Chess Honorary Titles – Titles of Honor in the Chess World

There are different Chess Honorary titles like grand master, international master and the FIDE master apart from candidate master. These chess titles are awarded by the governing body of Chess: FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs.)

The honorary chess titles have different eligibility criteria that range from having an ELO rating of 2000 to 2500. An international master title is awarded to players who have an ELO rating of 2400 and above whereas the chess grand master title is awarded to players with an ELO rating of 2500 or above. These points can be obtained by participating in tournaments that are approved by FIDE and thus can be used to get the norms required for the titles. The norms are stages of qualification that a chess player has to pass through if he or she has to get the ratings required for the chess titles.

One can receive a grand master chess title after becoming an international master but it is not compulsorily required. For instance, there have been players like Vladimir Kramnik who have become grand masters without becoming an international master. This is due to the fact that he was a child prodigy who was exceptionally good at chess. On the other hand, there have been several international masters who have not become grand masters due to their not achieving the requisite norm. Thus, it depends on the individual abilities of the players and not necessarily on the FIDE policy of awarding the chess honorary titles.

There has been an exponential rise in the number of chess players who have the grand master and international master norms. This is due to the popularity of chess that is increasing in the Asian countries and the countries of the West. Though it is ironic that the game of chess that originated in India does not have too many takers there, it is mostly due to the fact that the tournaments are held in western countries that are expensive for Asian players to take part in.

However, with the opening of the economies in these countries, the players can travel to the Western countries and take part in the competitions. Of late, there have been several grand masters and international masters from the countries other than the western and erstwhile Russian republics. This and the fact that the number of grand masters has increased has led to calls from several quarters for re-visiting the qualification norms of FIDE for the chess tournaments.

There are several women who have qualified for the FIDE grand master norms though there are separate chess titles for them according to the FIDE norms. It is evident that the qualification norms for grand master and international master norms among other chess titles can be revised according to the need of the hour. However, it is also a fact that if the game has to grow in popularity and attract more number of players, FIDE must tread cautiously in these matters. Thus, the chess titles are not only coveted but also a means of getting visibility and sponsorship among the playing population.

Browse the articles in this section to learn more about the different honorary titles in the world of chess.