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What is your rating?

We are trying to get a picture of our readership on this blog over the summer and in that connection we will ask a number of questions about you. Please answer only once in the week and forgive us for being in holiday mode and only doing a full analytical article at the end of the summer.


Last week’s poll about what type of tournaments you prefer to play in producedΒ a balanced response:



Categories: Polls Tags:
  1. July 13th, 2015 at 11:35 | #1

    The question sounds easy, but there is some hidden problem with that πŸ˜‰ :).

    What is the rating in your question (suggested options):
    1) the best result scored so far
    2) the present rating
    3) the ELO rating
    4) the national rating
    5) the chess server rating
    6) estimated rating
    7) present level of play as the rating
    8) classical chess rating
    9) rapid chess rating
    10) average (national or international) chess rating (from a selected period of time)

    That’s some people may be confused with that question. Maybe a small clarification would be really helpful. Just my three cents πŸ™‚

  2. Steven Carr
    July 13th, 2015 at 12:21 | #2

    My ELO rating is 1879

  3. Phille
    July 13th, 2015 at 13:01 | #3

    Elo 2140, DWZ 2153, ICC 2010, Chess24 2423.

  4. Ray
    July 13th, 2015 at 13:54 | #4

    My Dutch rating is 2182 and my FIDE rating a little bit below that (around 2175).

  5. Gollum
    July 13th, 2015 at 15:16 | #5

    I have 2204 elo (fide), barely made the cut into the next category, although I might lose it over the next tournament.

  6. Reini
    July 13th, 2015 at 15:36 | #6

    2140 FIDE

  7. Tobias
    July 13th, 2015 at 16:55 | #7

    2120 Elo

  8. July 13th, 2015 at 18:27 | #8

    I am rated PG-13.

  9. Sniper
    July 13th, 2015 at 18:44 | #9

    Dutch: 2381, Fide: 2328

  10. Paul
    July 13th, 2015 at 19:07 | #10

    1698. My high was 1753.

  11. Jacob Aagaard
    July 13th, 2015 at 19:20 | #11

    @Tomasz Chessthinker
    Elo rating. All the others are not international.

  12. July 13th, 2015 at 19:34 | #12

    1768 ELO and still going down πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

  13. Stigma
    July 13th, 2015 at 21:05 | #13

    Do you want the latest official FIDE rating or current “live rating”? In my case they happen to be in different categories.

  14. Niall Doran
    July 13th, 2015 at 22:22 | #14

    1718 Fide.

  15. Trispios
    July 13th, 2015 at 22:33 | #15

    2351 FIDE

  16. Jacob Aagaard
    July 13th, 2015 at 23:10 | #16

    Live if you think this is more relevant

  17. July 14th, 2015 at 00:24 | #17

    No FIDE rating, but my USCF rating is 2007, which seems to translate to ~1944 FIDE.

  18. SimonB
    July 14th, 2015 at 03:54 | #18

    FIDE 2260 (I think). National rating is thereabouts too.
    Rarely play OTB tho, not played regularly since teens.

  19. Gollum
    July 14th, 2015 at 05:53 | #19

    The results of the poll are shapping as a pretty good bell curve πŸ™‚

    The results though are hardly a surprise. One would expect other publishers to take a big piece of the lower rating cake.

  20. The Doctor
    July 14th, 2015 at 06:45 | #20

    About 1900 ish

  21. David Goggins
    July 14th, 2015 at 10:39 | #21

    1914 Elo and dropping rapidly. I really need John Shaw’s 1.e4 books:)

  22. Tim S
    July 14th, 2015 at 11:56 | #22

    I wonder why the rating sections are all uneven? I’d expect 1800-2200 to receive the most votes anyway, but especially as it’s covering a larger range than any of the other voting option.

  23. Ray
    July 14th, 2015 at 12:24 | #23

    Good point – I also think 1800-2200 is too large a range. I think it would be more insightful for QC to divide the whole range into sections of 200 rating points.

  24. Pabstars
    July 14th, 2015 at 13:29 | #24

    2073 in ELO.

  25. The Lurker
    July 14th, 2015 at 14:43 | #25

    Unknown. I don’t play in tournaments; clocks ruin the game.

  26. Boki
    July 14th, 2015 at 15:01 | #26

    2333 Fide-Elo , and today officially become Fide-Master
    Improved a lot in recent years despite beeing quite old (41y already )
    Partly due to some excellent Books by qualitychess

  27. July 14th, 2015 at 17:37 | #27


  28. Ichigo
    July 14th, 2015 at 20:42 | #28

    Fide 2298

  29. Jacob Aagaard
    July 14th, 2015 at 22:39 | #29

    1800-2200 could have been split in two, but to me this really does seem like a group. At least it was in my experience when I struggled to advance.

  30. Boki
    July 14th, 2015 at 23:05 | #30

    2333 Fide Elo . Became Fide Master just today . I improved from 2210 to over 2300 in the Last Five years, despite playing one tournament a year and beeing just old (i am 41). Before starting to work again i was around 2200 for 10 years. Thanks to some hard work and inspiring Chess Books by quality Chess I have now my FM Title and one im Norm

  31. Ray
    July 15th, 2015 at 05:57 | #31

    @ Jacob Aagaard:

    Really? I have the feeling that there is a huge difference between 2199 and 1800, though from a GM point of view it mail well appear all the same down there πŸ™‚ . But of course it depends on what purposes you have with this poll. E.g., if you already know that this group can be considered as homogeneous from a marketing point of view (buying the same books or visiting this blog) then it may not be necessary to split it in two. But I guess you would then have to ask additional questions about buying behaviour. In any case it is always easier to later combine two groups which turn out to be the same.

  32. Soviet School
    July 15th, 2015 at 06:39 | #32

    Ray :
    @ Jacob Aagaard:
    Really? I have the feeling that there is a huge difference between 2199 and 1800, though from a GM point of view it mail well appear all the same down there . But of course it depends on what purposes you have with this poll. E.g., if you already know that this group can be considered as homogeneous from a marketing point of view (buying the same books or visiting this blog) then it may not be necessary to split it in two. But I guess you would then have to ask additional questions about buying behaviour. In any case it is always easier to later combine two groups which turn out to be the same.

    I agree with Ray here,1800-2000 is quite a different group to 2000-2200 in many ways, from QC’s point of view the books I would think the books I needed to read at 1800 were somewhat different to now where I am trying to break 2200

  33. Gollum
    July 15th, 2015 at 06:46 | #33

    Obviously 1800 and 2200 are not the same, not by a long shot, but you may choose to view this as if the 1800 is from the 1500-1800 group, and the 2200 is from the 2200-2400 group, so a huge difference.

    As I happen to be in the middle of two groups, I don’t really know what the 1800-2200 represents. I would flatter myself and think I belong to the 2200-2400 group. I think there lies the most important segment for GM repertoire series (yes, it is for GMs too, but our group is bigger, hence more important because we generate more revenue), we need good opening books and we won’t settle for some lazy repertoire. In improvement books we demand more detailed analysis but at the same time we don’t need everything spelled out for us.

    From my point of view, in fact, the 2200-2400 group and the two above can be treated as a whole, as I don’t think there are enough 2400+ people to justify specialized books. But I do like QC policy of not thinking 2200-2400 are dumb and can’t follow a 2400+ book πŸ™‚

  34. Jacob Aagaard
    July 15th, 2015 at 08:07 | #34

    My thinking was like this (and I mean no insult to anyone, I train 2600+ guys from time to time and they fall greatly short of what Gelfand shows when we work together :-)):

    u1500 – advanced beginner with a limited knowledge of the mechanics of chess. I was in this group for three years myself.

    u1800 – some experience, but in general untrained, largely without chess culture

    u2200 – more experienced, seeing things on the next two moves, but prone to big errors, without real opening knowledge and definitely without a repertoire. Lacking confidence, but with some real understanding of chess and will at times play decently.

    u2400 – generally a decent player with opening preparation of decent standard. Can at times play good games and punish grandmasters for big mistakes. Still there are common mistakes and a lack of understanding of the fight of chess to some degree.

    u2500 – This might be me soon! This is a mixed group. Some have good practical skills, but no chess culture, others have good chess culture, but their skills are poor or fading (me!).

    o2500 – serious players that invest time or have invested a lot of time in gaining this level. As I have had a winning position against Boris Gelfand in a rapid game and defeated Vallejo Pons, Landa, Socko and so on, I would call this group a pre-professional group; though obviously further up, over 2600, we have the real professionals, who not only play well, but also work…

  35. Ray
    July 15th, 2015 at 08:24 | #35

    Interesting. Looks like I don’t fit the bill, since with a rating of 2183 I have a complete, serious opening reportoire in my databases (main lines 1.d4 with white, French and Slav main lines with black) for as long as I can remember. But maybe I’m an exception? I do recognise the point on ‘prone to big errors’ though πŸ™‚ .

  36. Bebbe
    July 15th, 2015 at 09:08 | #36

    2398 ELO

  37. Gollum
    July 15th, 2015 at 10:06 | #37

    What I could gauge from books from GM Preparation is that I’m expected to calculate a lot better to make the jump from 2200 to 2500. I mean, sometimes I get the correct line, but when I do that, I usually cut it short, missing the win or a defense for Black.

    Of course our assessment of the position has glaring holes, but getting 4 out of 6 problems from GM Preparation – Positional play consistently tells me this area is my strong suit. However the lack of an accurate calculation make me not only play incorrectly in sharp positions, but also lose tremendous amount of time in nothing profitable.

    I fit the bill in the opening preparation: that is, for most of my life roaming around 2150, it was non-existant. Now I’m trying to patch it, but I’m in no hurry, that is not my main handicap.

    On the other hand, I have a really big chess culture. When I was young I consumed tons of chess books. Unfortunately never studied them seriously, but mainly read the prose, hence I have a good feeling for the position (as I have seen so many examples) but it is all very vague in my head.

  38. John Shaw
    July 15th, 2015 at 10:36 | #38


    Hi Boki,

    Your comment was stuck in moderation until just now. Congratulations on the FM title.

  39. Jacob Aagaard
    July 15th, 2015 at 22:03 | #39

    Generalisations rarely fit all individuals πŸ™‚

  40. Canoe
    July 16th, 2015 at 01:35 | #40

    1950 fide. Description is spot on, though I would alter “big errors” to “massive, unforgivable, unthinkable, curse-the-day-you-were-born errors”. I would like to work on a proper opening repertoire but find I have to train constantly on simple tactics in the hope of not overlooking mate in two in my next game.

  41. Ray
    July 16th, 2015 at 06:27 | #41

    @Jacob Aagaard
    πŸ™‚ Absolutely!

  42. BjΓΆrn
    July 16th, 2015 at 07:31 | #42

    Clearly the bit about opening repetoires is a major generalization – obviously you can play at a 2000 to 2200 level with a seriously good opening repertoire (but more limited chess strength otherwise) or with hardly any serious opening knowledge (but in that case slightly better general chess skills). Being ~2200 FIDE myself, I will say that there are so many weaknesses in my play that one could easily attain the same playing level with a very different skill-set (e.g. much better at tactics, but worse at strategy, or the other way around, or better playing skills and worse opening preparation etc.). I am occasionally surprised by how little even 2300 or 2400 players know about openings, while occasionally 1800 players are seriously booked up on the latest details of their pet-openings with detailed knowledge of the latest book + some of their own computer analysis. On a whole I would say though that many 20xx to 23xx players will have some somewhat cohesive repetoire and at least some deep preparation in some key lines. If you play the right lines against me (i.e. those variations I realise are critical and that I have managed to get around to devoting some time to), I will have some actual interesting novelties prepared, while I may of course at best vaguely remember the book lines (or be on my own) in some other lines. I always had the impression that if anything most people take their opening preparation too seriously and are excessively booked up.

    I also think that a…

  43. Steven Carr
    July 16th, 2015 at 11:46 | #43

    In my opinion, people in the range 2000-2200 play too complicated openings. The games then become so complex that there is too much happening for them to learn what they are doing wrong.

    My grading went up when I started playing d5,e6, Nf6, Be7 , Nbd7 and then c6 or c5 as Black. Mainly because I learned from each game.

    So don’t fianchetto your King’s Bishop below 2300….

    Of course, this is only an opinion.

  44. k.r.
    July 16th, 2015 at 14:05 | #44

    My gelfand book still didnt arrive altough it was sent one month ago. Few days ago i ordered one of yours book at other dealer and it arrived in 5 days. πŸ™

  45. Bulkington
    July 16th, 2015 at 14:52 | #45

    According to the formulas behind the ELO ratings one can deduct that the ratings are “equidistant”. The probability to win a game depends only on the rating difference, not on absolute ratings. So to say, beating 2500 while you are at 2400 is as difficult as beating 1500 if you have 1400…..
    Anyway, it is 2050 for me.

  46. John Shaw
    July 16th, 2015 at 14:58 | #46


    We can control many things, but not the performance of your local postal service.

    If you are the person I think you are, then we did indeed post your book a month ago, but it would appear to have gone missing somewhere in the post. If you send us an email confirming who you are, then we will send another copy.

    I am sure it is no consolation, but maybe somewhere there is a postal worker who is enjoying reading your Gelfand book.

  47. k.r.
    July 16th, 2015 at 15:45 | #47

    @John Shaw,

    I sent an email 3 days ago to Collin McNab.


  48. John Shaw
    July 16th, 2015 at 15:52 | #48


    OK, I will check that out.

    This week Colin (and Jacob) are away playing in the Scottish Championship.

  49. Jacob Aagaard
    July 16th, 2015 at 20:32 | #49

    @John Shaw
    Call that playing one more time πŸ™

  50. Stigma
    July 16th, 2015 at 23:03 | #50

    I agree with those who say 1800-2200 FIDE is too big a group. I have been rated between 2100 and 2200 for most of the past decade, and I usually expected to beat players below 2000 and beat players below 1900 easily, unless I had slept poorly and/or they were underrated juniors anyway. While I’ve had many interesting, close-fought games against FMs and IMs. I guess the grouping threshold will always look wrong to someone who is just below one of them πŸ™‚

    A more serious point: It would be more logical to have the groupings cover equally large rating ranges (or alternatively, ranges encompassing roughly the same number of players, but this would require some calculation – the math kind!).

  51. Jacob Aagaard
    July 17th, 2015 at 06:44 | #51

    2200-2400 and 2400-2500 is the same size – if the K factor under 2400 is still 20 πŸ™‚

  52. The Serious Kid
    July 17th, 2015 at 07:44 | #52

    Hi Jacob,
    I’m very close to 2400. I have been rising in rating continuously, and now I’ve finally reached this rating, but I don’t want it to just stop just like a few players who got stuck at 2400 and couldn’t progress after that. Is there any new way of training which I should implement now? What do you recommend, Jacob? What is the best way for a chess player to progress from here? I have plenty of hours daily to spend and work on the game, so that won’t be a problem, but how exactly should I work now?

  53. Gilchrist is a Legend
    July 17th, 2015 at 08:14 | #53

    Would be safe to assume that those who have financial problems and family commitments and stuck at 2250, 2300, 2350, 2400, or 2450 but really do have the capacity, should just do a bunch of studying and play maybe 1-2 times a year, or however many times their budget allows, hoping to get big gains, like +25 per tournament? Like working through Grandmaster Repertoires and Grandmaster Preparation books all year and trying to get big gains in the two tournaments that they play each year? It gets harder for someone to play in strong tournaments who is about to become homeless due to a financial situation, but it looks like Europe have the best conditions with your entrance fees and other stuff like playing conditions and norm opportunities.

    Obviously you do not want to give up on improving, whether you are 2250, 2300, 2350, 2400, 2450…

  54. Ray
    July 17th, 2015 at 08:18 | #54

    Congratulations with your FM title! Which QC-books helped you the most in achieving this?

  55. July 17th, 2015 at 12:59 | #55

    @Jacob Aagaard
    A 2400 should score 76% against a 2200 (this is true for any 200-point difference). A 2500 should score 64% against a 2400 (this is true for any 100-point difference). The K factor only affects how long it takes for a rating to reach its “true level”.

  56. Jacob Aagaard
    July 18th, 2015 at 18:46 | #56

    Your argument is interesting in one direction, but I see a flaw in it. Ratings are hardly ever accurate.

  57. Milen Petrov
    July 19th, 2015 at 07:46 | #57

    2165 national, but I no longer play OTB chess. Mine ICCF rating is 2395 (next rating list will be above 2400). Being FIDE IA and ICCF IM πŸ™‚

  58. July 19th, 2015 at 13:54 | #58

    My FIDE rating is 2087.

  59. July 19th, 2015 at 18:59 | #59

    1800-2200 feels like the top end of club chess that I play. I think it is a natural band. But once you get near the top of the band you either get stuck there or need to find somewhere else to play. I’m thinking of ways of upping my level of opposition. As Jacob suggests, at least where I play, the level of opening preparation isn’t all that special and nor does it need to be. There’s not even much of a culture for players to learn from each other. This is why I’m trying to put together an opening repertoire, it’s more necessary meeting those above 2200.

  60. July 19th, 2015 at 19:07 | #60

    There was an article by Greg Shahade on Opening books that I very much liked. http://www.uschess.org/content/view/11614/141/ It introduces the idea that there’s an appropriate level of opening preparation depending on your level. I don’t see the point in preparing to above a 2450 level but want to meet that level. I’m not quite sure what that is yet. One strong player (an IM) suggested to me that when he doesn’t know what to do in an opening he sees what Mark Hebden does.

  61. Boki
    July 19th, 2015 at 20:22 | #61

    This is difficult to answer . When i started Training again i based my opening Repertoire on the best available sources, i Played with White mainly Avrukhs 1.d4 opening Repertoire , also Schaandorff caro-kann and later Slav and d4-sidelines by Avrukh were helpful. I had also some other sources but this were my foundation for an opening Repertoire .
    Regarding improving Jacob Aagaards training tips on the Blog wehre very helpful, and also in the beginning his old excelling series . Regarding Quality Books Smith Pump um your Rating was very helpful to Organise Training work. I learnt also a lot from Jacobs Attacking Manual, although i did not finished the Second Volume . Also the jussupov Series i finished the First 6 volumes. They are very helpful for Training After work, and if you do one lesson and exersises per day you stay in shape. Also i worked a bit with GM Preparation Calculation, which is fantastic, but After some Time I got Stuck, but i will definetly go for it again.
    Two more Books are Marins Legends for technical Play and the lipnitski Book
    Hope it helps

  62. July 19th, 2015 at 20:43 | #62

    I follow Axel Smith’s games because of the excellent Pump up your Rating. It’s interesting his rating is almost exactly the 2450 mark I was talking about. The thread asked what rating players are and I finished the season on 190ECF (rough conversion 2125) my best in many years. But I met far too few players stronger than me and my 70% score is really an indication of the wrong strength of opposition. It doesn’t matter how much study you do if you’re not stretching yourself. My target is to try to get to 210 which is roughly 2300.

  63. Ray
    July 20th, 2015 at 07:08 | #63

    Hi Boki, thanks for your reply, this definitely answered my question!

  64. July 20th, 2015 at 10:49 | #64

    Jacob Aagaard :
    Your argument is interesting in one direction, but I see a flaw in it. Ratings are hardly ever accurate.

    Elo mightn’t be accurate at predicting game outcomes but there are other systems which, at least, are far more accurate. The statistician who writes for chessbase was running a contest to find the most accurate predictive rating system.

    My FIDE rating is 1777 and my last 3 tournament performances were 2050.

  65. Zhaslan
    July 20th, 2015 at 11:58 | #65

    2193 ELO

  66. k.r.
    July 26th, 2015 at 17:14 | #66

    Gelfand book finally arrived. Im eating it, its so good :).

    Perhaps You should have an option for online buyers to pay tracking service of items you send.

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