Context: I'm returning to the game after more than 25 years away! I only got back into it because my 8-year old son joined his elementary school chess club. They all got accounts to chesskid.com. Which in turn is parented by chess.com. I clicked on chess.com to see what that was about, and blam! I was swallowed up into the matrix again!

Anyways, there's not a lot of tournaments where I live, and I went to the Senior Open and talked to the TD. (To show how out of touch I was and still am, I asked him what that electronic device was that some of the players had. He said it was a play counter. I said, "What?" And "how much?"

So I said that I used to play, and do I have to come back as an Unrated since I haven't played since the late 80's? He said no, you always have your rating. He looked me up, and said that I have a 1762 rating!!! I was astonished. All these years I thought I was at best a Class C patzer.

I was astonished, and now I want to make Expert before I die. (I'm in my mid 50's). But as mentioned, there's not a lot of OTB games where I live PLUS I work and have kids and I do a lot of stuff with my 8-year old.

So I anticipate at best 20 tournament games a year. If I finish +4 against all rating classes that I get paired up against (Assuming an effective study plan), how many rating points can I gain, roughly in a year by playing 20 tournament games?

2 Answers 2


I went to the FIDE rating calculator and inputted:

  • Your ELO of 1762
  • An estimate of your opponent's ELO of 1750 (assuming you play roughly equal opposition)
  • The development coefficient of 20 (representing that you have an established rating)

Per game you get a rounded rating change of:

  • +10 for a win
  • 0 for a draw
  • -10 for a loss

At +4 in 20 games, your rating will change by +40 (4 wins to 16 draws) to -120 (4 wins, 16 losses).

  • 1
    I read the +4 as him scoring 4 more wins than losses, so something like +12 -8, or +10 -6 =4
    – Herb
    Apr 20, 2017 at 11:15
  • Thank you both to Bad Bishop and Herb Wolfe! Herb is correct in his interpretation. Apr 20, 2017 at 19:02
  • On a forum at chess.com I was directed to this site: uschess.org/content/view/13146/836 This is a ratings calculator. Apr 20, 2017 at 19:03

Anticipate early losses to bring yourself back to form, and every loss comes with a rating penalty that you will have to make up over the remaining games.

I think +4 over 20 games is a little ambitious, given you will probably be -2 or -3 after your first half dozen games out of sheer rust. that means +6/+7 over the next 14 to reach your goal of +4.

To win half your games is ambitious, assuming you are playing like competition.

  • also, I would check the USCF site and see if you have tournament history and try and project from that in some way to get a better estimate of your abilities. Technically you are a 2nd Category player.
    – Priyome
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:41
  • Thanks for the dose of realism Priyome. You're probably right. I'm very rusty. By the way, what do you think of using chess engines as training partners to knock the rust off? Apr 26, 2017 at 21:24
  • Chess engines are good training partners if you are talking about training games. Just don't get discouraged as they will punish your tactical mistakes severely. Perhaps a mix of training games against engines and online opponents at time limits that are similar to what you would see in a tournament is best. Good luck.
    – Priyome
    Apr 27, 2017 at 23:03

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