How to Get a FIDE rating in 2023

If you’re thinking of becoming a professional chess player that’s recognized on a global scale. The first thing you must do is get a FIDE rating. In this article, you’ll learn the quickest way to get a FIDE rating in 2023.

FIDE Ratings

FIDE (Fèdèration Internationale des Echecs) is the International Chess Federation. The highest governing body for chess in the world. It was founded in 1924 in France with the sole aim of coordinating and promoting chess globally. Today, it is composed of 184 national chess federations representing over 100 million chess players worldwide.

FIDE sets and upholds the chess rules that govern international tournaments. It also issues the chess ratings used globally to denote players’ abilities. These are what we refer to as FIDE ratings.

As you transition from a hobbyist to a professional chess player, one of the things you’ll need is an official rating. Unlike the chess ratings, you get by playing games on websites like chess.com. Or other online chess learning portals. Official chess ratings can only be issued by a governing organization like FIDE.

Playing and learning chess online with a computer

Your FIDE rating is determined by the number of points you accumulate playing competitively against other FIDE-rated players. You gain points every time you beat a rated opponent, but unfortunately, you also lose points every time you lose to a rated opponent.

How to Get an Official FIDE Rating – A Step-by-Step Process

Obtain a FIDE ID

Before you can get a FIDE rating, you’ll need a FIDE ID. If you perform a quick search online on how to get a FIDE ID, chances are good that you’ll be bombarded by options, many of which don’t actually get you an official FIDE ID.

online search

In general, there is only one way to obtain an official FIDE ID.

Registering under Your Country’s Governing Body for Chess

The best way to get a FIDE ID is through your national chess federation. Any national governing body for chess can issue new FIDE IDs on behalf of the International Federation of Chess.

Everyone is eligible for a FIDE ID; there are no limitations whatsoever. Furthermore, anyone can get a FIDE ID free of charge. You don’t have to pay anything to register in the international chess players’ database.

To start the process, you may need to submit your personal information to your country’s chess federation. This may include your name, age, location, and passport-style photograph.

Chess - Chinese and USA flag

Chess Governing Bodies in Different Countries

Different countries have different governing bodies for chess, but rest assured that they all function under FIDE. For example:

  • In the United States, the governing body is the US Chess Federation (USCF)
  • In India, the governing body is the All India Chess Federation (ACIF)
  • In Canada, the governing body is the Chess Federation of Canada (CFC)
  • In the UK, the governing body is the English Chess Federation (ECF)
  • In Portugal, the governing body is the Federação Portuguesa de Xadrez 

Bear in mind that getting a FIDE ID number, also referred to as a FIN, is not the same as getting a FIDE rating. The FIN is a registration number indicating your details have been included in the FIDE’s international chess players’ database.

Criteria to get a FIDE rating

Any player that wishes to obtain a FIDE rating must also meet the following requirements:

  • Play at least 20 matches against FIDE-rated players within 26 months
  • Get a performance rating of at least 1,000
Chess game in public

As such, after obtaining a FIDE ID, your next course of action is to find any FIDE-approved tournaments in your country to participate in. How do you know that a tournament is FIDE-approved?

  • It must have an official FIDE arbiter present during the tournament.
  • The tournament must adhere to FIDE’s official rules.
  • The results of each match must be verified and approved by FIDE, which then gives back the individual ratings for each participating player.

To make sure that each FIDE-approved tournament contributes to your overall FIDE rating, you must also meet the following requirements:

  • Play at least 3 or 4 games per tournament
  • Play against FIDE-rated players

Once you’ve met all these qualifications, you must wait for FIDE to check your results, verify them, and then charge the tournament’s results to their official rating FIDE updates its ratings at the beginning of every month. You can visit their official website and list your ID to check your FIDE ratings after they’ve been published.

Chess Tournament underway

Remember, to get your first FIDE rating; you must participate in at least 20 FIDE-approved matches within two years (26 months). If you fail to meet this quota, your progress resets, and you have to start from scratch.

How FIDE Ratings are Calculated

Even though FIDE ratings start from 100 and go all the way to 3,000, you cannot be FIDE-rated unless you have a rating above 1,000.

Understanding how FIDE ratings work can get a little complicated. S you only need to understand one thing… Playing against a player with a higher rating than yours gets you more points than playing against a player with a lower rating than you.

To illustrate, here is an example:

Let’s say you have a rating of 1,600 and are set to face two players. Player A has a FIDE rating of 1,800. While Player B has a rating of 1,500. A win against any of these players grants you points, but you’ll get more points if you win against Player A.

chess rating calculator

Why is that?

It’s because you’re playing against a player that is supposedly at a higher skill level than you. Therefore, if you can competently participate with players far beyond your FIDE rating, it tells the organizers that your skill rating should be much higher. Which is why you’re granted more points than usual.

In contrast, if you win against a player with equal or lower points. It simply shows the organizers that you’re capable of playing against players with similar ratings as yours. As such, you don’t get extra points for defeating similarly ranked opponents.

FIDE does not judge your chess prowess on a game-by-game basis. But rather, they focus on your progress after each tournament. If you defeat a series of players within or above your skill rating, you’re more likely to gain points at the end of the tournament.

How many FIDE points can you gain or lose per match?

It all depends on what we’ve covered above. Playing against players with a higher FIDE rating allows you to gain more points, but losing to a player with a lower FIDE rating than yours also makes you liable to lose more points.

You stand to win or lose 5 to 15 points per game on average, but again, the key factor is the difference in ratings between you and your opponent. For instance, if you win against an opponent with a rating that is 800 points above yours, you can gain as many as 60 points! The same applies to losing to a player with a much lower rating than yours.

Of course, these opportunities don’t come too often because FIDE organizers strive to match equally-rated opponents to avoid too many discrepancies.

Hand holding a chess piece over a board

ELO vs. FIDE Ratings – Are They the Same?

Arpad Elo created the ELO rating system to calculate participants’ relative skills in two-player, zero-sum games. Even though national chess federations and FIDE commonly use it to establish the skill levels of participating players, its use extends beyond the game of chess.

For instance, the ELO rating system is currently in use in sports such as basketball, American football, and baseball, as well as board game tournaments like scrabble. It is also used in e-Sports, most notably in PUBG matches, to determine the skill level of participating players.

The ELO rating system may initially sound complicated, especially since it involves elaborate calculations. However, you only need to understand a few key principles to learn how it is applied when determining how many points the winners of chess matches are awarded.

How the ELO Rating System Works

The first thing you should know about the ELO rating system is that it does not measure skills in absolute terms. Unlike its predecessor, the Harkness system. Which utilized an absolute formula to determine how many points to award victorious chess players. The ELO rating system merely infers the skill level of chess players based on their wins, draws, and losses against other players.

cartoon image of people analyzing a game of chess

After every game, the winning player is awarded points, and the losing player is deducted points. How many points are awarded/deducted is largely determined by the difference in the two players’ current chess ratings.

In general, the governing rules for the ELO systems can be summarized as follows:

  • The lower-rated opponent only loses a few points if a higher-rated player wins.
  • If a lower-rated player wins, the higher-rated opponent loses a lot of points.
  • In the event of a draw, the lower-rated player gains points from the higher-rated player.

So far, it’s a straightforward method of assigning points that’s considered fair because it accounts for the skill ratings of each player.

Without diving too deep into the math, the ELO rating system is highly effective because it only changes the mean value of a player’s skills over time.

Whether you perform extraordinarily well or extraordinarily poorly in one game doesn’t reflect too much on your true skill level, which means the mean value of your ratings only changes as you play more and more games.

Is the ELO Rating the Same as FIDE Ratings?

Both the ELO and FIDE rating systems are used to determine the skill level of chess players. However, these ratings are not interchangeable.

The FIDE rating system uses a different formula to calculate the points a player should earn from defeating an opponent. However, it is similar to the ELO rating system because it considers each player’s skill level.

For instance, if two players are equally matched in terms of ratings, they are both expected to score equal wins. If a stronger player faces a weaker player, the weaker player is expected to win less, so they’re awarded more points if they defeat the stronger player.

Chess pieces through a lens

Similarly, ELO ratings favor players who play against stronger opponents. If a weaker player draws against a much stronger opponent, they get an increase in ratings, whereas drawing against a weaker player most likely deducts points from your overall ratings.

Why Are FIDE Ratings Necessary?

  • FIDE ratings allow organizations to accurately assess a player’s skill level.
  • They promote equal matching of players during tournaments.
  • FIDE ratings are necessary for determining the fair amount of points each player stands to win or lose in the event of a win, draw, or loss.
  • They allow players to be judged specifically by the outcomes of their games, not by their prowess in various aspects of chess.
  • They help organizers rank chess players globally to create a tier list for chess players based on their skill levels.

How are Chess Players Categorized Based on FIDE/ELO Ratings?

How many points do you need to be considered a grandmaster or even a super grandmaster? Chess has several tiers; each is necessary because it alerts players to their level of proficiency.

More importantly, it tells them what to expect from playing against other players. Thanks to the FIDE/ELO rating systems, you can quickly tell whether you’re able to win comfortably against your opponent or whether you’re punching above your weight.

Chess master in a suit

In general, the categories are as follows:

  • 2,700 points and higher – Super Grandmaster
  • 2,500 – 2,700 points – Grandmaster
  • 2,400 – 2,500 points – International Master
  • 2,300 – 2,400 points – FIDE Master
  • 2,200 – 2,300 points – National Master (FIDE Candidate Master)
  • 2,000 – 2,200 points – Expert (National Candidate Master)
  • 1,800 – 1,999 points – Class A Player
  • 1,600 – 1,799 points – Class B Player
  • 1,400 – 1,599 points – Class C Player
  • 1,200 – 1,399 points – Class D Player
  • 1,000 – 1,199 points – Class E Player

Getting a FIDE rating – Summary

Getting a FIDE rating is one of the most important things a chess player should do. It not only helps you gauge your skill level against other chess players globally but also tells you how much improvement you need to get to the level you desire.

It’s relatively easy to acquire your first FIDE rating and get a FIDE ID number (FIN), which is necessary before you can start competing at FIDE-approved tournaments against rated players.

Ultimately, it is a worthy activity that will help to advance your chess career tremendously.

scholarship to learn chess
Jenna Ostria
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