What is ELO in chess?


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The ELO in chess is the numerical way in which the strength of the chess players is measured (in an ascending way, being 0 the minimum and can go up infinitely), this is done with the intention of measuring (relatively) the strength of the players. It is also used to categorize players.

There are a large number of tournaments where only chess players from a certain ELO level downwards can play, the so-called U-1800, U-2000, etc.

Who created the ELO in chess?

The creator of this way of measuring chess strength was Árpád Emrick Élő, a scientist and an active chess player, who even managed to win some important tournaments in the United States, where he also worked in the USCF (United States Chess Federation) where he was assigned the position of chairman of the scoring committee.

Árpád Emrick Élő

While working in the federation (1959-1960) he had the idea of creating a method (inspired by the Harkness system) to measure the level of chess players. This system bears his surname and is still used today.

Types of ELO

The Elo ranking is administered by FIDE (International Chess Federation) but they are not the only ones to use this type of measurement, it is also used by the federations of each country, websites like Chess.com or Lichess.org and is even used by some mobile applications of tactical problems to measure progress within the same application. There is no equivalence between them, if I have 1700 ELO points in chess.com does not mean that my FIDE ELO is the same.

Who awards the ELO FIDE in chess?

The ELO awarded by FIDE is called ELO FIDE or International ELO, these are the points that are taken into account when you want to opt for a title in chess as GM, IM or FM.

Within the FIDE ELO there are three different ones that are differentiated by the pace of play.

So, Wesley type of elo in chess

The standard ELO (the one taken into account when applying for a chess title) with a pace of play of 90 minutes for the game plus 30 second increment after each move (or an equivalent pace).

The rapid ELO with a pace of play of 15 minutes for the game plus 10 seconds after each move (or an equivalent pace).

The blitz ELO with a pace of play of 3 minutes for the whole game plus 2 seconds increment for the whole game (or an equivalent pace).

ELO ranking in federations, web pages and app

The ELO of the federations of each country is valid only within the same country, the so-called National ELO.

The ELO of the web page is only valid for the rankings and tournaments of the same pages. The rating of the players within the websites is usually higher than the national and international ELO.

As with the web chess apps, the ELO is only valid for that app and has no relevance or equivalence in the other scores.

How to get ELO in chess

Now let's see what are the ways to obtain each of the above ELO ratings.

How to obtain international ELO in chess (Elo FIDE)?

To obtain this rating, we first need to be affiliated to the federation of our country, this can be achieved by joining chess clubs that are recognized by the same federation of our country.

Once we are part of a federated chess club, now we need to play a tournament valid for Elo FIDE. In the description of the tournaments they always indicate if they are valid or not (it is not necessary that the tournament is organized by the club in which we participate, although it is also possible and more comfortable for us).

FIDE ELO in chess

Finally, we need to play against players who already have ELO FIDE, being more specific we need to play against 5 opponents and depending on what was the result against them is the ELO we will be assigned (this Elo assignment has a time to be official, you have to be patient).

It is not necessary to play in the same tournament against all 5 opponents. It may be the case that after three tournaments we manage to get the number of rated opponents we need, it is still useful.

How to obtain national ELO in Chess?

The way to obtain national Elo is the same as the previous way with the difference that this score will only serve us within our country, it has no relevance outside it.

How to get ELO on websites (Chess.com - Lichess.org)?

As you can imagine in the pages it is much simpler, it is not necessary to do anything more than to have an account created and play on the platform.

At the beginning we are assigned a provisional Elo, until we play a few games for the page to calculate our level and give us our score (estimated from the same page).

The same applies to apps.

Things to keep in mind about the ELO in chess

The ELO in chess is only an estimation of the chess player's strength, not because we face an opponent with a higher ELO we should fear or change our style of play.

Nor should we be afraid of losing some points, if we have already reached 1500 ELO points but we have a bad streak and go down, we should not worry, if we manage to get there once, it means that we can go up again when we want.

Do you have any doubt about the ELO in chess?

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