how to become chess grandmaster

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on how many grandmasters are there in chess. Read on to learn more.We at collegelearners .com have all the information that you need about chess titles. Read on to learn more.

how to become chess grandmaster

The Ultimate Guide to Become a Chess Grandmaster

chess pieces on a board with article title overlay

What Does it Take to Become a Chess Grandmaster?

  • Opening Preparation: Become an opening expert in various openings; understand your variations and know the theory.
  • Calculation Skills: Improve your calculation methods, systemize your calculation and solve chess puzzles to improve your pattern recognition.
  • Endgame Skills: Chess Grandmasters often outplay their opponents in the endgame; study key theoretical endgames also excel in practical endings.
  • Focus: Chess Grandmasters are professionals with a fighting attitude.
  • Psychological Strength: Develop a never-give-up-attitude, get the right mindset to win your games.

Earning a chess title, especially the grandmaster title, is not a piece of cake. Few make the cut, and those who do go down in history alongside Bobby Fischer. Many people work very hard on their chess, but their Elo rating stagnates. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication in order to get a chess title.

There are around 800 million chess players in the world and only about 1500 of them are grandmasters. Hence, only about 0.3 % of all registered FIDE players currently hold a grandmaster title.

Still, many chess players wonder if they have the potential to become a grandmaster. What are the official requirements to get a grandmaster title? What does it take to become a grandmaster? What chess skills do you need to play at grandmaster level?

One of the most important skills you need both at the board and away from the board is good time management. Here is Super GM Vallejo Pons sharing what he has learned about time management while playing against the very best in the world.

There’s plenty of debate on what makes a chess grandmaster and what it takes to become one. Subsequently, the following article is devoted to the question “What is a Chess Grandmaster?”

Current Regulations To Become A Chess Grandmaster

The chess title Grandmaster is awarded to chess players by the world chess organization, FIDE. Apart from becoming World Chess Champion, being a Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can reach.

Other official FIDE titles are Candidates Master (CM), FIDE Master (FM) and International Master (IM). Many chess enthusiasts often use the unofficial title “Super Grandmaster” to refer to the world’s best chess players with a 2700+ ELO-rating.

How to become a grandmaster checklist

Once a player becomes a chess grandmaster, the title is held for life. There is a Woman Grandmaster title with lower requirements specific to women. However, the Grandmaster title is open to men and women.

To achieve a GM title, chess players usually need to achieve norms in internationally rated tournaments. In order to get 1 GM-norm, a player has to fulfill the following criteria:

  1. The player must play at least 9 games in the tournament (with some exceptions you can read in the FIDE Handbook).
  2. The player has to play against at least two players from federations other than his own chess federation. (with some exceptions you can read in the FIDE Handbook).
  3. At least 50% of the player’s opponents have to be titled-players. On top of that, at least 1/3 (with a minimum of 3 opponents) of the opponents have to be Grandmasters.
  4. The minimum rating of the player’s opponents is 2380.
  5. The Performance Rating of the player who wants to achieve the GM-norm has to be at least 2600.

These 5 criteria are the most important ones you need to fulfill in order to reach 1 GM-norm. Still, it has to be said that there are some more detailed regulations in the FIDE Handbook.

In order to get the Grandmaster title, a player usually needs to get 3 GM-norms (with some exceptions again). In addition, your FIDE rating has to have passed 2500 rating at some point in order to become a Grandmaster.

All the small details aside, it quickly becomes obvious that it is really tough to become a grandmaster. The following example highlights this. Achieving a performance rating of 2600 or more if the rating of your opponents is 2380 means that you need to score at least 7 points out of 9 games.

As you can imagine games at the top level are extremely tense and complicated affairs. Being able to narrow down your options in complex positions is a critical skill you need to master to become a grandmaster. Here is Super GM Vallejo Pons to teach us how to deal with analysis paralysis.

The Youngest Chess Grandmasters Ever

The record for the youngest grandmaster is currently held by Abhimanyu Mishra, who beat out the former World Chess Championship Contender Sergey Karjakin.

Abhimanyu was only 12 years 4 months and 25 days old when he earned his grandmaster title. Sergey earned the Grandmaster title at the age of 12 years and 7 months.

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen is the eighth youngest GM in the world.

How To Become A Chess Grandmaster

Becoming a grandmaster list of Do's and Don'ts

Plenty of skills and attitudes are needed in order to become a Grandmaster. Here’s a brief overview of the most important aspects required:

  1. Opening Preparation:
    Grandmasters usually play various openings or at least different lines within an opening system. What’s more, they are absolute experts in the openings they play. They do not only know about typical plans, idea and tactical patterns in their openings. They also memorize a ton of theory. They analyze their lines very deeply and often know their opening until the middlegame or even endgame.
  2. Calculation Skills:
    Without good calculation skills, it’s nearly impossible to play a good game of chess. Chess is a concrete game and the better you become, the more concrete it gets. If you want to play at a very high level, you can’t rely on general concepts. The calculation is one area of the game in which grandmasters usually perform a lot better than average club players. Improving your calculation methods (e.g. look for forced moves like checks or captures first) helps you to systemize your calculation. Thus, you’ll be able to calculate faster and more precisely.
  3. Endgame Skills:
    Grandmasters often outplay weaker opponents in the endgame. Many club players believe that with reduced material, it is a lot easier to play. However, it is far from that. Endgames are one area of the game where most club players struggle. Grandmasters are familiar with the most important theoretical endgames and plenty of essential endgame principles. Other principles include “Don’t hurry”, “Plus-equal mode”, “Cutting off the King” and more.
  4. Focus:
    If you want to become a chess Grandmaster, you need to be professional. It is important to sit at the board the entire time and focus on the game. Many average club players prefer to leave their board quite often during the game and watch other games or talk to their friends. In order to compete with such high-level players, you need to have a fighting attitude. On top of that, you also need a lot of dedication at home. Playing at Grandmaster level starts with investing countless hours of chess training at home. You need to have a clear study program and be willing to do all the hard work.
  5. Psychological Strength:
    On your way to becoming a Grandmaster, you will suffer many painful defeats. You might be close to a GM-norm and lose an important game in the last round. Losing and failing is agony. Only a few sportsmen can handle it. In order to become a Grandmaster, you need to develop a never-give-up attitude.
  6. Money:
    Last but not least, becoming a Grandmaster is expensive. You need to buy several good chess books, chess DVD series, and chess software. You need to pay strong chess coaches and you also need to travel to tournaments. Usually, the right tournaments are far away. This can require significant time and financial resources.

Train Your Way to Grandmaster Status

The Vallejo Method Chess DVDs

As we’ve seen in this article, a lot of different skills are required to become a chess grandmaster. FIDE’s regulations make it tough to reach such a high level, but also different chess training aspects are extremely challenging.

Still, every journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step. Do you want to get some great insights into grandmaster Play by a strong Super Grandmaster? Click here and get a special discount on “The Paco Vallejo Method” by GM Paco Vallejo Pons (2716).

chess titles

Chess Player Titles (Class, Master, and FIDE)

Grandmasters standing in line at the 2016 Candidates Tournament

Chess titles can be pretty confusing, especially because they can vary depending on the organization that is granting them. Here’s an idea of what it means to be a master, a grandmaster, or any of the other important titles that can be bestowed on strong players.

Expert and Class Titles

Many players will refer to themselves as being a “Class A,” “Class C,” or “Expert” chess player. These titles are based entirely on ratings, and are, for the most part, very informal. Most players refer to the title that their current rating belongs in, although some—particularly those that once reached the expert level—will refer to themselves by their peak class. These class titles are usually considered to correspond to the following rating ranges:

  • Expert: 2000–2199
  • Class A: 1800–1999
  • Class B: 1600–1799
  • Class C: 1400–1599
  • Class D: 1200–1399
  • Class E: 1000–1199

The United States Chess Federation (USCF) now also offers “norm-based” classes, which are granted based on tournament performances as a sort of lifetime achievement recognition.

National Master Titles

Master titles are often awarded by national chess federations as a way of honoring the strongest players in their country. For instance, the USCF awards the National Master title to any player who reaches an established rating of 2200; an additional Senior Master designation is awarded to any player who reaches the 2400 level.

Unlike the lower “titles,” it is usually considered perfectly acceptable for a player to refer to themselves as a master if they ever held a master title. Also, the USCF has the “Life Master” title, which is granted only to players who have held a rating of 2200 or greater for at least 300 USCF-rated games.

FIDE Titles

The most prestigious titles are granted by FIDE, which is the World Chess Federation. These titles require high FIDE ratings, and the highest titles also require strong performances in tournaments against other elite players. Once granted, FIDE titles are not taken away from players, even if their performance drops. The FIDE titles and their requirements are as follows:

  • Candidate Master: This title is awarded to any player with an established FIDE rating of 2200 or higher. This is the least prestigious title awarded by FIDE.
  • FIDE Master (FM): The FIDE Master title is awarded to any player who establishes a FIDE rating of at least 2300. Many international junior tournaments also award the FIDE title to winners; for instance, one may earn the FM title by winning a section at the Pan-Am Youth Games, even if they do not meet the rating requirement.
  • International Master (IM): To earn the IM title, a player must normally have an established FIDE rating of 2400. However, players must also prove their strength by having sufficiently strong results in (normally) three tournaments against very strong competition. Like the FM title, however, there are potential shortcuts to winning the IM title, such as by being the runner-up at the World Junior Championship.
  • Grandmaster (GM): The GM title is the most difficult title to earn for any chess player. To become a grandmaster, a player must establish a FIDE rating of at least 2500. Also, he or she must go through the same norms process required of an IM, but with a higher standard required to achieve each norm. Only a few tournaments award a GM title outside of this system; winning the World Junior Championship or the World Senior Championship are two ways in which a player might earn the GM title despite not otherwise qualifying for it.

Women’s Titles

FIDE also awards several titles that are given exclusively to female players. These titles are somewhat controversial; while most contend that they help promote top female players and award their achievement, others argue that the titles are demeaning and unnecessary, as women can (and do) reach the levels of achievement necessary to earn the normal FIDE titles. Most of the top female players in the world are now grandmasters.

However, the women’s titles have lower standards required for achieving them, so more female players have the women’s titles than the corresponding “proper” title. The female titles are:

  • Woman Candidate Master (WCM)
  • Woman FIDE Master (WFM)
  • Woman International Master (WIM)
  • Woman Grandmaster (WGM): This title is approximately equivalent to the overall IM title, and players who qualify as both may choose to identify themselves with either of the two titles.

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