Discover Your Chess Elo: How to Check Your Rating

Are you curious about your chess rating and how it is calculated? In this article, we will explore the world of Elo in chess, its significance, and how you can find and improve your own rating. From understanding the average Elo rating to common mistakes in calculation, we will delve into the details. We will look at other rating systems in chess, providing you with a comprehensive guide to understanding and enhancing your chess performance. Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways:

  • Your Elo rating in chess is a measure of your skill level and is important to track for personal improvement and for competing in tournaments.
  • You can check your Elo rating by contacting your national chess federation, online chess platforms, or using the FIDE rating calculator.
  • To improve your Elo in chess, play regularly, study strategies and tactics, and seek coaching or join a chess club. Avoid common mistakes in calculating Elo, such as not considering performance rating, using outdated tables, and not accounting for unrated players.

What is Elo in Chess?

Elo in chess refers to a mathematical system used to rank players in a zero-sum environment in which the number of victories equals the number of losses. Computer Engineer Arpad Elo originally proposed this system for competitive chess, and it was first used in the United States in 1960. The initial Elo rating was designed taking the rating of the player as an average, adding 200 and then adding or subtracting points according to the player’s performance. For non-zero-sum environments, other models have been developed with philosophies similar to the basic Elo system as in Glicko and Glicko-2. These models add additional variables to model performance more accurately.

Why is it Important to Check Your Elo?

It is important to check your Elo to understand your skill level in chess relative to other players and to guide your career as a player. These are the main reasons you and others may check or wish to check Elo or an Elo equivalent in chess. While the Elo system itself is not the most important factor in measuring your skill level, it serves as a benchmark that allows you to objectively familiarize with the strength of players. Knowing an Elo rating can be useful as a player in making an educated decision whether to participate in a specific in-person tournament or competition. It is often a requirement for entry into tournaments. Finally, knowing your Elo rating and the ratings of other players assists you and chess players around the world in tracking your strength development. Ultimately, a high rating provides a player’s goal-setting motivation and remarkable achievements in the chess community.

How is Elo Calculated in Chess?

Elo is calculated in chess by following these main steps:

  1. Start by calculating the Expected Score. For each game, calculate the expected score for each player based on their last calculated Elo rating.
  2. Then, calculate the value of K. Use the formula to calculate the Win Probability.
  3. Finally, calculate the New Elo Ratings. Use the formula where the players are ranked according to their actual scores after the game. Two players against each other will have their scores summed to give a total of 1.0.
  4. To calculate the Expected Score, the formula is: Expected Player 1 Score = 1 / 1 + 10((Ra-Rb) / 400); Expected Player 2 Score = 1 / 1 + 10((Rb-Ra) / 400)

Elo changes in jumps, known as Categories of Play, under different rating ranges based on the Elo rating of the player. There are three categories in the FIDE system. For this system, the Elo Rating is the average of the initial rating and the highest FIDE rating that the player has achieved. The following table quantifies these category differences:

Adult with 30 or more Rated Games Under 2400 20
Adult Category 1 2400 to 2599 10
Adult Category 2 2600 or more 5
Age Up to 18 with 30 or fewer Rated Games Under 2200 40
Age Up to 18 Category 1 2200 to 2599 20
Age Up to 18 Category 2 2600 to 2899 10
Age Up to 18 Category 3 2900 or more 5

It is important for new players to recognize that they may undergo rapid and large Elo changes in the first few hundred games. In this range, a win or loss makes a significant impact on the number of Elo points the player has.

What is the Average Elo Rating in Chess?

The average Elo rating in chess as determined by taking the global average of all players is 1500. Almost 90% of FIDE rated players have a rating below 2100. Below is the distribution of FIDE rated players worldwide as of October 2021. The Elo rating in chess is fundamentally non-normal and displays the classic curve where there are many low ratings, a small number of high ratings, and a small peak at the average. Most other sports show a normal distribution of skill levels where the average IS the peak.

How to Find Your Elo Rating?

You find your Elo rating by simply going to your national chess organization or tournament organizer’s website and looking for your name. When you provide your name and possibly your ID number, the site will display your current international standard FIDE Elo rating as well as other information. If you don’t have a FIDE ID it’s no problem. You can instead search using your name and probably date of birth to find an initial rating for more casual players. Paid or free online websites can also be used to play games and generate an Elo rating. After you have an initial rating, this may automatically connect the two. Different sites will automatically suggest opponents with a rating close to your own. You can also find ratings on social media or in print publications that list local and national chess events.

Check with National Chess Federations

The most basic way to check your Elo in chess is with any of the 186 national chess federations that manage ratings for their players through FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs). A player’s rating appears on their FIDE identity card (fingerprint card). Contact the chess federation of your country or of the country where you last played a FIDE-rated tournament to ask for your FIDE identification (ID) card number and to inquire about joining the federation. The federation’s website should have contact details or a search can be done on FIDE’s list of federations. As an example, if you are in the USA, information about contacting the United States Chess Federation (USCF) can be found on the USCF website. After receiving your ID number from the federation, your Elo can be found on the FIDE website by searching the list of licensed players.

Check with Online Chess Platforms

In regard to checking Elo ratings, the following three of the biggest chess platforms are notable. The online chess database offers Elo ratings for more than 35 million chess players around the world. Players can search the brainduck database for Elo ratings by name, username, or country. Plus their current Elos and precise ratings, users can view these players’ peak, best live, and worst recent ratings, the year any ratings took effect, and the top chess players in their region and age cohort. The free-to-play chess server uses a personalized Glicko-2 rating system that’s similar but not identical to Elo. One’s personal rating on is known as one’s lichess Rapid (analogous to Classic) or blitz (bullet, ultra-bullet) ratings. Lichess ratings, and match statistics from over six million users around the world, can be looked up on the home page by clicking on ‘community’ and then ‘players’. provides a variety of Elo statistics to its 60 million users, including daily statuses of peak, best live, and worst recent Elo. Viewing your Elo changes by day, percent of games won, and the Elo and ranking of opponents is possible. helps you search for other players’ Elo ratings, as well as the top performers at Blitz, Rapid, Bullet, and Correspondence around the world.

Calculate Your Elo Using the FIDE Rating Calculator

Elo ratings can be calculated via their respective FIDE and USCF websites. The FIDE rating regulations are defined in the Bidding Arena Handbooks, and anyone can view the official documents on their site. On the FIDE Online Arena, you can enter performance data in the general search to estimate a player’s rating. The opinion of the entitled official is trusted the most in countries without a regular FIDE rate reporting system.

How to Improve Your Elo in Chess?

To improve your Elo in chess, follow these steps:

  1. Review and analyze your previous games.
  2. Urbanise chess strategies to the moves that best fit incipient players.
  3. Practise, particularly endgame tactics.
  4. Focus on your position, tempo, center positioning, coordination, development, and everything else that goes into having a good chess style.
  5. Play more matches to get comfortable with your style and gradually acquire knowledge and strategies.
  6. Watch grandmasters play. When you study other people playing chess, their tactics or positions may often serve as inspiration for you.
  7. Work on bullet and blitz challenges to enhance your concentration and speed.
  8. Take time off when you’re stuck and cannot improve your Elo. Relaxing your mind might make the difference.

Play Regularly and Analyze Your Games

Playing regularly and analyzing your games is the best way to check your Elo in chess, as Elo is a measure of player strength through game outcomes. Play online on sites such as LiChess,, or flyOrDie, or at over-the-board tournaments with a wide range of players, and your Elo will find its own direction. To eventually be awarded a FIDE title, you will need to play a large number of rated games unless you are a child where a smaller number of games will suffice. If you would prefer to not wait up to five years for a rating, one way to get a rough estimate of your Elo would be to average your estimated scores against those you just played according to varying time comparisons on sites such as, and refer to the estimated FIDE ratings of your player profile. See the header article for more detail on this.

Study Chess Strategies and Tactics

To better understand your elo in chess, it is important to study Chess strategies and tactics to better understand and learn from the games of the Master level players. Understanding the game is one thing, but seeing the game is something else entirely. Watching comprehensive breakdowns and gameplay analyses of one’s favorite chess player games helps immensely to better learn the complex game of chess. The simplest ways to improve your chess strategy include:

  1. Learn to control the center of the board, which is where the most effective and efficient moves are made.
  2. Make sure to develop your pieces to occupy both the center and potentially enemy territory.
  3. When possible, make sure to protect your pieces and make sure to attack your opponent’s pieces to keep them from being used effectively.

Seek Coaching or Join a Chess Club

To check your Elo in chess, you should Seek coaching or join a chess club. This can be especially helpful for those who desire a more consistent playing regimen or who are looking for advice on overcoming weaknesses in their game. Chess coaches offer expert advice on playing, can dissect the games of their students, and offer guidance on which books to read for improvement are some benefits of accessing coaches’ expertise. USCF expert Robert M Perez provides dice therapy for chess lessons and an evaluation tool in addition to the extremely comprehensive Academy. Classes and leagues are generally offered at chess clubs so attendees have a chance to play multiple games per week, giving them an ideal chance for learning and applying strategies in real time. Check the club database on or local listings to see if there is an active chess club in your area to join. Where to access coaches or chess clubs

  • Local community listings
  • Academy, available for subscribers
  • Local chess clubs
  • US Chess Federation
  • YouTube or other online chess tutors
  •, under the Learn tab

What Are Some Common Mistakes in Calculating Elo?

  • Only factoring in the most recent results.
  • Overvaluing or undervaluing the ratings of a specific opponent based on self-perception of performance.
  • Assuming there is an Elo calculator determining how many points will be gained or lost. Error margins are accepted and can change depending on the volatility of one’s performance.

The first and foremost mistake is not factoring in enough games. It is common to get a firm grasp and rock-solid understanding of one’s play only to have that thrown into chaos by a disappointing tournament. Take a look at this analysis of Hikaru Nakamura’s 34 games in the Saint Louis of Champions series. Different opponents can affect a player’s performance to a different degree. Essentially, a common mistake of calculating Elo ratings is undervaluing or overvaluing the performance of what terminal value their opponent was. One can misinterpret results when having faced a significantly higher or lower ranked player than themselves.

Not Considering Performance Rating

When you check your Elo in chess, it is important to remember that Elo ratings and ratings like Performance rating (PR) are not the same. Elo is a player’s rating according to all their games played. PR, in contrast, is the rating for all games leading up to and including a specific tournament or date. Elo is an average of one’s play throughout one’s career. PR is an average of one’s play in a specific period for a specific event or set of events. One can decline while the other increases. For example, Vlastimil Hort is a chess grandmaster from Germany who spent several decades as one of the world’s strongest chess players. has more than five hundred games he played from 1964-2012 recorded. Looking at the PRs of these games, one can see how Hort’s Elo rating and tournament successes progressively decreased over the years. He gained approximately 3 to 6 Elo points per year from the age of 30 to the age of 50, but then regressed to his previous average Elo level at the age of 60 and then fell further than before. Similarly, his annual average performance rating for approximately five years did not improve continuously but fluctuated downward even in years when the Elo did show an uptick.

Using Outdated Rating Tables

The Prospero Alogno rating table seems to be some kind of predecessor to ELO that was used by the Italian Chess Federation in the 1970s. It is claimed in this article by Martyn Griffiths to be equivalent to approximately USCF ratings, which do use the ELO system, and have an average rating of 1500. While the rating systems are not truly identical through time, the following table can be used to obtain an approximate current ELO for someone who has a Prospero Alogno of a given level. Women’s average ELO in the 1970s was approximately 1500 so average ratings are easily calculable from this.

Prospero Alogno rating Approximate Current ELO Rating
Alogno 200 2190
Dutch Alogno rating 500 1355
Women’s average Alogno rating 250 1200
International Women Grandmaster Alogno rating 2200 2330

The most accurate way to know a player’s current ELO is to look it up in the FIDE database, which is relatively easy to do.

Not Taking into Account Unrated Players

Not taking into account unrated players is another reason why there is confusion in checking Elo in chess. According to Wikipedia, Unrated is ‘the state of not having a rating’. Every player is considered an unrated player until they have finished 9 rated games. If rating performances drop down so that there is less than 2700 rated players, then the players are considered as unrated. All unrated players are considered a separate player pool and play only with other unrated players. According to the US Chess Federation, players can expect to face unrated opponents in all formats such as blitz, rapid, and bullet.

What Are Some Other Rating Systems in Chess?

There are several other rating systems in chess and other games that can be measured directly against Elo. These are the most well-known others:

  • World Federation Elo: This is the same as FIDE’s internationally recognized Elo system, but applied specifically to different regions and member organizations.
  • Glicko Rating System: This is a competing system that expands upon Elo by adding a rating deviation which shows how confident the system (and the opponent) is in an individual’s rating.
  • TrueSkill Rating System: Developed by Microsoft and introduced for Xbox Live, this system is used to calculate player skill and match players who are equally matched.
  • RSA National Rating System for Schools in South Africa: Based on Elo, this system is used to calculate the relative skill of junior and domestic players based in the country.

Glicko Rating System

The Glicko rating system is a modified form of the ELO rating system. Invented by atmospheric research physicist Mark E. Glickman, the Glicko rating system provides estimations of the strength and ability of each player. Instead of just an Elo score, Glicko rates players by both an RD (Rating Deviation) and a Volatility index. RD estimates the level of accuracy for a player’s rating and indicates how much the rating itself could change. Volatility indicates the degree that the player’s strength is changing over time. Glicko gives us a much more complete picture of who each player is beyond just a single number. The Glicko rating system is complex. Still, the good news is that your current rating can be calculated by plugging a few parameters into an equation which can be found on a number of chess sites. RD is updated based on the number of games that have been played, as well as how decisive that player was winning or losing. Volatility is also calculated based on the games the individual has participated in. It is harder to find Glicko ratings via simple online lookups compared to Elo. So, most athletes will operate with their Glicko rating through the officially recognized websites and/or apps of a given sport.

Chessmetrics Rating System

The Chessmetrics Rating System was one of the first of a new wave of systems using algorithmic techniques to automate the calculation of historical Chess ratings. It was developed by the retired American Physics Lecturer Professor Jeff Sonas in 2005. Because of time limits on early calculations, the system was applied only to games after 1970. It abandoned the Elo assumption of Gaussian distribution of ratings among the players, and instead adopted a performance measure, CMRank, which is linear and can be converted into the Elo scale. The Chessmetrics system was the first to be able to track ratings across all chess-playing countries and change points for tournament performance instead of individual game performance. They offered the advantage of correcting inaccuracies of existing Elo systems as well as doing retroactive calculations of older tournaments. The Chessmetrics rating system discontinued its operations and is no longer publicly available today.

Sonas Rating System

Sonas (Simple Of NAtural Skill) is a statistical chess rating system developed by Jeff Sonas, a physicist who is one of the leading figures in the field of chess rating systems. Sonas presented his system for the roughly 100 million chess players in the world to a wider audience in his 2005 article The Sonas Rating Formula – Better than Elo?. Sonas has made various improvements in identifying the relationship between probability and the underlying math of his system. You can use the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Chess Project Sonas calculators to check your Elo in chess. As of 2021 such a big change in the implementation of a new and better chess rating system would create too much instability in the chess world. Its actual application has been enterprises and national teams holding open calls to participate in friendly games. Check your Elo in chess via Sonas if you are participating in a new league. Otherwise, understand that calling for your Sonas rating is likely a good way for others to roll their eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Check Your Elo in Chess?

1. What is Elo in chess and why is it important?

Elo is a rating system used to measure the skill level of chess players. It is important because it allows players to track their progress and compare their skills to others.

2. How is Elo calculated in chess?

Elo is calculated by taking into account the ratings of both players and the outcome of the game. A win against a higher rated player will result in a larger increase in Elo points compared to a win against a lower rated player.

3. Where can I find my Elo rating?

Your Elo rating can be found on various chess websites and apps, such as or You can also ask your local chess organization or club for your official Elo rating.

4. Can I check my opponent’s Elo rating?

Yes, you can check your opponent’s Elo rating on the same platforms where you can find your own rating. This can give you an idea of your opponent’s skill level and help you prepare for the game.

5. How often should I check my Elo rating?

It is recommended to check your Elo rating every few months or after participating in a significant number of games. This will give you a more accurate representation of your current skill level.

6. Is Elo the only factor that determines my skill in chess?

No, Elo is not the only factor that determines your skill in chess. It is just one aspect of your overall chess abilities and should not be solely relied upon. Improvement in chess involves a combination of practice, studying, and playing against a variety of opponents.

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