Jeez, I hope we're still talking about chess.
"Hi, can you tell me where the grandmasters are playing?" "Oh it's in the room right down the hall, you can't miss it, you can tell by the smell."
All the relativism in this thread is misplaced. If you get to 2000 it means you have a sound understanding of the game of chess. You appreciate its strategical value, you get how chess should be played, you know how to outplay somebody.
It's not a matter of how many people are better or worse than you: it's a matter of understanding the concept of chess, that I would say you get around 2000 level. E.g. every move you do has a deep purpose and reason and a strategical goal.
I think your statement is just as relative. Sound understanding of chess relative to what?
If you mean they're better than most players, then yes. So relative to most players they have a good understanding. But most players suck ;) So if you mean they must have a good understanding of all the basics to get to 2000 you're wrong :p
waff ... you do appreciate the irony of introducing your comment with a statement on relativism, and finishing it with an absolute, right?
Haha, I hope so (now that you pointed it out to me ;)
But I did try to qualify it.
No, understanding of chess can be absolute. For example there's a beginner who (againt 1. e4) plays c5 because he knows it's the sicilian and it's cool. Understanding of chess is when you play c5 because you know you want to trade a side pawn with your opponent's central pawn, having a pawn majority in the centre and an open file, and you do that knowing that the drawback will be less space and possible problems on the d-file/d5 square.
Or you play the Scandinavian with Qxd5 because you know that Nc3 will gain a tempo on you but that white will have the drawback of blocking his c pawn.
In other words, you have an understanding of the moves you play. Why you play them, what you achieve and what the drawbacks are. You make an informed choice when you play.
The fact that there are people who understand your moves better than you doesn't really matter: the point is that you know why you do them (you can explain it).
For example, I know I can drive. That's because I can bring my car from point A to point B on any road, safely and without being honked upon.
The fact that there are professional pilots that drive much better than me does not refute the statement that I can drive.
Yes but the question was to be considered a good player. You may be able to drive, and might think you drive well. Your family and friends might think your a good driver, too, yet those professionals and other who have seen professionals drive will think your driving is terrible. It is relative on who you ask and their experience both as witnesses or actual ability. You can see it in this thread, several 2000+ rated players consider themselves weak players, and point upwards to FM's for example as good players. To them, where they are isn't that good. Yet others who are lower than 2000 will say that yeah those rated 2000 are good players, because to them they are. Its relative to your own experience and ability to see how well chess can be played and what you define as good along that playing scale.
I agree with KingsEye!
Just because you think 2000 is solid doesn't mean in a real chess sense they're solid... at least not in the way you describe. Sure they don't make random moves, and are never completely clueless in a position... but that's only true for total beginners. Look at any novice annotated game here and you'll see them giving tons of reasons for all their moves... but they're wrong. What makes it so different for the expert who is wrong?
I'm not an expert (expert meaning 2000 USCF rating), but even I can give a basis for all my moves. Because of middlegame and endgame books I've read I'll even make the long term reasoning behind them sound good too. But I still make bad moves and misevaluate positions.
There's a funny bias in chess that seems to hold true no matter what a player's rating is. Players 300-400 points higher than you are the ones who "really know what they're doing" and players 300-400 points below you "make mistakes all the time."
This seems reasonable until you hear Kasprov saying world class players are "chess tourists" (his words). Or you hear a beginner saying 1400s are "chess machines who never make mistakes" (an adult chess organizer I met some time ago heh).
It's a bit funny that this range seems to fit with your rating and stance too :)
Which brings up another point. I'm saying 2000 USCF rated OTB don't have all their fundamentals. If you're saying 2000 chess.com turn-based I disagree even more... but no matter... after you climb up to 2000 we can agree how many holes experts have in their understanding ;)
it's a dangerous mentality to have. You should sometimes compare yourself to those better than you to try to improve, but you never have to lose sight of what you accomplished. Refusing to see your strengths and good qualities only because there are people who are "better" is wrong. In many cases it brings to mental disorders in a dangerous need of perfection.
I read on chessbase that 2000 USCF is on the 98 percentile among active members. Note that it's 98 percentile of chess players that are serious enough to have a rating, not random casual gamers.
I'm positive that being better than the 98% of people would qualify me as "really good".
It's a dangerous mentality to have. You should sometimes compare yourself to those better than you to try to improve, but you never have to lose sight of what you accomplished. Refusing to see your strengths and good qualities only because there are people who are "better" is wrong. In many cases it brings to mental disorders in a dangerous need of perfection.
But I think I see what you're saying now. Experts aren't clueless. That's true. In most position they'll have at least a general grasp of what's going on.
Anyone that manages to learn all 6 different piece movements must be good right? Especially those that understands castling, promotion and en passant that is advanced stuff.
For me I only consider myself "good" when I am around a lot of lower rated players like on chess.com, but going to otb tournaments with a lot of stronger players I don't feel that I am "good".
I believe "understanding of chess" can't be literally compared to rating. If I would guess (compared to chess.com online chess ratings) I have a positional understanding like most 2200 players, while my tactical skill is only about 1800. I do believe you can get a rating of 2000 with a big tactical skill and less understanding of chess (let's say tactical skill 2500 and understanding 1500)
Oh lets not be alarmist here, having a mentality that I might not play good chess when compared to the whole playing scale of chess players isn't dangerous to my mental state at all, if anything its healthy to recognize that I have a lot to learn still and strive towards improvement. No one said anything about not recognizing our individual accomplishments and improvement along the way, the question was what we consider a good chess players strength is.
If you're 2000 you win or lose a game based on deep strategies, positional plans and complicated combinations. You either outplay your peers, or you're outplayed by them.
A game between two 1000 rated is a completely different thing. It's just a random sequence of moves where you win or lose based on who blunders a piece first. Actually if you blunder a piece you can still hope your opponent will blunder his queen.
Same thing, a game between two 1400 doesn't contain material-losing blunders (most of the times), but doesn't really contain much deep thought in the opening phase and positional play. They just play positionally half-randomly, and who just HAPPENS to get the best position will win. Again, it's more chance than playing per se.
That's why I'm saying that the understanding of chess has also an absolute character. I can lose if you outplay me. But I don't lose because I had no clue what was going on and I was making my moves without discernible reasons.
At 2000 you understand the game. And that means that you're good. (together with the percentile argument). That's why a 2000 player is officially called "expert".
Can someone submit an executive summary to all of this legalese when it's over? :P
I play a lot of 2000 players and in my opinion they generally are solid tactically.. although they'll miss some 5-6 moves combos a 2300 player would spot, and they know all of the various strategic principles.. they just don't always apply them coherently.. trading their knight for a bishop to get the two bishops, but then allowing great outposts for my knights. Around 2200 (from what I've seen OTB) these problems disappear and they're generally solid all around players.
Well someone called an expert officially (FIDE) is definitely good!
plutonia, you don't have a clue what you're talking about.