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Is there an average rating? If so, what is it?

I saw this in a chess.com forum:

There's no such thing as an "average" chess rating, but a solid club-level chess player might be rate somewhere around 1500-1700. In general, a person's rating will increase as that person becomes more experienced.

Although, on chess.com, 1500-1700 is around 1800-2000 on lichess. Personally, I'm 1950 rated in lichess blitz and I consider myself average.

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4 Answers 4

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By average, chess sites mean the rating of all players divided by a total number of players on their website.

Here's the distribution for Lichess Blitz

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As you can see Your rating refers to the place where you are in terms of other players and the point of 50% on the yellow line tell us the average rating which is around 1510.

Here's the distribution for Chess.com Blitz

enter image description here

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I don't have the chesscom data or FIDE data but for Lichess, there is a distribution which also can show the average. According to that distribution, the average of blitz is about 1500.

dist

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  • i wish lichess had full time data instead of weekly, although that might crash the server :P
    – DialFrost
    Jan 26 at 6:16
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    I actually like the weekly output here. On chess.com they tell you this " with your elo you are better than 80 % of players in this mode". And I really don't know what this number is actually telling me. Are there players included, that haven't played in years? With weekly I know that it's rather up-to date numbers.
    – Christian
    Jan 26 at 8:22
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    Worth noting that lichess actively tries to keep that average (or rather the median) around 1500. I.e. when it deviates too much there is some planned deflation / inflation.
    – koedem
    Jan 26 at 15:06
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    What's up with the spikiness that begins around 1200? Jan 26 at 16:00
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    actually the average rating given here is slightly closer to 1600. you still have to take in account the higher rated players that pull the average slightly up
    – DialFrost
    Apr 8 at 4:39
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This is a question of mathematical definition as much as it is about chess.

Whenever you have some kind of measurement you have three different "averages":

  1. Mean - add up all the numbers and divide by how many there are. This is the most commonly used meaning of "average".
  2. Median - line all the numbers up in order and then the middle number is the median.
  3. Mode - count how many times each number occurs. The most common number is the mode. Slightly problematic as you can have more than one mode if there is a tie.

Is there an average rating? and if there is what is it?

Since ratings are systems where different numbers are assigned to different players then each rating system has an averages for each different measurement.

Using the latest (January 2022) FIDE data here are the means for FIDE rated standard, rapid and blitz:

FIDE Standard - 1647
FIDE Rapid - 1567
FIDE Blitz - 1640

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In my experience, it's a fact of human psychology in any endeavor that regardless of how good someone is objectively, they usually consider people around their own level of skill to be "ok" or "pretty good".

People at a level that is a bit better than them, but seems achievable, are considered "good". People they can consistently beat are considered not very good.

One reason this is true is that people feel like reaching their current level is relatively easy (after all, they were able to do it), but reaching beyond that level is pretty difficult (after all, they're currently struggling to do it).

Another reason this is true is that you usually compete against people about your level, so you have about an equal win and loss rate, so you think of yourself as okay or average.

Another reason is that if you tend to meet and hang out with people about your level, some a bit better, some a bit worse. So you get used to thinking of your level as normal, even if you belong to an advanced club and everyone you hang out with is exceptionally good, and yourself in the middle.

The above applies to athletics, gaming, academics, etc. A similar phenomenon is that most people think of themselves as not quite as talented as most people, but a harder worker.

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  • i like this answer a lot! thx usul
    – DialFrost
    Apr 8 at 0:35

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