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Arpad Elo

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Arpad Elo
Élő Árpád Imre

(1903-08-25)August 25, 1903
DiedNovember 5, 1992(1992-11-05) (aged 89)
  • Hungarian
  • American
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
Known forElo rating system
Scientific career
InstitutionsMarquette University

Arpad Emmerich Elo ( Élő Árpád Imre [1][2] August 25, 1903 – November 5, 1992) was a Hungarian-American physics professor who created the Elo rating system for two-player games such as chess.

Born in Egyházaskesző, Kingdom of Hungary, he moved to the United States with his parents in 1913. He was a professor of physics at Marquette University in Milwaukee and a chess master. By the 1930s he was the strongest chess player in Milwaukee, at the time one of the nation's leading chess cities. He won the Wisconsin State Championship eight times,[3] and was the 11th person inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame.



Elo died of a heart attack at his home in Brookfield, Wisconsin, on November 5, 1992.[4]

The Elo rating system


Elo is known for his chess player rating system. The original player rating system was developed in 1950 by Kenneth Harkness, the Business Manager of the United States Chess Federation. By 1960, using the data developed through the Harkness Rating System, Elo developed his own formula which had a sound statistical basis and constituted an improvement on the Harkness System. The new rating system was approved and passed at a meeting of the United States Chess Federation in St. Louis in 1960.

In 1970, FIDE, the World Chess Federation, agreed to adopt the Elo Rating System. From then on until the mid-1980s, Elo himself made the rating calculations. At the time, the computational task was relatively easy because fewer than 2000 players were rated by FIDE.

FIDE reassigned the task of managing and computing the ratings to others, excluding Elo. FIDE also added new "Qualification for Rating" rules to its handbook awarding arbitrary ratings (typically in the 2200 range, which is the low end for a chess master) for players who scored at least 50 percent in the games played at selected events, such as named Chess Olympiads.[5][6]


  • The Rating of Chess Players, Past and Present (First Edition 1978, Second Edition 1986), Arco. ISBN 0-668-04721-6


  1. ^ "Veszprém megyei életrajzi lexikon – ÉLŐ Árpád Imre". Archived from the original on August 18, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2006.
  2. ^ Romániai Magyar Szó, 2003. augusztus 26. Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Andrew Soltis, "What's Your Elo?", Chess Life, July 1993, p. 19.
  4. ^ "Chess rating developer dies of heart attack at 89". The Capital Times. Associated Press. November 6, 1992. p. 1B. Retrieved July 8, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ 03. African Team Championships Archived March 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, FIDE Handbook
  6. ^ D.V.02. Asian Cities Championship Archived March 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, FIDE Handbook