I noticed on lichess.org that the shorter the time control, the higher the world-leading elo is. Is there a simple explanation for that?

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I also noticed that, in the meantime, the shorter the time control, the lower the median is vof all players. I think it is because, the shorter the game is, the more you need to know by heart many openings and the more you need to be skilled to be good at such mode.

  • One factor could be that you need an arbitrary baseline. When blitz ELO was invented, maybe just the OTB ELO was copied over. This might have introduced an error (nothing guarantees that the two are the same), with the result that now the blitz ELO is constantly higher (which would be nothing strange - e.g. the ELO is constantly higher than the national German rating, so such effects exist). Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 18:47

2 Answers 2


I think the key of this is number of played games.

Nihalsarin2004 9440 bullet games

konevlad 1113 blitz games

Zhigalko_Sergei 257 rapid games

Biranidun 84 clasic games

  • And more generally speaking, the more games played by all users=more inflation/changes from the mean
    – pulsar512b
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 22:20

In addition to number of games played, draw rate is a very important factor. The top players will mainly have their ratings brought down by draws against lower rated players. For high level chess, blitz has an 18.5% draw rate compared with a 30.8% for rapid, and 36.9% for classical. Shorter TC allows super-GM level players to do weirder things to bring GMs or IMs way out of their comfort zone, and thus gives them more opportunities to win.

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