I play a fair amount of chess online, on a chess site that updates my chess rating based on my performance using, I believe, the ELO system.

I do not play in rated, "real" tournaments that often, and so I do not have an official ELO rating.

Is my online chess rating a good estimate of my "real" rating? I've heard that one's online rating is systematically biased upwards compared with one's "real" rating, is there any truth to this?

  • 2
    Mathematically, one cannot compare the ratings from two different pools of players.
    – Tony Ennis
    Sep 13, 2015 at 12:23
  • 2
    Mathematically, you can measure the correlation between ratings from two different pools of players, compare them, and make (more or less reliable) estimates on what your FIDE rating will be.
    – JiK
    Sep 14, 2015 at 10:05

4 Answers 4


That depends a lot on the platform.

My different online ratings differ by more than 500 points. And there is the additional factor that online chess is not tournament chess. The time control is either faster or looser and you don't have to play at set times. Also your opponents tend to be less serious about it.

Chess24 has high ratings, ICC has low ratings, your Elo is probably somewhere in between, but to speak of a good estimate would be an exaggeration.


Like others said, it is definitely dependent on the pool of players. My online Elo is around 1800+, but in OTB tournaments (FIDE), my estimated Elo is around 1300. It looks like most players in my OTB pool, have chess progress similar to each other. So when we end up playing each other, we just end up stealing rating points from one another. Typically these tournaments also have rating cut-offs - for example Under 1500 only. This causes kind of a problem. Lower rated players never get to play rated players above 1500 ever (unless they go to open tournaments). It has a domino effect- Players rated 1500 and below think, if we don't even stand a chance against players in our own pool, what is the point of attending open tournaments?

So, a player rated Elo 1300 in one FIDE pool (country / federation), maybe of Elo 1600 when compared with players of another federation!


No. Ratings depend on the time control, as well as the pool of players being rated. And that latter depends a lot on how many games against other players occur to mix the results so they are meaningful.

Too many players play too many games against the same players or sub pool which prevents ratings from being more accurate.

Next would be the rating method used. Many online ratings use their over version that is different from FIDE or USCF.

And whatever online rating you have it will be way higher than your OTB rating would be at that same time control. And for weaker players it will be even yet a lot more lower than if you played OTB at slow tournament controls.

If you want an ELO rating then play in ELO-rated tournaments.


A rating only has value in the 'group' where you get it. If you play in a local chess club in which you are the strongest then your rating will be higher then when you are the weakest of the group.

Online my ELO is a bit over 1000 whereas over-the-board I am valued around 1600. Which is correct?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.