Becoming a Chess Master – Introduction

I want to be the chess player I can possibly be. I started playing chess late in life and my first official Elo rating with the ECF was 78 (1285 Elo) in June 2014. I want to capture my experience of trying to master chess and decided to do so in a blog.

I have known the rules of chess for as long as I can remember, but never played much and certainly never competitively. Then I had some time on my hands in late 2013 (when I was 43) and thought I’d start playing seriously. I joined a local club, got my first rating and started studying chess. I have learned a lot in the time since and the starts, stops and detours I’ve experienced on the way have brought me to where I am today. A place where I know what I want and have mapped a clear plan to getting there.

I hope you find some value from my journey.


About becomingachessmaster

I am a 46-year old chess player with a goal to be as good a chess player as I can possibly be. I hope you find some value from following my experiences.
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6 Responses to Becoming a Chess Master – Introduction

  1. Pingback: How not to study chess – The story so far | Becoming a Chess Master

  2. Pingback: My Chess Study Plan – Playing OTB | Becoming a Chess Master

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  5. AoxomoxoA says:

    CM’s are not in the top 10% of the players in the world, they are in the top 1% of the USCF rated chessplayer in the US ( see .
    It is possible that CM’s are in the top 10% of the FIDE!!!-rated!!! player . But to get a Fide Rating you had to be above Elo 2000 until “lately” ( these days everyone may get a fide rating if they participate at Fide rated tournaments) so there are not many Fide-rated player below Elo 2000.
    But even the official rated players are a minority of all chessplayers.There are less than 40 000 chessplayers registered with USCF but at there are more than 12 000 000 members registered and there are more chess-servers and not every chessplayer is playing in the net.
    So CM’s are maybe?? in the Top 0.01 % of all chessplayers

    On the other hand you may look at the Fide page at what age a CM did get his title and what his rating was with: say 20


  6. Hi. You’re right, there are many ways to look at where a CM sits in a given population. For example on the latest ECF list, they say there are 13,823 graded players (see ‘Downloads’ link on this page: Elsewhere ( they say there are 29 CMs in the UK. So by that measure, being a CM in the UK puts you in the top 0.21% of graded players in the UK. Apparently 12% of UK adults play chess ( With around 76% of the 64.6 million UK population being adults (See link below; 49 million adults), that means 5.9 million adults play chess. That puts the 29 CMs in the top 4.92 x 10 to -4 % (or 0.000492%) of UK adult chess players.

    The upshot is that being a CM is quite special, no matter how you express where that 2200 FIDE grade puts you in relation to other ungraded, locally graded, or internationally graded players. What is fixed though, is that you need to play FIDE rated games at some stage and reach a grade of 2200. Oh, and pay FIDE some money!–england-and-wales–scotland-and-northern-ireland/mid-2014/stb—mid-2014-uk-population-estimates.html


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