The Easy Road to Chess Mastery Down Under

by 6 times Australian Olympic Captain Peter Parr (International Arbiter)

A minimum FIDE rating of 2400 and 2 or more IM results (over 2450 performance rating) in international events are the basic requirements for the international master title.

A minimum FIDE rating of 2300 after 24 rated games is the standard for FIDE master.

Each country is allocated between one and 5 of its best players (according to number of players above 2600 etc.) to compete in the world championship cycle (Zonals) and in view of the traditional high standard of these events a 67% score in the zonal gains an IM title and a 50% score an FM title.

No weak player ever gained a title in this way simply because only the best players from each nation competed.

The Australian zonal in April 1999 was widely advertised as a completely open event with very low rated players paying a high entry fee and international titles available for everyone.

Australian GM Ian Rogers wrote in the Canberra Times on February 1999 "At present only ten Australians hold the IM title and 4 the women's equivalent. Yet if enough amateurs can find the funds to enter the Oceania Zonal, that number could increase considerably by the end of April and our population of FIDE masters explode.

Of course it is very satisfying for a modest tournament player to pick up a FIDE title, but whether it is a healthy situation for Australia to join Burma as the country with the weakest FIDE masters in the world is another."

14 New International Titles Confirmed

More than one year after the open zonal FIDE has finally confirmed that Australia has 14 new international titles from the 1999 Zonals.

23 of the 26 Australians rated above 1400 ACF (rating scale same as FIDE) who competed in the events are now internationally titled. I find this quite disgraceful.

It is absurd that very weak club players in the men's zonal beat 2 players rated below 1400 and scored 2.5 out of 7 (draws with each other) against players over 1400 and are now internationally titled. A score of 7.5/10 against an average of 1459 gained a Women's IM title or two others 5/10 for the WFM title. Note this is not a mistake 1400 is 900 rating below FM level.

Needless to say none of the ratings of any of the 14 players has ever reached the usual FIDE level for the title and it was impossible for any Australian to score an IM norm in the Zonal.

Many low rated club players simply drew with each other scoring 50% for the FM title. Sadly an international arbiter agrees he prepared his entire last round draw from chessbase with his junior opponent and completed the complicated 23 move draw in 10 minutes. I do not congratulate these new masters.

Another Master from Australia. Another player who had his IM norms approved but was well below 2400 simply played a match against his friend which he won 9-1 (nearly every game without an arbiter) and he was awarded the title. He jokingly told a colleague that he could show him game 11 of the match. The result was sent to FIDE by Australia.

FIDE Ratings and Titles Police Needed Thousands of results are processed yearly and rapidly increasing. The FIDE qualifications commission does a fantastic job in checking hundreds of applications for titles. It does not however check Zonal events which are processed through the FIDE office.

I am ashamed that Australia has claimed all these international titles and has set a very dangerous precedent for the world.


If other countries follow Australia's example we could have over a thousand internationally titled players world wide in the next year.

I feel strongly that international titles should be awarded only to players who reach the required standard.

A full report by me (2576 words) on the sub standard sub zonal tournament is on http://WWW.AUSCHESS.ORG.AU/acfb16.htm

The latest zonal finished recently in Auckland. If the claims for new FIDE titles are approved all the players rated above FIDE 2140 in the event will have international titles.

Kind regards
Peter Parr (International Arbiter)

FIDE now accepts IM and FM titles for 9 round completely open zonals. This MUST be stopped. My email to FIDE last year met with silence. Any suggestions?

Peter Parr

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