I gave someone 3 months to become as good a chess player as I am. She was just a beginner and I'm a slightly below average player (around 1500 elo).

To see if she managed to do this, I figured we should play a chess match consisting of multiple games.

But what is a reasonable or standard amount of games to play in a chess match (or a 2 player tournament, if you will)?

  • Seriously, 3 months from beginner to 1500? If you do 8 hours a day, 3month gives less than 1000 hours. I have spent more than that on chess tactics puzzles alone and I struggle at 1800.
    – jf328
    Oct 12 '16 at 14:57
  • Ha, she likes a challenge. I don't think she succeeded though.
    – wvdz
    Oct 12 '16 at 15:11

The amount of games in a match is usually* even, to guarantee an equal balance between White and Black. 2 game (mini)-matches are rare, except in knock-out tournaments like the Chess World Cup. More games will produce a more reliable result, so you should play as many games as you have time for, but 4 games should already give a good indication about who's the better player. With some mathematics and the expected performance formula you can calculate the odds of losing an X-game match to a player who is Y ELO points better/worse than you.

*: The only exception is an Armageddon game which can be used after a match which ended in a draw (i.e. the same score for both players).


Play 6 games at G15 or G30. record all the games so you can review them afterwards. That will give you just enough games to gage her play.

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