I was wondering what skills, abilities, and knowledge is needed to reach consistent 2300 FIDE elo and therefore become a FIDE Master. Now, I'm not asking about the innate abilities, but those which you can acquire by practice and study:

A pretty simple list:

  • Have a decent knowledge on most/or all of the typical openings, and be very good at one (or more) for each side.
  • Have a deep positional/technical game, having memorize and understand grand masters games, so you develop an intuition of the position.
  • Knowledge of the endgames. Pretty important. How the positions are going to be simplify and the chances in both sides.
  • Tactics.
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    I am not sure it is possible to answer such a question without a massive dose of opinion. What is your current FIDE rating?
    – Kortchnoi
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 21:37
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    How do you become the best at anything? If you need to ask and you're not already doing it, it's not going to be you. I think that's pretty universally true, no matter the field or discipline.
    – J...
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 13:57
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    When you go to a new city don´t you check a map? Or when you want to learn how to dance, or a new language, don´t you seek for a teacher? Asking may supply the lack of mentor. I´m old enough to not give too much credit to your opinion, however, others may not, and you should be careful with what you say as you´re responsible of the consequecnes. Those who discourage others are usually those who least trust in themselves, and that´s also a universal truth.
    – Roy_Batty
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 14:37
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    @Roy_Batty I'm not trying to discourage, I'm just pretty sure that whether or not someone becomes a FIDE master is not going to change based on reading answers to this question. FMs make up about the top 2% of active FIDE players. You might as well ask "How can I get an IQ of >130?", or "How can a violin player become a soloist for the London Symphony?", or "What does it take to become a Michelin starred chef?". These are prodigy level achievments - if you're not a prodigy, no amount of practice can get you there. That's why it's the top 2% - 98% of people simply can't do it.
    – J...
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 15:51
  • @Roy_Batty You seem to commit a very common mistake in chess and other activities requiring intuition rather than raw memorization: greatly overestimating the results of hard work and greatly underestimating "innate" talent (actually, skills learnt early on during brain development). Your being old actually puts you at a significant disadvantage if you are not already close to 2300, and this is not due to "lack of time children have" but due to loss of brain plasticity. It's a purely biological phenomenon and you can't do anything about it, hence why people advise caution for such lofty goals.
    – Evariste
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


There are 3 key things you need to do.

  1. First and most important you must love chess so much that you feel you must play chess every day.
  2. Play a lot of serious (preferably competition) over-the-board chess at a slow (standard, not rapid or blitz) time control.
  3. Analyse your games in depth without an engine. If you use an engine you are cheating yourself just as much as using an engine in a real game cheats your opponent. Ideally you would have a study partner with whom you could go over your analysis, explaining what you found in your moves and your opponent's moves.

Let me build on @Brian Towers' answer: Love, Play and Analyze! But let me add some points.

  1. Love Chess. because you'll need it to train a lot and go through your list.

GM Shipov suggests that the main requirement for success at chess is to be 100% dedicated and interested in the game. If you just a little interested, you will not be able to make serious progress.

  1. Play Chess. Competition is indeed crucial. Play competitively over-the-board and online. Blitz and rapid games may help you practice and test openings. But it is true that classic games (90 min/40 moves + 30 min and increment) are the most important, as you will devote on average about four hours playing chess and thinking. In his book Deep Thinking, Gary Kasparov writes that a player is so concentrated during a game that the quality of her/his analysis is even better than in post-mortem. An addition: choose your tournaments to face stronger opponents. You will learn from them.

GM Kazhgaleyev writes that in order to improve at chess you need to play more tournament games, study classics, solve tactics and endgame studies as well as be passionate about chess in general. That's how you can get to that 2200-2300 Elo.

  1. Analyze Chess. But the most important thing is to analyze the losses because they will give you the feedback you need to improve. We loose because we make mistakes, at least the last one! After each game, write down your ideas and your analysis, the ones you had during the game. Then you can use a computer to check your analysis. The computer or a coach will help you identify your mistakes. You will improve by not repeating them.

GM Shipov believes in importance of deep analysis of your own games and ability to judge yourself fairly. If you lose a game, don’t think that it’s because of that silly move you played, find the real cause and improve!

Quotes are from How to Reach 2200 ELO – According to GM Tkachiev... not too far from the FIDE Master level...

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    An interesting variation on the 'Play competitively' point - it's interesting to recall Fischer used to play against himself (i.e playing as both black and white), over and over and over. Almost like the reinforcement learning algorithm (or ['self-play']) Alpha Zero AI uses to learn!
    – stevec
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 20:10

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