How many grandmasters have been stripped of their grandmaster titles? I heard about a GM using a phone in the bathroom who had his taken away, and was wondering what other circumstances have resulted in a GM losing their title.

2 Answers 2


After doing some checking, it seems that this is a relatively new phenomenon. Before the advent of technology, and strong chess playing programs on smartphones, it does not appear that any GMs had ever been stripped of their titles until GM Gaioz Nigalidze, at least that I could find.

Gaioz Nigalidze was stripped of his GM title after being caught with a phone in a bathroom stall at the 2015 Dubai Open. He had been suspected for some time.

The case that you probably read about was GM Igors Rausis. Last year, Rausis made international news when he was caught doing the same thing in a bathroom stall at the Strasbourg Open. His behavior and meteoric rating increases over the course of 6 years had put him on the radar for a long time.

This seems to have set a good precedent as far as I am concerned as there is no room for cheating.

P.S. I found this interesting post that, believe it or not (at least in the case of Nigalidze) claimed he could earn the title again if he completed the norms in the future; but the official FIDE ethics report does not mention the possibility either way.


PhishMaster's answered regarding the international grandmaster (FIDE) titles, but USSR had its own "USSR grandmaster" title, which actually was introduced before. There are a few anectodes related to it.

The first USSR grandmaster was Boris Verlinsky, who was awarded the title for becoming the 1929 USSR champoin. However, in 1931 Verlinsky was stripped of the title (I understand that the title was not quite awarded for life, but subject to "confirmation" in subsequent tournaments.) The title was abolished, and re-instated in 1935, with Botvinnik becoming the first one to get it. Verlinsky never became a grandmaster again.

This was all before international GM title even existed. After its introduction in 1950, the two titles existed in USSR in parallel for some time, with more or less the same set of people holding both.

Then, of course, Korchnoi, who was stripped of all of his USSR titles after emigrating, including the USSR GM title. Some claim that Taimanov was stripped of the USSR GM title after losing to Fischer, but I could not find a source for that claim. In his interviews, he mentions that he was stripped of another domestic title, the "Zasluzhenny master sporta".

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