Thursday, February 3, 2011


FIDE first introduce the title in 1950 and award it to top 27 players at that time. Only in 1953 there is a proper system introduce to get the title. Before 50’s it was based on MAS system. (MAS = Mana Ada Sistem). GM title was used loosely and freely without any clear standard or definition.

How to get one.
To the best of my knowledge, there are 3 ways to get GM title. This is the simple version. The complete version especially in norm calculation could make scientist sweat!
1) By Winning Tournament. Some tournament offered automatic GM title should you win it. These tournaments are World Chess Championship/ Zonal, World Junior, World Senior, Commonwealth etc. 1st! Call me GM please thank you.
2) By collecting norms. In simple words, if you are doing great at international tournament that offered GM norm, then you collect one norm. Collect few norms (within certain time frame) then you are a GM.
3) By award. Fide occasionally award GMship to those that played chess long enough, strong enough though not really in category 1 or 2 above.

Number of GMs? As at end 2010, there are 1275 GMs in this world

Number of women GM? Susan Polgar is the first to achieve this in 1991. Now there are 22 female that manage to get this ‘male’ GM. I did not count Nona and Maya since they get their GMs by recognizant by FIDE, not via slug it out at male GM tournament like what Susan Polgar did.

Number of countries with GM? 74 countries with Russia is the major shareholder (202 GMs), controlling about 16% of the world’s GMs.

Number of countries without GM? 54 countries…and we acutely aware about one country in this particular sad group.

Prettiest/ Handsomest GM? Just kidding, ofcourse no such category…:) too subjective

Strongest GM? In 1999, Kasparov’s rating is 2850. No one, be it Anand, Kramnik or Carlsen come close to this rating though I suspect should Rybka 4 is allowed to have Fide rating via tournament with human (and not just ratings from games between fellow engines), Rybka will be able to easily break Kasparov’s rating.

Oldest to obtain GM? Enrico Paoli, awarded Grandmaster title at the age of 88

Youngest GM? Sergey Karjakin, awarded Grandmaster title at the age of 12.

From I found this interesting info about GMs.

Age Group No. of GM
11 – 20 233
21 – 30 606
31 – 40 293
41 – 50 62
51 – 60 14
61 – 70 16
71 – 80 9
81 – 90 5

Last but not least, this is what GM Anand got to say about GM

“Nowadays, when you’re not a grandmaster at 14, you can forget about it.”
Viswanathan Anand


  1. Excellent research and tid bits except the quote by Anand at the end.

  2. Fact rather. Only a World Champion can say that.

  3. Very nicely done and very interesting!

    Best wishes,
    Susan Polgar

  4. Is he talking about being World Champion or being a GM?

  5. Don't forget about Houdini!

  6. Hi Raymond,
    Maybe what Anand mean is about being a world champion or about being an elite GM...not just ordinary GM

    Hi John Wong,
    Agreed!Only World Champ can say that

    Hi Susan Polgar,
    Thanks for a nice comment.

    Hi zabbura2002,
    Houdini!?...did not get it!

  7. Oho sorry.. Houdini 1.5 is leading Rybka 4 and looks very strong.
    One of the game here:

  8. Hi zabbura2002,
    Yeah, that Houdini :). I followed that match too via Are they creating ELO 3500 monster?