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. Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 16:57
  • # 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: 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. Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 22:40
  • 3
    Apparently you can now pick your rating during registration. chess.com/forum/view/general/rating-start Commented Feb 13, 2017 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. Commented May 14, 2019 at 11:25

2 Answers 2


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.


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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