## The Best USCF Rating Estimator & Norm Calculator [2024]

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By: Nathaniel_Fernandes | Posted: July 7, 2021 | Updated: 9/11/2024
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I created this tool to help you estimate your rating! I estimated the following quantities using the formulas found in the corresponding documents.

Jul 2024 Update: Check out the free FIDE Rating Calculator that we recently deployed! Also, please send us an email with feedback or suggestions.

#### How to Use the Rating Estimator

First, select the # of games you played and put in your total score. Then put your opponents’ ratings. Bam! That simple!

#### What are Titles & Norms?

The US Chess Federation awards players permanent titles to recognize a player for outstanding performances at tournaments. There are 7 official titles you can achieve, as shown in the following table. In order to be awarded a title, you need to earn 5 “norms” for that rating level – norms are basically certification of “a high level of performance in a chess tournament” (as per Wikipedia). In addition to getting 5 norms, you must be above the respective rating level to become a Candidate Master, Life Master, or Senior Life Master. (Note: titles are permanent. Even if your rating falls below the threshold, once a “master” you’re always a master.)

For example, say you are working towards becoming a candidate master. You would need to play in 5 tournaments where your game results are sufficiently impressive for a 2000-rated player (i.e. 5 norms) and your rating must be above 2000 (read the official documentation for more details on how “sufficiently impressive” is calculated).

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#### 1. Why is my posted rating different from the estimate?

The estimated final rating can differ slightly because USCF factors in who your opponents played, how they did, etc., whereas we only look at the total score for ease of use. (Indeed, entering the entire tournament results table would be practically infeasible.)

If your posted rating is significantly different, please send us an email and we will check it out for you!

#### 2. For score = 0, why is there a “dip” in Figure 2 “Current Rating vs. Rating Change”?

Good question! This phenomenon also extends to cases where a player’s score is very low (e.g., `score < 2`).

This means that higher-rated players lose fewer points for a really bad performance than lower-rated players do.

Algorithmically, this behavior stems from the following section, where USCF computes N* to assess the reliability of a result in judging a player’s true skill level.

From our correspondence with them, the USCF rationale for penalizing higher-rated players less harshly is that higher-rated players have “proven” themselves & their low score is likely just an off-day. On the other hand, novice players who score poorly are more likely just bad. Additionally, they argue the system is fair because lower-rated players can conversely gain many more points from a good performance compared to a higher-rated player.

Thus, even though novice players might lose more points for a poor showing, they would also gain more points for a good tournament.

#### 1. What tournaments can I earn norms at?

The tournament must be an in-person USCF regular-rated event and at least 4 rounds. Moreover, you can’t play the same opponent more than twice. In other words, you cannot earn a norm at an online Blitz, Quick-rated-only, or Correspondence chess event.

#### 2. Can I earn a norm if I’m unrated?

Yes! You can earn norms even if you are unrated or provisionally rated. However, you must have an established rating to earn a title.

Cover Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

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