Grandmaster (chess)

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The title Grandmaster is awarded to strong chess players by the world chess organization FIDE. Apart from World Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain. Once achieved, the title is held for life. In chess literature it is usually abbreviated to GM (similarly, FM stands for FIDE Master and IM for International Master). The abbreviation IGM for International Grandmaster can also sometimes be found, particularly in older literature.

GM, IM, and FM are open to both men and women. In 1978 Women's World Champion Nona Gaprindashvili became the first woman to receive the GM title, by a special decision of the international chess federation (FIDE). The first woman to qualify for the men's title through achievement in tournament play was Susan Polgar in 1991. Since about 2000, most of the top 10 women have held the GM title. A separate gender-segregated title, WGM for Woman Grandmaster, is also available. It is awarded to women who attain a level of skill between that of a FIDE Master and an International Master.

FIDE awards separate Grandmaster titles to composers and solvers of chess problems (see list of grandmasters for chess composition). The International Correspondence Chess Federation awards the title of International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster (ICCGM).



The first known use of the term grandmaster in connection with chess was in an 1838 issue of Bell's Life, in which a correspondent referred to William Lewis as "our past grandmaster".[1] Lewis himself later referred to Philidor as a grandmaster, and the term was also applied to a few other players.[1]

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