Initially nothing is known about the playing strength of a new player. The only avenue to insight is to observe his game results. We cannot rely on assumptions like “he must be smart because he is playing Stratego” (though we all know that this is the truth ☺).

This changes after the first game against a known (that is a rated) player. If the new player plays stronger in this first clash, he wins the game. As matter stands he seems likely (but not definitely!) to be the stronger player and we have to put up with the unsafety.

But can we get a rough estimate about the playing strength at least? What happens if the new player wins ten times in row? Then obviously chances are good that the new player is in fact the stronger one. But how strong is he really?

All depends on the fluctuations. Let me give an example. You want to find out which one is bigger: a football or a handball. Seems trivial because you know the result.


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