Hmmm. Is it really that simple? For one, a trip to Pinburgh from Australia, making a reasonable allowance for expenses and accommodation, easily costs USD 2000–2500. And then the player may end up having a bad weekend (which can happen to even the world's best, especially with jet lag), and walk away with ten points or so.
I can't check what the equivalent number would be for Peter because I can't access the IFPA rankings at the moment. (I just get a page back that says "no". Looks like the certificate has expired.)
Regardless, I expect a big difference between the US and Australia. How many tournaments are run each year in the US where the winner gets, say, more than 30 points? I suspect there are quite a few, and they are cheap to access from the US, compared to accessing them from Down Under. Conversely, around here, there is one tournament worth more than 30 points (which happened just recently; prior to that, there were none, as far as I know, and very few tournaments are worth more than 20 points).
The current rating system is essentially the same as "pump 'n' dump". Just keep trying, ignore all the misses, and only count the hits. This puts people who are in the US and can get to tournaments cheaply at a huge advantage over all the other countries.
That's a good and pertinent question. From having watched lots of top players, I'm quite sure that Peter would indeed end up in the top 50 if he could play regularly in the US. But he can't, so I guess any answer would be academic.
I suspect that, for some people, that's actually quite a strong motivator.
I agree that international travel is over the line. As is, the ranking system requires international travel for a top player to make it into the top 100 or so. Doesn't that suggest that some adjustment to the ranking system could at least be considered?
If Keith Elwin were in Peter's position and couldn't play in the US, I suspect his ranking would be better than Peter's, but not by that much. Peter is harvesting most of the points that are available here as is, so Keith would do only marginally better in terms of world ranking.
Thanks for that! Your figures show movement that is similar to Wayne's, even though it's not quite the same.
The fundamental question to answer here is whether the IFPA rankings are meant to be a list that reflects skill, in the sense that "on average, a player higher on the list will beat a player lower on the list." If so, I think the current rankings don't do a very good job because of the very strong geographical bias, and because doing poorly in a tournament carries no penalty.
Doing something to address the imbalance would be a good thing, IMO.