Explaining level changes

    Chris Sanderson v Jonathan Horne (Mon 30 Oct 2023)

    Match won by Chris Sanderson. Result: 6-5.

    Starting level for Chris Sanderson: 692, level confidence: 59%.
    Starting level for Jonathan Horne: 960, level confidence: 48%.
    Jonathan Horne to win as he is currently playing 39% better than Chris Sanderson.

    Chris Sanderson won 55% of the points.

    Assuming that any level changes are shared between both players, for this result it looks like Chris Sanderson actually played at a level of 848 and Jonathan Horne at a level of 783. Without any damping, both players would need to be adjusted by 23% to match this result.

    Allowing for the difference in level between the players, the adjustments have been reduced to 19% and 16% respectively.
    As this is a best of 1 match rather than best of 5, these adjustments have been reduced to 15% and 13% respectively.

    Factoring in the relative levels of confidence which allows players with low confidence in their levels to change more quickly, the adjustment for Chris Sanderson changes to +12% and Jonathan Horne changes to -13%.

    After applying standard match damping, the adjustment for Chris Sanderson becomes +7.5% and for Jonathan Horne becomes -8.1%.

    Apply match/event weighting of 50% for 'Redland Boxes' so the adjustment for Chris Sanderson is +3.7% and for Jonathan Horne is -4%.

    Increase level confidence due to one more match played. Chris Sanderson: 77%, Jonathan Horne: 69%. Reduce level confidence based on how unexpected the result is. Chris Sanderson: 63%, Jonathan Horne: 56%.

    Final level for Chris Sanderson: 718, level confidence: 63%.
    Final level for Jonathan Horne: 921, level confidence: 56%.


    • This calculation is done in two main parts; first work out the adjustment needed to match the results and then apply damping. This means that levels should always be 'about right' but the time taken to get there or the volatility is dependent on the damping.
    • A level also has 'level confidence' which drops if players haven't played for a long time or have had enexpected results. As low confidence levels adjust more quickly than high confidence levels, it allows these players to find their level more quickly without impacting their opponent's level too much.
    • Point scores are used as well as game scores for accuracy - particularly important for 3-0 results - though we can work with game scores only too, albeit with more damping.
    • Mismatched players are allowed for - you don't have to hammer your opponent. See explanation above if this applies to this match.
    • The section on damping is where we still have some options. We have recently made a change to damp league matches more than tournament matches and box matches even more than that. This gives added weight to the more important matches.
    • There are occasional, very small adjustments made to all players to keep the averages constant which are not covered here.
    • You don't get a bonus just for winning - if you want to go up you have to play better than expected against your opponent.
    • We have spent more than 5 years fine tuning the level calculations based on tens of thousands of match results and a great deal of feedback from players, team captains and coaches. It's the most usable and accurate ranking system there is in any sport, let alone squash.
    • For a more complete explanation of how levels are calculated (on which this system is based) see the help file here.
    • If you have thoughts/opinions on the above or any feedback on the way levels are calculated or updated, please contact us. We welcome all feedback, although we are keen squash players ourselves and would pefer to be on-court than in front of a screen so please be patient and please do try to see if your question has already been answered on the help page. We are unable to answer questions about hard anyone played in their match - we only get to see the results - and if your level didn't increase as expected please make sure you've looked at the above explanation before contacting us. If you want to go up the levels, train harder, listen to your coach and win more points. Or just be incredibly talented!