What are the average number of moves per game with regards to what opening has been played?

  • In regards to what ELO rating? Because total average is a lot more different than GM average, or Super GM average
    – MikhailTal
    Sep 16, 2014 at 17:49
  • Average number of moves per game (and other interesting statistics) from a large base of games can be found here: chessgames.com/chessstats.html Could not find one where it was divided for different openings, though. Sep 16, 2014 at 20:45
  • Also I bet you could relate game length to the era and time controls... once upon a time adjourning a game after 40 moves to be continued the next day was common. I could see more people agreeing to draws after checking a position over night. For time controls that are 40 moves in 2 hours, you often see time based loss spikes at the control, or higher rate of mistakes near the time control.
    – tbischel
    Sep 19, 2014 at 16:21

5 Answers 5


I wrote a simple PHP script which parses ELO codes and the corresponding number of moves from chess games in PGN files. This script will output the ELO code and number of moves into a CSV file. The averages can then easily be evaluated in Excel for example.

I ran my script on a PGN file with about 6000 games which I downloaded from The Week in Chess. You can view the result here:

Average # of moves per ECO

Full size

If you want to evaluate millions of games, to get better averages, I suggest you use Pig script or some other scripting languages which can easily handle big chunks of data.


It's not about opening, it's about level of players in game. Beginner vs beginner game tends to have more moves on average, because they do not surrender easily. One forces second to mate him with his rook or something and it lasts forever. Games of serious players are mostly drawish, so let's say 20-40 moves on average. Of course, there are so many exceptions, long endgames etc, but they are rarely met in comparision to "fast" draws. It is really hard to give you exact answer on this. Try to ask more precisevely so we might figure out something


Chessbase already performs this function in "Opening Report" feature. Telling avg # of moves of the games occurring in the database.


I've heard that in high level games the average move count is about 40. It is important to note that there are some quick draws and resignations, thus if a game was played to checkmate, the move count would be higher than 40. I would expect that closed games last longer than open games.


If you consider the ChessGames.com database, whose statistics are posted on http://www.chessgames.com/chessstats.html, that would be around 40 moves. I do not posses the program, but on ChessBase you may use any Mega Database, as pointed out on the thread What is the average length of a game of chess?, check it yourself: you can introduce the first moves of the opening you desire and look up the "median move value".

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