Questions tagged [grandmaster]

The grandmaster (GM) title is the highest title awarded by FIDE. It is obtained by both acquiring a 2500 Elo rating, and achieving three "grandmaster norms," tournament performances of a sufficiently high standard.

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15 answers
49k views

Can playing blindfold chess be learned or is it a natural skill?

Any blindfold players here? Just wondering if blindfold chess is a skill that can be learned by amateurs like me or a natural skill by chess GM's, IM's, etc.
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31 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why do GMs repeat moves instead of offering a draw?

Watching recaps of the 2021 Candidates Tournaments, so many games end in consecutive repeating moves. I have a general impression that lots of top level games are drawn by repeating moves. Why do the ...
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31 votes
2 answers
5k views

How is the life of a professional GM with ELO around 2500?

How is the life of a professional chessplayer with ELO around 2500? I mean, someone who is no doubt strong, but hardly a top GM? How does he make a living these days, if he hasn't another job?
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30 votes
3 answers
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Why wasn’t Rashid Nezhmetdinov a grandmaster?

He won the Russian championship 5 times, so why wasn’t he a grandmaster?
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30 votes
2 answers
8k views

How often does castling occur in grandmaster games?

May I know how to find in all grandmaster games, what the percentage of each of the following is? Kingside castling Queenside castling Never castled by the end of the game but still has the right to ...
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29 votes
14 answers
9k views

How are humans good at chess?

It is estimated that the total number of legal positions in chess is somewhere between 10^40 and 10^50. This is of course an enormous number. Computers today with reasonably good chess software can ...
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29 votes
2 answers
8k views

How many chess players are over 2500 Elo?

They say that there are currently about 1500 grandmasters. I was wondering how many chess players currently have "grandmaster strength".
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28 votes
8 answers
5k views

Does the first-move advantage for White have real meaning apart from the highest levels of play?

Most games that involve taking turns, with one player going first by lot or agreement, have some sort of advantage to going first. Tic-tac-toe, for instance, is a guaranteed draw for player 1, ...
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24 votes
4 answers
3k views

What does it mean to ''analyze grandmaster games''?

I am currently rated 1850. My coach tells me that in order to get better at my game, I should ''analyze grandmaster' games''. On the surface, I understand that he wants me to learn from great players' ...
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24 votes
2 answers
1k views

Do Grandmasters think using algebraic notation?

Is algebraic notation used just to communicate chess moves in written and spoken form, or should players strive to use it during their thinking process as well? In Dan Heisman's excellent The ...
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22 votes
9 answers
7k views

Why is there a craze of becoming chess grandmaster?

Go to any online chess server, there are thousands playing and trying their best. These days there are even online coaches and titled players and people are ready to shed huge bucks for getting couple ...
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  • 783
20 votes
4 answers
6k views

How often do grandmasters miss checkmate?

Although top players are extremely good at finding checkmate, the number of permutations of moves in just 3 moves can be hundreds of thousands, and the farther out the possible mate (e.g. mate in 4, ...
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20 votes
2 answers
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Do any grandmasters win more with black than white?

Some statistics indicate white scores 52-56% - but I wonder if that differs according to playing style - e.g. perhaps strong defenders prefer the black pieces. Do any former/current grandmasters have ...
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  • 1,751
19 votes
3 answers
5k views

What is the best strategy for an amateur to last as many moves as possible against a GM?

As an amateur chess player, I have been pondering this question for quite a bit now: In case of an amateur playing against a Grandmaster, what strategy would lengthen inevitable defeat? I am ...
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19 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why do professional chess players point at the pieces with a middle finger?

I've recently heard and then actually started to notice more and more that professional chess players tend to use a middle finger when pointing at pieces on the board like in this Anand vs Caruana ...
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19 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the shortest known GM level OTB game to end with checkmate?

What is the shortest known on the board game played between GM rated players that ended with a checkmate? "Shortest" does not mean the game has to be very short. Note: Edited this question twice ...
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19 votes
2 answers
5k views

Do grandmasters think on every move?

While watching Hikaru's Streams/YouTube (GM Chess Twitch Streamer), he's no doubt extremely impressive when it comes to recognizing patterns that win him material and forced mates in like 7+ moves. ...
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18 votes
2 answers
3k views

How come chess prodigies seem to start at a young age?

I started looking into the history of a few grandmasters such as Fischer and Carlsen, so I wondered: why does it seem that chess "kings" and queens" start playing the game from a young age? Can anyone ...
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17 votes
12 answers
9k views

Why do people even play chess?

Why do some of the world's best intellectuals spend their whole lives just on a wooden board, rather than working on the betterment of society ?
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17 votes
3 answers
6k views

Was Wolfgang Unzicker the last Amateur GM?

Wolfgang Unzicker was a German GM, rated about 2550 and worked as a judge. In the sense of holding down a job while playing, he was an "amateur" player. So was Unzicker, a GM in the 70's, the last ...
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15 votes
1 answer
9k views

What is the average age to become a grandmaster?

On average, what is the age of people when they obtain the title of international master or grandmaster? I also wonder how the age distribution looks like.
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15 votes
4 answers
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Why do some (many!) grandmasters play the opening so slowly?

I know it is never good to memorize opening lines and play them without understanding the plans and ideas, but still, I see so many grandmasters play moves from #5 to around #10 so slowly as if they'...
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14 votes
3 answers
4k views

Positional thinking by Grandmasters

How do Grandmasters think in an unknown position and make the best move?
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14 votes
4 answers
13k views

How many steps can a grandmaster foresee? [duplicate]

What makes a grandmaster special? Is it the amount of steps the grandmaster can foresee, or the creativity? How many steps can a grandmaster foresee in average in a game (for instance Carlsen and ...
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14 votes
3 answers
4k views

Can a grandmaster still win against engines if they have a really long consideration time?

Can a grandmaster still win against engines if they have a really long consideration time? For example, say that Stockfish gets 20 minutes and the GM receives days, if not weeks.
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14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why do Chess GMs need coaches?

Today chess.com did an interview with Carlsen's coach. Someone like Carlen or Anand, why do they still need coaches? Their Elo is higher than their coaches, they can use engines to analyze the games, ...
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12 votes
3 answers
3k views

How does opening preparation work at GM level?

From what I can gather, one studies what the opponent has been playing, and prepare responses for their favourite lines. The problem is, there's no guarantee the opponent will play a given opening. ...
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12 votes
5 answers
2k views

What do 2600 level grandmasters do to earn a living?

I want to know what a grandmaster does to earn a living, because if he has a 2600 rating then he is not able to win many tournaments.
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12 votes
3 answers
2k views

Do grandmasters practice blindfold chess or does it come naturally with practice?

Since grandmasters are good at calculation, do they practice blindfold for improving calculations, or does it come naturally over time by solving a lot of complex calculations?
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  • 2,485
12 votes
1 answer
5k views

In the USA, if you achieve a USCF rating of 2200 and gain the National Master title, what happens if your rating then goes below 2200?

Is the "National Master" title awarded for your entire life? Or do you lose the title if your rating goes below 2200? I've heard that to get the title of National Master for your entire life you have ...
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  • 4,459
12 votes
4 answers
4k views

How to play a Grandmaster in a simultaneous?

Would you play well known Opening theory, or avoid it? What other strategies would you employ to beat a GM in a simultaneous? I have my own strategies which I've used. See link in my profile. But what ...
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  • 743
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is the 50-move rule ever used in grandmaster games?

The 50-move rule states that if no capture or pawn move occurs for 50 consecutive moves, then either player may claim a draw. It seems like the 50-move rule is never truly necessary to determine that ...
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11 votes
4 answers
3k views

Which chess website has the strongest players?

The debate on which is the "best" chess website tends to be subjective and thus is inconclusive. On the other hand, the site that has the strongest players should be objectively ascertainable provided ...
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11 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is the most queens that have been on the board in a grandmaster game?

There are quite a few grandmaster games with 3 queens or 4 queens, but what is the highest number of queens on the board in a game between two GMs? I'd be interested in both the most on the board ...
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11 votes
4 answers
675 views

The thin line between winning and losing at the top level?

At lower level, we often blunder many times and do not make the best moves, so there can be multiple ways to win. But at the top level, for example, during the candidate matches going on now, the ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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Why do GMs look up during calculations?

I saw some grandmasters looking up or sideways during calculations. Why don't they just look at the board and visualize? Wouldn't that be easier?
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  • 2,485
11 votes
1 answer
723 views

Do chess masters think with the board flipped when playing black?

Or do they always keep white on the bottom, as is the case with most historic games? Wouldn't it be easier for them to spot patterns from old games if they always oriented the board the same way in ...
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10 votes
6 answers
30k views

Why and how do great chess players become "crazy"? [closed]

I know that this question may be for a more psychology-focus forum, and "great" is an understatement for players such as Fischer; yet, I want to know your opinion on this question. Is it intelligence? ...
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  • 435
10 votes
3 answers
13k views

Average income for titled chess players

What is the average income for an IM? What about for a super GM? Is there an online site/resource that has these average incomes? Also only the ones that come from chess or chess-related activities(...
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  • 3,335
10 votes
2 answers
4k views

How is it possible for a player without 2500 ELO to obtain the GM title?

I recently came across a GM who has a peak rating 2495 and has obtained the GM title after completing three norms. From my understanding, in order to become a GM one must Achieve a FIDE rating of ...
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  • 615
10 votes
2 answers
964 views

Who were the first GMs, and how did they become GMs?

In order to qualify for the title of Grandmaster, a player must achieve three Grandmaster norms. This is not the place to go into detail about what those are; the pertinent point is that norms can ...
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  • 111
10 votes
3 answers
475 views

Who was the quickest from "unrated" to GM?

What player attained the GM title in the shortest amount of time, beginning from their entry into organized (rated) chess, to the award of the title (either via attaining norms, or by direct award)? ...
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9 votes
3 answers
5k views

Has any other grandmaster gone as long undefeated like Capablanca?

Between 1916 and 1924, future World Champion J.R. Capablanca, as of 1921, experienced a period of eight years without a single tournament defeat. He was then regarded as one of the world's best ...
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9 votes
3 answers
918 views

Why do players think after they have made a plan?

I have seen many live competitions from top GMs, and I can usually see one thinking 15 minutes straight, then doing a tactical move. After some thinking from the other player, he does the main move, ...
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  • 3,335
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do GMs participate in an "GM norm invitational" tournament?

I'm following the current GM/IM norm invitational tournament recaps thanks to GothamChess YouTube channel (IM Levy Rozman is playing). Such an event (for GM norms) requires at least 3 (1/3) GMs to ...
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  • 379
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

Have there been brilliancy prizes awarded to the losing player?

Have there been brilliancy prizes awarded to the losing player? Preferably, it would be at a grandmaster level.
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Which late starters have been able to become grandmasters?

Decades ago, there was a young man who joined the Rochester chess club where he had the frequent opportunity to play against USCF Life Master Dr. Eric W. Marchand if my memory is correct. Who was ...
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9 votes
1 answer
736 views

Why are the requirements for becoming a GM so complicated?

Wikipedia's article on chess grandmasters indicates that the requirements to become a GM is complicated, and has always been complicated. For example right now, to become a GM, one needs to have had a ...
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9 votes
0 answers
156 views

2 GM Norms in 24 hours - first time ever?

Chess.com reports that 17-year-old Frederik Svane has scored 2 GM Norms In 24 Hours and asks if this is a record: 17-year-old Svane, the youngest of the two brothers (Rasmus recently turned 25), ...
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  • 75.7k
9 votes
0 answers
353 views

Lowest rated player(s) who earned a GM norm

Who had the lowest rating when they earned at least one GM norm?
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