Alberto Chueca, FIDE Trainer & International Master 
become wfm chess
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How to become a titled chess player

For most chess players, becoming an FM is one of their dreams (WFM chess title for women), but are we sure about knowing what a chess title is? What it represents?

There are many doubts and misinformation about this topic, and I know the people who read my articles will find this interesting. Remember you can’t achieve a goal if you don’t know exactly what it is o how to get it.

This is why today I’ll be showing you, chess lovers, what is a chess title and how to achieve it following the official FIDE requirement’s list.

What is a chess title?

A chess title in chess is a recognition of exceptional performance in different high-level chess competitions. These titles are granted to players who have excellent chess skills and meet some demands by the world’s chess federation (FIDE).

wfm chess dog

It was used informally upon the circle of the high-level chess players along history to refer to strong chess players. They would call “master” anyone who showed a respectable chess skill. In 1950 the world’s chess federation (FIDE) was created, and this term was not slanged anymore, it evolved into an official title held by the chess elite.

There are various types of titles and there are regular titles and special titles that can only be held by women. For example, in the WFM chess title, the letter “W” stands for the woman. This is a list of all of the chess titles that exist with an approximation of its significances:

  • CM: The “Candidate Master” (CM) title achieved for a player that has reached a certain rating in intermediate chess competitions. Normally above 2100 ELO rating
  • FM: “FIDE Master” title is above the CM title and can be achieved directly in tournaments, but also is achieved when the player surpasses the 2300 ELO points
  • IM: “International Master” title is the second highest title you can achieve in chess to get this title is necessary to have an ELO rating above 2400 and getting a higher rating performance in chess games
  • GM: This is the highest rank in chess, there are many things a player must to get it, you can spend years on that. You have to consider having this title puts you among the top players in the world

As I said before, there are special titles only earned by women, the reason is that there are also tournaments in which men are not allowed to compete. So if a player accomplishes the norms to get a WFM chess title in a feminine competition, for example, she should get the feminine version of the title.

Anyway, women can have both GM and WGM chess titles, the only thing is that the titles for women only have lower requirements in its norms.

These are the women’s only titles available:

  • WCM chess title
  • WFM chess title
  • WIM chess title
  • WGM chess title

These titles are the same as the ones named before, with the little difference that these a little bit “easy” to win. However, it is still a great achievement to get this title, it takes discipline and a lot of talent to achieve the title.

How can I become a GM/WGM/IM/WIM/FM/WFM chess titled player?

chess

To get a title is necessary to accomplish some “norms”, so let’s start by explaining what a norm in chess is.

A norm in chess is a requisite the player has to score in chess tournaments to get titled. When all the norms are accomplished the title must be given to the player.

The WFM chess norms, for example, must be met in official tournaments following the FIDE tournament rules. Also, a titled FIDE arbiter must be present in the tournament to approve the achievement of the norm.

It’s important to know that you can get your say, WFM chess norm, as long as you do it in a tournament with certain standards. But almost any FIDE-approved tournament will do.

In the case of the IM/WIM title is different, not any tournament can give you the norms.

For IMs, they have to participate in an international tournament with players of different nationalities.

Getting a chess title directly by excellent performance

gm wgm im wim fm wfm chess

The other way to get a title is by having an incredible performance in high-level tournaments. I’m going to give you a quick example:

Qualifying for the FIDE world cup will give you the IM title right away, no matter your ELO rating, no matter if you have the norms or not.

On the other hand, getting into the 16 finalists of the FIDE world cup will instantly grant you the GM title.

Of course, this may sound pretty easy, but it’s not. Not all of the players can do this, normally, chess players take the “norms route” to get their title, because qualify for the FIDE world cup is not a piece of cake.

How to get the exclusive for women title

power wfm chess woman
WFM chess

These can be achieved by accomplishing slightly different standards than in the case of the normal titles.

But these can only be achieved in women’s only tournaments approved by the FIDE. Remember that a woman can have both titles simultaneously, for example, She can be an FM chess player while being a WFM chess player at the same time.

How becoming a WGM/WIM/WFM chess player is beneficial?

Ok, first of all, having one of these titles can be very beneficial, almost necessary if you are looking to get at the top level. Not just because is incredible to show off to your friends.

Holding one of these titles is a requirement to participate in high top-level competitions. Having any GM/CM/WFM chess title is the first step to play chess professionally, I mean, making money with it.

Some tournaments are exclusive to GMs, these are normally the highest chess competitions and are very popular. This is the first step into the great leagues of the chess world.

You may also like:

How to get better at chess: 5 Keys to Play like a Grandmaster

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Chess strategy tips for beginners — Play better chess!

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