For you numbers folks, you’re welcome.

Originally invented as a rating system to rank chess players, the Elo Ranking System today is a conventional method to determine relative, individual skill level in many competitive settings. Specifically, zero-sum games which means, “my gain is your loss”.

Cypher Minds is proud to present ongoing U.S. Rankings from month to month based on the Elo Ranking System where we follow the results of major competitions for b-boys and b-girls.

An overview of the theory:

For a given match, the current ratings of two players predicts the outcome. Expressed mathematically:

Based on the actual outcome of the match, a player’s rating is updated according to the following:

So basically the change in a player’s rating depends on the probability of winning, which in turn depends on a player’s and their opponent’s current rating. For example, if you’re an underdog with a lower rating than your opponent and you manage to pull the upset against the big fish, you’re rewarded by having a greater increase in your rating than you otherwise would have if you only won against an equal or lower rating opponent.

The K-factor is an adjustment factor based on the current rating of a player. The idea being that a weak player’s rating should be more sensitive to rapid change (high K-factor) than a dominant player’s rating (low K-factor). In other words, if someone upsets Vic in a 1v1, he’s STILL Vic, right? At the same time, nobody’s gonna sleep on THAT dude after seeing the upset. And they’re awarded through the rating system with a relatively higher increase in their rating (again, high K-factor for weaker players).