Is an FIDE candidate master (CM) considered a master? For example, if two opponents are each rated 2250 by the FIDE and each is a CM, is their game considered a master game?

In ordinary English, the title candidate master would seem to say, "not yet a master," but I do not know what chess convention thinks of it. This is why I ask.

  • 3
    I believe that this will depend very much on context. My first association when hearing "master" in a chess context would be the old masters (who existed long before the invention of the CM title) Commented May 23, 2018 at 21:06
  • 2
    Most people I know don't consider FIDE masters to be masters either, that's just a recent money grab by FIDE. You need to be IM. On the other hand, in other countries they have "national masters" that they consider masters. So it depends. Commented May 24, 2018 at 6:51
  • The two answers at this writing are acknowledged. Neither is yet accepted, though. A third, more authoritative answer (perhaps with citation) is awaited.
    – thb
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 20:36
  • It comes down to semantics. Not considered a master in FIDE (by definition), but could be considered a master nationally. Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 0:05

2 Answers 2


In the strict realm of FIDE, a 2200 FIDE rated CM is not a master. This is because FIDE's official master title is the FM (2300 FIDE rating).

However, in the US and Canada, a 2200 national rating earns the NM (national master) title. So, if a player had a 2200 FIDE rating but a 2100 national rating, in the strict sense they would not be considered a master. To be a master you must meet the requirements of FIDE or your country's federation.

Most chess players aren't aware of these arbitrary rating thresholds though, and it's likely they would consider anyone with a 2200 rating in whatever system a master (even though this may not be officially true).


A FIDE candidate master is considered a master. However, usually when referring to master games, only those with a rating of 2200 or above are taken into account.

  • 3
    By whom? To me a candidate master is only a candidate to the master title. Commented May 24, 2018 at 6:24

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