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Marc Cressac; Chess Fact-Checked by Marc Cressac | Updated 2023-01-15
Founder of Chessily.com

How To Get To 1500 Elo in Chess

Its in every chess players nature to feel the urge to improve and get better at the royal game. However, as with every skill, improving at chess involves a lot of hard work, dedication and setbacks. Having graspable goals like reaching a chess rating of 1500 can help you stay motivated in your journey and make the experience much more enjoyable. So in this guide we’ll give look at how exactly one can reach a rating of 1500 and above in chess.

Understanding The Path To 1500 Rating Points

When we’re talking about “reaching 1500 in chess”, we first need to clarify what exactly we meachn by that. Because a rating of 1500 isn’t the same with every organization or chess website.

Chess.com for example uses the “Glicko rating system”, while lichess.org uses the slighty different “Glicko 2 rating system”. FIDE and many other official chess organizations on the other hand use the dated “Elo rating system”. That fact alone makes it almost impossible to compare ratings across different platforms and organizations. A player that has a rating of 1500 on lichess.org might have a completely different Elo rating with FIDE. The problems don’t stop there though. Even if lichess.org, chess.com and FIDE were to use the same rating system, differences in implementation and the inherent selection bias within the player pool would make comparisons just as hard.

So for this guide we’ll focus on how to get to 1500 Elo in Chess, but all the tips obviously also apply for whatever platform you prefer to play on.

The Role of Study and Practice in Reaching 1500 Elo

We have already published a general guide on how to improve your chess, which also applies in the case of reaching 1500 rating points. However, there are certain aspects of a beginner-to-intermediate player that can be speficially adressed in order to advance to the next level of Elo rating, in this case 1500.

You Need to Stop Blundering

You’ve surely been in this situation before: You play a strong game with no mistakes, only to suddenly lose your queen or a rook by blundering. This is not only annoying, but is costing you valuable rating points on your way to 1500. It is not unlikely that your true playing strength is strong enough to beat 1600 or even 1700 players, if you avoid hasty play and blunders. So, how do we prevent blundering?

Oftentimes, players spot their mistakes right after they make their move. Meaning it was pure carelessness that led to the blunder. That tells us that most blunders are a case of carelessness and not taking enough time to actually check the move your about to make. Our two tips for preventing blunders on your way to a chess rating of 1500: 

  • Play longer time controls. When you play longer time controls such as rapid or classical chess, you have more time on your hands to double- and triple-check your moves before actually performing them. Obviously this only works if you actually take the time to do so. If you constantly finish games with more time on your clock than you started with, you need to slow down your play and take your time for each move.
  • Have a pre-move routine in your head. This tip is designed to prevent the blunders that occur from hasty and careless play. Before actually moving a piece, you should have a series of questions prepared in your head to ask and answer yourself. For example: “Does this move allow any checks (or even checkmate) that can be exploited by my opponent?” or “Does this move directly or indirectly hang any pieces?”.

Learn Opening Theory

Chess is a game of strategy and tactics. The better you understand these concepts, the better you will be at the game. Opening theory is a branch of chess that studies the best ways to start a game. By studying opening theory, you can learn the correct way to develop your pieces, control the center of the board, and put your opponent under pressure.

While it might be enough to remember basic opening principles in the beginning of your chess career, you should have a solid opening repetoire if you want to advance your rating to 1500 and beyond. The more confident you are in the opening, the better your chances are of converting the game into a win during the middle- and endgame.

chess opening - spanish game
The Spanish Game is One Of The Most Common Games in Chess

Understanding the most common chess openings not only protects you from traps, but will also help you to get into the middlegame on at least even terms with your opponents. You don’t want to be losing games in the opening if you are serious about reaching 1500 Elo rating.

Daily Play and Puzzles

Obviously, if you want to get better at a certain skill, you need to practice. In chess, we can luckily practice by simply playing games (preferably with a slow time control). However, there is another — arguably better — means of practicing. We’re talking about solving puzzles of course!

Puzzles are important to improve at chess because they help improve your planning and visualization skills, your ability to find tactical opportunities, and your general understanding of chess concepts. You will inherently train your brain to find the best move in any given position you might encounter in a game. 

Don’t be afraid to take your time – the goal is to improve your skills, not to see how quickly you can solve a puzzle.

If you want to start reaping the benefits of solving puzzles, there are a few different ways to go about it. While you can use chess books or even chess computers for puzzles, we recommend you use the various puzzle games on your favorite chess website, such as chess.com or lichess.org.

Overcoming Plateaus on Your Way to 1500

Depending on your starting rating, it is almost certain that you will eventually hit a wall in your chess development towards the goal of 1500 rating points. Youll stop improving, or even start going backwards. Its called a plateau, and everyone hits them at some point in their chess journey. Hitting a plateau is one of the most frustrating experiences for a chess player. It can feel like you’re stuck in quicksand – the harder you try, the more you seem to sink. If you’re stuck on a chess rating plateau, don’t despair – there are things you can do to bust out and start climbing again

There are countless reasons why one might hit a plateau. One very common reason for hitting a plateau is simply that youve worked through all the easy improvements. When youre a beginner, its easy to get better quickly simply by memorizing basic principles and acquiring basic technique. But at some point youll have memorized all the principles and acquired all the technique that a beginner needs. Now its time to start developing your own original understanding of the game. Others might hit a plateau simply because they get bored of the game and don’t bother practicing anymore. Whatever the reason may be, here are three tips to overcoming a pleateau on your way to get to 1500 Elo in chess:

  1. Take a step back and don’t play chess for a while. This may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes a break from the game can be helpful. You can use this time to reflect on your games and analyze what you could do better. Maybe there are some bad habits you‘ve picked up that you need to break, or perhaps you just need to study more. Once you‘ve identified the areas you need to work on, you can come back to chess with a renewed focus and start making progress again. Or, if you’re feeling a kind of “chess burnout”, you might just want to distance yourself from chess for a bit.
  2. Lower your expectations. If you’re trying to improve your rating by 100 points, for example, it may be unrealistic to expect to accomplish this in a short period of time. Breaking your goal down into smaller, more achievable chunks can help you stay motivated and avoid getting discouraged. Improvement takes time, trying to rush it will only impeed your performance.
  3. Get a chess coach. A chess coach can help you to identify the areas where you need to improve, and give you the guidance and support you need to start making progress again. A chess coach can also help you to stay motivated, and keep improving even when it feels like you’re not making any progress. It can be easy to get discouraged when you’re stuck on a plateau, but a chess coach can help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and push you to reach your full potential.

Conclusion: Enjoy Your Way To 1500 Rating Points

There are many ways to improve your chess rating. Some people recommend studying specific openings, others recommend concentrating on endgames. Some say that you should play more chess, while others advocate playing fewer games. The most important thing is to find what works best for you. 

We wish you the best of luck on your way to 1500 Elo rating in chess! If you need any help on your journey, don’t hesitate to shoot us a line: [email protected]!

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