How to become Fide rated in chess? (Fact checked!)

To acquire a Fide rating a player must score at least one point on 3 Fide-rated opponents with a performance of 1000 in at least a 2-year span (at a Fide organized tournament). The requirements get reset after 24 months if not completed.

Chess ratings are one of the most used concepts to properly determine a player’s placement in terms of strength. There are other indicators, but Elo (the system that has the popular rating) has been the most reliable so far.

And Fide (international body) has implemented this idea in their own regulations. That is what we are going to make clear today, how exactly do you become Fide rated?

A lot of beginners have trouble fully conceiving the way they become officially (Fide) rated in chess. This is the first step to competitive play after all which makes it pretty important.

Let’s not make introductions long, let’s begin.

What are the requirements to have an initial Fide rating?

A set of prerequisites have to be fulfilled by the player to be granted an initial rating. The standards are pretty detailed too, you won’t get any if you can’t follow all of them.

Here are the requirements to be officially Fide rated:

  1. You need at least 1 against 3 Fide rated opponents.
  2. The performance rating (in the tournament) should be at least 1000.
  3. The span where the other prerequisites are completed should be within 26 months (2 years).

In tournament regulation you would score one for defeating an opponent, 0.5 for drawing the game, and none if you lose. This means that combined, you can put a set where there are 3 Fide rated opponents and you would have scored one.

Take note that it is necessary for these people to be Fide rated since there are Fide tournaments where untitled players can also participate. It doesn’t count even if you’ve defeated three opponents that are non-titled, you won’t get a rating.

For example, if you get two draws and lose 1, you will still have a rating (0.5+0.5=1). So you are not even required to win to achieve the number, you just need to score 1.

Similarly, if you draw against three opponents (0.5+0.5+0.5=1.5) then you still got it. You would be qualified for the first requirement and should be eligible for the other prerequisites.

The next would be having the participant to at least have a performance rating of 1000. Performance rating is measured to determine the rating you have played in a specific tournament  (despite your actual rating).

This means that there are occasions where a player’s performance rating well exceeds his or her official rating. Hence as to why you as an untitled player then have a rating based on that exact tournament (without having an official rating yet).

You would need to at least perform in the level of 1000 (or more) to be eligible.

After facing the three opponents and qualifying, you should already have an official rating. You will not be presented the rating at the moment obviously since you have to finish the tournament, it will take some time actually (we’ll discuss later).

The 3 opponents don’t have to come from the same tournament as long as the player scored at least 1,000 in performance rating at (both) those tournaments.

The streak should be within the period of 26 months (2 years) or the count will reset. After the deadline is off, you would have to fulfill the requirements from scratch.

Two years is obviously an extensive amount of time to be able to accomplish this. It is just insurance that participants who are inactive would not be included in the pool of Fide players.

The strength of the opponent is insignificant to being granted the rating. So no matter how weak or strong the player you scored one point against, it will be counted as long as they are Fide players.

It is particularly easy to be Fide rated, just play on Fide tournaments and it will happen eventually. A lot of players finish a tournament with the proper qualification to have a rating (if they are untitled).

The requirements are easily attainable if you put in enough work to see the results.  There shouldn’t be any problem if you’ve done things normally.

The Fide rated opponent prerequisite should not be hard since after all, most players who play in Fide tournaments are Fide rated. Your matches are likely to be counted in the acquisition of the requirements.

How is the initial Fide rating number determined?

So we now know how to get the starting rating, but in what numbers do we actually get started? Like is there a mechanism that would determine our initial rating?

The initial ratings are based on the 9 Fide rated players’ opponents along with the first three, which should be around 1000.

You would not automatically start at 1000 once you’ve got the rating. The initial rating will be based on a minimum of 9 games against Fide rated opponents.

One of the main factors is the strength of the opponent particularly their rating, where higher ones will give higher ratings. As an untitled player, you are also eligible to gain positives on draws, which means you will have a positive rating even if you draw.

The starting rating is around 1000 and is based on the results of initial matches. It’s really hard to give a scale to which the starting rating would be, but should be around 1000-1200.

The rating won’t be posted (official) until you’ve completed at least 9 games against Fide rated opponents. So don’t panic if you haven’t seen a rating on the official Fide website.

Technically you already have a rating after you’ve fulfilled the qualifications above, the 9 games condition is just to determine the starting one. It will only be complete after the resolution of nine games (regardless of the result).

Fide ratings can also be acquired by playing in team chess, it doesn’t have to be an individual pursuit. Of course, all the normal qualifications would still be in place, it will be calculated based on your individual matches.

Team chess after all is still played individually but only has a team score, so it is still possible to gain a rating with this. The calculations should go normally treating it as if it was not a team effort.

When will a newly rated player rank on the official Fide list?

I have already explained the process by which the ratings could be conceived, another one I want to go to is the rankings. The Fide rankings are your specific placement in the Fide hierarchy based on your starting rating.

So when do you actually get this status as someone who just got their rating?

A newly Fide rated player can be posted in the Fide rankings after their rating has been official (after 9 games against Fide rated opponents).

This means that you won’t be ranked unless the rating is in a way to be qualified for ranking. You can already have a rating (after fulfilling the initial requirements) but not have the ranking (after beating the 9 opponents)

A newly Fide rated player will enter the Fide rankings once the rating has fully conceptualized. Once you have entered the hierarchy of Fide your rating should be considered official.

Is the Fide rating different from other local Elo systems?

There are different systems to measure a player’s strength not just Elo (the one with the rating). And the Elo rating system is not run by a single organization either, they are run by multiples.

The Fide rating system can differ from federations that practice their own standard like the USCF (United States), which means the acquisition of rating in USCF won’t land a player in Fide.

Some federations have their rating system separate from Fide and not just USCF, where they can have different requirements and rankings. Since they are separate, it doesn’t matter what you do at one organization and should not be transposed to another.

I say this because I’ve heard that it is particularly hard to find Fide-rated tournaments in the United States (and people only usually enter the USCF). Which means the ratings of these people should only be applied to their local federation not international (Fide).

They may even have different requirements regarding the acquisition of initial ratings, though I am not very sure of it. Of course again it is not just USCF, there are a couple of other federations that do this.

USCF (United States) is just the most popular organization that I can think of but is not the only one. The USCF rating system although similar is run by a different algorithm than the one in Fide (the numbers are a little bit higher).

I will note that the one you enter should be a Fide tournament to gain the Fide rating, otherwise it will be of another organization. Even if you fulfill all the requirements in here, it won’t be Fide-rated if it is not in the authority of Fide.

Fide rated tournaments are only hosted on federations approved by Fide, there are countries where there are no Fide tournaments. The United States is not included in those lists (you can participate in Fide if you are in the U.S).

You can actually choose which organization you get to before entering a tournament. So make sure that that the organization is not local to gain an international rating.

How to participate in Fide-rated tournaments?

So we want to be included in Fide-rated tournaments (in order to get a Fide rating) but what’s the process of doing that? Do you just register online or something really specific?

Fide rated tournaments are available online where you can apply at least 7 days in advance. Depending on the country, the events are more visible than the others.

To be included in a Fide rated tournament, you must register 7 days in advance where you’ll get to appear on their website (Fide). Once you’ve got included in the official list, then you’re eligible to participate in that particular competition.

There isn’t usually anything special that you should provide (information) when registering online. Maybe a couple of contact options and your personal identification to keep you updated on things that are happening in the event.

You usually wouldn’t pay virtually via credit or debit card when registering, although there are rare exceptions. Fide tournaments have an entrance fee, where you can enter as an untitled player.

The payment and privileges will vary depending if there is a title (untitled players usually pay more). A couple of countries that are not supported by Fide may not host Fide events at all, so don’t be surprised if you don’t find any.

If you’re one of these people there might be a local organization that you can participate instead. If you have one though then it shouldn’t be particularly hard to spot it.

You can just google for “available Fide tournaments in x place” and the results will give you a good direction. Be wary that you have to ensure that it is Fide organized, search results oftentimes give erroneous findings.

Again, you can only qualify for a Fide rating once the prerequisites are fulfilled in a Fide tournament.

Do you want to become Fide rated?

Acquiring a rating definitely is an essential step that every aspiring player needs to do. It tells the world that you are ready to compete on a serious level of this desired hobby.

This article serves a good information that is applicable to the timeframe this knowledge was researched, I’m sure it will change over time. Plus you don’t particularly need to have an international rating (Fide), even a local one would do (depending on your discretion).

Unless of course you are willing to pursue this as a career and play overseas, which does not describe most people who’ll read this article. Anyway I hope you learned something, Sleep well and play chess.