How to Get a FIDE Rating – Local Information for Tournaments

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You’ve played chess online, and you may have an Elo rating from or another online chess website but is it official? Not quite. Getting an official rating from FIDE is something to be proud of but how is it done?

An official FIDE rating is be awarded to players gaining a performance rating of no less than 1000 having played at least 5 FIDE rated opponents in fewer than 26 months and gaining at least one draw result. All matches must be played in FIDE rated tournaments.

What follows is information on the FIDE rating process and the simple steps you can take to get your chess skills and yourself an official rating from the International Chess Federation.

What is a FIDE rating

A FIDE rating is a reflection of performance in competitive chess around the world and the most officially recognized. For all intents and purposes, it is the same as the Elo rating system as devised by Arpad Elo around 1960 which replaced the Harkness System.

Players are awarded a rating based on relative performance against similarly rated players in competitive chess matches and tournaments held all around the world from the 195 member federations.

Ratings begin at 1000 and can rise as high as 3000, with official titles being awarded from a score of 2000 upwards for Experts through to 2500 and up gaining the highest official title of Grandmaster. There is an unofficial Super-Grandmaster from 2800 up but this is not officially recognized.

2000 – 2199Expert
2200 – 2299Chess Masters
2300 – 2399FIDE Masters
2400 – 2499International Masters
2500 and upGrandmasters
FIDE Elo Rating Title Score Tiers

Ratings can be gained both in an official capacity but also an online rating can be gained given the huge amount of competitive chess that is now played online on chess websites.

What is the difference between offline and online FIDE ratings?

The main difference between offline and online FIDE ratings is that they come from a very different pool of players. Whilst quite representative of an individual’s performance in matches, one can not be compared to another given the conditions in which the matches are played.

No matter the controls in place an online chess rating can be games with intelligent assistance without definite detection and many highly rated online players will certainly not be as good in face-to-face physical tournament conditions.

Official FIDE rating

Official FIDE ratings can only be gained by playing in officially recognized tournaments under strict FIDE rules and conditions

Online FIDE rating

You can gain an online FIDE rating by taking part in conditions online events and games, but you don’t have to travel the world playing in person. It is a good indicator of online performance but is second best to official offline ratings

How good do you have to be to score 1000

The minimum Elo rating required to gain a FIDE rating is 1000, this level and anything under 1200 would still be considered ‘Novice’.

Opponents in tournaments are allocated class brackets in relation to their current ratings. Performing well in these classes will see ratings increase and promotion to higher classes over time and in future events.

We have seen the Title ratings in the table above, so let’s look at the official class ratings from FIDE.

1800-2000Class A
1600-1800Class B
1400-1600Class C
1200-1400Class D
FIDE Classification based on Elo Ratings

Below an ELO rating of 1200 is considered novice but in the USCF [United States Chess Federation], the classes continue further down the scale, thus:

  • Class E = 1000-1200
  • Class F = 800-1000
  • Class G – 600-800
  • Class H = 400-600
  • Class I = 200-400
  • Class J = 100-200

If you have already played online chess and gained an Elo rating, my guess is, you’d already be climbing up the classes – very few players unless never having played before would have a rating in the 100’s although it is not unknown to find very lowly rated players in some open events!

Where Can I play in a FIDE Tournament to Get an Official Rating

You will need to register and play in an official tournament or tournaments from a FIDE federation member to get a FIDE rating. As a starting point in the US, head to the USCF Clubs and Tournaments section of the website, to find an event or club taking place closest to you.

You can attend these clubs and events as a spectator first to get a feel of what it is about if you are a little nervous about diving straight into the deep end.

If you are outside the US, you can check the FIDE directory of member federations for clubs, associations, and tournaments for your locale.

What FIDE Rating do you start with?

There is no starting rating per se, as you will receive your first rating after the first event you participate in. So in effect, your first rating will the that which is awarded after your first event, subject to the minimum conditions of at least one draw over a period of time and against a set number of rated players.

Does it cost money to play in FIDE tournaments?

To play in any FIDE tournament there will be an entry fee that will cover the cost of hosting the event, administration, and any prize money on offer.

Any registration fee will not exceed more than €100 [$120USD] per person.

Here is the latest information from FIDE Handbook

Financial Regulations
19.All players shall be required to pay Entry Fees to FIDE as stipulated by the FIDE Financial Regulations.
20.All players and accompanying persons may be required to pay a Registration Fee to the Organizing Committee and this shall be not more than 100 Euros per person. The Registration Fee is to include the costs for airport transfers,Accreditation Cards, Daily Bulletins, Certificates, etc.
21.The travelling costs of all participants must be paid by themselves or by their national federations.
22.For players who are hosted or have qualified with personal right, the Organizing Committee shall provide free board and lodging (rooming at the discretion of the Organizer) from the official day of arrival to the official day of departure. The category of hotel shall be similar to those of which non-hosted players would be paying for. By the registration deadline the Organizing Committee has the right to ask a maximum prepayment of 50% for the participants’ accommodation and the balance upon arrival.
23.Other than players who are hosted, all other players and participants shall be responsible for their own board and lodging. The Organizing Committee shall offer reasonable and favourably priced accommodation and shall state the daily costs in the Invitation.

What happens if I fail to get a rating

It is virtually impossible to not get a FIDE rating unless you are in breach of rules and are not permitted membership.

If all rules are followed, you will have a rating, at worst, you’ll find yourself in class J with a 100-200 rating

How do I prove I have a FIDE rating

Your official FIDE rating is held on record in the FIDE rating database.

You can search for yourself to see your official rating

  1. Go to
  2. Search for your name
  3. Your rating will correspond with your FIDE ID in the table

Are there different rating systems too?

There are at least another 9 chess ratings systems, that can be found in the article How do Chess Ratings Work – Follow the link for more information on how the ratings are calculated and which systems are currently in place.

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