Can a GM title be given to someone after he dies? For example can Rashid Nezhmetdinov receive a GM title for his contribution to Chess?

3 Answers 3


Yes, it is possible. FIDE can award the title of honorary grandmaster, based on a player's past performances and/or other contributions to chess.

Most of the honorary grandmasters were still alive when they were awarded the title. However, there are two examples where the title was awarded posthumously: GM Rudolf Maric and GM Karoly Honfi.


The Grandmaster (or GM) title is awarded to players who fit two criterias :

  • Their ELO rating is above 2500.
  • They have achieved 3 GM norms. A GM norm is achieved when a performance of 2600 is reached at the end of the tournament. Moreover, all tournaments don't qualify for GM norms : there must be at least 3 GMs in attendance with a minimum rating of 2200, the tournament must allow for at least 120 mins of thinking time per match (including increments), there must be a FIDE referee, etc...

The title of International Master (or IM), Women Grandmaster (WGM) and Women Internation Master (WIM) are also obtained through a similar process, though the level required is lower. For instance, the required ELO rating for an IM title is of 2400.

More details can be found in the FIDE handbook, in particular in sections 1.4 though 1.7.

So, to answer your question, the title cannot be given posthumously if the person hasn't achieved these results during their lifetime, no matter how much they contributed to the game of chess. It's hard to believe a dead person would make a GM norm.

  • But the chess community agrees that Rashid, could beat Tal or any GM during his era
    – Lynob
    Jul 8, 2018 at 20:16
  • Being able to beat someone is not the same as making a norm, despite the outstanding achievement of beating the current World Champion. Titles have never been awarded posthumously. In 1950, initial GM titles were awarded to 27 players, but not posthumously. Thus, Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, and Alekhine, despite having been World Champions, weren't awarded the title (source : Wikipedia).
    – Umlin
    Jul 8, 2018 at 20:41
  • Since you mentioned Capablanca, I rest my case. The reason I asked it is because there's a petition to award Rashid the title. But well, if Capa didn't receive it.
    – Lynob
    Jul 8, 2018 at 21:08
  • Rashid's peak was less than 2500. He wouldn't have been a GM even if he was alive now. He's very far away from Tal.
    – SmallChess
    Jul 9, 2018 at 0:47

There is a small chance that a person did qualify but died before FIDE made it official. Although Umlin gave the standard answer for how to achieve the GM title, there is an exceptions. Winning a championship tournament, such as Senior World or even u18, gives you an automatic GM title. This is to ensure that a GM always wins the tournament. (It would look silly for an untitled player to win such a strong tournament.)

  • I thought the u18 would only give automatic IM?
    – SmallChess
    Jul 9, 2018 at 5:34
  • @SmallChess You are correct, U18 is a GM norm, and/or automatic IM title. The World Junior, which is U20, is automatically the GM title, but it is mostly moot since the top players are already GMs, and many over 2700 even. old.fide.com/fide/handbook.html?id=199&view=article Table 1.24b Jan 9, 2020 at 14:54

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