Free online Chess server. Play Chess now in a clean interface. No registration, no ads, no plugin required. Play Chess with the computer, friends or random opponents.
Sign in
  1. Forum
  2. General Chess Discussion
  3. Do you hesitate to start a new game when at your peak rating?

When you beat your personal record, do you start playing another game immediately, or do you take a break, just to make sure you stay at the top for a little while?

A couple professors analyzed 133 million games, and published the results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They found that people are afraid to lose when they reach their personal best.

Also, people tend to play best when they are just about to break their record.

Interesting discussion with one of the authors on Reddit:

Link to the scientific article:

Afraid to play after reaching a peak rating ?
I suppose so. The majority of players are playing for the "rating." They are not playing for the love of the game, but only to "bolster their ego" thinking a better chess rating "proves" they are more intelligent, in some way better.
No doubt the "scientific stats" support the phenomenon, as most fall into this category.
On the flipside, there are those that achieve a personal best, and can't wait to have another go at it. To reach even higher goals. These type of competitors are competing against themselves. They have nothing to prove to the masses , no ego to support. Top athletes set world records. They can't wait to train harder and set a new standard.

I new a fella, after 10 years of playing OTB finally made master rating. Quit playing any rated games. Sat smugly in the corner, telling everyone of his master status. For a year he showed at the club, never ceasing to tell everyone he was a master yet never playing a single tournament club game ! I suppose his tombstone can read *Here lies a master*

@mdinnerspace the story of that master is really sad.

I didn't shed any tears. Told the story to point out the the truth in your topic. I'd prefer to say "unfortunate" that many players are more interested in a rating than enjoying chess.
Have not looked at the studies yet. Will get around to it. Insights I'm sure.
The "psychology" can get rather boring once human nature is understood.
Rating manipulation, computer assistance, multi-accounting are all similar symptoms. Yep. It is "sad".

It depends for me. If I skyrocketed to a new peak while in a good chess mood then I'll keep playing. If I played poorly and got lucky and managed to win a game then I'll stop playing.

The cumulative curve shows miniature „caps“ at the full hundreds. People stick there voluntarily.

At that points there are the possibilities to overtake lots of them in one go. ;)

@Sarg0n This is a really cool observation!!

I don't start until I'm in a positive space. Might take a week :). I stop if I think I'm about to tilt. I figure if I bugger a day, the next day will be against weaker players. So, no, I don't look at today's rating as an influence on my style of play.

A single glance at answers the original question. :-)

The reason I stopped playing bullet on this account LOL.

This topic has been archived and can no longer be replied to.