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Thursday, January 23, 2014

What’s an Average Player?

      I stopped by the coffee shop the other day and there was a young fellow sitting there with a chess set waiting for a game. When I approached him he informed me he played online and was “just an average” player. After a couple of games it became apparent that he was not average based on my understanding of average. He was far below average. As it turned out, I was wrong. 
     According to the USCF’s rating distribution chart the average rating of their 65,000+ members is 1068. I always thought 1600 was “average.” I guess that’s because when I started it was considered average because 1200 was as low as the ratings went. So, if my first ever USCF rating was 1667 and it made me an average player, does that mean that by today’s standards my initial rating would have been 1100?
     Here’s a game played against an 1800-rated opponent that helped me get that initial 1667 rating. I was curious to see how it might compare to a game by an 1100 player of today. My dogged determination to advance the b-Pawn got me into trouble because I wasn’t looking for tactical chances at every move. Neither was Black, but when he finally did notice the winning tactic he failed to follow up correctly. Apparently even in those days we had issues with spotting tactics!
     Because I haven’t played OTB in decades I’m not sure how this game compares to those played by class players of today because, really, I don’t know how good (bad) an 1100 plays.


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