Grandmaster (chess)

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Grandmaster (abbreviation GM ) is the highest title awarded by the World Chess Federation FIDE to tournament chess players ; formerly the title was International Grand Master ( IGM ). It has been transmitted since 1950 and is valid for life, although it can be withdrawn in the event of gross misconduct. Grandmaster titles are also awarded in other chess disciplines.


The title grandmaster was used informally as early as the 19th century, first on February 18, 1838 in the chess column of Bell's Life newspaper . In literature it is sometimes said that the title was first bestowed by Tsar Nicholas II in order to honor the five winners of the heavily occupied "Grand Master's Tournament" in Saint Petersburg in 1914 ( Emanuel Lasker , Siegbert Tarrasch (both Germany), José Raúl Capablanca ( Cuba), Alexander Alekhine (Russia) and Frank Marshall (USA)). However, this is not historically proven.

The Soviet Chess Federation first awarded a grandmaster title to Boris Werlinski in 1929 .

FIDE first awarded the title of International Grand Master in 1950. In recognition of previous achievements, the following 27 men were appointed:

player Nationality / association
Ossip Bernstein Russian Empire 1883Russian Empire Russia , FranceFranceFrance 
Isaak Boleslawski Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union
Igor Bondarewski Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union
Mikhail Botvinnik Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union , RussiaRussiaRussia 
David Bronstein Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union , RussiaRussiaRussia 
Oldrich Duras Czechoslovakia 1920Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
Max Euwe NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands
Reuben Fine United StatesUnited States United States
Salo Flohr CzechoslovakiaCzechoslovakia Czechoslovakia , Soviet UnionSoviet UnionSoviet Union 
Ernst Grünfeld AustriaAustria Austria
Paul Keres EstoniaEstonia Estonia , Soviet UnionSoviet UnionSoviet Union 
Boris Kostic Yugoslavia Socialist Federal RepublicYugoslavia Yugoslavia
Alexander Kotow Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union
Grigori lionfish Russian Empire 1883Russian Empire Russia , Soviet UnionSoviet UnionSoviet Union 
Andor Lilienthal HungaryHungary Hungary , Soviet UnionSoviet UnionSoviet Union 
Géza Maróczy HungaryHungary Hungary
Jacques Mieses German EmpireGerman Empire German Empire , United KingdomUnited KingdomUnited Kingdom 
Miguel Najdorf PolandPoland Poland , ArgentinaArgentinaArgentina 
Vyacheslav Ragosin Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union
Samuel Reshevsky United StatesUnited States United States
Akiba Rubinstein PolandPoland Poland
Friedrich Sämisch German EmpireGerman Empire German Empire
Vasily Smyslow Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union , RussiaRussiaRussia 
Gideon Ståhlberg SwedenSweden Sweden
László Szabó HungaryHungary Hungary
Savielly Tartakower PolandPoland Poland , FranceFranceFrance 
Milan Vidmar Yugoslavia Socialist Federal RepublicYugoslavia Yugoslavia

Number of grandmasters

New grandmasters appointed each year
Number of living grandmasters

The number of chess grandmasters around the world rose slowly from 27 in 1950 to 88 in 1972. After there were already more than 1300 holders of this title in 2008, a total of 1631 players with the title of Grand Master are listed as of March 2018. There are several reasons for the surge in titleholders, including:

  • the increase in tournament events (qualification opportunities)
  • political changes in Eastern Europe that made it possible for many strong players to take part in such tournaments
  • the development of modern information technologies (internet, chess databases)
  • the shortening of standard tournaments from at least fifteen rounds in the 1970s to at least nine rounds today

Most of the grandmasters lived in Russia in 2018 (243), there were 92 players in Germany, 10 players in Switzerland and 7 players in Austria with this title. Iceland had 13 grandmasters with a population of only 350,000.

For many years since 1958, the record as the youngest title holder was held by Bobby Fischer , who became grandmaster at the age of 15 years and four months. It was not until 1991 that Judit Polgár was able to replace him, who was a month younger when she won the title. In the meantime, this best performance is held by Sergei Karjakin , who achieved his last required title norm in August 2002 at 12 years and 7 months and two years later could not be surpassed by the eventual world champion Magnus Carlsen (13 years and 4 months) (as of June 2013) .

Because of the increasing number of grandmasters playing strength is currently a master mostly due to its out of the chess public Elo assessed. Top players in the world with 2700 or more Elo points are also known as super grandmasters . In the August 2019 Elo list, there are 39 players with such a high rating. There is currently no longer a female super-grandmaster. Judit Polgár had an Elo rating of 2735 in July 2005, but it has been inactive since August 2014.

Women as grandmasters

Nona Gaprindashvili was the first woman to achieve the title of Grand Master in 1978. By October 2016, the title was awarded to 35 players. The grandmaster title in this sense, which was acquired by women, must be distinguished from the women's grandmaster title (see below).

Qualification criteria

The following FIDE qualification criteria must be met for the title of "Grand Master":

  1. You have to achieve a minimum number of points (the so-called grandmaster norm) in at least two international (see below) chess tournaments, which depends on the skill level of the tournament (the so-called tournament category ).
    • 10 tournament participants
    • Average rating = 2543 = category 12
    • Grandmaster norm = at least 5 points from 9 games.
    • This GM standard corresponds to a rating of at least 2600.
  2. Qualification must be based on at least 27 games played.
  3. Until 1979 there was no minimum Elo rating required to be awarded the title. Between 1979 and 1988 this was 2450. Since then, an Elo rating of at least 2500 points has been a basic requirement for the title of GM. Contrary to popular belief, however, the title candidate does not have to keep this number at the award ceremony - it is sufficient to reach 2500 points at any given time.

This list is not exhaustive. There are additional criteria, but also exceptions. The detailed and final regulations can be found at FIDE.

International means here: The candidate must have had at least two opponents who come from a federation other than the federation for which he is registered. Some tournaments are recognized for compliance with the norms even without internationality, e.g. B. the finals of a national championship or the highest league of a country.

Even if the above criteria are not met, the GM title is automatically awarded to players who meet one of the following conditions:

  1. Qualification for the round of 16 of the World Chess Cup ,
  2. Winning the women's world chess championship ,
  3. Winning the senior world championship in the age group over 50 or over 65,
  4. Winning an individual championship from a continental association.

In the past, the award of the GM title was also planned for other successes, for example Alexandra Kostenjuk and Peng Zhaoqin were awarded the GM title after they achieved GM results at the European Women's Championships in Dresden in 2004 , and became GM results at least until 2002 Winners of the Junior World Championship and players who achieved a GM result from 13 games at a Chess Olympiad were also named grandmasters.

Practical meaning

The title is not just an addition to the name. For grandmasters there are usually discounts at tournaments, e.g. B. Free entry is common in many open tournaments to allow other players to achieve title norms. In addition, there is often the provision of accommodation, reimbursement of travel costs and entry fees. These other perks do not only depend on the title, but also on the Elo number. Far-reaching discounts are usually only granted from a skill level at which experience shows that the player already holds the grandmaster title.

Similar titles


In addition to the titles of Grand Masters, FIDE also awards the less significant and less demanding titles of International Master (IM), FIDE Master (FM) and Candidate Master (CM).

In addition, FIDE has also been awarding its own grandmaster title for women since 1976 (abbreviation usually WGM for Woman Grand Master , the German abbreviation FGM is rather uncommon ). The requirements for women are analogous to those for men, but set exactly 200 Elo points lower. Chess players can also get the general, higher valued titles.

Correspondence chess

In correspondence chess , Grandmaster titles have been awarded by the World Correspondence Chess Federation ICCF since 1953 . In 1997 a grandmaster title for women was also introduced.

Chess composition

In chess composition , the title of Grand Master is given to composers when they have received 70 points by publishing their chess compositions in FIDE albums .

The title of grandmaster is also awarded in solving chess compositions . An essential criterion here is success at the official ransom championships

These titles are awarded by the World Federation for Chess Composition (WFCC), which was founded in 1956 as a subdivision of the World Chess Federation FIDE and, after its independence from the World Chess Federation in 2010, was restructured as a partner organization .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Grandmaster  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Chess Grandmasters  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Women's Chess Grandmasters  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Ulrich Grammel: Notes on the title “Grand Master” ( memento of November 13, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (originally published in the Deutsche Schachzeitung , February 1981, pp. 66–69); The chess historian Edward Winter points out that the story of a title being awarded by the tsar has only been in circulation since 1940, see here .
  2. a b Administrator: FIDE Country Top chess players. Retrieved March 18, 2018 (UK English).
  3. FIDE Handbook, 01. International Title Regulations, 1.0. Requirements for the titles, paragraph 1.41: "The player must play at least 9 games." The few exceptions are explicitly listed there: "Only 7 games are required for 7 round Continental and World Team Championships. Only 8 games are required for 8 or 9 round Continental and World Team Championships. Only 8 games are required for the World Championship or Women's Knockout. "
  4. Chessbase report on the FIDE world rankings from July 1, 2010 ("Number of 'super grandmasters' with 2700 Elo points or more")
  5. Advanced search results . FIDE. accessed on August 13, 2019.
  6. ^ Title provisions FIDE
  7. ^ Fide rules 1.43
  8. Table for Direct Titles effective from July 1, 2014 at FIDE.
  9. ^ FIDE index card from Alexandra Kostenjuk
  10. Peng Zhaoqin's FIDE index card
  11. Former titles of FIDE ( Memento of August 28, 2002 in the Internet Archive ) (as of August 28, 2002)
  12. Grand Master for Chess Composition