International Grandmaster[ edit ]

The title International 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. It is a lifetime title, in chess literature usually abbreviated as GM or IGM (this is in contrast to WGM for Woman Grandmaster and IM for International Master. Woman Grandmaster, it should be noted, is a misnomer. It is awarded for a level of skill roughly equivalent to that of an FM, or FIDE Master, a lower title than International Master.)

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, three favorable results (or norms) in tournaments involving other Grandmasters are normally required before FIDE will confer the title on a player. There are other milestones a player can achieve to get the title, such as qualifying for the Candidates tournament. The Candidates Tournaments, now defunct, were a series of tournaments whose winner earned the right to challenge the reigning world champion.

Bobby Fischer received his Grandmaster title by qualifying for the 1959 Candidates Tournament, at the age of 15. In 2002, twelve year old Ukrainian Sergey Karjakin became the youngest Grandmaster ever. As of April 2005, the youngest GM is Magnus Carlsen from Norway.

The title "Grandmaster" was created by Russian Tsar Nicholas II, who in 1914 awarded it to five players (Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch and Marshall), who were finalists of a tournament in Saint Petersburg which he had funded. The tournament was won by Lasker ahead of Capablanca.

FIDE first awarded the formal title in 1950. In 1972 there were only 88 GMs with 33 being Russian. These days the figure is much higher; see list of chess players and category chess grandmasters for lists of some of them.

International Grandmaster titles are also awarded to correspondence chess players, and composers and solvers of chess problems.

Further reading
  • Grandmasters of Chess by Harold Schonberg, Lippincott, 1973. ISBN 0397010044

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