What does it take to become a Chess Master ?

Chess Masters - Players of great skill

Chess Games

What is a chess master and how do you become one are questions frequently asked by chess players.

Like so many things - chess included - there are no hard and fast, clear cut answers, especially for the latter question regarding qualification.

Dealing first with "What is a chess master?" the simplest definition that provokes least argument is a chess player of great skill. It is the latter query that sparks off controversy.

There are, arguably, at least four schools of thought on the route to the title of chess master.

Firstly, there are those who argue that obtaining 2200 United States Chess Federation rating points confers the right to call yourself a chess master. Others, though, place a rider on this assertion, and claim only those who have played over the board and reached 2200 rating points can truly be called a chess master.

A third line of thought is that it's exclusively FIDE (World Chess Federation) ranking that counts and that chess master is attained on reaching 2300 FIDE rating points. Yet others disagree, and cite that only Grandmasters who have been recognized as such by a properly constituted committee of a chess governing body have any rights to the title of chess master.

Whatever your viewpoint, there are plenty of self help guides and books around to aid the wannabe chess master to their ultimate goal. But if that's a too long-winded approach, here's a very condensed version of what they all have to say on the subject.

Shortcut to becoming a Chess Master

Apart from skill, intelligence and a tactical mind what does it take to become a chess master?

First of all, gain a good grounding of the rules; know the names of the chess pieces and how they move.and how to set the chess board up for play.

Grasp the principles behind the game such as the relative value of the playing pieces, the strategy of game play and the power of threat and sacrifice.

Next, play lots and lots of games, preferably beating your opponent out of sight. To help in this endeavor, study the games of the Grandmasters and learn their strategies and patterns. Memorize and apply their game style while on the competition trail earning all important ranking points. With dedication, patience, a bit of luck and perseverance the requisite number of points will be acquired. Sooner or later.

It all sounds so easy when you say it like that. Back in the real world, attaining the level of chess master is something normally associated with eggheads, precocious prodigies and those with a natural aptitude and flair for the game. For the rest of us, we have to content ourselves with being somewhere in the neighborhood.no matter how remote.

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