Why are the blitz and standard ratings so much lower, and the players stronger??


I really can't understand what is going on with the ratings on chess.com. I have a 1620 online rating, but in the standard chess (15/10 games) my rating is only 1450. And if I change the clock setting to (10/5) it becomes blitz chess. On there, my rating is only 1284.

Can anyone explain why the players are so much better, and the ratings so much lower as the games get faster? Some people have told me that it just seems that way, and I am not so good at playing fast and some people play better on impulse. There is an element of truth in that, but it doesn't fully explain it. If I just change the clock settings by a few seconds (from standard to blitz) the players become a whole lot better. And it is not just the speed and accuracy of their play that is better, it is their knowledge of openings. I was amazed to find players rated under 1300 who knew all about the common lines of the kings gambit, ruy lopez, queen's pawn game and many other common lines. I thought players rated from 1100-1300 were generally novices who didn't know too much of that stuff.

Another question. What is my true rating- the online (where I am rated 1600) the standard (where I am rated 1450) or the blitz, where I am seemingly a novice?

And another question, are there any players out there who have blitz ratings that are actually higher than either their standard or online ratings? I would be amazed if there were!

I know these ratings aren't too important, but having played for 5 years continuously, I'd like to have some way of measuring my progress.


Personally, my blitz rating tends to be 400 or more points below my standard. While I enjoy the occasional fast game, I just can't manage my time well to play a good game. I find it a different animal all together.

But I have definitely seen plenty of folks who have higher blitz than standard ratings. I guess it's because they play more of it, and you tend to get better at what you do a lot of.


It's because the more time you have to think the better moves you make.  Plus there is the factor on those "on line" games where you have 3+ days to move, you may be putting a lot more time into your moves than your opponent.  Like if you spend all three days (on and off) pondering your next move while your opponent is spending about 2 minutes, you are pretty much gonna win, irrespective of rating.


My guess is that you have to obtain a fair proficiency at chess before you would even think about playing blitz.  I would guess that the bottom 1/3 of the players don't even consider Blitz.  Probably a player would have to have a rating of about 1450 in CC chess before they would consider playing Blitz.  Your initial Blitz rating is 1200 which is the average for all Blitz players, but you have eliminated those with a rating of below 1450 for CC chess.  


Well my blitz and standard ratings are both 2033 , my online is only 1874.

This is because i do not take the online games seriously and tend to move quicker than most people. If I took online chess seriously i  could probably get to 2100 or 2200.

I agree that the online ratings tend to be 200-300 points higher than live ratings in general.

Also I have noticed in live chess whereas a 1300 player in blitz is close in strength to a 1300 player in standard, there is a huge difference between 2100 blitz and 2100 standard. This is because above about 1800 standard most of the players are cheating. And even titled players tend to be only rated around 1800 standard. the only reason my standard rating is over 2000 is because in standard I only play a computer i know how to beat giving me an artifically high rating.


This has nothing to do with your skills. Your rating depends on two other important factors : the strength of the players in the rating pool and the # of games played.

The turn-based average strength is certainly much lower than the standard pool average strength and the blitz average strength, hence the rating gap...


This is true, there are guys with 1500, 1600 ratings on "on line" (correspondence) games here that I doubt are barely over 1000 OTB.


So the general consesus is that serious chess players only use the internet to play blitz and the (insanely fast) bullet chess to keep their skills up. Presumably to play longer, more considered games these players would always play 'otb'.

The ratings on blitz are closer to what you would expect in a chess club or tournament. The ratings on standard are higher because there are less high standard players using it, and the ratings on the correspondance chess are considerably higher because it is full of weaker players who need lots of time to make good moves (like me!).


I suppose it is just as well that I have learned this, because a friend of mine plays at a chess club and has invited me to go there. I wouldn't want to go down there and tell them my rating is 1600 (not as a boast, but merely to find a suitable opponent) and then find out my true rating is actually 1100!


Yeah, 1600 in online chess does not generally equate to 1600 FIDE. It's probably about 4-600 points higher. My friend is around 1500 on here and his federation (USCF) rating is under 1000, and one player I've played a number of games with who is a bit over 1500 drops a piece or more in the opening every game.

Expertise87 wrote:

Yeah, 1600 in online chess does not generally equate to 1600 FIDE. It's probably about 4-600 points higher. My friend is around 1500 on here and his federation (USCF) rating is under 1000, and one player I've played a number of games with who is a bit over 1500 drops a piece or more in the opening every game.

I find that so strange.  When I play otb, I care much more about the games than my online games.


You also have to remember that stronger the pool of players, the more deflated the ratings are. For example, if only OTB grandmasters played online, half of those grandmasters would be rated under 1200. If only absolute beginners played, many of those beginners would have ratings greater than 2000. 

So if the pool of blitz players is different than the pool of standard players (and I think it's safe to assume it is), then the meaning of a rating will be different. This is the same reason that chess.com ratings are different than USCF ratings, which are different than FIDE ratings. 


Alot of times one thing I notice about playing strength is that yes, the actual ratings here do not represent an accurate picture of the player themselves. For example, I stay consistantly within the 1400 range currently in my 10 min games, and about the same in my longer games (10/15). However, I had the opportunity to play a friend from this site in person when he visited from Texas who plays on the Texas Tech Chess Team at a 2135 USCF rating who has looked over my games and says that I would play tactically around the 1800-2000 rating. I have also managed to play a former expert rated (2063 USCF, now 1999 USCF), and won 3 games in blitz (5/0 time control) and drawn one untimed game against him. I also have several OTB/Blitz wins against similar strength players as well, yet have never played in a OTB or Blitz Tournament nor am I a member of USCF/FIDE.

The point is not to toot my own horn but to show that there really is a disparity between OTB play and online play, especially in blitz games. I play in coffee houses frequently and the time controls are 3/0 and 5/0 priamrily. What I notice in these games are several things that are prevalent in online games as well. See if any of these come to mind from your games.

1. The particular opening(s) being played tend to incorporate the same book move orders without any heed to opponents replies (ex. KIA vs Sicilian and suddenly on 3. d3, Black takes sometimes 5-30 seconds to reply).

2. The lines chosen are typically either positionally unsound, obscure lines, or lines requiring little knowledge needed to play, usually with many trapping lines.

3. The players regularly miss or overlook tactical/positional opprotunities to force winning endgames (whether or not time trouble has come into play.

4. Once an ambiguous endgame has been reached (B+3P vs. N+3P for example or R vs. R+ RP endings, few look to these as draws and attempt to play even in time trouble for win, only to either have the draw proven or to have the superior side winning on a blunder.

The bottom line is that what you see OTB in Blitz, coffee house and club play is vastly the same as online play. Also, say you beat a player 150-200 points higher than you, the ratings only shift after provisional by 10-11 points. This means to make the next class of rating, say from 1400-1600, you would have to play perhaps 20 games minimum against persons in the next ratings bracket and WIN ALL GAMES to go up to the next class. This is a staggering feat to accomplish, especially at the lower ratings where mistakes are going to kill you a lot of the time.

Also, what if the guy you are playing has been having a bad day and though rated say 1450, just lost 75 points in losses. Really, you are playing a 1525 player on a bad run. Conversely, there are people here who (gasp) sandbag their ratings to play lower rated people in tourneys or for the heck of it, just to win trophies or screw with lower rated players. Can you rightly tell the difference immediately? Likely not.

As to ratings affected by engine play, I can tell you it happens in the 1400 levels as much as the 1800-2000 and beyond levels as well. You can tell if someone is using an engine versus a bot but usually it will be too late as a loss will occur. All you can do if you susprect this is happening is block the player, especially if you have run the game through a full analysis and it shows 2500+ rated moves and you are playing a 1600-1800 player.

As always, this is a great place to play but with so many people playing here, i do not think an easy solution is in the offing here at all. Hopefully, this helps to clear up some ideas and/or misconceptions with regards to ratings.

In the end, play the board, not the rating.


Thank You PortlandPatzer, for such an eloquent discourse in experiential knowledge!

(Had not occured to me that people could cheat in chess...)


I am currently 1050 in 3min Blitz (admittedly this is partly due to playing on my phone a lot resulting in many disconnections. I'm 1636 in Online, and was wondering why I kept getting beaten so badly by 1200 level players. 

I performed a sample of 1050 players, and got the following:

Blitz Online
1050 1801
1050 1656
1050 1636
1050 1514
1050 1415
1050 1384
1050 1309
1050 1292
1050 1272
1050 1259
1050 1200


If you look at the average Blitz rating it is 1113. The average Online rating is 1357. Strange that. I would have assumed the average had to be 1200? 


No, because your first few games affect your rating much more than your opponent's rating.


As well as the player pool, I think the skills required are pretty different as well, especially between online and live (standard and blitz).  In live: board vision, quick-thinking tactical ability, time-management and opening knowledge are very important, whereas in online there is no time management/pressure at all and opening knowledge doesn't come into play, as you have access to the opening references.  It seems to come down more to strategy/positional skills, deep analysis and how much time to dedicate to each game compared to your opponent.  You get better at what you practise!

For example, I've been playing online pretty much exclusively for the past several months and I've gotten to 1950, but my live standard rating is around 1400.  I tried playing a live game over the weekend for the first time in ages and my board vision was terrible - I blundered a piece to a basic tactic.  Obviously I need to play more live!  (I haven't even touched blitz, btw ...)


I've somehow gotten my blitz rating up to the 1750s for the time being (I doubt it will stay there) which puts me in the top 2%.  Top 2% USCF or FIDE would be a heck of a lot higher than 1750 -- I've got to guess more like 2100.  When (not "if") my blitz rating drops back down into the 1500s as I play more on here, I just take comfort in the fact that I'm actually USCF & FIDE rated 1700+.

As for online chess that just seems like a crap-shoot.  I'm 2000+ USCF dating back to pre-engine days, yet I lost my first game on here to a 1400, but others are saying in here that 1400 online here should equate to more like 1000 in actuality?  I did find it amazing that my opponent made a positional piece sacrifice and then wiped me off the board, but he was hanging pawns and pieces in the other two games.


You have to take each one independently.  Some play what I call "trap chess", where they have no real clue what they are doing, don't understand positional play, but can sneak in the 3-move tactic, where if his opponent falls for it, great, if not, I'll just have to run his clock out.  These are your players that tend to have a higher online blitz rating, and a sorry over the board rating.

The stronger players that understand all aspects of the game tend to do better over the board, and are weaker at fast time controls.

As for Correspondence, or what others call on this site "online chess", there are too many variables.  You have the following groups of players:

1) The strong Correspondence Chess masters

2) The strong chess player that doesn't put the same level of effort into correspondence and moves too fast

3) The average joe

4) The players that are ADD or ADHD and don't have the patience to play a long time control over the board or correspondence chess and move even faster than those in #2

5) The cheaters that use a computer

Every person is different.  You can't generalize.  Someone mentioned a 1500 blitz  player here being under 1000 over the board?  Here's my numbers, I'm just the opposite.  Below are my up-to-date numbers as of this past Saturday.

USCF - Standard:  2116
USCF - Quick:  1963
USCF - Blitz:  2080
USCF - Correspondence:  2015
Chess.com Correspondence:  2147
Chess.com Blitz:  1821
ICC Standard:  Mid-1900s
ICC Blitz:  Mid-1600s


I'm backwards:

USCF regular 2057 quick 1945

Chess.com online 2170 blitz 2300 standard 1850

ICC 5-minute 2350

FICS blitz 2150 standard 2330