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I know a man who has the CM title and his wife is WGM. They wrote a book together and on the cover her name is given with the WGM title but his name is left without his CM title. I asked him about this and he insists that he is rather embarrassed by the low title.

The question is whether it is advisable to put his title on the book cover. Will it confer respect or rather discourage readers? The readers are supposed to be beginners or amateurs or even chess enthusiast that do not really play chess.

The answers should focus on how the title is perceived by potential buyers of the book, and not on the technical details of obtaining the CM title.

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    CM is still considered amateur. So, it's nothing at the professional level but relatively respectful for normal players. – SmallChess Jun 6 '16 at 10:49
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    ...and I couldn't make it to 1800... – Tony Ennis Jun 6 '16 at 14:34
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    Regarding the 'respectable' comment, a USCF 2300 (roughly a FIDE 2200) is in the top 1% of all USCF players. – Tony Ennis Jun 6 '16 at 14:43
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    The distinction of "amateur" versus "professional" is irrelevant. Those terms more properly relate to whether is making a living off playing/teaching chess. For instance, Luke McShane is a strong "amateur" currently AFAIK, and I guess that Wolfgang Unzicker is the classic "strong amateur" (indeed Karpov called him the world champion of amateurs). Many GMs make a living in other ways, while some professional chess teachers might be rated 2000 (or lower). – Post-It-Note Jun 6 '16 at 14:46
  • The man in question is a lifetime professional teaching kids. – DrCapablasker Jun 6 '16 at 19:20
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There are, of course, some players who have been given the title in perfectly "respectable" circumstances like reaching a certain rating or reaching 50% in an Olympiad. However, try this. Go to the FIDE rating website and do an advanced search for titled players sorted by rating ascending.

The first 7 players in the list are WCM with ratings between 1032 and 1143. The next is a WFM with a rating of 1154! Which kind of throws doubt on the WFM title too. Then the first CM with a rating of 1161. Ignoring the WCMs for the moment and just looking for CMs we see that the next ones come in at 1204, 1247, 1282, 1298.

What we also see with these very low rated CMs and WCMs is that they are very young, some as young as 7 years old. And therein lies a clue. Another way to get the WCM and CM titles is by finishing in places 1 through 3 in world and continental championships in age groups going down as far as under 7.

These titles are titles for life so if they give up altogether or just play a few games a year and stop improving they will always have their titles.

You judge if giving out titles to players with sub 1200 ratings devalues those titles or not.

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    The very word "candidate" in candidate master also tends to diminish it, rather than something like "expert" which the USCF uses. – Post-It-Note Jun 6 '16 at 22:49
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    I don't agree with your answer. I know a lot of players with a 2200+ FIDE rating that are not applying for the CM title because they do not consider it a "real" title, and they not even know those low rated CM exist. It's just an anecdote, but not the reason argued by any of these players. Most common argument is that CM is a title you've only to pay for: "you pay it to FIDE, and you get it" and they consider it a sort of wannabe title. Of course these is my impression from players I know, and the sample is short by force. – sharcashmo Jun 7 '16 at 8:12
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    Wow, there's also a FM rated 1408. I thought these were only handed out to players over a certain rating level, but obviously not. – DTR Jun 7 '16 at 15:26
  • @DTR I believe you get an FM title for winning a world or continental competition down as far as under 12. Winning Continental U20 or World U16 will net you the IM title. – Brian Towers Jun 7 '16 at 17:05
  • @BrianTowers here is the list of tournaments results awarding titles fide.com/fide/handbook.html?id=173&view=article – sharcashmo Jun 9 '16 at 15:03
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The CM title is awarded by "just" having a 2200+ FIDE rating, and after some tournament results. Something similiar happens with Fide Masters (needed rating is 2300+).

Such ratings correspond to a strong amateur player, but they're far away from traditional GM and IM titles, which also need three norms before being awarded.

You have more info on this topic at FIDE Title Regulations

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    it would be great if downvoters explain what's wrong with the answer so I can expand/correct it, if needed. When should I downvote? chess.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/vote-down – sharcashmo Jun 7 '16 at 7:59
  • I have not downvoted your answer but I have modified my question to explain what kind of answer I am looking for. Yours does not fit so perhaps someone decided to downvote. I have just upvoted your answer. Thanks anyway. – DrCapablasker Jun 7 '16 at 9:17
  • thanks, although it was not worried at all about the downvote :). It's just that I'm used to other exchange communities where downvotes are used for obviously wrong/off-topic answers or, otherwise, a comment is added to warn whats wrong with the answer so it can be fixed. Cheers! – sharcashmo Jun 7 '16 at 9:55
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Another way to look at this question is to ask how the players who are eligible for the title rate the title compared to other titles as reflected in the take-up rate.

Every month FIDE publish files of rating data for all current FIDE registered players which also includes details of the titles they have. From these files it is possible to extract counts of how many players in different rating ranges have which titles.

Doing this for the December data gives these results.

First the number of players with each of the different titles (I'm just looking at "open" titles rather than women only titles).

GM - 1647
IM - 3762
FM - 7869
CM - 1663

The first thing to note is that the higher the title the fewer players have the title, with the exception of CM. There are only a few more CMs than GMs.

Next, since probably a significant number of CMs got their title by a tournament performance rather than reaching 2200 ELO, try and get an estimate of how many players got the title by rating.

Since the FM title works in a similar way I will compare the two. A player can reach the required rating for a CM or FM title and get the title for life but as they get older and weaker their rating goes down. So, I'm going to look at the number of titled players above a floor 200 points below the required rating.

The number of FMs with a rating of 2100 (=2300 - 200) or over = 7244. This is less than 10% down on the total number of FMs = 7869.

The number of CMs with a rating of 2000 (=2200 - 200) or over = 957. This is more than 40% down on the total number of CMs = 1663.

Next I'm going to look at the number of players who are eligible for the CM title by rating but have no title and do the same for the FM title.

Number of players rated 2200 or over = 21047.
Number of players rated 2200 or over with no title = 9665.
So, about 45% of the players who are eligible for the CM title don't want it badly enough to apply.

Number of players rated 2300 or over = 8750
Number of players rated 2300 or over with no title = 1513
So, about 17% of the players who are eligible for the FM title don't want it badly enough to apply for it.

If you narrow down the range for the CM title to only look at 2200 to 2300 (so, eligible for the CM title only) then you get -

Number of players rated between 2200 and 2300 = 12297
Number of players rated between 2200 and 2300 with no title = 8152
So, about 66% of the players who are eligible for the CM title and not eligible for other titles are not interested.

Overall those figures tell me that players who are eligible for titles don't rate the CM title anywhere near as much as other titles.

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Many informative answers have been given, but to answer the real question:

The readers are supposed to be beginners or amateurs or even chess enthusiast that do not really play chess. The answers should focus on how the title is perceived by potential buyers of the book, and not on the technical details of obtaining the CM title.

I have been playing chess for over 20 years so in that regard, I’m not a beginner. Yet my current rating is about 1500 — though on lichess it’s about 1950.

When I buy a chess book I indeed look at whether or not the writer is an IM or GM so I know the author knows what he is talking about. Then again, they might know how to play chess, but be very bad at explaining the concepts and teaching others about the game.

A lower rated player could be better at explaining the concepts needed by lower rated players needed to improve their game. Playing chess and teaching about it are two different things.

Although I’m not easily impressed anymore and I’m hesitant to buy books from CM or FM authors, I’m still more inclined to buy books from them than from an untitled player. To me, those titles are still FAR away and getting them is still an impressive accomplishment. I would imagine it would be even more impressive to those that do not really play chess.

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