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I am rated 1330 for Blitz on Lichess. I was trounced by a clearly better player who had a lower ranking of 1315 for Blitz. Their profile also shows a Rapid rating of 1729.

Is it possible for these both the Blitz (34 percentile) and Rapid (70 percentile) ratings to be a true reflection of the player's ability? Both ratings are on over 300 games.

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On chess.com my ratings are:

  • Blitz: 1339
  • Rapid: 1721
  • Daily: 2153

My understanding of chess doesn't change based on time control. I am poor at quickly performing safety checks and so blunder more at faster time controls.

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There are several factors involved with rating differences:

  1. There is no one-to-one mapping between blitz and rapid ratings on online sites such as lichess and chess.com. Usually, the blitz pool has much more experienced and stronger players, thus your rating in blitz could be (much) lower. But this is also subject to your actual rating. For example, if your rating is 1200 in blitz, then your rapid rating could be 1600 since lower-rated players in rapid are weaker than blitz pool (with the same rating I mean: 1300 blitz player is usually much stronger than 1300 rapid player). But if your blitz rating is high, e.g., 2600 blitz, then it could be that your rapid rating is not much higher than your blitz since not many high rated players actively play rapid online, thus you don't get a chance to actually increase your rating too much.

  2. Many players are good in the middle game but they don't have a good opening knowledge, so at the start they have to think about their moves, and consequently, they are not good at blitz, since there you should be rather quick in the opening.

  3. Clearly one other factor is the cheating possibilities. It is much easier to cheat in a rapid game than a blitz match, especially for those who are not good at chess. I'm not playing rapid in lichess so I don't know what is the exact cheating situation there, but for chess.com, I can tell there is a good chance of facing a cheater in a handful of games (at least in my rating bracket).

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  • Why do you say the blitz pool has stronger players?
    – qwr
    Jun 24 at 6:41
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    @qwr, according to my experience with online chess. E.g. check high-rated players (chess.com or lichess), and see how much rapid game they played, and compare it with their blitz game. The number of their rapid games usually tends to be zero (clearly there are exceptions), but they play blitz and bullet quite often. Even if you argue that rapid games are longer, e.g. they need 3x more time to play than blitz games, usually, such players play multiple of magnitude more blitz games than rapid (even their rapids are usually for prizes). Thus online blitz has a much stronger pool of active players Jun 24 at 10:00
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First of all, offhand I don't see what advantage "differential sandbagging" would bring on Lichess, but then, I never played online. That said, I can come up with much more legit possibilities for person X having a vast rating difference in different modes:

  • It's genuine and style-based. I bet my own rating would be vastly higher in Blitz (even with 60 :-), at least 100 points.
  • Even on same (OTB tournament) mode, my ELO was constantly 100 points higher than my national rating. This is the influence of the opponents sample (naturally my ELO opponents are far stronger in average), and can be prevalent in this example too.
  • Also, in statistic you must ask: On how many games is the rating based? Especially in the weaker echelon, huge "daily" strength fluctuations can occur.
  • All kids of my chess club love playing online, and I clicked a bit through their profiles. Already the third also had 400 points difference between blitz and rapid, with around 50 games each. Given that the number of Lichess players is a few orders higher than the number of kids in my chess club (too bad), the probability of a stable 400 point difference caused merely by a statistic fluke skyrockets.
  • I know another guy in my chess club, who has (had?) about 1000 rating points less than me and constantly brought me into trouble since he knew openings. Same could happen here, if you start already bad out of the opening, trounceville.
  • That said, have you checked the errors of the game with a computer? If, objectively, you constantly handed points back and fro (rather common at 1300), it still can feel like a trounce.

tl;dr: I wouldn't think for a second of any foul play.

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  • statistic fluke skyrockets?! Jun 23 at 21:20
  • @MichaelWest: I'm a German ;-) (difference CLAUSE skyrockets is how it should parse...) Jun 24 at 7:21
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My real FIDE Elo was 2400 at max in 199x and in 2018 my real blitz rating was 17xx(Now I got few hundred points back in few tournaments). Not everybody who plays on platforms or even in tournaments have your "professional attitude" and cares about rating - I don't care about my - I play for fun, intentionally go for high risk combinations often loose to 1500-1600 players but at same time when I meet GMs I pretty often beat them or play on equals as that game for me makes sense and I'm concentrating and not playing fake combos just for fun. My online ratings are fluctuating like hell as I often play at work while in boring meetings and just resign when asked question and have to go or sometimes loose stupidly due to double focus! My own top rating on lichess is 23xx and often it falls to 22xx or even 20xx, but at the same time I have a 2400+ player against whom I lead 6:0, because I play those games - they make sense to work for me - if I play you I may easily loose as I don't care - I know I'm better player, nothing to prove.

So only 400 points diff between 2 online ratings and with different time controls - good but slow player. Or may be like me - does not care ratings!

Obviously it can be both - true reflection of players ability to play at certain speeds(lot of old people are just not good with mouse controls for example, so they loose fast games by quickly getting into time trouble) and it can be reflection of players true rating due to careless play or fun attitude!

Players like you who are analyzing his opponent ratings after the game instead of game itself never learn a game itself. If you will not change your attitude you will never learn to play chess!

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  • @SaeedAmiri try to play careless - will see how easy it is to loose :D. As I said - you are bad at reading: Q: Is it possible for these both the Blitz (34 percentile) and Rapid (70 percentile) ratings to be a true reflection of the player's ability? Both ratings are on over 300 games? A: Obviously it can be both - true reflection of players ability to play at certain speeds(lot of old people are just not good with mouse controls for example, so they loose fast games by quickly getting into time trouble) and it can be reflection of players true rating due to careless play or fun attitude!
    – Drako
    Jun 24 at 10:28
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Check out https://chessgoals.com/rating-comparison/

They have a table showing a Lichess blitz of 1365 generally corresponds with rapid of 1550 +/- 140, so upper bound of 1690 one standard deviation away. This means in their analysis, 16% of Lichess players would have around 1365 blitz and above 1690 rapid.

This is really not a huge difference, and if you were wondering whether they are cheating, 1700 Lichess rapid is pretty low (would be about 1300 USCF).

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