My initial rating came out to be 1166. At the time I played the games against the rated players, which gave me this rating, I did not know much about the rating system and would often agree to draw with lower rated players. But now I see that it will be really difficult to improve my rating even if I improve my play, as defeating higher rated players will not give me much of a push. Can I reset my rating and become unrated again? What can I do?

  • 2
    Just read books, improve your tactics and play again.
    – SmallChess
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 10:38
  • 3
    Why are you interested in your rating? Is it that you have a long term ambition to become titled? All the rating does in practical terms is match you with similar opposition. If you beat them all the time, you will climb the ratings ladder.
    – user1108
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 10:59
  • FIDE or USCF eating, and how many games have you played? If you haven't played enough games, your rating would still be provisional, and it's possible for it to fluctuate more than after its been established.
    – Herb
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 12:56
  • what makes you think your rating is too low? Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 0:44

5 Answers 5


It depends on how much more rated those players are. But you should get lots of rating defeating a higher rated player.

Aside that, the only way to improve your rating is to become better at playing chess. You can't expect your rating to increase drastically after a few games. Just improve your tactics, learn good openings, tactics, practice with better players at a chess club (this way they can help you and teach you which is useful).

Eventually you'll have an easier time defeating higher rated players and your rating will increase.

Good luck with it, just a question, you're playing online? I'd really recommend going to a chess club.


I think you are too obsessed with ratings in general. Try to not think about your and your opponents' ratings and just focus on playing a good game.

Ratings only get important:

  • if you want to get a title such as IM, GM
  • if you want to be invited to some (usually high level) tournaments
  • for prestige, e.g. if you want to teach chess for money

In any case you are very far from these and the only effect your rating currently has is that it affects pairings in (some) swiss tournaments. But if you play much above your rating, winning the first few rounds you would soon be paired to stronger opponents anyway.

A rating of 1166 is rather low and if you do improve your chess you will automatically also improve your rating. For example if you play at a level around 1800 you should be able to gain around 50 rating points in a tournament. (this rating gain will slow down as you get closer to 1800, unless you increase your playing strength further).

  • that would take 12 tournaments to get to his 1800 level if that was really it. by then he might be 2000 level. the rating system is broken if it takes that long to get to the correct place. Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 0:46

Can I reset my rating and become unrated again?

In the USCF, no. Even if you stop paying your dues and become inactive, you still keep your rating.

In FIDE, it is possible to lose your rating. The minimum rating is 1000, and if you go below this, you become unrated and can get a new rating. However, it is unethical to purposely lose games to lower your rating. It also may take longer than you think; the fastest way to lose rating points is to lose to someone rated below you, but any player significantly weaker than you would be unrated, and losing to an unrated player does nothing to lower your rating. It would likely take multiple tournaments, plus another tournament to get a new rating. And what happens if the tournament where you get a new rating is a poor one? Are you going to throw a bunch more games and do it again?

There's no need to lose your rating. Just improve the one you have.

defeating higher rated players will not give me much of a push.

In FIDE, the "K" value which determines how fast your rating changes is high for your first 30 games, or if you have not reached your 18th birthday (if your rating is below 2300). If you are within either of those, your rating will still change relatively quickly; a single win against an opponent rated the same as you would get you 20 points, and a win against some rated higher would get you more.

In the USCF, your rating will also change more quickly if you have few games played. Even if you've played too many games for this to apply, it also changes more quickly for low rated players. Also, in the USCF you get "bonus" rating points if your performance at a tournament is significantly better than what your rating would predict.

Let's take an example to see how this would work for you. Let's say that you have 15 games already played, your current rating is 1166, and that in your next tournament you face 4 players each rated 1300. In FIDE you would gain about 69 points if you went 3/4 against that opposition, or about 109 points if you went 4/4. In the USCF, you would gain about 138 points for going 3/4, or about 233 points for going 4/4.

So, even if you are currently underrated, your rating will quickly get to a proper level if you just play in a few more tournaments.

  • he could change his name. might need a new address too in case their member DB checks things like that. Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 0:51
  • 1
    There might be ways to game the system, but it would be against the rules, and would be corrected if discovered.
    – D M
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 2:42
  • people cheat all the time. i bet some game the system too. how often do they discover it? what would be the penalty for using his middle name instead of his first name and acting dumb like he was a new player? Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 2:43
  • Everyone else isn't answering the question well and just saying not to worry about it or play more, you are the only I see explaining how USCF does bonus points etc. Thanks.
    – Alan
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 8:46

There are two possibilities:

  1. Your rating is more-or-less accurate or too high.
  2. Your rating is vastly too low.

If we are in situation 1, then your solution is to play more chess and thereby get better at chess, which will get you into situation 2.

If we are in situation 2, then you will win far more games than your rating would suggest, so your rating will increase rapidly until the problem solves itself.

In either case, the solution is the same - play more chess.

  • yet user1583209 above said it would take 12 tournaments to get to his correct level if it were 1800. that does not seem rapid to me. so which is it. a very slow 12 tournaments or actually rapid . which of the claims is correct? Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 0:48
  • That's an extremely pessimistic estimate. That being said: your true rating absolutely is not 1800. If it were, you would have comfortably won essentially every one of the games in question, so the "agreeing to draw" would never have come up. Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 1:28

play in a national tournament and win it. your rating WILL go UP.

  • Well, probably, but not many people are capable of winning a national tournament, so I'm not sure this is relevant advice.
    – D M
    Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 19:44
  • Everybody complains that their rating is too low. Even if you do not win if you play in a BIG tournament and dont give draws like they claimed they did but actually win some more games their rating will be quickly adjusted to what it should be. Keep playing in small local tournaments and give draws instead of fighting like Fischer and the rating will still be accurate just lower than they think it should be. Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 19:57

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