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I'm going to use lichess as an example, but I believe this applies to chessdotcom too. (I think it's better to use lichess as an example anyway because lichess and statistics for Chess960.)

It looks like the average Chess960 player (with non-provisional rating) is (significantly) underrated. Or even that the average player is underrated in Chess960. For a specific definition of underrated, let's try at least 100 points. See for yourself in

  1. seeking for a casual/rated Chess960 game. I bet the 1st person who matches with you and who is non-provisional is going to be underrated (relative to the time control. For example if you do blitz challenge, then I think their standard blitz rating is going to be higher than their Chess960 rating).

  2. these lichess groups: Fischer Random Chess Center and Chess960. I bet a random sample will show you that among the people with non-provisional Chess960 ratings, you can see that their standard ratings, whichever are also non-provisional, are going to be higher than their Chess960 ratings.

I think this is problematic because regular Chess960 players who are, say, 1500-1699 will may have to face people who are like 1200-1699 but their corresponding standard ratings are like 1600-2099. It would be like playing against sandbaggers.

  • An example of what may happen is that the regular Chess960 players get in a position where they have to play for a win when they could otherwise force some repetition or perpetual. The position doesn't even have to be drawish. It could be winning for the regular player, but they have to think a lot to make the winning moves and risk making losing moves, when they could instead think less to make drawish moves.

As to how this might arise: If I am 1530 in blitz standard but 1220 in rapid standard, then let's say I play some Chess960 rapid and get to 1200-1249. Then I decide to play blitz Chess960. I am likely to beat a 1450 in Chess960 in a Chess960 blitz game. In this way, I am underrated because my Chess960 rating represents my rapid strength yet I am playing a blitz game.

Question: Assuming the above statistics are correct, is the average online player (say in lichess or whatever) indeed (significantly) underrated in Chess960? Or...

  • ...or are they actually not considered underrated because in the 1st place lower rated players are unlikely to play Chess960? (Imagine superGMs create new accounts in lichess specifically to play against only other superGMs. Maybe no one would really reach 2500 assuming they all played seriously.)

Related:

  1. Relation between ratings for Chess960 and standard chess

  2. https://chess.stackexchange.com/questions/37314/is-there-an-underratedness-problem-in-online-chess960

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    If you mean chess960 and not 9LX, please use the term chess960 or Fischer random chess. 9LX is a trademark and the name of a tournament of Saint Louis Chess Club.
    – Minot
    Nov 6, 2021 at 7:12
  • @Minot thanks for the info, but i plan to continue to use the term 9LX anyway.
    – BCLC
    Nov 6, 2021 at 8:05
  • @BCLC can it be you really don't understand the (extremely basic) point that BrianTowers has obliged us by making? In what way do you believe an entire population of players can be 'underrated'? In your 'As to how this might arise' example, isn't it obvious that such cases of underratedness should be balanced on average with an equivalent number of overratedness cases (being a lot better in rapid than blitz, for instance)? Nov 6, 2021 at 20:05
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    I think many interesting questions could be asked regarding Chess960: how much worse (in play-quality or absolute strength against some objective cross-game benchmark) do players tend to play in 960 games than standard chess? What's the correlation coefficient between standard chess and Chess960 strength?(both very difficult questions of course: a function of rating, time-control, and the particular Chess960 SP) What about the middlegame play-quality (i.e. does play-quality normalise to that of standard chess after some number of moves)? ... Is your question really the first of these? Nov 6, 2021 at 20:14

1 Answer 1

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Is the average online account underrated in chess960?

No.

You appear to not understand the basic principle of chess ratings. They are not absolute measures of playing ability. They are relative. If player A is rated 2000 and player B is rated 1000 on the same platform, format and time control, then it should be safe to say that player A is a better player than player B at that format and time control. It tells you nothing about their absolute abilities.

The only way in which ratings on different platforms are in any way comparable is that if on platform X player A is higher rated than player B at a given time control and format then you would expect the same to be true on platform Y at the same time control and format.

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