Chess Titles

by admin on May 02, 2020

Chess Titles

Chess, like any other sport, can earn you a title of honor for your distinct performance. Let's get to know about some of these chess titles and honorary mentions. Many prominent organizations also grant chess titles to brilliant performers.

Expert and Class Titles

There is an unofficial ranking system that can be represented by letters like A, B, C, D, etc. Unfortunately, there are no official numerical values of these ranks. That said, there is a consensus of the numerical values analogous with these rankings. These are:

  • A Class: Starting from 1800 up to 1999
  • B Class: Starting from 1600 up to 1799
  • C Class: Starting from 1400 up to 1599
  • D Class: Starting from 1200 up to 1399
  • E Class: Starting from 1000 up to 1199
  • F Class: Starting from 800 up to 999
  • G Class: Starting from 600 up to 799
  • H Class: Starting from 450 up to 599
  • I Class: Starting from 200 up to 450
  • J Class: Under 200

Apart from the above mentioned rankings, there are some players who are at a level above. They call themselves 'Experts'. A master's level would range from the numerical values starting from 2000 up to 2199. These rankings are not permanent. They keep altering based on the games played and won or lost.

National Master level Players Titles

The award for being the strongest player brings the award of National Title or National Master Title. The strongest player in the country receives this award. The Country's Chess Federation gives this award. And there is no role of FIDE, in the same.

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USCF ( United States Chess Federation ) Titles

USCF is an organisation that came into existence in 1939 to honor the best players of different countries with master titles.

A chess player who ranks more than the 2200 level or higher in their chess tournament, qualifies for the title of 'National Chess Master'.

A chess player who ranks more than the 2400 level or higher qualifies for the title of 'Senior Chess Master'.

Finally, a player who ranks more than the 2200 rating or greater qualifies for the title of 'Life Chess Master'.

To earn any of these titles from USCF is like gaining a lot of privilege, attention and exposure at the global level. Any chess player getting such titles by USCF can officially declare themselves as chess masters without any kind of hesitation. It is one of the greatest honors for a chess player to get the title of chess master from USCF.

FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation) Title

Titles of Chess Masters that the FIDE gives are the gold standard among chess players and chess enthusiasts. Once FIDE or the World Chess Federation awards the title, it cannot be taken back. This will happen even if that player is not able to maintain that position and performs unsatisfactorily.

A chess player needs to score a minimum rating of 2200 in a tournament to have the potential of being awarded the Candidate Master Title. But this title given by FIDE falls in the lowest hierarchy of titles given by it.

FIDE awards a chess player who is able to score a minimum rating of 2300 with the title of 'FIDE Master' Chess Player title. Many international junior tournaments also award this title to those players who match the required criteria too.

A chess player who scores a minimum rating of 2400 and wins at least 3 normal tournaments against a very strong and powerful chess player is awarded the title of 'International Master Chess Player' by FIDE.

A chess player who is able to score a minimum rating of 2500 and also meets the criteria for the 'International Master' Title be defeating players that are ranked considerably higher, is awarded the title of 'Grand Master' Chess player by FIDE. This is the most prestigious title given by FIDE and it is topmost in the hierarchy of titles given by FIDE.

For more information of FIDE titles and ratings, go visit:

Women's Titles

FIDE also awards Women's Title and as the name suggests these titles are exclusively for awarding women chess players. This title by FIDE is somewhat controversial. This is because, to be awarded these titles a chess player is expected to meet lower criteria than that of 'General' titles given by FIDE.

This has led many to critic this as an act of 'demeaning the women' and considering them less capable in comparison to male chess players. While FIDE in their defence have asserted that this is a way to celebrate and encourage the participation of women in chess tournaments. This helps in promoting top female chess players across the globe and thus encouraging more women to participate in chess tournaments across the world.

Women's Titles that FIDE provides are mentioned below:

  1. (WCM) Woman Candidate Master
  2. (WFM) Woman FIDE Master
  3. (WIM) Woman International Master
  4. (WGM) Woman Grandmaster

To win these titles is like bringing prestige to the nation for any chess player from any country. The governments must promote the participation of chess players in such Chess Tournaments. Talented players must receive assistance in training and have access to the right resources.

We can only hope for the best and encourage more people from our nation to learn the game. This will only bring laurels to the nation and enhance its dignity.

Check out our interview with Women International Master (WIM) Priyanka Nutakki below: