Is 1800 a Good Chess Rating? (Yes, and No)

1800 is a great over the board rating. Since over-the-board games need more effort, there are fewer opportunities to increase one’s rating (therefore making it more valuable). What about online? It is not as clear.

The chess ratings may look confusing for beginners who have never played the game, but what about the intermediate players?

Believe it or not even intermediate players have a hard time distinguishing a good rating from a great one. This is where I come in, I think I could add something of value to this. 

1800 on fide and uscf puts a player above 70% of people who play chess. 1800 on lichess and chess.com is not as valuable though. 

1800 is a really tricky number to discuss, I think I can give you some clarity. I actually have the feeling that people underestimate the strength of someone that is in 1800.

1800 for non chess players is already looking like someone who is obsessed with the game. This article will discuss more, let’s get started. 

1800 chess rating on what?

It is important to understand that there are many different metrics to measure one’s chess rating.

“1800” may translate to different things depending on which metric you are going to use. On lichess it is just an okay rating, in over the board 1800 will set you at the top of the chess rankings.

Making the difference clear is important in order to measure how far you have come. First let’s talk about lichess since I am aware that it is the most popular chess platform. 

1800 is a decent rating in lichess, but not too crazy

A rating of 1800 on lichess is not that bad, it is not as valuable as with other rating systems (fide, uscf, and chess.com) but it is something.

Most players that have been playing for a long time but do minimal study fall within this range, these are somewhat decent players.

If you get confused by that sentence it is really simple. There are individuals who like playing chess but do not take the time to study them formally.

With continuous play of course everyone can get to a level where they compete decently. Most people that are like this would be around 1800 on lichess.

While this is cool and all it is not that impressive. Even I who haven’t been playing for quite some time can easily get to 1800 on lichess at any time format.

You are quite strong in a beginner’s eye if you reach 1800, but let’s be honest it wouldn’t really mean much compared to the other metrics. 

A rating of 1800 on chess.com is a big deal

1800 elo on chess.com is a pretty hard thing to achieve (my personal max rating on chess.com is 1600, though I play lichess most of the time).

Someone who has reached 1800 on chess.com are far stronger than 1800 lichess players, these are really dedicated people.

If you are not aware there is a big rating gap between lichess and chess.com. This is why chess.com has the reputation of giving birth to significantly stronger players.

The field is filled with expert players that makes it hard to get ratings. 1800 will put you at least on the top 60% of the players who participate online. 

If you have managed to get a rating of 1800 in chess.com I salute you, I really mean it.

It is hard to attain not only talking from experience but also from the experience of others. 1800 is not only a good rating, it is a great rating for people who don’t really plan on competing formally. 

A rating of 1800 on fide puts you in the 80th+ percentile

1800 rating on fide is a significant thing, these are players with bright futures and borderline titled with a little more push.

Fide ratings are much harder to require than online ratings, meaning players who have managed to reach 1800 elo are very strong compared to the average player.

Some of you will say that you have easily achieved 1800 on fide, of course some of you will say that.

But joking aside, unlike online chess games (fide is played over the board) it is significantly harder to get 1800 on fide. Mainly because you have to travel locally or internationally to even reach that far.

Most of us will just pop up a screen or two and play a game in the comforts of our home, we cannot do that in fide.

We have to commit time and energy in order to even get the rating. This means that there are lesser opportunities to increase your rating, and even a single loss will significantly give a player some massive setback. 

Out of all the metrics discussed, getting 1800 on fide is definitely the hardest of all, even harder than that of chess.com.

If you managed to get 1800 on fide you are doing extremely well, definitely better than most players. Professionally speaking there is of course a lot to improve (1800 is almost nothing professionally), but casually it is definitely a huge achievement. 

1800 rating on USCF is the level of a  strong over-the-board club player

I have thought about discussing this earlier but I have almost forgotten it. Thankfully I had remembered that there is also the uscf rating (which is different from the fide rating). 1800 on fide is definitely harder than 1800 on uscf, the deviation says so. 

Those who have 1800 in USCF are slightly comparable to players who have 1800 rating on chess.com, although over the board ratings are much more valuable since it is harder to acquire.

Just from this wording you can already infer that uscf gives more ratings for players compared to fide. 

This does not mean that a rating of 1800 on uscf is something to scoff at, far from it. Since the uscf ratings are also played over the board it will naturally be much harder than any online rating is out there.

Lichess and chess.com wouldn’t be much of a comparison. There will be lesser games in uscf therefore lesser opportunities to increase one’s ratings. 

A player with 1800 USCF is definitely inferior to a Fide player with 1800 rating, but is better than its online rating counterparts.

A 1800 uscf player will break through the 2000 elo rating mark on chess.com and even 2400 on lichess if you give them enough weeks (maybe even days).

1800 is definitely still a good rating since it is over the board. I will bet you that it is hard to find someone who is around 1800 even if you use the internet. That is how rare (and therefore good) the rating of 1800 is on uscf. 

I have a dilemma with the 1800 chess rating . .

The thing with 1800 is it is this weird area from an intermediate level to being the “great level”. If you add 100 more ratings it is already 1900, the rating in which most would consider you an expert in chess already (from the perspective of non-players).

Add another 100 and it is already 2000, the dream of most beginners who have started playing chess.

1800 is like this transitory phase from being good enough to being great. It is hard for me to put a value on this since I have a high standard. My chess level is between being good enough and being expert on this game.

I am somewhat in between which is like the 1800 rating, it is really hard to describe to people whether I am really good at chess.

I have won a tournament or two but I am definitely not on the same level as some of the youtubers that have been playing for years. This is my dilemma, I am not sure if 1800 is really “that great” generally.

In all of the metrics that I have discussed the points still stand. I am sure that some of you will have a different opinion to this which is understandable.

1800 is really the intermediate level, unless you are playing over the board which would make it into a meaningful (fide and uscf)

Conclusion

1800 is really a weird rating to discuss since the best you can call it is intermediate. On chess.com it is a great rating, for online standards at least which is not that much.

I think this is the point where people around you recognize you as a chess expert, but other players recognize you as decent only.

It is also relative, depending on the platform that you use people will also treat that differently.

A lichess player looking at a 1800 chess.com may mock the chess.com player, but you know that it is really relative. Thank you for reading this article since I have enjoyed writing it, that is all. 

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