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Good - as improving one's rating is something to aim for and gives you an idea where you and your opponent are chess playing ability wise.
Bad - as it can pander to pride, foster fear and is can be an unnecessary distraction.
Ratings more often than not do reflect a player’s ability but never be deceived – "good" players can disappoint and "weak" players can astound.
While I am inclined to afford higher rated players more respect when playing than lower ones, I have learnt it is often better to play everyone with equal respect and play each move on merit.
My own rating has steadily gone up since I started playing a year ago but not by so much that I can be carried away or would dare place myself among the chess playing elite.
Of the 10% of games I have won because my opponent has timed out, the net affect on my rating has been for it to slightly increase overall – this helps put things into perspective.
Ratings can be useful when the idea is to facilitate balanced games in team matches and tournaments.
I’m sure other chess.com members have other views and perspectives – it would be nice to read them!
I really like Dan Heisman's suggestion that ratings be kept by federations for internal tracking, but that class norms be the only publically visible indicator for individual ratings. This is actually a really great idea in my mind as it has very few drawbacks, and really serves to address the negatives that are created by people trying to protect their ratings.
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