Average Chess Rating (ELO) – What’s Considered Average?

In chess, a player’s rating (often represented by ELO) is more than just a number.

It is a reflection of their skill level, experience, and the amount of effort they have put into mastering the game.

For many players, understanding the average chess rating can be a guide to setting personal goals and tracking their progress.

We have some average chess ratings within each skill tier below (using FIDE ratings, not online ratings where you might have to add about 300 to these to get the equivalent rating):

  • Novice (Under 1000)
  • Intermediate (1000-1600)
  • Advanced (1600-2000)
  • Expert (2000-2200)
  • Master (2200 and above)
  • Grandmaster (2500 and above)
  • Super Grandmaster (2700 and above)

Below we deeper look into the concept of the average chess rating, exploring what is considered to be an “average” rating and how these ratings are determined.

Understanding Chess Ratings

Before we look into what constitutes an average rating, it’s essential to understand how chess ratings are calculated.

The most widely used rating system is the Elo rating system, developed by Arpad Elo in the 1960s.

This system calculates ratings based on a player’s performance against other rated players, with the expectation that a higher-rated player will win more often against a lower-rated player.

Rating Categories

Chess ratings can generally be categorized as follows:

  • Novice (Under 1000): Players in this category are generally beginners who are still learning the basics of the game.
  • Intermediate (1000-1600): Players in this range have a good grasp of the basic strategies and tactics.
  • Advanced (1600-2000): Players at this level have a deeper understanding of the game and have developed more advanced strategies.
  • Expert (2000-2200): These players have a high level of skill and have spent considerable time studying and practicing the game.
  • Master (2200 and above): Players in this category are among the best in the world, often participating in high-level tournaments and competitions.

Grandmaster is considered above 2500 and Super Grandmaster (an unofficial title) is considered 2700 and above.

FIDE ratings are also different from online ratings.

Online ratings are often 300 points inflated relative to what might be an equivalent FIDE rating.

What is Considered “Average”?

Determining the “average” chess rating can be somewhat subjective, as it depends on the pool of players being considered.

Generally, an average club player might have a rating between 1200 and 1600.

This range represents a player who has moved beyond the beginner stage and has acquired a decent understanding of chess strategies and tactics.

Factors Influencing the Average Rating

Several factors can influence the average rating, including:

  1. Geographical Region: Different regions might have varying average ratings due to the popularity of chess and the level of competition in that area.
  2. Age Group: The average rating can also vary depending on the age group. Younger players might have lower average ratings compared to adults who have been playing for a longer time.
  3. Playing Platform: The average rating might differ between online platforms and traditional chess clubs, with online platforms often having a broader range of player skill levels.

Improving Your Rating

If you’re looking to improve your chess rating, here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Study Chess Tactics: Understanding various chess tactics can help you gain an advantage over your opponents.
  2. Analyze Your Games: After each game, take time to analyze your moves and understand what you could have done better.
  3. Seek Guidance: Consider seeking guidance from a coach or a more experienced player to help you improve your skills.
  4. Practice Regularly: Like any skill, improving at chess requires regular practice.

FAQs: Average Chess Rating – What’s Considered Average?

What is a chess rating?

A chess rating is a numerical value assigned to a player based on their performance in chess games against other rated players.

The rating is designed to predict the outcome of a game between two players with different ratings.

How is a chess rating calculated?

Chess ratings are calculated using various systems such as the Elo rating system, the Glicko rating system, and others.

These systems take into account the ratings of both players and the outcome of their game to adjust their ratings accordingly.

What is considered an average chess rating?

An average chess rating can vary depending on the rating system and the pool of players being considered.

In the context of the FIDE rating system, an average club player might have a rating between 1200 and 1600.

Players with ratings below 1200 are generally considered beginners, while those above 1600 are moving into the intermediate level.

How do I find out my chess rating?

If you are a member of a chess federation or play on online chess platforms, you will be assigned a rating based on your performance in rated games.

You can find your rating on the official website of the chess federation or on your profile page of the online chess platform.

Can I improve my chess rating?

Yes, you can improve your chess rating by winning games, especially against players with higher ratings.

Studying chess tactics, strategies, and analyzing your games can also help you improve your play and, consequently, your rating.

What is the highest chess rating ever achieved?

The highest FIDE rating ever achieved was 2882 (unofficially 2889), held by Magnus Carlsen in 2014.

However, please note that ratings can fluctuate, and new records might be set.

Are online chess ratings and official chess federation ratings the same?

No, online chess ratings and official chess federation ratings, such as FIDE ratings, are not the same.

Online platforms have their own rating systems, and the ratings can be significantly different from the official ratings.

It is common to see higher ratings on online platforms compared to official ratings.

How does the rating system accommodate for new players?

New players generally start with a base rating, and their rating undergoes more significant changes in the initial games compared to established players.

This is to quickly find an appropriate rating level for the new player based on their performance.

Are there different ratings for different formats of chess?

Yes, players can have different ratings for different formats of chess such as classical, rapid, and blitz.

These ratings are calculated separately based on the games played in each format.

Can I lose my chess rating if I don’t play for a long time?

Your chess rating generally remains the same if you don’t play for a long time.

However, in some rating systems, you may be marked as inactive if you don’t play any rated games for a specified period.

Being inactive doesn’t affect your rating, but you may need to play a few games to reactivate your rating.


Understanding the concept of an average chess rating can be a useful tool for players looking to gauge their progress and set personal goals.

While the “average” rating can vary depending on various factors, a rating between 1200 and 1600 is generally considered to be representative of an average club player.

By dedicating time to study and practice, players can work towards improving their ratings and moving up the ranks in the world of chess.

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