Chess Ratings Explained

Have you ever wondered what you need to know and learn to improve your chess level in chess? This post is a primer on chess ratings explained, covering chess ratings from 1000-2000 plus.

If you need to quantify your current chess skill and knowledge the formula in this article can help you calculate your chess skill and knowledge.

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Advantage of An Outside Passed Pawn

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Chess Books for Study

The following books are the ones I will use to get me past the Class C category.

New Ideas in Chess
Reassess your Chess Workbook

Art of Attack

Essential Chess Endings

Games Collection
Capablanca Move by Move
Alekhine’s Best Games

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The Value of the Pieces

The following values are from Yusupov’s Build Up Your Chess book.

1 knight = 1 bishop = 3 pawns
1 rook = 4.5 pawns
1 queen = 3 minor pieces = 2 rooks = 9 pawns

  • A rook is stronger than a minor piece + a pawn
  • A rook + pawn are weaker than two minor pieces
  • A queen is stronger than rook + minor piece
  • A queen is weaker than a rook + two minor pieces
  • A queen is generally not as strong as two rooks or three pieces, but if the King of the player with the rooks is not in a safe position and if it is exposed to a lot of checks, the queen is stronger. Minor pieces must be well protected (by each other or pawns), or else they will be captured by the queen. -S. Tarrasch
  • A rook, minor piece and passed pawn on the 6th (3rd) rank are superior to the queen. The queen is stronger if there is play on both wings. But if play is concentrated on a single wing, a rook and a minor piece are often no worse than a queen.
  • In the middlegame, three pawns are normally weaker  than a bishop or a knight, because the opponent has an extra piece for his attack. Only connected central passed pawns or far advanced pawns are better than pieces.
  • In the endgame, the value of the pawns generally increases, and so the three pawns are normally no worse than a minor piece.
  • In the middlegame, two minor pieces are often stronger than a rook and two pawns.
  • In the endgame, a rook and even a single passed pawn are sometimes better than two pieces.

G. Lisitsin described five factors which influence the relative value of the pieces:

  1. The central position of a piece.
  2. A safe, well protected position.
  3. The activity of the piece.
  4. Coordination with other pieces.
  5. The mobility of the piece.


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Training Schedule

Study Strategy (SG)

Play and review game (PL / RV)

Stoyko Exercises (Cheng’s book or Pocketbook) {practice analysis} (VG)
Board Visualization exercises

Play and review game  (PL / RV)
{add missed opportunities and mistakes to notebook}
{review notebook}

Study Strategy (SG)
{Add Thursday’s game information to Chess Notebook}

Study Endgame  (SE)

Play and review game (PL / RV)

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