How do you know if you are good at chess? (Metrics!)

If a player can solve 60% of chess puzzles, recognize previous games, or familiarize themselves with famous chess positions they are a good chess player. Good chess players can also can stay focused for a long period of time and have a higher chess progress before plateauing.

Having been able to spend countless hours mastering the crafts of chess ingenuity can make us believe we are having steady progress. But do we really do?

After all, there are many circumstances where we are putting in so much work without seeing that much of a result. In other words, it is really hard to determine whether we are good at chess already.

We need to learn whether what we are doing works, and therefore be able to fill the gaps in our routine to enable us to reach the next level.

This introspection is necessary for any part of chess pursuit since it directly indicates the weaknesses that needed to get some work on.

There are a couple of factors that needed to be witnessed in order to say someone is good at chess which we will talk about here.

Does having a good memory correlate to chess aptitude?

This is a discussion that has a long way of history mostly that comes from people who are just starting to get into the game. This is the stigma that memory is such a critical component of chess mastery, but is it true?

Yes, having a good memory can allow an individual to easily remember their own games and conceptualize them, as well as other people’s games making them a solid chess player.

There are primarily two sides that constitute the reason why someone who’s good in memorization is also good at chess.

First, you can recognize positions from your past games. This is an important recipe to incorporate a study that allows someone to quickly identify things that needed to be changed for future games.

We often heard that learning from mistakes is a good source of understanding, mainly that experience teaches us a lot of things that we cannot hope to comprehend in any theoretical formulation.

This is absolutely true, learning from ourselves is just as good if not even better than learning from anybody else since we have all the context of the actual situation.

“Experience is the teacher of all things”

-Julius Caesar

If you can memorize efficiently there’s a good chance that you have the capability to recognize position from your own games, which is definitely a great thing.

Second, you are familiar with positions from famous games which would help you expand on the repertoire of things that you can actually learn.

Of course gaining knowledge from analyzing your own games is a very helpful thing, but you can also learn from other people’s games.

There are so many people in the world that have made so many mistakes and it is your responsibility to take advantage of them through learning.

All of that will be for naught though if you can’t retain the concepts (not the actual position) that was used in their time of play. So if you can memorize any game at all then that most probably means that you are a very efficient chess learner.

What is a plateau in chess?

A plateau in chess is a certain moment where a player experienced a stagnant growth over a period of time (either through experience or rating) that expresses progress as very slow or nonexistent.

There’s always a saying that people who have a lot of chess potential have a higher chess plateau before their development proceeds at a slower rate.

Very famous chess players (top of the world status) all have a high chess plateau at around 2000 Elo points before they reach where they are today.

2000 Elo points is not a joke for most people, it takes a certain amount of dedication, skill, and time before even reaching that point. I am personally not aware of someone who has a low chess plateau and has later achieved a very high status in the chess world.

If you take a lot of time before encountering this plateau then it is a very clear sign of your capability for more progress.

It doesn’t have to be Elo points it can be from an online rating or just some general experience of how much progress other people actually experience on their own compared to yours.

You will definitely encounter this plateau at some point, though even having a low amount does not determine your chess success. After all, you’re likely not looking to be the next super grandmaster so this is not that much of a concern.

Does being tolerant to long hours of playing indicate chess finesse?

Yes, being able to tolerate long hours of mental processing is a quality of someone who is good in chess, since most games last for lengthy amount of hours.

Most people don’t know this but the ability to last a long time mentally without losing focus is an essential component of chess development.

It is rare for someone who’s just starting to innately acquire this quality on their own, it usually takes a fair amount of experience and training.

If you can maintain focus even after long hours of playing it most certainly mean that you have what it takes to reach heights that are not available for most people.

The mental endurance that chess demands are just that abnormal (very demanding) to the point that maintaining focus on its own can win you games.

This is an important gift to be grateful for if you actually acquired the traits that will make you last a long time. Since most surface-level players were not that committed they can’t handle such pressure, this ability alone puts you above them.

Is passion a sign of a good chess player?

Passion is an important aspect of chess dexterity that allows an individual to take their studying seriously. An individual who has a passion for chess has a great potential to be good in the game.

This is an important fact that facilitates all fields of pursuit (not just chess) which pushes individuals to run miles that they normally wouldn’t have.

If you have a passion for the game, it makes a difference to your motivation that will keep you on track for long term agendas.

One of the clear signs that there is a passion within you is having an urge to analyze your previous games, a signature of someone who wants to learn from their mistakes.

This is one of the best ways to improve early on the process but also later down the road when having a plateau.

Analyzing games is one of the most boring (for most people) aspect of the study but also constitute the bulk of the learning.

If you cannot feel any negative sentiments from analyzing games or persist even if there is any, then that must mean that there is a presence of passion within what you are doing.

What signs can you measure to know you’re good at chess?

If a player can raise their chess rating significantly in a short amount of time, solve at least 60% of the puzzles they take, spot checkmates easily, has a high endgame win rate, and not easily be intimidated by stronger opponents then they are good at chess.

All the qualities on the top that have been discussed before had a little vagueness in terms of whether you can actually measure them. There are those though that one can reasonably calculate in order to accurately say that you are that “good”.

Here are the following:

You can solve chess puzzles at least 60% of the time

Chess puzzles are a good measuring tool to test someone’s capability (tactical) into over the board play. If one can conveniently solve positional puzzles, then it is likely that such calculating power can transpose to real-life competitions.

Almost strong chess players (if not all) are good chess solver when it comes to these problems. It takes some experience and personal development in order to reach the point of being good at this aspect.

60% is a good threshold if we’re not talking about someone who is looking to be the world champion for example. Although really strong players can definitely score higher than that.

This is also an indication that a player is using chess puzzles to improve. I have a guide on how many chess puzzles you need to work on to become better, you can check it out.

There is a fast accumulation of chess ratings

The thing I’m talking about are just not the Elo points since there are other mechanisms of which one can reliably measure something that is within the “chess rating” spectrum.

It can be a number of points from an online rating system or a modified number scheme in your own chess club.

The point is the rating points are created specifically to address the skill a player is branded with.

It’s not about the actual number but the accumulation of such number or how fast did it grow. If you can see fast growth in the rating then it is a very good sign.

Spotting checkmates becomes easy

Checkmating patterns is one of the simplest yet important concepts that one needed to master in chess. Almost every strong player has some idea of different checkmates that can be involved in various situations.

It doesn’t have to be complicated ideas just enough to sufficiently be applied in real games.

Things like the smothered or Anastasia’s mate, are some of the basics that every player should know. And if you know them then you are a good player.

You have a good endgame win rate

This is a statistic that most people overlooked yet should prioritize more. Most top games end in a fabulous positional endgame struggle more often than the middlegame and the opening.

If you have a high endgame win rate record then it correctly aligns with where the top players are getting their wins.

This is the phase of the game that most people struggle with since they rarely even study or play the ideas. Being good at this definitely means more than you think.

There is little to no intimidation even when facing strong players

Confidence is a very essential recipe for reaching the peak of any participating player. It is just very hard to defeat strong opponents by having “cold feet” per se.

Being able to focus and shake the feeling of intimidation is a skill that’s needed to be mastered by every chess aspirants.

Are you a good chess player?

Really, it is hard to accurately measure our own understanding of the beloved game known as chess. These are the things that may help you understand something about your inner chess capability.

Did I answer all your question? Or is there anything that is worth noting?

Nevertheless, this is just what I found to be the makeup of very effective chess individuals which may also apply to you. There are other signs though that you just have to discover yourself.

Sleep well and play chess.