Chess Terms
International Chess Federation (FIDE)

International Chess Federation (FIDE)

There are many chess federations, but the International Chess Federation (FIDE) oversees all of them. Let's learn about what FIDE is, what it does, and more.

Here is what you need to know about FIDE: 

What Is FIDE?

The International Chess Federation is the translated name of Federation International des Echecs (where the abbreviation FIDE comes from). FIDE was founded in Paris on July 20, 1924, which was the last day of the first unofficial Chess Olympiad. The founding day of July 20 is also the annual celebration of International Chess Day. FIDE is now based in Switzerland and is the governing body of international chess competitions. They work with almost 200 national federations (as of 2020), and FIDE's motto is "Gens una sumus," which is Latin for "We are one family." 

FIDE's logo. Photo:

Why Is FIDE Important?

FIDE is important for many reasons: they oversee the World Chess Championship and its cycle, they are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the governing body for chess and its championships at international levels, they implement standardized rules and international rating systems, they oversee the Chess Olympiad, they award international chess titles, and more.

FIDE started overseeing the World Chess Championship in 1948 and continues to do so. Although the world championship's format and qualification processes have changed quite a lot since FIDE took over, they still oversee all aspects of the selection process for the Candidates tournament and the World Championship match.

16th World Champion Magnus Carlsen with the 2018 World Championship trophy. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

FIDE, which gained its recognition from the IOC in 1999, also organizes large international tournaments, like the Chess Olympiad, the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament, and the FIDE Grand Prix. 

FIDE creates and implements worldwide standards for tournament play, including rules for game play, the sizes of sets and pieces, and of course the rating system. All active top players have their FIDE rating displayed on their profile: FIDE rating
You can see all top players’ FIDE ratings on their profile.

FIDE Titles

As mentioned, FIDE awards titles to players who have achieved certain rating levels—titles like grandmaster, international master, FIDE master, and candidate master. Although some national federations have titles of their own (e.g., USCF's national master title), if a player attains both national and FIDE titles, they almost always use the FIDE title due to its international recognition. 

Each title has different rating requirements and sometimes specific norms, which can be reviewed in FIDE's handbook or by clicking on the titles above. If you would like to see FIDE titled players play live on, head over to Live Chess, and select the "Events" tab. All titled players have their titles next to their usernames:

FIDE grandmasters
Watch GMs play live on


You now know what FIDE is, what it does, why it is important and more. Enjoy this new knowledge, and feel free to head over to Live Chess and see FIDE titled players in action!

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