Chess ratings help estimate how strong a player is. FIDE is the international rating system while most countries also have their own national rating system. I have always been slightly confused as to why chess players use ratings rather than rankings, but that is just something I came to accept.

Here is the general breakdown on ratings: beginners are usually rated 500 or less, the world champion is typically a bit above 2800. The highest rating ever was achieved by Garry Kasparov who peaked at 2851. The table below shows some more estimated levels.

There are various titles in chess that are permanent after they are awarded. The most well-known ones, in order of prestige (lowest to highest) are Candidate Master (CM), FIDE Master (FM), International Master (IM), Grandmaster (GM) and, of course, World Champion.

CM and FM titles are earned once a player reaches a FIDE rating of 2200 and 2300 respectively.

IM and GM titles require FIDE ratings of 2400 and 2500 respectively. They both also require three IM/GM-level performances in tournaments of at least 9 rounds. Each IM/GM-level performance is known as a ‘norm’.

Winning the title of World Champion has been done in a variety of ways in the past. Our current world champion, Anand, won his title in an eight-player double round robin championship tournament and has since defended his title in three one-on-one (challenger vs champion) matches.

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