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I am confused about the starting elo rating of new members at chess.com. Most of them start at 1200 but some of them have 800, 1000, 1400, 1600 or even 1800. How is it decided what is the initial value of the elo rating of a new member?

  • I was under the impression that everyone starts at 1200. Why do you think that some people start at different elo ratings. – CognisMantis Mar 26 '15 at 16:57
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    Apparently you can now pick your rating during registration. chess.com/forum/view/general/rating-start – user1583209 Feb 13 '17 at 0:56
  • Yes, indeed you can, but of course, if you are not legitimately an expert at chess, you will find your Elo rating decrease drastically after playing several games. – Quantum Entanglement May 14 '19 at 11:25
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You can select your starting rating on the register page by changing the skill level options.

For example, if you select "expert" your starting ratings will be 1800 (at least when I tried it).

So, to answer your question, "How is it decided what is the initial value of the elo rating of a new member?", it is decided by what option the user chooses.

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Summary of the glicko system:

You have a score, like you start at 1200, but you also have a RD (rating deviation). When you first play games, you have a large RD, meaning your actual skill could be 1200 + or - a large number, but it can't tell what that skill is until you play a lot of games, decreasing your RD. Hope this helps.

Further Information:

Look at this link: http://www.chess.com/article/view/chess-ratings---how-they-work

It talks about the Glicko System. Ctr + F then search to find it or scroll down. Shouldn't be hard to find.

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    I don't quite see how this answers the question? – Dag Oskar Madsen Dec 5 '15 at 23:41
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    @DagOskarMadsen It answers the question because chess.com uses the Glicko rating system not ELO – Brian Towers Dec 31 '17 at 11:29
  • By the way, it appear than Glicko sytem is somehow more accurate than ELO in comparing players. – Felice Pollano Aug 7 '19 at 10:17
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The ratings on chess.com are determined using the glicko rating formula, which is different from the elo rating formula. The initial start point in the glicko formula is 1200 so new ratings start at 1200.

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