I've found several sources that indicate that Arpad Elo was a "master-level chess player", but it's been very difficult to find any information about what Elo's own rating would have been under his own system - primarily because if you do the obvious Internet searches like arpad elo rating, you just get flooded with search results about the Elo rating system itself, and other players' Elo ratings. The Wikipedia article on Elo doesn't include any information about his own rating, and Chessmetrics doesn't include any information about Elo's rating either.

Is there any source that gives any information about what Elo's own rating would have been?

  • I'm posting this as a self-answered question because I was curious about this, and it was really hard to find any information about this topic - so I thought it would be a good thing to post it here to preserve the information and possibly save others the trouble of digging for it. If anyone has any other references for Elo's own rating, I'd be interested to know about it.
    – patbarron
    Jun 23, 2021 at 22:26

2 Answers 2


Arpad Elo was rated 2065 in the August 5 1960 Chess Life ratings list. I believe this list was the first he appeared in that used his Elo system rather than the previous Harkness system. Elo turned 57 years old that month, and he was likely stronger than that when he was younger.

In the November 20 1950 ratings list, which used the Harkness system, Elo was rated 2266. In this system, this rating was considered expert level.

  • 1
    Accepting this answer rather than my own, because it directly reflects what Elo's Elo rating actually was - not (as I presume from the quote in my answer - that I haven't been able to find an original source for...) going back and retrospectively applying the rating system to past play to compute what the rating would have been if the system had been in place...
    – patbarron
    Jun 26, 2021 at 0:15
  • For reference, from the graphs for males' rating vs age Elo's peak Elo rating can be estimated to be 2180.
    – user21820
    Jun 26, 2021 at 5:42

According to this article on the Chessbase site:

Using his own rating system to estimate his playing strength, he calculated his best five-year average rating at 2230 – enough to have earned for him the national master title.

In this context, "national master" refers to the USCF National Master title.

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