How Many Grandmasters Are There?

Guides / By Andrew Hercules
how many chess grandmasters are there

Currently, there are 1721 Chess Grandmasters. The title of grandmaster is awarded by the International Chess Federation (FIDE). In most cases, once you become a chess Grandmaster you will hold that title for life. However, your title can be stripped from you for rare and specific reasons, such as being caught cheating.

How To Become a Chess Grandmaster

Score Three Norms-To be considered for the Grandmaster title you need to score a 2600 ELO performance in 3 separate norm tournaments. Norm tournaments are tournaments that last at least 2 hours long, have at least three grandmasters participating from at least 3 different countries, have nine rounds which you must participate in, and have an international arbiter present at the tournament to make the ELO performance ruling official.

Achieve a 2500 FIDE rating-Although you must have the 3 norms to be considered, you still need to get a 2500 rating from the FIDE. You do not need to hold this rating forever, you just need to reach it.

Steps to Becoming a Grandmaster

Although the 3 norms and FIDE rating are the specific criteria you must meet to become a Chess grandmaster, it is important to understand that unless you are a prodigy there are many things you will need to get there. If becoming a chess grandmaster is a goal of yours, what steps should you take now to start on this path?

Start Young

Obviously depending on how old you are right now, the ship might have sailed on this one. The earlier you start with chess, the easier it will be to learn and master.

Work Hard and Be Serious

If becoming a grandmaster is really your goal, you will need to take chess seriously. At some point, you will have to let how you look at chess change from a game you play for fun or as a hobby to a challenge you will master. In the beginning, you will be learning the rules of the game and finding strategies for success-but as time goes by, you will need to break down your chess game into sections. Think about your typical opening moves, the middle of the game as well as the end of game play.

Take the time to analyze and discover places where you are weak or could use improvement.

Get Help

As in all serious endeavors, sometimes outside help is necessary. This could be as simple as joining chess forums, chatrooms, and local players’ clubs. You could also team up with someone to learn and explore the game together. Finally, you might want to get a coach or a teacher to assist you in finding your best game and improving your skills.

Play As Many Tournaments as You Can

Playing in tournaments is very important for a chess player. First, you will be exposed to different gameplay and strategies that you may not see every day. You will also learn how to think, focus and perform under pressure. Finally, you will learn the art of losing and what to learn from each loss.

Your losses can help teach you where you are weakest as well as what areas you need to focus on. Without learning to lose and using the information in each loss to improve your overall game, you may never advance in your chess career.

Which Countries Have the Best Grandmaster Ranking?

Although the country of origin has little to do with whether or not you can become a grandmaster, you may be interested if your country is in the top 5 countries with the highest average ranking of their Chess Grandmasters. We are going to briefly discuss the 5 countries that have the most grandmasters as well as the best overall ranking.

#5-India-Grandmasters 50

India currently has 50 chess grandmasters. Their highest-rated grandmaster is Viswanathan Anand and he is ranked 11th in the world (FIDE RANK: 2776). Average grandmaster ranking in India: 2675.

#4-Ukraine-Grandmasters 91

Ukraine currently has 91 chess grandmasters. Their highest-rated grandmaster is Vassily Ivanchuk and he is ranked 32nd in the world (FIDE RANK: 2708). Average grandmaster ranking in Ukraine: 2681.

#3-United States of America-Grandmasters 94

The United States of America currently has 94 chess grandmasters. Their highest-rated grandmaster is Fabiano Caruana and he is ranked 3rd in the world (FIDE RANK: 2804). Average grandmaster ranking in the United States of America: 2696.

#2-China-Grandmasters 45

China currently has 45 chess grandmasters. Their highest-rated grandmaster is Ding Liren and he is ranked 8th in the world (FIDE RANK: 2778). Average grandmaster ranking in China: 2709.

#1-Russia-Grandmasters 243

Russia currently has 243 chess grandmasters. Their highest-rated grandmaster is Vladimir Kramnik and he is ranked 4th in the world (FIDE RANK: 2792). Average grandmaster ranking in Russia: 2747.

The countries are not ranked by how many grandmasters they have, rather the average ranking of all grandmasters which is why China is ranked #2 even though they have fewer grandmasters than the countries ranked 3rd-5th.

Although it is interesting to note whether or not your home country is in the top 5 ranked in the world for chess, it is only that, an interesting fact. The number of grandmasters or average rank of grandmasters does tell you the popularity of the game in your country which may give you an idea of whether or not it will be easy to find other people to study and learn with. Although some other countries do not have as many grandmasters, they have some of the best.

It is still entirely possible to be successful without your country being top-ranked. For instance, here are some countries not ranked in the top 5 but who have top 20 chess players: Norway, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, The Netherlands, Hungary, Iran, and Poland. So you can see that hard work of an individual is what is required to become a chess grandmaster, it is not dependent upon the country of origin! 1721 chess grandmasters are split between both genders, many different age groups, and multiple countries across the globe!

Andrew Hercules

Hercules Chess, launched in 2020, is a website that teaches you about chess. We started as a chess blog and became a chess training platform in early 2022.

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