Chess Terms
Woman Candidate Master (WCM)

Woman Candidate Master (WCM)

We have all heard the term "grandmaster," but what does woman candidate master (WCM) mean? How does someone attain this title? Who awards it? Let's answer all of these questions and more.

Here is what you need to know about the WCM title: 

Who Is A Woman Candidate Master?

The woman candidate master (abbreviated as WCM) is one of the official titles awarded by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) exclusively to women chess players. It is the lowest ranking title that is exclusive to women, behind the woman grandmaster, woman international master, and woman FIDE master titles.

As the name suggests, the WCM title is awarded to players who are strong candidates for becoming masters. In many ways, the WCM title is considered the precursor to the previously mentioned titles—once earned, the title is held for life. Woman candidate masters are strong chess players and are usually rated above 2000 for classical FIDE ratings.

Lots of WCMs play on daily, and you can find them playing in Live Chess. WCMs also compete in many events such as open tournaments, national tournaments, as well as online tournaments for titled players like Titled Tuesday

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WCMs and other titled players compete in Titled Tuesday tournaments on

How Do You Earn The Woman Candidate Master Title?

The WCM title was created in 2002 (at the same time as the open candidate master title), and similar to the FIDE master title, it does not require norms. The WCM title is awarded to women players who achieve an established classical FIDE rating of 2000, although the title is also given to players who perform well at continental or national events. As of 2020 there are 762 active WCMs—a small percentage of the millions of chess players worldwide. 

woman candidate master
WCM Phiona Mutesi is the main character of the film Queen of Katwe.

How To Identify And Locate Woman Candidate Masters On

It is easy to identify WCMs and other titled players on If a player is titled, their title is displayed next to their username. You can identify WCMs specifically by a red tag with the initials WCM next to their names. You can look up any titled player at

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WCMs can be found at

As mentioned, you can often find WCMs playing in Live Chess and in events like Titled Tuesday. If you wish to watch a WCM play live, go to Live Chess and select "Events" below the game console. 

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WCMs can be found playing in Live Chess under Events.


You now know what the WCM title is, what it means, and how to attain it. Head over to Live Chess and observe WCMs playing right now. Enjoy this new knowledge, and may it be your first step towards a chess title of your own!

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