What is a Good Chess Rating for a Beginner? – A Basic Guide

Whether you’re a beginner or a grandmaster, a good chess rating is anything that trends upwards with time!

In this blog post, I’ll discuss how beginners are usually ranked on chess websites and in the FIDE rating system.

I’ll also help you set achievable goals and understand what a good rating is for your skill level.

Initial Rating on Online Chess Platforms:

When beginners sign up on online chess platforms like chess.com, they are typically assigned an initial rating of 800.

This initial rating serves as a starting point for players to gauge their skill level and track their progress.

As a beginner, it’s common to go through significant fluctuations in the rating because chess.com’s computer algorithm doesn’t know what your actual rating should be.

As a result, your rating takes big jumps of around 50 points plus or minus with every game won or lost.

However, this only happens initially or when you log in to your chess account after a very long time. The algorithm is designed that way!

Once you start playing regularly, you will see a plus or minus of a maximum of 10 or even 12 points (if you win against a much higher-rated player or lose against a much lower-rated player).

In a draw, the rating change is typically between +1 and -1, which mostly results in no change (a 0 change). However, at the maximum, I have seen draws resulting in +3 and -3 when playing against players who are way higher or lower rated.

Respectable Beginner Rating in Online Chess:

A respectable beginner rating on platforms like chess.com falls within the range of 800 to 1000 but not before playing at least 20 games.

A rating of 800+ after 20 games means you have won more than you lost, or at least you have drawn and won more games than you lost.

If your rating is above 800, it indicates that you are on the right track and that your chess skills are showing improvement.

This is an encouraging sign, as many beginners struggle to maintain their rating, with some even experiencing sharp declines to 400 or even 100 if they lose 90% of their initial 20 games.

Surprisingly, an average chess rating is 400-500 on big platforms like chess.com, which is terrible!

The Importance of an Upward Trend

No matter what your current chess rating is, if it shows a positive trend on a 30-day, 90-day, or longer chart, it means your rating is on the rise.

Having a rating that trends upwards is a promising sign of a beginner’s progress. It suggests that you are actively learning from your games, analyzing mistakes, and implementing new strategies.

An upward trend also indicates that you are winning more games than you are losing, which is crucial for boosting confidence and maintaining motivation to continue improving.

Respectable Beginner Rating in Official Ratings like FIDE:

Although there are several other official rating systems like USCF in the USA and ECF in England, globally, FIDE is the main body that controls chess.

For those aspiring to take chess more seriously and participate in over-the-board tournaments, the FIDE rating system is the standard.

In the FIDE system, a beginner is assigned an initial rating of 1000 ELO.

Here, your rating won’t fluctuate significantly initially with wins and losses like in online chess, but players taking the game professionally shouldn’t be rated lower than the initial FIDE rating of 1000.

Anything above 1000 is considered good for beginners.

How can a beginner get better at chess?

If you want your chess to blossom and grow in ratings, it’s important to set goals for yourself and study chess.

Work on beginner tactics, and do go through our specific tips based on your rating from the list below:

If you prefer video lessons, make sure to watch Daniel Naroditsky’s speedrun below.

He explains everything while playing, which will greatly help you build your chess vision and improve your ratings.

Targets for a Beginner FIDE Rated Player:

For a beginner with a FIDE rating, a reasonable goal is to maintain or improve the initial rating of 1000 by at least 200 points.

While this might not seem like a massive boost, it is commendable progress for a beginner chess player.

Improving by 200 points will demonstrate dedication, a better understanding of the game, and the ability to compete at a higher level.

Being a 1200 rated FIDE player, you will start to win a game or two in tournaments, which will be a great encouragement.

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