To become a grandmaster...


I really want to become a Chess GM/IM/FM. I am committed. Only problem is I am already 30 years old. I have now embarked on a big study plan. Do you think I have any chance? Are there any masters who did not shine until their 30's?  I don't think so!! Currently I am of UK moderate County standard.

Any comments. Any of you in a similar position??



read up on howard staunton mate, he was english, he didnt learn the moves until he was 26 and went on to be the best in the world! you might get there, you probably wont, but there is nothing at all wrong with having a dream :-)
also another english player jeff horner has become an IM, not long ago, he is pushing 60, and only just got his final norm :-)

As always, cheers Gumpty.

lol, i only just noticed, but that looks like staunton in your avatar! lol

Yes, i read about Jeff Horner. He was an english star of the 1970's along with Miles/Nunn/Stean/Keene/Hartston ..but he gave up his chess for financial reasons (to find a proper job) and returned recently to get his second IM norm.

Ummm...maybe I am not in his league...

Yes my avatar is Howard Staunton


It's cool to see someone so dedicated to becoming a GM (or IM), I wish you luck in this difficult task.  I would recommend grabbing a good chess program to practice against and run lines by, then participate in various tourneys.

After that, run the games by your program or Club members (if you're part of a club).  Get some books and strengthen your opening choices and tactics.

Memorize the opening, practice the middlegame, and study the endgame.

I unfortunately don't have that much advice beyond this, but I hope it helps.  Best of luck to you, man!

sorry mate, i only just saw your OTB rating, i must have sounded patronising. I didnt realise you were already at such a high standard. Now i am armed with the facts, i would say that you have a good shot at least of IM! (you are 35 higher rated than me lol)

OOPS. My OTB rating is 140  (not 190). I will change that immediatly. typo.?


Mkirk - This is gonna sound ultra harsh, and there is NO insult intended here, but if you are asking us what we think, then you aren't gonna get there. What will get you there is listening to YOU and having unwavering confidence in your current and potential ability. I personally am going to be taking a crack at Master class in the US system. Right now, my age (3 months shy of 30)and rating (a meager ~ 1550) would suggest that I start playing Monopoly. BUT, I don't listen to anyone, even my own negative thoughts in respect to my goals. We are capable of far more than we know. If you think other peoples opinions are worth listening to, please consider the music record label that turned down the BEATLES because they said the electric guitar music wouldn't last!!! So, please please please, as an aspiring titled player myself, PLEASE  take your own council on what you can do, cause if you let other people's thoughts in... they might manifest themselves into truth!

sexist! lol

if your 30 and you have that much time to invest, can i have your job?



For FIDE ratings lower than this, and for ECF Grading purposes only, a different formula is used: (FIDE - 1250) / 5 = ECF ECF x 5 + 1250 = FIDE
140 ecf = 1950 according to the official site, the formula you quote is only used for people will a fide over 2327 :-) my ecf of 155 works out at 2025 FIDE.
heres the official link : scroll to the very bottom of the page, there is the official conversion table .

Drive on there troop and "git 'r done"..........if you want it bad enough you can do it!!!!!!!!!!!


FM is certainly possible through lots of hard work. I'm skeptical about IM/GM




To become a professional player, IM or GM, takes more than a burning desire. See my post entitled 'Ratings' in the 'Beginners' forum.

However you are an above average player and could certainly try to achieve Master or even National Master rating if that's what you want to do with your life. But remember it's a massive commitment involving hours of disciplined study, not to mention financial resources. The best plan is to find a professional coach so you have someone who is objective about your talents and can help identify your weaknesses. There are some who advertise on the net. NM Dennis Monokroussos springs to mind but there are plenty of other Masters out there looking for students. Dennis's blog, 'The Chess Mind', is at

But make sure it's someone professional, not just a strong player at your local club.

It's also a good idea to have a study partner, someone to go over games and discuss chess with. It helps if you like each other enough to want to hang out together anyway. Doesn't matter if he/she is stronger or weaker, you can learn a lot from analysing how weaker players think!

Don't worry too much about your rating, particularly at the start. Remember the important thing is to gain experience, so play as much as possible. YOU WILL LOSE GAMES! Sometimes to weaker players; don't worry about it. If you start to be concerned with your rating it will distract your concentration and you will lose even more games!

And best of luck. I hope you achieve your goal but remember that a Master rating and 60 pence will get you a nice cup of tea in many of the cafes located throughout Great Britain! Or at least it will at time of writing, once Uncle Gordon gets through giving everything away to the City fat cats we probably won't have two ha'pennies left to rub together anyway!