Chess Titles - Chess International Master

An international master is a chess player who has an ELO rating of more than 2400. The chess international master title is decided if a player has the requisite ELO rating at some point in time. The player (he or she) need not necessarily maintain the rating subsequently. This chess international master norm was instituted in 1950 and it is one of the three titles given by FIDE, the governing body of chess. The other two are the chess grand master title and the FIDE master title. The chess international master title is also abbreviated to IM for convenience and normal usage sake. The title is given to players who are above the FIDE master norm but below the grand master norm.

Due to the increasing popularity of chess and the growing number of players who are taking part in the tournaments, the international master norm has become somewhat of a prestige among players who aspire to the higher GM title. There are stages in the International master norm that a player has to go through. Usually it is achieved by passing through two IM norms and thereby getting the coveted title of chess international master. There can be players who have got the IM norm but have failed to get the GM title. This is because the rules of FIDE for giving the chess grand master title are somewhat stricter than those governing the rules for the chess international master title.

The international master title is seen as a stepping-stone to achieving an IM norm. But, there are instances of players who have not got the GM norm despite getting the IM norm and having an ELO rating of more than 2500. On the other hand, there have been players who have been GM’s without getting the IM norm. This happens in the case of exceptionally talented players and child prodigies who make their way up in a rapid way. For instance the reputed chess player, Vladimir Kramnik of the erstwhile USSR became a grand master without attaining an international master norm.

There has been inflation in the number of players who are chess international masters in recent times. This is due to the number of tournaments that offer players a chance to get their norms becoming more and the number of players who aspire for these norms also increasing. Interestingly, there have been a number of women who have got the IM norm in recent times as compared to earlier years, yet another sign that the times are changing.

A player holding the chess international master title is expected to be in the top 0.25% of all tournaments that are being held at a given point in time when he or she is accorded the title of chess international master. This ensures that the players who receive the international norm are those who are at the top of their heap. An international norm for a chess player opens up many possibilities and also results in monetary benefits in the form of sponsorships.