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Another post on Ratings?

Another post on Ratings?

Aug 4, 2009, 10:37 PM 7

Well, I've been playing chess for 5 months now, and I'm slowly improving.  I've been doing lots of study and reading, and using the Tactics Trainer, but am still perplexed when it comes to getting to the next level in chess.  Nonetheless, I persevere.

Chess.com is a great site, and I'm meeting lots of really nice folks (even if it's only on-line, as distance seems to be a big barrier).  I've joined several groups, and am very active in most of them.  I'm an Admin in 4-5 of them, and most of my groups are <100 members.  As such, when there's a Team Match against a bigger team, I usually get stuck playing against someone who's rated 400-500 points higher than me.  I've managed a win here & there against these higher-rated players, usually through a blunder on their part.  I think one of them actually timed-out on me.  That being said, my Online Chess rating has shot way up recently.  As of today, it's >1800, and it looks like it will keep climbing (well, at least for a little while).

The tricky part is trying to take each game seriously now.  My rating is not exactly what I think it should be (can you say inflated?), so I figure if I lose a few, it will settle down to a more-realistic level (and, I’m sure it will).  I actually want my rating to reflect my skill level.  I think the greatest teller of my rating is my results in live chess.  At first, I was able to stay around 1400.  Now, after 5 months, I’m around 1000.  What’s caused this?  Why does my Online Chess rating go up and my Live Chess rating go down?  Why do I one week get my Tactics Trainer rating above 1400, and then watch it fall to 1000 the next week?  Am I tired?  Moving quickly is a requirement of Live Chess and the Tactics Trainer.  Perhaps, mental preparedness and proper rest may help to keep a more consistent level in these areas of my game.

I find that I struggle against lower-rated players early in Online Chess games, as they try all sorts of wild openings.  I'm playing this one game where they opened with the Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack (A01).  Wow!  I had absolutely no idea how to defend against it.  Their first two moves were e6 & d6!?  The game's still on-going, so I can't say much else.  I'm holding my own, but am still in deep water, as they are just now starting to break out with an attack.

I also find that the players causing me the most challenge (grief?) are the ones closest to my rating.  I believe their rating truly reflects their skill level.  I am hard-pressed to win ANY of these games, and always walk away wondering how I won a game or why I lost another game so badly.  I expect to lose against someone rated 400-500 points higher than me.  I’m not trying to be negative; just pragmatic.  With 5 months total of somewhat-serious playing, I don’t expect to beat someone who’s 2100-2200+.  And, for some higher-rated players, they might think that their victory is assured when they see my rating, so they get lax in their game.  How surprised they must be when they see I’m actually trying to give them a good game.

Well, I ramble here in my own personal blog, just to put random thoughts down for reflection and observation.  One thing about ratings is that I feel a certain pressure to maintain them, and that is distracting to me.  I just want to get better at chess.  I imagine that when I do get better, ratings won’t matter much, because I’ll know that I can give ANYONE a good game, anytime, and that’s my goal.

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