What Is FIDE Master Rating?

Whether you’re a chess player or a fan, you’ve probably heard of the FIDE open competitions and titles. Among those titles is the Chess Master title. But what is the FIDE master rating?

To date, the official FIDE master rating is 2,300. No norms are needed.

In this article, we’ll talk in detail about the requirements of getting the FIDE Master title, and how it compares to other official titles.

FIDE Master Rating: An Overview

The FIDE Master title comes 3rd in rank between the International Master (2nd) and the Candidate Master (4th) titles.

Once your overall chess Elo exceeds the minimum requirement of 2,300 you’ll earn the title and it won’t be taken away even if your Elo drops below the requirement. It can be taken away for disciplinary purposes, though.

Also, unlike the Grandmaster and International Master titles, the Master title doesn’t require norms. Norms are favorable results that you achieve in tournaments where the participants share your rank.

For example, to become an International Master, you need to have the required Elo of 2400 and three norms in tournaments that involve other International Masters.

Keep in mind that the Elo rating required for the title is different from the performance rating.

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Elo Rating vs Performance Rating

The rating required for you to gain the official FIDE titles is your overall rating in all of the previous tournaments. That’s the rating that, if exceeds 2,300, will provide you with the FIDE Master title.

On the other hand, your performance rating is how you perform in a particular tournament against other players.

For example, if your current rating is 1800, and you beat an opponent with a higher rating than you, your performance rating, in that tournament, will be higher than your overall rating.

The performance rating is calculated based on the average rating of your opponent. For each win against that opponent, you add 400 to their rating, and then you take the mean of the number of games you won, and that becomes your performance rating.

Many regional tournaments can award instant titles based on performance rating. However, norms are a must for FIDE International and Grandmaster titles.

Other Open Titles Granted by FIDE

The FIDE Master title is the third among the four major open titles granted by FIDE. The other main FIDE titles open for men and women players include:

Grandmaster (GM)

Grandmaster is the highest title a player can achieve. To get this title, you need a minimum rating of 2500 and three norms.

International Master (IM)

To achieve the IM title, you need a minimum rating of 2400 with three norms.

You can also get it if you have a conditional Grandmaster title with a rating between 2200 and 2300.

Candidate Master (CM)

The Candidate Master is the lowest title with an overall rating of 2200. Similar to the FM title but unlike the GM and IM titles, you don’t need norms to obtain this title. Once you achieve the rating, you earn the title immediately.

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Women-Only FIDE Titles

In addition to open titles, FIDE offers women-specific titles. Interestingly, the federation grants these titles according to the same conditions.

Yet, they come with ratings 200 points lower than those of the open titles. For instance:

  • Woman Grandmaster (WGM): achieved directly with a performance rating of 2300 plus the three norms.
  • Woman International Master (WIM): achieved directly with a performance rating of 2200 plus the three norms.
  • Woman FIDA Master (WFM): achieved directly with a performance rating of 2100 with no norms required.
  • Woman Candidate Master (WCM): achieved directly with a performance rating of 2000 with no norms required.

Keep in mind that women can choose not to earn women-only titles if they want to. The fact that there are women-only titles strikes some controversy as many people believe that men and women can perform equally in chess.

On the other hand, many women have both open and women-only titles.

7 Regulations for Receiving a FIDE Title

Besides the required rating and norms, here are some rules that regulate the awarding of titles:

  1. Games should be governed by the FIDE Laws of Chessor the Regulations for Hybrid Chess Competitions.
  2. The tournament has to be registered on the FIDE server at least 30 days in advance.
  3. Any alteration in the rules of the tournament must be made with prior permission from the Qualification Commission’s Chairman.
  4. No more than 12 hours of play per day.
  5. No more than two rounds of play per day.
  6. Title tournaments should have a chief international arbiter or a FIDA arbiter present at the venue at all times.
  7. Appointed arbiters aren’t allowed to play in the tournament even as fillers.
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4 Games Not Qualifying Toward a FIDE Title

  1. If you play a game with an opponent who doesn’t belong to FIDE.
  2. Games that aren’t decided by over-the-boardplay, such as by adjudication or forfeit.
  3. Any game played within a tournament with altered regulations that work for the benefit of one opponent at the expense of the other.
  4. A game against an opponent not formally a participant in the tournament.

Does the FIDE Master Title Expire?

Normally, the FIDE Master title doesn’t expire. You can hold it for life. However, it can be revoked in the case of unethical behavior, such as cheating or fraud.

The Qualifications and Ethics Commission reserves the right to revoke a player’s title. If a titled player breaches the Fair Play Regulations set by the FIDE, he/she risks losing that title.

Fortunately, the player can appeal this decision to the FIDE Council. This appeal has to occur within 30 days of receiving an official written notice.


FIDE Master is one of the highest-ranking titles awarded by FIDE. It can be granted once you reach an average rating of 2300, or 2100 for women-only titles.

This title is permanent. However, the FIDE Qualification and Ethics Commission has the right to revoke it for disciplinary purposes.