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Encyclopedia > Grandmaster (chess)

The title Grandmaster is awarded to world-class chess masters by the world chess organization FIDE. Apart from "World Champion", Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain. This article is about the Western board game. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

It is a lifetime title, in chess literature usually abbreviated as GM (this is in contrast to FM for FIDE Master and IM for International Master). The abbreviation IGM for International Grandmaster can also sometimes be found, particularly in older literature. FIDE Master (FM) is a title awarded by the world chess governing body, Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE). ... The title International Master is awarded to outstanding chess players by the world chess organization FIDE. The title is open to both men and women. ...

GM, IM, and FM are open to both men and women. Beginning with Nona Gaprindashvili in 1978, a number of women have earned the GM title. Since about 2000, most of the top 10 women have held the GM title. Nona Gaprindashvili Nona Gaprindashvili (born May 3, 1941) is a Georgian chess player, and the sixth womens world chess champion (1962-1978). ...

A separate gender-segregated title, WGM for Woman Grandmaster, is also available, but is something of a misnomer. It is awarded for a level of skill between that of a FIDE Master and an International Master. Woman Grandmaster (WGM) is the highest-ranking chess title restricted to women aside from Womens World Champion. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

FIDE also awards Grandmaster titles to composers and solvers of chess problems, and the International Correspondence Chess Federation awards the title of International correspondence chess grandmaster. Godfrey Heathcote Hampstead and Highgate Express, 1905-06 (First Prize) White to move and mate in two. ... International Correspondence Chess Federation ICCF is the International Correspondence Chess Federation. ... International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster is a title created by the FIDE in 1953, second only to that of world correspondence champion. ...



Original Grandmasters (1914)

The title "Grandmaster" was first formally conferred by Russian Tsar Nicholas II, who in 1914 awarded it to five players: Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch and Marshall. All five were finalists of the famous 1914 Saint Petersburg tournament which the Tsar had partially funded. The tournament was won by Lasker ahead of Capablanca. Lasker was the reigning world champion, Capablanca and Alekhine would become future world champions, and Tarrasch and Marshall were both world championship finalists. Tsar Nicholas II (18 May 1868 to 17 July 1918)1 was the last crowned Emperor of Russia. ... Emanuel Lasker (December 24, 1868 – January 11, 1941) was a German World Chess Champion, mathematician, and philosopher born at Berlinchen in Brandenburg (now Barlinek in Poland). ... José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera (November 19, 1888 - March 8, 1942) was a famous Cuban chess player in the early to mid twentieth century. ... Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine (sometimes spelled Aljechin or Alechin) (IPA: ; other members of his family pronounce it ; Russian: ; French: Alexandre Alekhine) (October 31 or November 1, 1892 – March 24, 1946) was a Russian-born naturalized French chess grandmaster (officially naturalized in 1927 only three days before the World Champion title), and... Siegbert Tarrasch Siegbert Tarrasch (March 5, 1862 – February 17, 1934) was one of the strongest chess players of the late 19th century and early 20th century. ... This article is about the early 20th century chess champion. ... Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and...

Non-standard usage (1914–1950)

After 1914, the term "Grandmaster" was sometimes informally applied to other world class players. The Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE, or World Chess Federation) was formed in Paris in 1924, but did not get around to formulating criteria on who should earn the title. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article is about the capital of France. ...

In 1927, the Soviet Union's Chess Federation brought in the title of Grandmaster of the Soviet Union, for their own players, since at that time Soviets were not competing outside their own country. This title was abolished in 1931, after having been awarded to Boris Verlinsky, who won the 1929 Soviet Championship. But then the title was brought back in 1935, and awarded to Mikhail Botvinnik, who thus became the first "official" Grandmaster of the USSR. Verlinsky did not get his title back. Boris Markovich Verlinsky (born 8 January 1888, Bakhmut, Ukraine – died 1950, Moscow, Russia) was an Ukrainian-Russian chess master. ... Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik (IPA: ; Russian: ) (August 17 [O.S. August 4] 1911 - May 5, 1995) was a Russian International Grandmaster and long-time World Champion of chess. ...

Official Status (1950 onwards)

FIDE first awarded the Grandmaster title in 1950 to 27 players. These players were:

By recognising world class players before 1950, this gave continuity with the original 1914 Grandmasters, except for world class players who had died between 1914 and 1950 (such as Carl Schlechter, Richard Réti and Aron Nimzowitsch). Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik (IPA: ; Russian: ) (August 17 [O.S. August 4] 1911 - May 5, 1995) was a Russian International Grandmaster and long-time World Champion of chess. ... The Candidates Tournament was an annual chess tournament in which various chess players play against each other. ... Isaac Yefremovich Boleslavsky (1919 – February 15, 1977) was a Ukrainian-Jewish chess grandmaster. ... Igor Zakharovich Bondarevsky (May 12, 1913, Rostov-on-the-Don, Russia – June 14, 1979, Piatigorsk) was a Soviet Russian chess grandmaster in both over the board and correspondence chess, International Judge, trainer and author of chess books. ... David Bronstein David Ionovich Bronstein (Дави́д Ио́нович Бронште́йн) (February 19, 1924, Bila Tserkva, Ukraine – December 5, 2006, Minsk, Belarus) was renowned as a leading chess grandmaster and writer. ... Machgielis (Max) Euwe (last name is pronounced /ø:wÉ™/) (May 20, 1901 – November 26, 1981) was a Dutch chess Grandmaster and Mathematician. ... Reuben Fine (October 11, 1914 - March 26, 1993) was one of the best chess players in the world during the 1930s. ... This article needs to be wikified. ... Paul Keres Paul Keres (born January 7, 1916, in Narva, Estonia; died June 5, 1975, in Helsinki, Finland) was an Estonian chess grandmaster and one of the strongest chess players of all time, apart from the World chess champions. ... Alexander Kotov (Александр Александрович Котов) (August 12, 1913 – January 8, 1981) was a chess grandmaster and author. ... Andre Lilienthal (born 5 May 1911) is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. ... Miguel Najdorf (born as Mieczysław Najdorf; 1910 - 1997) was a Polish-Argentine chess player. ... Samuel Herman (Sammy) Reshevsky (born Szmul Rzeszewski, November 26, 1911, Ozorków, (then German Empire, today Poland) - died April 4, 1992, New York, USA) was a leading American chess Grandmaster. ... Vasily Vasiliyevich Smyslov (Russian: ) (born March 24, 1921, in Moscow) is a Russian chess grandmaster, and was World Chess Champion from 1957 to 1958. ... Gideon StÃ¥hlberg (or Stahlberg) (1908 – 1967) was a Swedish chess grandmaster. ... // Headline text László Szabó (March 19, 1917 – August 8, 1998) was a prominent Hungarian International Grandmaster of chess. ... Ossip Samoilovitch Bernstein, (1882 to 1962), born in Imperial Russia in 1882 to a family of Jewish heritage, his family grew up in the anti-semitic atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Russia. ... Oldřich Duras (October 30, 1882 - January 5, 1957) was a leading Czech chess master of the early 20th century. ... Ernst Franz Grünfeld (November 21, 1893 – April 3, 1962), chess player specializing in opening theory and author, was for a brief period after the First World War one of the strongest chess players in the world. ... Borislav Kostić (aka Boris or Bora Kostic) (February 24, 1887 - November 3, 1963) was a professional chess player from Vrsac in Yugoslavia (now Serbia & Montenegro), then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. ... Grigory Yakovlevich Levenfish (March 9, 1889 - February 9, 1961) was a leading Jewish Russian chess grandmaster of the 1920s and 1930s. ... Géza Maróczy (pronounced GEH-zaw MAHR-ot-see, not MarOXy) (3 March 1870—29 May 1951) was a leading Hungarian chess master, one of the best players in the world in his time. ... Jacques Mieses (1865–1954) was a German-born Jewish chess player and writer. ... Viacheslav Vasilyevich Ragozin (October 8, 1908 – March 11, 1962) was a Soviet chess Grandmaster, an International Arbiter of chess, and a World Correspondence Chess Champion. ... Akiba Rubinstein (born 12 December 1882, died 15 March 1961 in Antwerp) was a brilliant Polish chess master and a famous grandmaster at the beginning of the 20th century. ... Friedrich Sämisch (September 20, 1896, Berlin–August 16, 1975, Berlin) was a German chess grandmaster. ... Ksawery Tartakower (generally known as Saviely or Savielly in English, from Polish Sawielly meaning little Saul, less often Xavier Tartacover or Xavier Tartakover; 1887–1956) was a leading Polish and French chess Grandmaster. ... Milan Vidmar (June 22, 1885 – October 9, 1962) was a Slovene electrical engineer, chess player, chess theorist, philosopher and writer, born in Ljubljana, Austria-Hungary (now Slovenia). ... Carl Schlechter Carl Schlechter (March 2, 1874 - December 27, 1918) was a leading Austrian chess master at the turn of the 20th century. ... Richard Réti (1889 – 1929) was a Czechoslovakian chess player, although he was born in what was then Hungary. ... Aron Nimzowitsch (also Nimzovich or Niemzowitsch) (November 7, 1886, Riga – March 16, 1935, Denmark) was a chess player of grandmaster strength and a very influential chess writer. ...

Since 1950, players have had to qualify for the Grandmaster title according to FIDE rules.

Current regulations

The requirements for becoming a Grandmaster are somewhat complex. A player must have an ELO chess rating of at least 2500 at one time (although they need not maintain this level to keep the title). A rating of 2400 or higher is required to become an International Master. In addition, at least two favorable results (called norms) in tournaments involving other Grandmasters, including some from countries other than the applicant's, are usually required before FIDE will confer the title on a player. There are other milestones a player can achieve to get the title, such as winning the Women's World Championship, the World Junior Championship, or the World Senior Championship. Current regulations may be found in the FIDE Handbook.[1] Chess Go The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess and Go. ... The Womens World Chess Championship is played to determine the womens world champion in chess. ... The World Junior Chess Championship is an under-20 event (players must have been under 20 years old on the 1st of January in the year of competition). ...

Title inflation

In 1972 there were only 88 GMs with 33 representing the USSR. In July 2005, the FIDE ratings list included over 900 grandmasters; see list of chess players and chess grandmasters for some of them. This huge increase is primarily because FIDE ratings (used in the calculation of title norms and thresholds) have an inherent inflationary effect, making grandmaster norms much easier to achieve. Ratings have inflated by about 100 points over the past 10-15 years.[2] For example, Nigel Short was rated the 3rd best player in the world in 1989 with a rating of 2650; in the 21st century such a rating would only be good enough for a player to reach the top 50 or 60, with the 3rd best player in world usually rated around 2750. Other minor factors come into play: there are more tournaments worldwide and cheaper air travel makes them more accessible to globe-trotting chess professionals, who include many players from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe whose movements are no longer as restricted as they were before the 1990s. Additionally, players can make norms in tournaments that would have been previously considered too short for norms,[3] making norms easier to get and allowing for more norm tournaments to be held. This is a list of chess players. ... Nigel Short MBE (born June 1, 1965 in Leigh, Lancashire) is widely regarded as the strongest British chess player of the 20th century. ...

The grandmaster title still retains some of its prestige because it represents a very high level of chess performance against other titled players. A chess master is typically in the top 2% of all tournament players. A grandmaster is typically in the top 0.02% at the time he or she earns the title.[4]

However, only the top handful of current grandmasters are as dominant as the five original Grandmasters were in their day. Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine were all World Champions, and both Tarrasch and Marshall were strong enough to play world title matches (both losing against Lasker). Lasker may refer to: Emanuel Lasker Lasker, North Carolina This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera (November 19, 1888 - March 8, 1942) was a famous Cuban chess player in the early to mid twentieth century. ... Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine (sometimes spelled Aljechin) (in Russian, Александр Александрович Але́хин), (October 31 or November 1, 1892 - March 24, 1946) was a chess master...

In order to restore the full prestige of the GM title, it is sometimes suggested that it ought to be reserved for those who, at some time in their lives, become serious contenders for the World Championship, or who have actually held that title. Former world championship runner-up Nigel Short has suggested that the title should be abolished altogether since it no longer helps to distinguish between true championship contenders and much lower-rated players who have no serious chance of challenging for the world title. Short says: "Just get rid of stupid titles."[3] Nigel Short MBE (born June 1, 1965 in Leigh, Lancashire) is widely regarded as the strongest British chess player of the 20th century. ...


Due to this title inflation, a top level grandmaster is sometimes informally called a "super-grandmaster". The term is unofficial, and there is no clear definition of what a super-grandmaster is.

For one possible list of super-grandmasters, see the list of players who have achieved an Elo rating of 2700 or more, at Comparing top chess players throughout history. The ELO rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess and Go. ... This article examines a number of methodologies that have been suggested for the task of comparing top chess players throughout history, particularly the question of comparing the greatest players of different eras. ...


  1. ^ Actual Handbook. fide.com.
  2. ^ FIDE Chess Rating Inflation. members.shaw.ca.
  3. ^ a b Praful Zaveri (December 10, 2006). Nigel Short wins Commonwealth Championship. chessbase.com.
  4. ^ 2002 Regular Rating Distribution Chart. uschess.org.

is the 344th day of the year (345th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Viswanathan Anand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1086 words)
Anand is one of only four players in history to break the 2800 mark on the Elo rating system, and he has been among the top three ranked players in classical time control chess in the world continuously since 1994 and the best rapid chess player in the world over much of that period.
Anand won three consecutive Advanced Chess tournaments in Leon, Spain after Garry Kasparov introduced this form of chess in 1998, and is widely recognized as the world's best Advanced Chess player, where humans may consult a computer to aid in their calculation of variations.
The Chess Oscar is awarded to the year's best player according to a world-wide poll of leading chess critics, writers, and journalists conducted by the Russian chess magazine 64.
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John Nunn is well known to our readers, since he regularly contributes commentary on the chess world and offers thought-provoking pieces such as ‘How to Talk to Aliens’ (nothing to do with offering draws to chess players, by the way).
In 2003 he retired from international chess, and since then he has been busy producing some of the best chess books in the world at Gambit Publications.
Large sums of money are very rarely at stake in chess, and most grandmasters are not followed by hosts of young, adoring fans who might be tempted to indulge in cold cures if their heroes are caught in the act of so doing.
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