Who is Arpad Elo?

Who is Arpad Elo?

Creator of the ELO Rating System

Arpad Elo was a Hungarian-born American chess player, physicist, and educator who is best known for developing the Elo rating system, which is used to measure the skill level of chess players. The Elo rating system is named after him and is the most widely used rating system in chess and other games. In this article, we will take a closer look at the life and contributions of Arpad Elo.

Arpad Elo was born on June 28, 1903, in Szeged, Hungary. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1913, settling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1927 and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago in 1933.

After completing his Ph.D., Elo worked as a physicist for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the University of Chicago. He also worked as a research physicist for the National Bureau of Standards and the National Research Council.

Elo was an avid chess player and was a member of the Milwaukee Chess Club. He became interested in developing a rating system for chess players after noticing that the existing systems were unreliable and inconsistent.

The ELO Difference

In 1960, Elo published his first paper on the Elo rating system in the Chess Life magazine. The Elo rating system is based on the concept of the “ELO difference,” which is the difference in rating between two players. A player’s rating is adjusted based on the results of their games, with a higher rating indicating a higher level of skill.

The Elo rating system was adopted by the United States Chess Federation (USCF) in 1960 and is now used in over 40 countries worldwide. It is also used in other games such as Go and Scrabble.

Elo made significant contributions to the field of physics, including research on the properties of solid state materials and the development of a new type of radiation detector. He also worked as a consultant for various organizations and served as a professor of physics at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Elo received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to chess and physics. He was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in 2005 and received the title of International Master from the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in 1971. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the USCF in 2000.

Arpad Elo died on November 5, 1992, at the age of 89.