A Master in chess is a player who is awarded a master title by the world chess organisation FIDE, or by a national chess organisation. The term was used for a long time to describe someone who was accepted as an expert player, but it now has an official meaning.
Grandmaster is a chess title for even stronger players. The title comes from the word in Middle French: Grand maistre. It was the title given to the head of an Order of Knights, such as the Knights Templar or the Teutonic Knights. Its first use in chess is a comment in the periodical Bell's Life (18 February 1838) referring to William Lewis as "our past grandmaster".p156
FIDE titles were first awarded in 1950.p133 There are four levels of mastery.p132; 177 There are detailed rules as to the number of games played at a given level, and the full rules are quite lengthy. Some countries go with this system entirely, but others have their own system as well.
Once awarded a title, the player keeps it for life.
Titles open to all
In order of merit, with official abbreviations, they are:
- Grandmaster (GM) 2500+
- International master (IM) 2400+
- FIDE master (FM) 2300+
- Candidate master (CM) 2200+
Titles open only to women
There are also women-only titles:
- Woman grandmaster (WGM) 2300+
- Woman international master (WIM) 2200+
- Woman FIDE master (WFM) 2100+
- Woman candidate master (WCM) 2000+
It can be seen that a woman grandmaster is a lower standard than an international master. The purpose of women-only titles is to encourage female players, because there are few female players in the game.
Meeting the demands is not easy. To become a grandmaster, a player has to play at least 27 games with at least two grandmaster-results. In practice this means achieving at least three grandmaster-results or norms. The tournament rating must be 2600 at least. Besides this, a player's own FIDE rating must be at least 2500. Men and women can earn the GM-title by meeting the demands.
A chessplayer who is already an IM (international master) will simply become grandmaster, but it is not necessary to get the IM title first.
As chess became more popular in the second half of the 19th century, the term began to be given out by organizations. For example, in Germany, there arose an annual sponsored tournament, the Hauptturnier, the winners of which were awarded the title of Meister. Emanuel Lasker, who later became World Champion, first earned a master title in one such tournament. The Soviet Union had a system of national candidate masters, masters and grandmasters before World War II, and its satellite countries in eastern Europe followed suit after the war.
In the United States, the title of "National Master" is awarded for life, regardless of whether his rating goes below 2200 later. In August 2002, the USCF (United States Chess Federation) decided that "Any USCF member, who has had a normal post-tournament rating of 2200 or higher, has demonstrated a significant level of chess ability and thought, and is automatically awarded the lifetime title of National Master".
Chess master titles Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.