice examples from 2014-15.
Here's another couple that caught my eye from the 2012-13 season.
Of course those tables don't prove anything in themselves, because anybody can have an off-day. Indeed anybody can have an off-weekend. But what is harder to explain is when a player who wins grading-limited tournaments time and again, in both standardplay and rapidplay, indeed a "record-breaking" number of titles
also scores zero, or half a point, an awful lot.
On top of that he seems rather more likely to score zero, or close to it, against weaker opposition, than to achieve normal, middle-ranking scores.
Perhaps these things happen, now and then. But so regularly? So coincidentally? So advantageously?
I?m not a competitor in the Grand Prix. But if I were, I think I would want a record like this to be looked at, properly, if I were to have any faith in the integrity of the competition in which I was taking part. What I would not want is for everybody involved to turn a blind eye. Nothing could do more to convince other players that they have not been competing on a level playing field, and for that matter that they may not be doing so in the future.
Because what's going to happen next time we have a bizarre set of results that affects prizes and prize money?
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As it goes, the most eyewatering sequence I have found in Mr Crockett's record came in the 2010-11 season, just before his long run of Grand Prix success, when he suffered a long run of failures in rapidplay games.
A very long run.
A very long run indeed.
We begin in November 2010 at the British Rapidplay Championships Open, where after a promising start of 3/5, our man suddenly collapsed and lost his last six games.
As I say, these things happen. Matter of fact they happened again at the next rapidplay in which he competed, where he lost all six.
Next time out it wasn't so bad. One of his opponents was careless enough to let slip a half-point, albeit only one...
...but he was not so fortunate in the tournament that followed
nor in the one that followed that.
Happily in his very next tournament he won the very first game, thus putting an end to a sequence of twenty-seven rapidplay games of which he had lost twenty-six and drawn just one.
You can calculate the odds on that whatever way you like: there's no way they´ll come out as anything less than an astronomical figure.
A run like that would be extraordinary - beyond extraordinary - if we were talking about the worst rapidplay player on the circuit. But we're not.
In the rest of the season, in rapidplay, he scored 23.5/33.
His standardplay scores for the 2010-11 season, incidentally, were perfectly normal.
Look at those numbers again. Twenty-seven games. Twenty-six losses and a draw. A reasonable explanation eludes me.
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In Mr Crockett's valedictory Facebook post he states:
the amount of success I had was way off the scale of what I or anyone else ever expectedand "way off the scale" is about right, if you ask me, where that run of rapidplay defeats is concerned. But he goes on:
I hope to share some of the secrets that helped me do it on this page.That would be most welcome, I think. We'll look at some of Mr Crockett's explanations tomorrow.
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