I started playing chess around 1 year ago, all I have done is watch some videos and play online, so my knowledge is pretty poor. I am coming to a new city and I was thinking about joining a chess club, although given my level I am a bit ashamed of doing so. I wrote them and they told me the club is pretty strong, but I can go and give it a try anyway, which only scared me more.

Since I have never played anyone with a fide rating I really don't know my strength, so I was wondering if pasting a game here would allow someone with a deeper knowledge to make a (very) rough estimation:

[FEN ""]
1. e4 c5 2. Bc4  e6 3. Nc3 Ne7 4. f4 d5 5. exd5 exd5 6. Bb5+ Bd7 7.    Bxd7+ Qxd7 8. Nf3 Nbc6 9. O-O g6 10. d3 Bg7 11. Re1 O-O 12. Bd2 Nf5 13. Ng5 Ncd4 14. Rc1 Nh4 15. Rf1 Rae8 16. g3 Nhf5 17. Qg4 b5 18. Rfe1 Rxe1+ 19. Bxe1 Re8 20. Bf2 b4 21. Bxd4 Bxd4+

That's the game I just played (I'm black), for some reason I don't have an account on a website yet so the rest are not saved. Although I must admit I am very proud of that one, so maybe is not very representative (I can play more games and post them later if necessary). I just want a bunch of opinions so I can get an idea if I am close to the "club level".

P.D. The chess club is called Sk1968, in case someone knows how to check the members, so far I have not managed to do it.

  • 2
    I used to go to a chess club when I was around 12 and was absolutely crushed by someone who was 7. And I was one of the smartest people in my class. You know how many times I as made to feel bad? Exactly zero. Not even accidentally. There was only a "what can we do to get better" attitude from everyone - the adults and the children. My experience with every chess club I've encountered was the same.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 18:03
  • Send them a follow-up question: do they have support/facilities for new/unexperienced players?
    – user4378
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 12:07
  • You can consider finding a coffee shop where chess players play. They tend to be worse than club players.
    – Ywapom
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 22:43

4 Answers 4


You should try it. Over the board chess is a very different experience, the social aspect is a lot of fun and the level of concentration required very different from online. Also there is no better way to improve your chess than discussing a game with your opponent afterwards.

It appears you're talking about "Skakklubben 1968" in Århus, Denmark. It appears to have about 100 members! They probably have quite a few people showing up for their club evenings, which is fun and it means they're likely to have a lot of different skill levels playing.

Danish ratings (not FIDE, but I suppose similar) can be found on www.skak.dk; in particular, for this club at this page. That's a very strong club indeed, with ten 2200+ players! But the bottom are around 1000-1200 or so, so that's OK.

But, in general, when starting at a chess club as an adult you may well have a hard time. Some people lose everything their first year! From playing online, you're not used to the kind of people who don't attack much, don't play opening theory much, don't know much about positional play try to stay solid, but grab their chance when you drop a pawn to a small combination and then just exchange everything and win with it. Stick with it, it's worth it! You'll eventually beat them easily if you just keep improving.

  • 1
    I second this answer. I saw on the website the results of a FIDE rated tourney where ratings went from 1328-1628. From your sample game you will not disgrace yourself. You have a good sense of where the pieces should go to and I didn't notice any obvious blunders. The club does have some very strong players and you will learn a lot just by hanging out, but I don't think you will be humiliated. Good luck, go for it!
    – Philip Roe
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 17:12

Every chess club I know has players of different strength starting from beginners to (depending on the club) master players. Sk1968 seems to be no exception. The lower rated players might be in the majority kids, but in any case there should be somebody at comparable level to yours. Any level is "club level", so don't be scared. Just hanging around a chess club you should be able to pick up lots of useful tips and improve your level quickly. In my experience chess clubs are rather welcoming to new players.

It is difficult to judge your level from a single game. In the game you posted, white played a bit passively, did not pose any problems to you and also made several small positional mistakes, without blundering anything.

You showed a good sense of where to put the pieces and therefore gradually improved your position until achieving a winning position. You found a good plan with the b5-b4 push removing the knight on c3 from the defense of e2. Out of four possible final moves you also found the correct move (Bxd4+) which wins a piece.

Taking all this into account I would put you well above the beginners (rating 1000) who tend to blunder pieces and put their pieces/pawns on weird squares. Based on this game I'd give you at least a 1600, but could well be a lot more. Need to see many more games for a more reliable estimate of your strength. In the end playing strength/rating is determined by many factors such as how good you are at endgames, at difficult tactics, when defending, in opening knowledge, etc.

  • 5
    It's only fair to say it could be a lot less, as well. 1600 is a fairly strong rating to extrapolate from a single game and, as you note, strength estimation from a single game is pretty unreliable. I know people around 1200-1300 who play games like this regularly. I don't intend this as a real criticism, I just don't want OP to go in with inflated expectations because they think of themself as a 1600 (or possibly much higher) player. Conservative statement is that OP exhibits solid chess fundamentals in this game and is unlikely to feel foolish at a club.
    – Dennis
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 1:44
  • @Agreed that there is a large error margin to my estimate. Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 8:32

You should never be ashamed of playing or losing a chess game - each loss is an opportunity to learn something.

Chess clubs are the bread and butter of the social chess scene. You should prefer a club to any online playing if at all possible. Much can be learned from watching two stronger players review a game they played in-the-flesh or review one of your losses against a stronger player. Those opportunities just don't happen online, as everyone is in such a hurry to find the next game and the next rating points hustle. Not to mention that people online can be really rude and impatient.

Good luck.


Two questions two answers:

Join a club? Not if you want to improve. You need to study a lot more before you start playing for fun.

Estimate of strength? Looking at the sample game I would guess the range of ~1400 USCF but it could be a LOT lower or somewhat higher depending on several full games.

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