It seems FIDE charges a lot if a chess player wishes to move to a different country, unless the player is registered under the FIDE flag. Can a player register directly with FIDE so as to maintain freedom of movement within the UK?

1 Answer 1


Can a player register directly with FIDE so as to maintain freedom of movement within the UK?

The first thing to note is that you are not free to register with FIDE with any federation you like. You must have some connection with the target federation based on either nationality or residence. The rules are specified in Regulations for Registration & Licensing of Players (effective from July 1, 2015).

1.5 Each player represents is registered either to:

1.5.1. A National Chess Federation (NCF) which is a member of FIDE, or
1.5.2. Upon a decision by FIDE Council, an Affiliated Organisation which represents an autonomous territory which is contained within no more than one NCF
1.6 There is a special category called ‘FIDE flag players’ (the Federation symbol is FID) to cover those players who are, for whatever reason, without a Federation, in order to ensure that these players can play chess in FIDE rated tournaments.

1.7 A player may be registered under a Federation if he or she has citizenship, naturalization or residency in the country of that Federation.
1.8 A player may only be registered with and only represent one Federation at any particular time.
1.9 A player who has dual citizenship must be registered with and only represent one Federation at any particular time.

The UK is special in FIDE terms (as it is in FIFA, soccer, terms) in that instead of there being one UK federation there are several - England, Scotland, Ireland (which actually encompasses Ireland, a separate country, and Northern Ireland, a part of the UK).

If your first registration with FIDE is with one these federations and you have UK nationality I think your registration would be unproblematic. However I'm not sure how that would work on a change of registration.

It would appear from 1.6 if you have never had a FIDE registration then you can register directly with FIDE however your initial registration has to come from a federation registering you to play in a tournament in their jurisdiction and they are never going to do that because that requires additional work and permission. You cannot register directly with FIDE from a position of never having had a FIDE registration.

The principle here is that FIDE are not in competition with national federations. When you register with a national federation you also pay an annual membership fee. FIDE charges something like 60 euros for membership but does not want to deprive member federations of membership money. Registration as FID is only open to players whose federations are in dispute either with the player (eg Iran with players who have disqualified players who either played Israeli players or who broke Iranian religious dress codes) or with FIDE (some years ago Bulgaria was in dispute with FIDE and all Bulgarian registered players had their FIDE registration changed to FID).

The FIDE document Transfer Regulations & Rules of Eligibility for Players (effective from December 01, 2020) deals with transfers between federations.

It starts by clarifying initial FIDE registration:


1.1. A player may initially be registered by a Federation only if he or she has citizenship, naturalization or residency in the country of that Federation.

FIDE is not a national or geographic entity which supports "citizenship, naturalization or residency". This suggests that you cannot initially register with FIDE as FID.

However, we also have this:

    3.1. All transfers shall be the responsibility of the new Federation and must be submitted to the FIDE Secretariat on the prescribed form in Annex A “Notification of change of Federation” together with the supporting documentary evidence of date and place of birth, citizenship and residence. A Notification Fee of € 50 is payable for all transfers.
    3.2. No Notification Fee is required for FIDE flag players who have never been registered with a National Federation.

Which suggests that there are circumstances in which you can make your initial FIDE registration as FID. I suspect that this was a special clause entered to allow Bulgarian players to enter FIDE registered tournaments during the period when Bulgaria was suspended from FIDE. FIDE's dispute was with the Bulgarian federation and their officials not Bulgarian players and this allowed new Bulgarian players to play FIDE rated chess and not pay the notification fee when they later change to a national federation.

Finally, note that the "freedom of movement within the UK" part of your question makes no sense. Freedom of movement and FIDE registration are completely independent. One does not affect the other.

If you meant that you want to be able to play in FIDE rated tournaments in England while having SCO FIDE registration or vice versa then, again, there is no limitation. You will have to pay tournament entry fees including and national federation membership fees to play in any particular federation. Having FID registration has no effect on that.

  • So a person from Wales at a English University would need to join two federations to play in a rated tournament? Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 16:12
  • @IanRingrose No. If a Welshman wanted to play in a FIDE rated event in England they would need either Gold ECF membership and register as ENG or Silver ECF membership and register as WAL. There would be no requirement for WCU membership.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 16:25
  • Don't they need WCU membership to register as WAL? Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 17:07
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    @IanRingrose I'm not familiar with the Welsh regulations but I suspect not. In England I occasionally organize FIDE rated blitz events. The big advantage in England is that there is no rating "tax" for these events. FIDE doesn't charge for rating them and the ECF don't rate blitz. Hence ECF membership is not required for these tournaments. So, for any new players (no ECF or FIDE registration) who want to play I collect their private details, pass them on to the ECF and they register them with FIDE as ENG free of charge. No ECF membership required.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 19:19

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