International master

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The title International Master (abbreviation IM , for women WIM ) is awarded by the World Chess Federation FIDE for chess achievements for life. It is located below the title Grand Master and above the title FIDE Master .

Qualification criteria

The following qualification criteria have been set by FIDE: In at least two international chess tournaments, a minimum number of points (the so-called IM norm) must be achieved depending on the skill level (the so-called category) of the tournament. This IM standard corresponds to a rating of at least 2450. The standards must include a total of at least 27 batches. Another requirement is a rating (so-called Elo number ) of at least 2400 points. FIDE also awards an international championship title for women (abbreviation WIM), the requirements for which are 200 Elo points lower. For the registration of the title a fee of currently 165 euros has to be paid to FIDE.

Regardless of these criteria, the IM title is automatically awarded by FIDE to players who achieve one of the following achievements:

  1. Qualification for the Chess World Cup ,
  2. Entry into the final of the Women's World Cup ,
  3. second or third place in a senior world championship
  4. Winning a youth world championship in the U20, U18 or U16 age group,
  5. second or third place in a continental championship,
  6. Winning a senior continental championship,
  7. Winning a youth continental championship in the U20 or U18 age group,
  8. Winning a subcontinental championship,
  9. Winning the Commonwealth Championship, the IBCA World Championship , the ICCD or the IPCA

As of March 2018, there are more than 3700 international champions worldwide . For them there are often discounts at chess tournaments (reduction of the entry fee, free accommodation, etc.). Most of the international champions (531) are currently eligible to play for the Russian Chess Federation, the German Chess Federation is in second place with 265 title holders.

The number of female titleholders has increased disproportionately, especially since the 1990s: While only nine women were appointed international champions between 1950 and 1990, around 140 women have been appointed since 1991 (as of 2020).


At the FIDE Congress in Prague in 1931, Dawid Przepiórka suggested introducing the title of International Master and establishing rules on how this title could be awarded. At the 1935 Congress in Warsaw, FIDE proposed that everyone should receive the title of International Master who finishes first or second in a tournament if at least 14 players take part in that tournament and at least 70 percent of them are International Masters. Alternatively, you can also qualify if you win at least four games against an international master in an official competition.

At the FIDE Congress in Paris in 1949, a modified system for the titles of International Masters and Grand Masters was agreed . At the same time, 27 players were named international grandmasters , 94 players (including one woman) international champions and 17 women international champions .

Obtaining an IM title

IM standards are not applied for, but created by the main referee of a tournament as a confirmation of a performance and given to the player. The responsible association receives a copy and should send it to FIDE for storage. This storage has been working since around 2008. In 2012, FIDE decided that all standards achieved before July 2005 would expire if they were not submitted to FIDE for storage by the end of July 2013 at the latest. It is unclear, however, whether the individual chess associations did this. The responsible representative of the German Chess Federation submitted all standards available to him on time. This means that all norms that were not known to him and that were achieved before July 2005 have automatically expired if they were not submitted by another association on time.

The respective player has to apply for the IM title himself, if he wants to, as soon as three of his achieved IM norms are stored at FIDE. He can also skip titles.

Similar titles

In chess composition , the title of International Master is awarded to composers if they have received at least 25 points by publishing their chess compositions in FIDE albums . A study counts 1.67 points and every other composition one point. In the case of joint work, the points are shared accordingly. Three judges assess the quality of the compositions and award between zero and four points. For publication in the FIDE album, a task must be awarded at least eight rating points. In solving chess compositions, there are also qualification criteria for solving tournaments for the title of International Master .

See also

Web links

Commons : International Masters  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : International Masters of Women  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files


  1. Table for Direct Titles effective from 1 July 2014 in the FIDE Handbook (English)
  2. ^ Administrator: FIDE Country Top chess players. Retrieved March 18, 2018 (UK English).
  3. ^ Bill Wall: FIDE History , accessed May 7, 2010
  4. International masters for chess compositions