Originally posted by Dewi Jones
In my opinion, time and notepad should make no difference, as they are available to everyone. It s the different rating pool that makes the difference. That and cheating.
It's not just the rating pool differential, but also the format. In OTB play, the typical amateur has the opportunity to play maybe 5 rated games a month, and most play less. They have little choice about who they play.
At RHP someone could play a very large number of games, and pick and choose the opposition, and also pick the time control for each game. The playing experience can be manipulated here in multiple ways that simply can't happen OTB.
For a person to use his/her RHP rating as a guidepost for improvement, they would have to pay careful attention to the number and type of games, and to who they play, in order to establish some "constants" as a benchmark to measure performance.
It's very easy to get "empty calories" at RHP, which fattens the rating but does not build "chess muscles" or add strength.