I am not a pro chess player or anything, but I want to get some kind of chess title. What is the lowest ranking I can get to earn a chess title?

  • Do you mean to include titles for arbiters, organizers, trainers, problem composers, et cetera? Or just titles to do with chess strength? Jan 28, 2014 at 9:44
  • Do you consider only international titles?
    – JiK
    Jan 28, 2014 at 12:11
  • 2
    Patzer. (fill). Jan 28, 2014 at 13:58
  • Point Cow (fill)
    – Tony Ennis
    Jan 29, 2014 at 12:53

3 Answers 3


According to this Wikipedia entry, the lowest FIDE title is Candidate Master (CM), which requires an ELO rating of at least 2200. Obviously national chess federations offer their own titles, often with lower requirements.


A solution: Move to a country with a low rated national team and join the team in the Olympiad.

CM and WCM titles are awarded for 50% performance in at least 7 games in the Chess Olympiad, regardless of the ranking of opponents (Fide Handbook). Because the pairings are made using the Swiss system and your team mates are (hopefully) performing poorly, you get constantly paired with relatively weak opponents and you do not have to perform even close to 2200 Elo level.

For example, in the Olympiad 2012 quite a few players got >=50 % points with a performance <2000. (Note that the list behind the link is cut at 63.6 %, so it is not the whole truth. Unfortunately, the list of CM titles awarded does not contain information of performance...)

  • 1
    If he ever played to his country, he can't play to another country :) there's more, lets say he's in USA, he should move to country X, wait a long time till they give him the nationality, then he could join their national team, but if he doesn't want to wait that long, he's going to have to marry a woman from country X so he gets the nationality fast, if he's married, he should have new kid born in that country... All that just to get a CM :) and if he doesn't do all that in time, he'll have to wait 2 more years for the next Olympiad!
    – Lynob
    Jan 28, 2014 at 23:55
  • I'd rather study chess SERIOUSLY for 2 years, anyone who does so can reach 2400 easily, thus getting a CM, maybe more
    – Lynob
    Jan 29, 2014 at 0:00

The United States Chess Federation has a title system that goes down into class play. I have the category 1 title, which I gained by getting 5 tournament performances which would be impressive for an 1800 player (norms) and achieving a rating above 1800.

The category titles correspond to the classes 1-A, 2-B, 3-C, 4-D

Above category 1 are Candidate Master for 2000 rating and norms, National Master for a rating above 2200, and Life Master for norms and rating 2200 , Senior Life Master for norms and rating 2400.

  • Note that bar for the USCF mailing out a certificate for title appears to be for National Masters (2200). Experts can walk around with a 2000+ rating and just call themselves that (no official document awarded by the Federation).
    – shivsky
    Jan 28, 2014 at 23:21
  • The lower titles are documented on the USCF website, so you can prove you hold the title.
    – newshutz
    Feb 22, 2014 at 19:28

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