Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to achieve a FIDE rating

I want to talk about how one goes about to achieve a FIDE rating. Many players do not have FIDE ratings and are a bit confused about how to get one. In Australia, ACF ratings are used the most prominently, but they do not count towards achieving any chess title. FIDE ratings play a major role in achieving FM, IM and GM titles (and the female equivalents, and I guess Candidate Master too, but that has less to do with rating). It could be argued that FIDE ratings matter and an ACF rating does not, although there's probably something bad about having an extremely low ACF rating.

Here is a brief rundown on FIDE ratings:

FM title - must be rated 2300+ and must pay FIDE a sum of money
IM title - must be rated 2400+ and have 3 IM "norms" (norms are achieved through set performance level in a 9-round tournament)
GM title - must win either the World Junior Championship or World Senior Championship; otherwise must be rated 2500+ and have 3 GM norms

Now, how do you get your first FIDE rating? One often needs to be a quite strong "club player" in order to achieve a rating. I was rated 1819 ACF before I got my first FIDE rating. Although nowadays, the FIDE "rating floor" (lowest rating possible) is lower, so weaker players can achieve a FIDE rating more easily, which may or may not be a good thing.

To achieve a FIDE rating, you must:
1. Play in a FIDE-rated tournament. There aren't that many around, so you have to pick and choose. Here are some usual ones that crop up: Australian Junior Championships (u18), Australian Open, Australian Championship, Ballarat Begonia Open, Doeberl Cup, Sydney International Open, Elwood Bendigo Bank Chess Championship. The Box Hill Chess Club in Melbourne runs a FIDE-rated tournament every year. State Opens are typically FIDE-rated too. For juniors, many world or Asean tournaments are FIDE-rated, e.g. the World Youth Chess Championships. Perhaps I am forgetting a few tournaments.

2. I'm not totally sure about this next detail, but over the course of two years, you must achieve at least 2.5 points against 9 FIDE-rated players. After two years on inactivity, the provisional rating is probably erased.

Please note that:
a) Only games with rated opponents are counted.
b) If you lose the first game in a "block of games", the first game will be disregarded. This is probably the same if you continue losing all your games.
c) If you score 50% against your 9 opponents, then your initial rating will be equal to the average rating of your opponents.

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