From my own page, I'm missing just a few games to have 300 in total and a Life Master title. The way that worked is you had to start and end an event with at least a 2200 rating. Apparently, they don't count things that happened pre 1991 except certificates and titles earned. There is supposed to be a Senior Master certificate if you reach 2400.
There are 7 Milestone entries for this player since December 1991.
--National MasterEarned before December 1991
1994-02-21-4th Category Title
1994-02-21-3rd Category Title
1994-02-21-2nd Category Title
1994-02-21-1st Category Title
1995-10-22-25 Regular Rated Wins
1996-06-01Candidate Master Title
I wouldn't worry too much about all this stuff. Knowing the USCF, they'll just change it all around again in a few years anyway...
Right. The USCF need not deem what one should consider a great player.
Once you talk below 2200, titles start to lose any special meaning in my opinion. There's just something about that 2200 point that seems to demonstrate a rock solid understanding of the fundamentals.
Since very few people actually get to 2200, you're basically saying that the vast majority of the people never understand the fundamentals.That's an unusual definition of "fundamental".
Of course, a black belt is considered a starting point by serious martial artists, and yet for many, it's an ending point. Perhaps something similar is true for Chess. There's a level of achievement that many people will never reach, and yet the truly serious participants consider the people who "only" have that achievement to be beginners.
There's a huge difference between someone who plays at 1200 and someone who plays at 800, so there must be something that the 1200 player did right. Whether or not there's any point in recognizing it with a title is a matter of opinion, but achieving 1200 is a worthwhile accomplishment.
I have to wonder if the USCF decided they wanted something comparable to being a "rated player" in FIDE. In FIDE, people below 1200 are unrated, at all. There are no ratings below 1200. (They may have dropped that to 1000?) Therefore, merely "having a rating" puts you in a different class than the unrated. I wonder if USCF wanted to create something like that.
At any rate, I like the "category" titles. A category norm is an accomplishment that cannot be taken away. It makes the tournament a specific contest with a permanent reward. A virtual trophy if you will. At my tournaments, I try to recognize players who achieved new norms. On the other hand, I find that most players are unaware of them, and most of the ones who are aware of them are indifferent. The titles with the word "master" in them are the ones that anyone really notices, and "candidate master" is just barely on that list.
How do you see when you achieved norms?
Find your page on the USCF web site (from player lookup).
On the "general" page, if you have achieved a category title, it will list the title. To see your norm history, go to the "more" page. There will be a norm history link on that page.
At the end of a tournament, on the page listing the results for the tournament, it will also say the norms achieved. In the "total points" column, some entries will show N:2, or something similar. That means the player achieved a category 2 norm. N:C means he achieved a candidate master norm.
The norms aren't run immediately at the time of rating the tournament. It sometimes takes a week or more for them to show up, and the process that prints the N:2 designation doesn't check previous history. In other words, a category 1 player can be shown as having an N:2 score, even though he's not earning a norm, since he already has his max for that level.
To play devil's advocate, let's suppose the USCF suddenly started making titles for every 50 points instead, or maybe, even one title for every 25 points you rise; let's say most of the norms requirements were taken out, to make the matter even easier. There would probably be a point where you would think to yourself "What's the point? I get a new title for staying at practically the same rating?" All in all, what has meaning or not is up to you, whether an official implies so (by offering a title) or not. The USCF decides what you will get officially, but something they can't control is how you personally feel about it.
It follows that, if only you are in control (hopefully!) of what you think of your accomplishments, why would you need an official recognition for the sense of accomplishment?
Sure. Ultimately, titles, whether Grandmaster or Category 1, are of no significance. They don't make you play Chess any better, and even if they did, one could debate whether that was a worthwhile endeavor.
The same is true for ratings.
So why do I like titles? The single biggest thing I like about them is related to my impressions when I first got into the Chess community. I saw this obsession with ratings. I saw people despondent about doing poorly in a tournament because their ratings would drop. (If they understood the math, they wouldn't have cared, but that's for a different thread.) The weird thing was that people barely cared about their performance in the tournament as such. If there was no cash prize, what they cared about was that their rating might go up. It struck me as odd. To me, putting in a great performance is something to be celebrated, all by itself.
Norms do that. When you earn a norm, it's permanent. It can't be taken away. It's a milestone that will stand no matter what happens in the future. Once you achieve Candidate Master status, it's yours for life. That, in turn, makes it something people are willing to shoot for. It provides a bit of incentive. It makes that tournament's performance and end in and of itself, instead of just contributing to some sort of statistical average of how you've done lately.
Is that all that important? Well, no. But people do respond to that sort of thing, whether or not it makes sense.
Thanks! How many norms does it require to get Candidate Master (USCF, in this case)
It requires five norms to earn any of the "category" titles or candidate master. I believe CM also has a minimum rating requirement, but I'm not sure.
To play devil's advocate, let's suppose the USCF suddenly started making titles for every 50 points instead, or maybe, even one title for every 25 points you rise...
Go back far enough and you'll probably find that they did at some point.
So if someone on chess.com has a CM in front of their name, does this represent candidate master?
FIDE Candidate Master (not USCF).
The more norms you have, the less normal you are, right?