Since its inception, chess has been one of the most popular games of all time. Whether played in ancient kingdoms or virtual chess platforms, chess has proved to be enduring and timeless.
If you play chess, you’ve probably wondered how to be a chess grandmaster.
Well, in this article, we’ll walk you through the requirements of becoming a chess grandmaster, and we’ll ask the hard questions about the achievability of becoming a chess grandmaster.
What Is a Chess Grandmaster?
A chess grandmaster is a title given to a select few chess players by the FIDE (International Chess Federation). To achieve the title of a chess grandmaster, a player should follow specific requirements that test their skill level.
Out of about 600 million chess players, less than 2000 have the title of a chess grandmaster! And as hard as it is, there have been chess grandmasters who are just 12 years of age.
The youngest chess grandmaster in the world is Abhimanyu Mishra, who won the title at the age of 12 years, 4 months, and 25 days.
On the other hand, the oldest player to win the title of chess grandmaster is Enrico Paoli. Paoli was awarded the title at the age of 88.
Chess experts confirm that it’s typically harder for older players to become chess grandmasters. The issue here isn’t about IQ; it’s about the years of practice required to develop memorization skills.
How to Become a Chess Grandmaster? Fide Requirements
FIDE has strict rules for evaluating the skill level of the players awarded the title of grandmaster. Here are the steps you need to become a chess grandmaster.
Elo Rating of 2500 or More
To get a FIDE rating of 2500 or more, you need to compete in FIDE events and play against FIDE members. However, it’s not easy to get this high of a rating.
To achieve a score of 2500 or more, you need to play against high-rated players who are significantly more skilled and experienced than you.
Two or More Grandmaster Norms
A chess grandmaster is the highest chess title, and its norms are more challenging than achieving titles like an international master, candidate master, and FIDE master.
Here are the grandmaster norms needed to achieve over at least 27 games to become a chess grandmaster.
- You need to get a performance rating of 2600 or more
- You must play against at least three grandmasters from countries other than yours
- The tournaments need to have more than nine rounds
Winning Chess Championships
You can also become a chess grandmaster instantly by winning championships like the World Junior Championship, World Senior Championship, and the Women’s World Championship.
However, achieving the title of a chess grandmaster through these championships is more challenging and rarer than becoming a grandmaster by the regular FIDE regulations.
What Is the Training Required to Be a Chess Grandmaster?
Here’s what it takes to become a chess grandmaster according to the most successful in the game:
Start As Soon As Possible
Is it better to start at 5? It is, but it doesn’t mean it’s too late for you to achieve your dream.
You have to consider what the goal of becoming a chess grandmaster means to you. If you’re dedicated and able to put in the time, effort, and money that goes into becoming a chess grandmaster, begin as soon as possible.
Getting the title of a chess grandmaster won’t take you 30 days or even 24 months. It will take years of dedication and hard work. You have to put all your free time into chess and train for about 8 hours per day.
Play Against Players Better Than You
To become a chess grandmaster, you have to get comfortable with winning and losing. Before winning, you’ll lose a lot, and you need to be okay with losing and focus on why you lost instead of the outcome.
According to Magnus Carlsen (Norwegian grandmaster and world champion), it’s essential to be mentally resilient to keep your cool and focus on the game no matter the odds.
Try playing against players that are rated at least 100 elo points higher than you. You’ll learn a lot more from playing stronger opponents than weaker opponents. Not to mention, you’ll earn more elo points from winning a match with a higher rated opponent compared to a lower opponent. This will help you acquire the grandmaster title much faster.
Learn Everything About the Game
Being an instinctive player isn’t the only deciding factor in becoming a chess grandmaster. To improve, you must learn all the tactics and strategies that make great chess grandmasters.
1. Learn Various Chess Openings
For beginners, it’s usually recommended to learn just a few openings. However, as you step up in rating, you will need to learn various chess openings and variations in order to compete at the highest level. Many grandmasters know almost all the major openings in chess. Learning different openings can open your eyes to new concepts and strategies you never once knew.
2. Study Chess Endgames and Middlegames
Endgames are just as vital as any other stages of the chess game, whether it be opening or middlegame. The strongest of players in the world are all endgame masters such as Magnus Carlsen and Garry Kasparov. Knowing the different endgame theory and positions can make a huge difference in winning or losing a game.
The middlegame is where most of your chess knowledge is put into practice. In the middlegame, player must apply their position understanding of chess over the board. They must be able to analyze the position properly, calculate efficiently, and construct a feasible winning plan.
3. Study Chess Grandmasters Games
There’s nothing better than learning from an expert in the field. You have to study the games of the top players in the world if you want to compete at the highest level. Some of the best chess grandmasters you can study from include Vishny Anand, Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, and Magnus Carlsen just to name a few. Just pick someone who you admire and learn from their games.
If you are an attacking player, then you may wish to study the games of Mikhail Tal. If you are a positional type of player, who prefer to slowly outplay their opponent, then you may want to learn from Anatoly Karpov.
Even beyond the game, you need to learn the routines and training of chess grandmasters and try to adapt these techniques into your daily routine.
4. Watch Online Chess Games & Read Books About Chess
There are many available resources on the internet. There are chess games streaming daily that you can watch or even participate in.
If you are into taking online courses, then Chessable is a great tool to use. Chessable is a comprehensive and social learning website whose aim is to make learning chess as easy and efficient as possible. The platform aims to provide very high-quality chess courses from the best players in the world.
You can also go to your local library and search for books about chess strategy, or order a digital or physical chess book online.
Hire a Chess Coach
After you learn everything you can learn by yourself, you may want to hire a chess coach. Chess coaches are a bit expensive, so you need to go as far as you can go on your own. Once you’re 100% sure you love chess and want to become a chess grandmaster, you need to hire a professional coach to prepare you for playing at higher levels. A chess coach can offer a systematic training approach and teach you how to find typical plans in your chess games.
To become a chess grandmaster, you need a minimum Elo rating of 2500 and three grandmaster norms.
You’ll also need to know everything about chess. So, you must study openings, middlegames, and endgames tactics.
There’s no easy answer to how to be a chess grandmaster. It will differ according to your specific circumstances (age, skill level, free time, and resources), but in the end, it all comes down to your dedication and capabilities.