Recently I was browsing old issues of my clubzine when I tripped over "IGM". Wait, aren't all Grandmasters international by default? But I'm old enough to remember that the abbreviation "IGM" instead of the now-familiar "GM" was actually in use decades ago (1970ish).


  • Was there ever a difference between GM and IGM (obviously, let's restrict to the official FIDE period 1950+)? I assume not.
  • If it was just a matter of standard abbreviation — when did it change? (Educated guess on the why: computer tables.)
  • 2
    "The grandmaster title is sometimes called "International Grandmaster" (IGM), possibly to distinguish it from similar national titles, but the shortened form is far more common today." - Wikipedia Dec 29, 2021 at 11:10
  • @double-beep: Still, that statement was a bit nebulous for me. I never saw the use of "IGM" anywhere except decades ago, and what are "similar national titles"? I don't know any "national grandmaster" or whatever confusable titles either. Thus my question, Wiki should elaborate here :-) Dec 29, 2021 at 11:19

1 Answer 1


Was there a difference? Yes. Botvinnik was a Soviet GM before he became FIDE IGM, for example, and the national title did not go away just because a FIDE title was instituted, especially as the FIDE title initially was honorary (no norms).

The original FIDE abbreviation was IGM. A check in the FIDE 2022 title regulations indicates that the current official abbreviation is just GM, but I'm afraid I can't pinpoint the change in time. Oxford Companion to Chess (new ed. 1992) still uses 'IGM'.

  • This hints that the change came together with unifications of the system (i.e. the FIDE getting the jurisdiction over higher national titles). Dec 30, 2021 at 9:28
  • @Hauke Reddmann: if so, it is bound to be noted somewhere in the minutes from the General Assembly. I've tried the (old) Fide Archive web search, but ...
    – user30536
    Dec 30, 2021 at 15:48

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