From what I read in the Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_title#National_titles it mentions

Some national chess federations award titles such as "National Master" (NM). National chess federations are free to set whatever standards they want for such titles, which are not recognized by FIDE.

For example USA gives NM title for people who reached 2200 USCF rating which is quite strong and probably not so easy to achieve.

Can a national chess federation with a small chess community (people know each other including the officials) start giving NM titles to for example the top 100 players based on the fide ranking list. For a country like Nepal this would be a FIDE rating range of 2193-1667.

One of the advantages of the NM title is a free lifetime membership on chess.com.

Since there is no central governing body for NM title can it be abused in such a manner?

  • The membership is only $8/month at the highest tier... I would think most people would rather not cheat for such a small reward. Mar 19, 2022 at 23:11
  • 1
    @JonathanReez there are some other benefits such as eligible to participate in titled Tuesday
    – cmgchess
    Mar 20, 2022 at 3:19
  • @JonathanReez : Most Nepalese cannot afford $8/month for some online game advantage.
    – Evargalo
    Mar 21, 2022 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


It is worth looking at what chess.com say on the subject.

First, regarding free membership:

First of all, if you hold a qualifying title (see list below), you get a lifetime Diamond membership for free. That gives you access to the best features available online for playing, sharpening your game, or finding students & doing online coaching!

Qualifying Titles

  • GM - Grandmaster
  • WGM - Woman Grandmaster
  • IM - International Master
  • WIM - Woman International Master
  • FM - FIDE Master
  • NM - National Master
  • CM - FIDE Candidate Master
  • WFM - Woman FIDE Master
  • WCM - Woman FIDE Candidate Master

Next we should look at chess.com's definition of the national master title to see who is eligible for free membership like this:

What Is The National Master Title?

The national master title (abbreviated as NM) is a special title, as it is not recognized by the International Chess Federation. As the title suggests, it is a master title that is awarded by national federations.

Not every chess federation awards this title, but several large federations do. In general, federations that award the NM title do so to players who achieve a national rating of 2200—although there are exceptions as well, which are discussed below.

So, basically chess.com are recognizing all NM titles awarded by federations. They are trusting the individual federations not to devalue their titles.

Can such a federation lower their NM title requirements thereby giving their players free chess.com membership?


Would chess.com care if that happened?

Since the original decision to award free lifetime membership to titled players was a business decision it entirely depends how such a move would affect their business. If they see that it is positive for their business then they will welcome it. If it is negative then they will change the rule.

  • 2
    Provided NM remain in the top quartile of chess.com members ratings, I expect a few more of them being active members will help chess.com Mar 19, 2022 at 23:44
  • although there are exceptions as well, which are discussed below -> Does the "discussion below" give any hint about what criteriae for achieving NM title Chess.com would consider too low to justify awarding its "titled player"'s adavntages ?
    – Evargalo
    Mar 21, 2022 at 12:00

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