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***** PROVISIONAL *****

This help file contains some information and restrictions regarding
provisional ratings.  Please read "help ratings" for a complete
description of the ICC rating system.

You have a provisional rating if you have played less than 20 rated
games in that rating category (bullet, blitz, standard, wild, 
bughouse, or losers).

When a provisonally-rated player plays a player with an established
rating, the established rating doesn't change very much.  This is
why you sometimes only gain a point or two for winning a game even
against a higher-rated player (because that player hasn't played
many rated games in that category yet).

There are restrictions on who you can play during your provisional rating

(1) For a given rating category (e.g. blitz), you can't play more
than four of your first twenty rated games against the same

(2) Until you have established your rating, you can only play players
within 300 points of your rating.  There are some exceptions: if your
rating is below 1200 you can play anyone up to 1500, and even if your
rating is above 2100 you can play anyone above 1800.  Also, this rule 
doesn't affect unrated games, resumption of adjourned games, bughouse
games, or tournament games.  Your "seeking" ad will automatically
reflect the rating range restriction. 

We have a way around both rules for tournaments and special events,
via TDs such as Tomato.

The reason for the rating-range rule is not only to help prevent
some types of rating abuse (see "help abuse"  and "help agreement",
which are by no means obviated by the new rule), but to help make
sure that each game result during a player's provisional period
provides the server with useful rating data.  The hope is that all
ICC ratings will become more accurate over time, and that the new
rule won't get in the way of your finding opponents and enjoying
the club. 

See also:  definitions, ratings, Tomato, abuse