Ever wanted to know EXACTLY what your chess level is? Without even playing in a single tournament?

chess rating test

Where on the graph does YOUR real rating lie? To find out, keep reading!

This post will share with you an online Chess Rating Test you can take which tests all areas of chess from tactics, strategic understanding and endgames to calculation and mating patterns.

I’m going to invite you to take this Chess Rating Test and find out your true chess level soon, but,

Before Taking the Chess Rating Test, Here’s a Story…

Back in 2012 I packed up and moved to China to live life on my own terms and to try to master a difficult language while living life more adventurously.

It’s been an awesome experience and I have learnt so much more than just the language.

In terms of chess here in China, I have also made a lot of chess friends from cities as diverse as Nanjing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shantou.

And not all of these guys are Chinese…

The chess community here is a tightly knit and friendly group of people from all walks of life and from many different countries.

Recently I suggested that we organise a sort of “league” where teams from each city compete in formalised competition and since then it has been the main thing on everyone’s mind.

Due to the fact that many of the players have been inactive for a long time (myself included) some of the guys were wondering about board order for the teams and ways to figure out who is stronger than who, and who plays board one and whatever…

There’s pride on the line ya know?  😀  😉 


A Guangzhou Chess Club tournament in progress. Nice venue, huh?

The Decision: Elometer as our Chess Rating Test

Eventually, it was decided that players would use a site called ELOMETER.NET to seed the players and decide board order.

What is Elometer and How Does it Work?

Elometer is basically a test which was developed by some smart guys at a university in Düsseldorf  as a way of testing chess expertise. Consider it like a Chess IQ Test.

The test is made up of a series of chess positions of all types (tactics, defensive moves, endgame technique, strategic play and even simple mate in ones) which was originally presented to 259 participants at a Dutch open tournament. The guys tested ranged in strength from 1169 to 2629 and the data from all of their answers was used to determine which types of moves were made by 1300 players, which types of moves were made by 2000 guys, which were made by masters etc.

This data theoretically makes it possible to get an accurate estimation of the playing strength of respondents by exposing them to a very wide range of scenarios and seeing how they treat the position.

Wait what?!

In case you didn’t understand the laymen’s terms I just used to describe ELONET, here’s how it was presented in geek-speak on their website:

We used item response theory to derive an estimate of your playing strength based on your answers to a set of chess problems with known properties. To arrive at this estimate, we employed the two-parameter Birnbaum model which allows items to differ a) in difficulty and b) in discriminatory power. The set of chess problems we used was taken from the “Amsterdam Chess Test” developed by van der Maas & Wagenmakers (2005), who presented their chess problems to a sample of 259 participants at a Dutch open tournament. The national Elo rating of these participants ranged from 1169 to 2629. Using a subset of the items of this test (the Choose-A-Move item set A and B), we were able to compute a maximum likelihood estimate of your ELO rating based on a prediction formula regressing the latent ability estimates of the Birnbaum model on the ELO ratings of the comparison sample. Using the test information function, we were also able to compute a 95% confidence interval for this estimate.

Some of the results from this test have been quite interesting as I’ve seen 1600 players get an 1800+ score as their estimate as well as one strong 2450+ IM (this dude) only get 2240 or so.

Here is my own score.

elometer score

Holy Crap! Am I really 2396 ELO??

Probably not.

It could just be a glitch in the matrix.  😆

Earlier this year I got 189 in an IQ test too (obviously far too high! 😳 ), so I think maybe I’m just good at tests or something.

Anyway… I’ll most likely be playing board one for my city team as a result of this score.  😀

I hope I can pass that test!

3 Types of Positions From the Chess Rating Test

Here I’ll let you practice on some of the types of positions you might face in the test (just as a warm up 😉 ), then you can go take the test yourself!

I will not show any of the exact positions from the test. You have to do that on your own! 

1. Known Mating Patterns (White to move)
back rank checkmate

Known Mating Patterns

I noticed in the test  there were a few examples of positions where there is well known checkmating pattern. I also noticed a 2450 IM (see below) miss one of them so keep an eye out!

Can you solve the one above?

2. Improve a Bad Piece (White to move)
good knight bad bishop

Improve a Bad Piece

Another theme I noticed in the test was the strategic theme of improving one’s worst piece. In quiet positions strong players try to maximise the power/influence of their pieces and spend a lot of time to manoeuvre pieces quietly toward more useful squares. This goes especially for bishops and knights.

Can you see how white should proceed above? 

3. Endgame Technique (White to move)
endgame technique

Endgame Technique

There were actually several positions in the test where I noticed the need to have pretty decent endgame technique and knowledge of known winning methods. The above example is not in the test, but should be known by all players regardless.

Can you find how to win as white?

Answers to Practice Questions:

  1. White has a back rank checkmating opportunity with the standard deflection 1.Qc8+ Bxc8 2.Rxc8+ Nxc8 3.Re8 checkmate!
  2. White’s worst piece is without a doubt the knight on a4 (knights on the rim are dim 😉 ) and so the best plan is to manoeuvre the knight toward the fantastic central e5 square with 1.Nb2 > 2.Nd3 > 3.Ne5+=
  3. This is a well known rook endgame which all serious players should know called the “Lucena Position”. White needs to prepare to use his rook to block enemy checks by playing 1.Rd4! (this is called “building a bridge” for some reason). After this white can bring his king out, zigzag toward the (constantly checking) enemy rook and when it (the king) reaches the 5th rank white will block with his rook. GG Noob. A very important piece of knowledge for improving players!

So is that enough practice? How’d you go with those three practice puzzles?

Its time for you to do the test yourself now! 😎

Action Steps:

  1. Go to ELOMETER.NET and take the test
  2. Come back and watch the video below of a strong IM doing the test…Its very interesting. (DO NOT watch this video before doing the test, or you’ll render your test results meaningless)
  3. Share your score (I’m very interested in how you guys did too!  😉 )
  4. Share this post with your social media buddies! 😉

ELOMeter Through the Eyes of IM Bartholomew

(Go easy on him…Must feel massive pressure trying to do the test while recording! 😛 )