For instance if I analyze a game played in blitz, move by move, between two 2600s, should I expect the moves to be of the same quality as the moves between two 2600s in classical? Or would worse play in blitz be enough to achieve a 2600 rating, given that every player is playing worse moves due to time pressure?

So if someone who's, for instance, 1600 in classical, 1400 in rapid, and 1200 in blitz, does this mean that they are especially reliant in longer time controls and have a pronounced difficulty in performing under time pressure (more so than other people), or is this drop-off in rating expected, because everyone plays worse under time pressure?

4 Answers 4


The way ratings are mathematically defined, they don't express the absolute strength of players, but only the strength of players in a pool relative to each other. So there is no meaning in trying to compare blitz rating and standard rating, the way you are trying to suggest.

For the same reason you cannot compare computer ratings with human ratings, because they are calculated from different pools: computers playing only against computers vs humans playing only against humans.

Also for the same reason you cannot really compare ratings on different websites or online ratings with FIDE ratings.

That being said, most of the good players (above say 2600 in standard) are also decent Blitz players and would have a comparable blitz rating.

Still, speaking of absolute strengths, their blitz games would (on average) be worse quality than their standard games.

Giving a concrete example: Ding Liren and Hikaru Nakamura both have blitz and standard ratings in the 2800. So they are equal in strength in blitz (compared to each other) and in standard, but that is because they are equally worse in blitz....


Generally speaking, the faster the time control, the worse the play will be, but the relative strength of the players will be the same and reflected in the rating. It could be said the the more tactical player will have a lower variance between the different time controls.

My personal example has my quick OTB rating being over 2300, but my classical OTB rating is more than 100 points lower. This exception is due to my exceptional tactical ability and complete lack of positional "understanding". My strengths shine in a quicker game, whereas my weaknesses are easily exploited during a longer game.


1600 in classical, 1400 in rapid, and 1200 in blitz

Blitz is a little different to classical. Fast mouse clicking is an important skills in blitz, so people are not used to spamming pre-moves won't do good in blitz. No point up by a piece with only a few seconds left on the clock.

Yes, your rating reflect how well you perform in that particular time control although someone who is good at blitz is expected to perform well in standard too, and vice versa.

  • 3
    Blitz Chess doesn't require fast mouse clicking skills unless you are playing on a computer, which is an entirely unique subset of chess playing.
    – TylerH
    Mar 25, 2020 at 15:40

if I analyze a game played in blitz, move by move, between two 2600s, should I expect the moves to be of the same quality as the moves between two 2600s in classical?

Of course, I am sure that you mean relative to the speed at which they are required to think for each time control. Faster moves are certainly going to be weaker.

As others mentioned, your rating is a measure of your strength relative to the other players in the rating pool, but even so, if you only consider a single player, and compare that person's actual strength, irrespective of rating, even then, player's strengths can vary significantly from time control to time control.

Take these two examples:

Fabiano Caruana has a reputation for being a weaker blitz and rapid player. Forgetting about specific ratings, he is number two in the world in classical, but number 12 in the world in rapid, and number 36 in the world in blitz.

There is no doubt that he has great understanding, but he also clearly, does not think as fast to be his equivalent ranking in blitz.

The second example is an older person, and I am going to draw on person experience being 58 now. I used to be a very strong blitz player (2450 on ICC when 2800 a strong GM, and only Kasparov and Shirov were over 3000...only later did ratings inflate to the 3300 range), but now, I just know that when I play blitz, my mind is just so much slower now. I can no longer compete at blitz like I once did.

My point is that your understanding of chess does not change from time control to time control, but your ability to put it into practice as quickly as blitz requires does change with various factors, but the biggest one is age for most people.

Just to be clear: You are not going to be able to play blitz-speed moves in a classical tournament as a 2600, and expect to stay 2600, unless maybe you are the next Anand, who was known for his speed of play when he was younger.

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