According to USATT, http://www.usatt.net/league/
singles/ratings_league.html if you are rated below 1000, you are a beginner. Your results may vary. I once played a 500 rated player who was rerated to 1300 following the tournament. I know several under 1000 players who if you only watched them warm up, you would assume they were rated at least 1500. That doesn’t mean they can play at a 1500 level, but they don’t really look like beginners either.
|1400-1700||Average member of USA Table Tennis|
|1700-1800||Average tournament player|
|2000||An “Expert” player|
|2200||A “Master” player|
|2350-2650||Members of the USA Women’s National Team (5 players)|
|2550-2800||Members of the USA Men’s National Team (5 players)|
|2800-3000||The best players in the world|
Incredibly, if you can get one point over a 1000 rating, you can consider yourself an intermediate player. Of course you may very well be intermediate for quite some time. In fact, should you fight your way to a 1400 rating, you can now consider yourself average. Actually, you aren’t even an average tournament player. At 1400 you are on the low end of average USATT members.
Now, should you make it to a 1700 rating, USATT will finally consider you truly average. You may beat the typical person on the street, and all but five of your local club members, but among tournament players, you’re strictly middle of the pack. A 1800 rating is still average. I currently have a 1790 rating. USATT used to consider me above average when I was rated 1855, but sadly, I am back to being average after a year of 1800 bliss. I still have a club rating over 1800 at AGTTA, so if I want to feel better than average, I can always go there.
If you happen to be rated between 1800 and 2000, there’s still some bad news. The USATT ratings chart has no real category for you. If you were over 2000, you could be considered an expert. Until then, you are left in the 200 point limbo of being extremely average. I recently played an expert, who had been an expert since 2012, when he played his last tournament. Knowing he’s rated 2001 does seem to make any wins I have over him sweeter. It does occur to me that if he played a tournament and lost two rating points, would he really not be an expert anymore?
For many players, reaching a 2000 rating is the ultimate goal. Sure, if you made it to 2200 you could be a master, and a 2800 rating might allow you to make a living playing tournaments. 2000 is a nice round number and probably insures enough ability to beat all the average players. Right now, I’d like to get to 1900. On my best days I imagine I’m playing at least at a 1900 level. Had I known it was possible to get a 1900 estimated rating in my first tournament, I could be 1900 right now, without ever winning a match. I actually witnessed this at a recent tournament. The player with the 1900 initial rating was far closer to 900.
The rating system we use is not perfect and sometimes seems counterproductive. While it is supposed to be an objective measurement of players abilities, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Not that I have any better system in mind, I’d love to have a higher rating. It is helpful to have some perspective on ratings and what they actually reflect. We can be unique and special players and people. Let the ratings fall where they will.