It’s every player’s dream to become number one at their game. But the real question is; who decides which player is number one? Well, just like tennis, players competing at chess are also rated. In fact, there are chess rating systems that are used by organizations like the USCF, the English Chess Federation, FIDE and even the ICCF to rate chess players for their performance. And this rating actually decides their ranking.
Before we explore different chess rating systems and how they differ from each other, let us first take a quick look at what exactly is the chess rating system in general and what it is all about.
To begin with, a CRS (Chess Rating System) can be best described as a system that is used in the game of chess for calculating and estimating the strength of a chess player. The strength of every player is based on their performance against other chess players. So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced chess player, if you play the game, then like it or not, you will be rated and ranked. There will be a number that will represent how well you play the game.
Furthermore, if you want to develop your understanding of chess ratings, then you will need to get a better understanding of two things:
1.A rating represents your game playing strength
2.The rating will never be exact. It will be defined in statistical form to get a rating closer to the actual skill set.
Most of the chess systems are particularly used to re-calculate player ratings either after a chess match or tournament. However, there are also some chess systems that re-calculate player ratings after every individual game.
And also, no matter what the chess rating system may be, one thing is common among all rating systems and that is that the higher number always indicates a stronger player. So, if a chess player performs better than what was expected of them, the rating goes up and vice versa. However, what is important to note here is the fact that the magnitude of this change largely depends on the chess ratings of the opponents. So, basically, your rating may be tweaked a little based on how you play the game and how your opponents are doing.
Now that we’ve discussed the basics, let us take a deeper dive and find out the different and popular chess rating systems.
Introduced in 1948, Anton Hoesslinger was the mastermind behind the Ingo Chess Rating System. This chess rating system was primarily used by the WGCF (West German Chess Federation). The method used to rate players in this system was quite simple. The new ratings of the chess players were the average rating of their competition which was subtracted by 1 point for every percentage point above fifty gained in the tournament.
Here’s an interesting thing that you might want to learn about this system, that unlike other chess rating systems, in this system, the lower numbers indicate better player performance. So, that’s definitely something that made INGO CHESS RATING SYSTEM different from other systems that were introduced later.
The Ingo Chess System lasted for 44 years until the Elo Chess Rating System was introduced in the year 1992.
Developed and named after Arpad Elo, the Elo Chess Rating System is quite popular even today. This is perhaps the most popular and common rating systems in chess. The system was well received and is still used by the leading chess organizations like FIDE and the United States Chess Federation to rate chess players. In fact, the popularity of this chess rating system can also be gauged by the fact that it is also being used by several online chess sites to rate players.
The two reasons that have played significant roles in the massive popularity of this rating system in particular are—that there is nothing complex about it and that it has been around for the longest time.
The Elo Chess Rating is a system that calculates the skill-level of players. Originally, this rating system was invented for chess rating but today it is being used in ranking several other multi-player (competitor vs. competitor) games like American Football, MLB, Snooker and Scrabble to name a few.
In this chess rating system, the difference in the rating of 2 players is particularly used as a predictor of the match outcome. For example, a chess player whose rating is hundred points greater as compared to the opponent under this system is expected to score 64 percent. Similarly, if the difference is, let’s say of two hundred points, then the expected chess score of the stronger player will be around 76 percent.
Simply stated, the Elo Chess Rating of a player is characterized by a figure which either decreases or increases depending on the results/outcomes of the games between the rated players (opponents). Wait, there is more to it! Another aspect of this rating system that chess players must understand is that after every chess game, the winning chess player takes away points from the losing player. And this is determined by the difference between the winner’s and the loser’s rating. This difference determines the points lost or gained after every chess game.
Another thing is that although different organizations like the USCF and FIDE use this chess rating system but they have their own and different implementation of this system. In other words, none of the bodies use the original Elo interpretation precisely. The system has been modified by each body.
For example, FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) or the World Chess Federation under the Elo system classifies tournaments into different categories according to the average-ratings of the chess players. And each of these categories is twenty-five points wide in rating. Here’s a quick example to understand this better. Category one (in FIDE Elo Based System) is for an average rating of 2251 to 2275 while Category two is 2276 to 2300.
Likewise, the USCF has its own take on the Elo Chess Rating System. In the USCF Elo-Based System, the K-factor varies. And besides this, there are also bonus points for players delivering excellent performance in a chess tournament. Generally, the USCF points are roughly fifty or hundred points higher as compared to the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) equivalents.
When playing chess in Australia, you’re most likely to come across the Glicko Chess Rating System. This chess rating system is quite popular in this part of the world. It is used by the Australian Chess Federation and several other Australian chess organizations.
Mark Glickman is said to be the brainchild behind this chess rating system. He introduced this chess system as an improvement and a new take on the Elo chess rating system. The principal contribution of this system is the ratings reliability called the ratings deviation or RD. The ratings deviation measures the accuracy of the chess players rating with one rating deviation (RD) being equal to 1 standard deviation.
In comparison to the Elo Chess Rating System, it is slightly more complex. To help you understand it better, let us take a look at an example:
According to the Glicko Chess Ratings System, a player that has a rating of fifteen-hundred and ratings deviation of fifty would have a real strength of about 1400 & 1600. This is 2 standard deviations from fifteen-hundred with 95 percent confidence. The RD (ratings deviation) is added as well as subtracted twice from the rating to deduce this range.
After the game, the amount the rating changes largely depends on the RD. Please note that the change is much smaller when the RD of the player is low, and when their chess opponent’s ratings deviation is high. The ratings deviation in itself lowers after playing a chess game but it will gradually increase over time of inactivity.
The Glicko 2 chess rating system is a further refined version of the original Glicko chess rating system which has not only been introduced but also implemented by the ACF (Australian Chess Federation). The Glicko 2 chess rating system improves upon the original Glicko chess system as it introduces a new factor called the rating volatility σ.
On a closing note, to all the chess players and fanatics out there, it is all about playing your ‘A’ game while enjoying it. Don’t let the fun go out the window in the quest of improving your chess rating.