Chess Tips for 1200 Rated Players

1200 is a decent rating to win a few games in your local amateur tournament. It’s above the beginner level (under 1000) but at the same time it’s still not a very good rating.

It is a kind of rating that most people stay on for a life time that’s why it feels like a beginner level rating and not something to be proud of.

Thankfully you don’t need to move mountains to get above this level. By simply focusing on refining the fundamentals, you can make significant strides.

In this article, we will explore practical tips and strategies to help you surpass the limitations of a lower rating, allowing for growth and improvement in your chess journey.

How Do You Break A 1200 Chess Rating?

To break the 1200 chess rating barrier, you need to analyze your games, build an opening repertoire, be braver in your games, solve puzzles and tactics, and always move pieces with a plan.

A lot of effort is required to add an additional 100+ ELO to the rating. But at your level (1200ish), that effort is far less than when you get to 2000 and above.

Be it 900, 1000, or 1100, I’m sure you have spent some time getting to each of these milestones. And the more rating goes up, the psychological pressure to become an even better player increases, and it gets difficult to add another 100 points to the rating.

5 Top Tips For 1200 Rated Players To Improve Their Rating:

1. Study your own Games

Blitz games are fun to play, but if you are constantly stuck in a loop, and your rating is increasing and decreasing in the same range, then it is time to cut the playing time in half and give the other half to analyzing your games.

You don’t need to analyze and remember your whole games. You can start by choosing 3 positions in your game where you struggled to make a decision.

If you made the right move in any of those positions, then well and good, but if it was an inaccuracy or a blunder, you start by finding the best move on your own 1st.

And if you can’t find it, only then take assistance from a chess engine, see what move it suggests and think about why is it the best move in that particular position.

Studying your games this way will help you a lot in improving your chess.

It will increase the speed at which you play moves, and it is quite likely that the same position will occur again in a future game. So it is better to be ready for it next time.

You can analyze 1 game a day for free on and can analyze unlimited games a day on, but will provide you tools that are far advanced and easy to work with. Also aesthetically is a much more beautiful app.

2. Build an Opening Repertoire

I’m sure that you already know that a chess game is played in 3 phases, the opening, the middle game, and the end game.

The better you are equipped for each phase of the game, the more is there a chance to win your matches against players of similar ratings.

Another thing is that sometimes it becomes boring to play the same openings again and again, and you need to play a different opening to look at the chessboard from a different perspective.

The new lines will broaden your vision of chess and make the games exciting in a way that can open up new tactical ideas for you.

You need to leave the traditional, grabbing the center type of mindset and start playing different lines, because, at 1200 level, gambits and odd openings are weapons very difficult for the opponents to cope with.

Check out the Englund gambit and Tennison gambit in the video links below, I’m quite sure you’ll love playing these openings, and they are effective up until the 1600 level in chess:

You can also take help of these chess openings for beginners. They are not specifically targeting the absolute beginners and are helpful for players of your level.

3. Be Brave

Don’t play too safely in chess. If you have a feeling that a move will work, play it. If it’s a bad move, you can fix it in the analysis later, but if it’s a good one, it will boost your confidence.

Just make sure that your moves are not too ambitious, that leaves your king vulnerable. Make sure that your king is safe, and go for the kill.

It is also important to know that a successful attack on the opponent’s king requires at least 2 of your pieces to attack the opponent’s king in most of the positions.

If the king is defended by a piece, you will need 3 of yours to attack the opponent king. That’s just the general philosophy of how attacks work in chess.

You can learn many such concepts by following the speed run of Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky.

In the video below you can start from the rating 1240:

4. Move with a Plan

In chess, a bad plan is better than no plan. Always move the pieces with some goal in your head.

Playing on the clock without any idea behind the moves will only lead to problems.

The thing that will help you a lot in planning good moves is knowing your openings, the more you know an opening, the better you will be ready for the middle-game tactics.

5. Solve Puzzles and Chess Tactics

Puzzles and tactics are a great way of winning material and in turn, winning the games.

They are the opportunities that can arise in any phase of the game.

Be it the opening, middle game, or endgame, your opponent can blunder a piece anytime and you have to be ready to grab those.

There are 24 different types of tactics in chess, knowing them by name will help you a lot in spotting them on the board:

As far as puzzles are concerned, they are all made of the 24 different types of tactics mentioned above.

On any online chess site, just like when you play games and win, you get matched with more difficult opponents, in the same way, the more you will solve puzzles, the more difficult new ones you will get.

Solve those puzzles and they will help you a lot in going beyond the 1200 chess rating.

Is 1200 A Good Chess Rating?

If you are playing chess only with friends and family for fun then 1200 is for sure a very good chess rating, but if your ambition is to play in local tournaments and win more than a few games of final rounds, you need to be at least at a 1500 level, even in the amateur tournaments.

Is 1200 A Beginner Chess Rating?

No, a 1200 rating is not typically considered a beginner level in chess. Beginners usually fall within the 800 and below rating range.

A player who is rated around 1200 has surpassed the beginner level and demonstrates a broader board vision, as well as knowledge of a few openings with both black and white pieces.

When comparing players in the close higher rating ranges, such as the 1300s and 1400s, the primary differences often lie in board vision and tactical accuracy. These factors contribute to losses against higher-rated players, and psychology also plays a role.

A player with a rating of 1200 can competently compete at the level of players rated 1300 and 1400 during the opening phase of the game, showcasing their ability to match their opponents’ skill.

Is 1200 High In Chess?

No, 1200 is nowhere near the high ratings in chess. Because in the 1000-1600 range, the majority of the chess population lies. A 1200 rated player is a downright lower-average player.

My current rating in Blitz is 1760, which puts me in the top 98.9% percentile of players, meaning only 1.1% of players on are better players than me, still I consider myself an average player because I can’t win any local tournament with this rating.


Practice makes you better. But in chess, only the practice of playing games is not enough.

The tips we listed above are only a few, but enough to work on and become a higher-rated player.

Once you get to the intermediate level of 1500 and above, you can then add more new things and make use of chess tips for intermediate players.

For now, the 5 tips discussed in this article are enough for you to start off with. 🙂