What Is a Good Chess Rating?

If you’re a chess enthusiast or someone just starting to get into the sport, you may have heard the term “chess rating.” This ranking system is an invaluable asset to every player. It can also say a lot about their performance and level of expertise.

In this article, we’re going to answer questions like, “What’s a good chess rating?’ And what rating do you need to have before you can consider yourself a good chess player?’

Through this post, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of chess rating, the systems behind it, and what it says about chess players like you.

Let’s dive in.

In short, a good chess rating is 2000 elo points or higher. These players have a solid foundation of the general understanding of chess which includes piece activity, planning, strategy, imbalances and the ability to calculate at least 3 moves deep. 

What Is a Chess Rating?

Chess ratings are a simple way to describe players’ skill levels and their probability of winning a game against other rated players. It’s been a widely employed tool, especially since the rise of online chess servers.

Chess ratings range from 400 to more than 2000. Most players have a rating of around 1400, and those at the grandmaster level have ratings of over 2000. The highest chess rating belongs to grandmaster Magnus Carlsen who holds a rating of 2882.

Chess ratings determine pairings for tournaments, and in some cases, they decide the eligibility of a player. So, where do these ratings come from, and how are they determined?

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Chess Rating Systems

There are different rating systems used by chess servers today. The three main systems are Elo, Glicko 1, and Glicko 2. The most ancient of these is Elo.

Glicko 1 and Glicko 2 are improved systems that offer better accuracy. Different chess federations and sites use different systems. So, while they may share various similarities, it’s hard to compare numbers across servers directly.

Chess servers that use the Elo system are the Internet Chess Club, Chess24.com, and the International Chess Federation. Meanwhile, the servers that implement the Glicko 1 system are Free Internet Chess Server (FICS) and Chess.com, whereas Lichess.org uses the Glicko 2 system.

All systems use mathematics and probability concepts to effectively calculate players’ performance using statistics from all the games they’ve played. These calculations are then integrated into the servers, which then provides each player with a corresponding rating.

To better understand the implications of these ratings and their corresponding titles, take a look at the rating scale below.

Chess Rating Scale (Elo System)

We’ll be using the Elo system as it’s currently the most popular one.

Title Chess Rating Range
Novice 1000–1200
Class D 1200–1400
Class C 1400–1600
Class B 1600–1800
Class A 1800–2000
Expert or Candidate Master (CM) 2000–2200
National Master (NM) 2200–2400
International Master (IM) 2400–2500
Grandmaster (GM) 2500–2700
Super Grandmaster 2700+

Chess Rating Titles

Each title sheds a kind of brief explanation of the level of proficiency and skill of a player in a certain class. Scroll down to find out more about each of these titles.

Novices (100–1200)

Novices are those just starting to familiarize themselves with the board, the pieces, and the rules. Most of the world’s population belongs to this category.

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A lot of people know the basics of chess: the positions, rules, and some fundamental tactics. At this point, players still make mistakes and are probably playing for fun.

Class D (1200–1400)

Class D players can be considered novices. They’ve managed to gain some experience and make fewer mistakes.

Nevertheless, they’re still at that stage where they’ve mastered basic tactics like pins, skewers, and forks, but struggle with strategic play, positional chess and calculation.

Class C to Class B (1400–1800)

Class C to Class B players have a trick or two up their sleeves, but some of their attacks are a bit premature. This class still struggles with positional understanding of chess, but are still capable of surprise victories over stronger opponents.

They possess sufficient playing skills, and make fewer blunders compared to Class D. However, there are many loopholes in their knowledge of chess which can lead to them making mistakes. The middlegame is where these players tend to struggle with.

Class A (1800–2000)

Class A levels are the ‘peak of the mountain.’ Players are almost at the level of becoming an expert (2000 Elo) but still lack a bit of training. They’ve mastered general principles of chess, but most lack the advanced chess knowledge to take down a real expert.

Experts (2000–2200)

Experts are above class A chess players but still haven’t reached the master level. They can carry out multiple thinking processes and apply strategic ideas throughout the game.

Players who have reached this stage should continue to go up against better opponents to improve their skills and get their titles.

Masters (2200–2700+)

Masters are the world’s chess elite. Years of experience have enabled them to gain a deeper understanding of the game. A master possess the skill to easily beat most amateur players. They can outplay weaker opponents without even trying.

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They’re trained to have intuitive responses to complex positions and have an impressive set of strategies and tactics that make for highly interesting games. Most grandmasters have unique talent such as being able to calculate up to 10-14 moves deep, or being able to memorize the chess position in their head without seeing the actual board.

Which Rating Makes You a Good Chess Player?

So, at what point can you call yourself a competent chess player? It depends on the player.

Maybe you’re the best player among your friends or your chess-playing community. This will earn you the title ‘a good chess player.’

Although, most starting players with enough knowledge and experience in chess can probably beat the majority of the non-professional players they know. So for beginners, a Class D rating is considered a good start.

However, compared with other chess players worldwide, a higher rating may be better.

Chess ratings are an effective way to measure your performance against global players. So, to be a good player among a pool of chess enthusiasts around the world and compete with each other on online servers, you should have at least a higher-than-average rating.

Class B players have decent skills and sufficient experience. At such a point, they’ve built a strong foundation. Given enough time and training, they may potentially advance to becoming experts.


Chess ratings are standard in the chess community. Serious players need to gauge their performance by monitoring their ratings and developing their playing style to climb the rating scale.

What makes a good player is hard work and determination. With regular practice and focus, promising players can earn themselves higher-than-average ratings.

So, with all this new knowledge of chess ratings, it’s time to improve yours by competing in more games and practicing more often!