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How does the chess rating system work?

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

One of the more mysterious parts of chess is the chess ELO rating - a number used to determine a player's skill. The higher a player’s ELO, the better they are and the stronger you can expect their moves to be. But what is a “high” rating? Who has the highest rating? How does your rating change after each game? How can you find your own rating? Let’s see!

What is a “high” rating?

The ELO rating scale starts at 0 and is theoretically limitless, but the best players in the world today are rated around 2800. Whether a rating is high or not depends largely on the context. Against beginners, a rating of 1500 is high, but the same rating would be extremely low compared to grandmasters. Typically, chess players begin to earn titles (candidate master, international master, etc) once they have reached ratings above 2200.

Typical ratings of titled players: Candidate Master: 2200+

FIDE Master: 2300+

International Master: 2450+ Grandmaster: 2600+ Who has the highest rating?

Magnus Carlson has the highest rating, both currently and since the rating system was made. You can find out more about the top chess players in 2022 by clicking the link below. How does your rating change after each game?

Every win results in a gain in rating and every loss results in a deduction of rating points. Winning against higher ranked players increases your rating more than winning against lower rated players. On the flip side, losing to players with higher ratings won’t cost as many points as losing to a lower rated player.

How can you find your own rating?

Obtaining a rating depends mainly on which organization you aim to get the rating from. Usually, you will need to play a certain amount of games against rated players in official events within a certain time period. The best way to find out the requirements for each organization is to visit their website or contact them directly.

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