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What is a good rating?

Learn about ratings: what are they and why do we use them

David Cordover

Last Update vor 5 Monaten

A rating is a number which indicates, based on your past performance, how good you are at chess. The higher the number the better you are. As at December 2022 the highest rated player in the world was Magnus Carlsen with a rating of 2865. The highest rating ever was when Magnus Carlsen reached 2882 in May 2014. The best players in the world have ratings as follows:

  • World Champion 2800
  • Grand Master 2500
  • International Master 2400
  • FIDE or National Master 2300


For juniors in Australia (ranked #32nd best chess-playing country in the world at the last Olympiad) the easy way to gauge if you are on track to becoming a Champion is to take your age and multiply by 100. Eg. Age 9, good target to have a rating in the 900’s 

  • Age x 100 = You should be playing in State Championships
  • Age x 100 (+100) = You will qualify for National Championships
  • Age x 100 (+200) = You may be selected to play in a World Championships This formula only works for juniors (until age 18).


How does my Tornelo rating compare with other Ratings; eg. FIDE (International) Rating?


Tornelo uses Glicko2 Ratings and the international ratings are calculated using ELO formula. See https://ratings.fide.com/ for FIDE ratings. There are lots of different ratings. Many websites have their own rating system. Some chess clubs or associations have a ratings system. All of them try to maintain their systems as being comparable to the FIDE system. With each system there will be some variation, but most system administrators try to keep this variation from FIDE ratings to a minimum. 


The Technical Stuff


Tornelo offers both Glicko2 methodology (methodology see here) and ELO rating calculations.


Ratings are calculated instantly, so your rating is always live. 

Can I beat someone with a better rating?

Ratings are simply an indication of past performance. On any day, in any given game, anything can happen!Statistically speaking your chances of winning a game against a higher rated opponent are as follows: 

Your opponent’s rating – Your chance of winning

  • 50 points higher 43%
  • 100 points higher 36%
  • 200 points higher 24%
  • 400 points higher 8%


How do I get a rating?


Every chess event you play will count towards your rating as soon as the Organizer submits it for rating. Ratings are a statistical predictor of your future performance. The more information the rating system has (ie. the more games you've played), the more accurate that prediction will be. 


So, after your first event, or after a year with no results, the rating system isn't confident that your rating is correct. While your rating is 'unreliable' it will change very quickly (ie. go up or down a lot of points in a single event). After playing more games your rating will change less quickly.


Your Rating will always increase or decrease based on your performance in each event. If you play better than expected then you will increase your rating. If you play below expectation, your rating will decrease. 


Why do we use ratings?


To track your performance over time.This give more accurate pairings in tournaments (ideally you don’t want to play against someone too good or too easy for you). To compare your standard against others in your school, city, state, country or around the world. See Top Player Lists for your ranking to make a prediction about the result of a game or tournament.

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