What Is A FIDE Rating and how do I get one?

Blog Chess Discussion Club Chess Coaching Discussion Forum

FIDE = Fédération Internationale des Échecs

FIDE is the supreme governing body of international chess. It is known by the French acronym FIDE but is commonly referred to as the “International Chess Federation (ICF)” too. It is based in Switzerland and is the arbiter of international chess competitions as well as a unifying body for the various national chess associations around the world.

It was founded back in 1924 and today, there are 195 member federations that make up FIDE as a whole! That makes it by far the most influential body in the sport of chess and thus, a FIDE ranking is considered to be the most important ranking in chess.

FIDE Rating

As a competitive player, nothing can motivate you to become better at chess as much as a FIDE (World Chess Federation) rating can. In many international tournaments, titled and higher rated players receive conditions such as free entry and complimentary boarding and lodging. A higher rating also means a higher national ranking which could lead to possible sponsorship deals once a player is in the top 10 or 5.

Here are the steps you need to take to become a FIDE rated player:

Step One: Apply for a FIN

A FIN or FIDE ID Number is a unique identifying number assigned to each player which is needed for him/her to participate in FIDE rated tournaments. This number is also required for organisers, arbiters and trainers in connection with FIDE rated tournaments and to allow them to attend FIDE sanctioned seminars that lead to non-playing titles.

To get a FIN, contact your federation’s rating officer and submit to him/her the following information:

  • Your full name (last name, first name middle/other names)
  • Your gender
  • Your birthdate (yyyy-mm-dd)
  • Your email address
  • Your recent photo (in JPG format and cropped to a width of 16o pixels by a height of 200 pixels)

Once your FIN has been generated and communicated to you, you will be able to view your profile on FIDE’s website at http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=xxxxxx (where ‘xxxxxx’ is your FIN). Example: My FIDE ID Number is 10801626 and my FIDE profile can be viewed at http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=10801626.

Step Two: Participate in FIDE Rated Tournaments

Once you have a FIN, it’s time to play some OTB (Over The Board) chess and find out what your relative strength is. To do this, you can participate in three types of FIDE rated tournaments: standard (also known as classical), rapid or blitz. For the purpose of this tutorial, I will assume that you are most interested in getting your initial standard FIDE rating so I will focus on that format.

So, how do you get your initial rating? By playing in at least 2-3 rated tournaments. If the tournaments are long (7 to 9 rounds), it will take you less time than if they are short (4 to 6 rounds).

The conditions to be met before your initial FIDE rating will be published are:

  1. You must have played at least 5 rated games (games against players who already have FIDE ratings).
  2. Your score against rated players should be at least ½ a point for your first tournament’s results to count towards your rating.
  3. Your rating should be at least 1000 after 1. and 2. above are met.

If, say, your first FIDE rated tournament is a 9-round Swiss system event played with a time control of 60 minutes + 30 seconds increment and you score 2 points against 5 rated players whose average rating is 1350, your initial standard rating will be 1278 (same as your performance rating).

If, instead, in your first FIDE rated standard tournament you face only 1 rated player and lose that game, you will have to wait for the next rated tournament for results to count towards your initial rating.

Step Three: Check the Next Month’s FRL

If all three conditions in step two have been met, your initial standard rating will be seen when the next month’s FRL (FIDE Rating List) is published (usually on the 1st/2nd of every month).

Congratulations, you are now a rated player!


Till next time, keep the chess candle burning at both ends

Basil Ellman

Basil is an active chess coach for more than 30 years... He is also a qualified trainer of coaches and a qualified chess arbiter. Basil has a passion for chess and has established various chess clubs in schools and communities in the Western Cape - South Africa which are still in existence and growing strong. He has served on various bodies promoting chess not only as a sport but also as a tool to excel academically. He has a Masters degree in Specialised education and is also an advocate for players with special needs.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.