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How Many Chess Grandmasters Are There?


Chess is a simple game that is difficult to master. You can learn the rules and how to move the pieces quickly, but there is so much more to the game. To become a master of the game, you must spend years studying, practicing, and learning about complex strategies. 


With hundreds of years of history, it is not surprising to see how good grandmasters have become. How many chess grandmasters are there in the world?


Grandmasters are experts in all aspects of chess. While some players have different styles, they are all masters of the fundamentals. They know almost every opening, can play the mid game to perfection, and always know how to close out the endgame. If you want to learn how to play chess, watching grandmasters matches is helpful.

Amphy answers the question of how many chess grandmasters are there and provides lessons with grandmasters if you want to up your game.

How Many Chess Grandmasters Are There in the World?

How many chess grandmasters are there? The number of grandmasters consistently changes because there is not a limited number of them. To become a grandmaster, a player must achieve a FIDE rating of 2500 and earn three grandmaster norms in international competition. 

The best way to determine the active number of grandmasters is to visit the FIDE website. There you can sort players by title. As we write this, there are currently 1779 grandmasters in the world. That number has been steadily growing, and we do not expect it to stop.

Which Countries Have the Most Grandmasters?

There are nearly 1800 grandmasters in the world, but which countries have the most of them? As you might expect, Russia has the highest number of grandmasters in the world. Russia has a history of success in international competition. 


Several world champions have come from Russia, and they continue to impress globally. There are 206 active grandmasters from Russia, with another 28 playing under the FIDE flag who previously represented Russia.


The United States is the only other country with over 100 grandmasters. There are 106 American grandmasters. Although there are always many grandmasters in America, there has only been one American world champion (Bobby Fischer). 


The rest of the top 10 are as follows:


  • Germany – 96
  • Ukraine – 89
  • India – 75
  • Spain – 57
  • France – 54
  • Serbia – 52
  • Hungary – 51
  • Poland – 50


China is a surprising omission from the top 10 given its massive population. Unfortunately, most players are unable to travel freely, and as a result, they cannot compete in international competitions to earn GM norms. 

quotation marks

n learn the rules and how to move the pieces quickly, but there is so much more to the game. To become a master of the game, you must spend years studying, practicing, and learning about complex strategies

Are There Any Women Grandmasters?

There is a different rating threshold for women to achieve grandmaster status. Men must achieve a rating of 2500 to become a grandmaster. However, to become a woman grandmaster (WGM), players must reach a rating of 2300. Despite the lower rating, there are only 322 active WGMs around the world.


None of the WGMs would be grand masters under qualifications for men. However, the highest-rated player, Lufei Ruan from China, is close with a rating of 2491. 


The reason for this disparity is not completely clear. You would expect a few women to reach the men’s grandmaster standard. However, it is not surprising to see fewer women on the list because they have a smaller player base. 

What Are the Levels Below Grandmaster?

Grandmaster is the highest title a player can achieve in chess. However, there are plenty of other prestigious titles beneath the grandmaster.

International Master

International master is the title below grandmaster. It is the second most difficult title to attain. It requires players to achieve a rating of 2400 in classical or standard FIDE. Additionally, they must achieve three international master norms in international tournaments.

FIDE Master

A FIDE master is someone who has achieved a rating of 2300 or higher in classical or standard FIDE. No norms are needed to earn this title.

Candidate Master

Candidate master is the final master title available to men. It is given to all players with a rating of 2200 or higher. Like the FIDE master title, no norms are required.

Other Women’s Titles

There are women’s versions of all men’s titles. These ratings are a little lower than the standard for men. As we mentioned above, WGM requires players to achieve a rating of 2300. So, it is the equivalent of a FIDE master.


Women international masters, women FIDE masters, and woman candidate masters must achieve ratings of 2200, 2100, and 2000, respectively. 

chess pieces lined up

Can Women Achieve the Title of Grandmaster or Other Non-Women’s Titles?

Although there is a set of titles for women to achieve, they can earn all titles. If a woman achieves a rating of 2500 along with all prerequisite requirements, they will earn the title of grandmaster. 

Additionally, women can have more than one title at once. This is possible because some women’s ratings have the same requirements as other titles. If a woman has more than one title, it is up to them to decide which title to use. 

How to Become a Chess Grandmaster?

Can you become a chess grandmaster? Is it even possible? Of course, it is possible, but it is difficult to achieve. Sadly, if you are starting as a chess player as an adult, you are unlikely to become a grandmaster. 


Most grandmasters start playing incredibly young. At a young age, it is easier for children to absorb the game and become intuitive players. It is still possible to become a grandmaster starting late, but it will take more work. 


Taking lessons is a great way to get into the game of chess, even if you’re a beginner.  You can even take them online. 

Final Thoughts

There are very few things in this world more challenging than becoming a chess grandmaster. There are no shortcuts in chess. If there are weaknesses in your game, they will immediately be exposed by players much below the level of the grandmaster. You do not even need exposable weaknesses to lose to grandmasters. Their level of dominance is nearly incomprehensible. 


There are nearly 2000 grandmasters in the world. Many come from Russia and the United States but are from nearly every country. So, if you want to become a grandmaster, it is possible. We recommend using Amphy to start taking lessons and improving your game.

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