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   Using This Site   
The main thing that needs explaining is the Summary tab. This tab will be the launching point for most of your explorations. You can use it to zoom in on a particular year or years, so you can see who was ranked highest or had the most successful results, and what were the strongest matches and tournaments of the time. Or you can zoom out to get a bigger perspective about the premier players of various eras. There are links all over the place to let you go investigate things more deeply. Here is a legend of the various elements on the Summary tab, and what you can use them for:
There is also additional functionality on the other tabs that you can't see directly from within the Summary tab; you have to go to the other areas of the site first, either by clicking on a link from within Summary or by clicking on a tab across the top.
On the Players tab, you can find a player by clicking on the "Find a Player" link, then clicking on a link corresponding to the first two letters of their name. When you find the player you want, click on their name and it will take you to a career summary for them. There are many places throughout the site where you can click on a player's name and it will take you to their career profile. The Players tab also includes various lists of the top-100 players having the highest average rating across different-width year spans.
The Monthly Lists tab uses the same integrated year range as the Summary tab, providing more specific details from the rating lists themselves. Based on the specific year range, you can see top-five lists, for each monthly list within the year range. The list gets pretty long once you have a year range greater than 30 years, so it won't show the monthly lists for anything longer than a 30-year span. For each list, you can click on the link for the rating list and it will take you straight to the exact top-100 list for that month.
The Age Lists tab is fairly similar to the Monthly Lists tab except it calculates the rating list across time for each age of a player. So for Bobby Fischer at age 23y11m (that's 23 years and 11 months), you could see his rating compared to everyone else at the time they were aged 23y11m. First you would pick a specific integer age (by clicking on the link for that number). It will show you a three-year graph of the top players around that age, and then below will be the individual age-based top-five lists. Clicking on the link for that exact age will take you to the full (top-100) list for that particular age.
However, before you go too far into exploring the historical ratings, it will definitely help to understand just what the historical ratings are supposed to measure, and also some of the history behind rating systems which brought me to the point of developing this website:
Read about the historical ratings