Chess has boomed in popularity over the past couple of years. A number of factors have contributed to this phenomenon: the COVID-19 pandemic, online amateur chess tournaments, the growing availability of learning resources for chess players of all levels, chess YouTubers and Twitch streamers, and of course, the release of the Netflix original series The Queen’s Gambit.
Millions of people all over the world who otherwise wouldn’t have been interested in chess now call themselves diehard chess enthusiasts. Perhaps you’re one of those people, or maybe you’ve already been playing chess for many, many years.
Whether you’re a regular online chess player or a dedicated chess enthusiast, you’ve probably thought about getting your own FIDE rating.
As you probably already know, FIDE ratings are given by playing over-the-board chess games. You can either play in round-robin tournaments or team (Swiss) tournaments to get your FIDE rating.
But maybe you prefer getting your FIDE rating online. “Is this even possible?” you might ask. That’s exactly what we’re going to cover for you in this article.
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What is a FIDE Rating?
The International Chess Federation (FIDE), which regulates all international chess competitions, is the official governing body of chess.
A non-governmental institution, FIDE was formally recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 1999 as a Global Sporting Organization.
FIDE, currently headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, awards FIDE ratings to chess players.
FIDE ratings range from 100 to 2900 and are used to determine the strength of chess players.
While a chess player with a FIDE rating below 1200 would be considered a novice, someone with a 2500 or higher rating would be a grandmaster-level player.
Players with 2700+ ratings are called super grandmasters. Magnus Carlsen, the reigning five-time World Chess Champion, has maintained a FIDE rating above 2800 since January 2013. His peak rating is 2889.2, which he achieved in April 2014.
Can you get FIDE Ratings Online?
The quick answer is no, you can’t get a traditional FIDE rating online.
But, you can get what’s called a Fide Online Arena (FOA) rating, which is approved by FIDE.
While FOA rating is given by playing online games on FIDE Online Arena, FIDE rating is awarded by playing over-the-board chess games.
Although the two ratings aren’t the same, an FOA rating can be a good alternative for chess players who don’t want to play over the board.
Plus, FOA ratings, just like FIDE ratings, appear on your fide.com profile card.
So, if looking more credible or “legit” within the chess community is one of your biggest reasons for obtaining a rating, an FOA rating might be the way to go.
Can FOA Players also get Titles?
Yes, there are many official titles for FOA players, and each title, which is awarded as you move up the rating ladder, is backed with certification.
A rating of at least:
- 1100 gives you the Arena Candidate Master (ACM) title
- 1400 gives you the Arena FIDE Master (AFM) title
- 1700 gives you the Arena International Master (AIM) title
- 2000 gives you the Arena Grandmaster (AGM) title
In order to get a title, you have to pay a fee. You may qualify for more than one title at the same time. If that happens, you’ll only be awarded the title you paid for.
For example, if your ranking is 2000 (which qualifies you for the Arena Grandmaster title), but you’ve only paid for the Arena FIDE Master title, you’ll only be considered an Arena FIDE Master until you’ve paid for your grandmaster title.
You’re required to maintain your rating before receiving an invitation in order to progress to the next level.
The number of games throughout which you have to maintain your rating depends on the games’ time controls.
- 50 games – Rapid Time Control Chess
- 100 games – Blitz Chess
- 150 games – Bullet Chess
However, if you don’t receive an invitation to move up a rank and your rating drops below the qualifying rating for 30 days, you’ll no longer be eligible for that title. You’ll have to requalify and accept the invitation to officially reach the next level.
When you do obtain your rating, it gets recorded on FIDE software’s blockchain, which all interested parties can inspect.
How do I Sign up with FIDE Online Arena?
Signing up with FIDE Online Arena is fast and simple.
If you simply want to play on FIDE Online Arena without playing for official titles, you can register on their website for free.
But if you want to play for the FIDE-approved FOA ratings and try your hand at achieving the official Arena titles, you can upgrade your FOA account. This membership option costs 25€ a year (roughly £21 / 27 USD).
When you first sign up, you’ll be asked for your first and last name, country, and email address. After you’ve confirmed your email, you’ll be able to play games on FIDE Online Arena.
Is the Online FIDE Rating Considered Legit?
FOA rating is completely legit. It’s approved by FIDE, which is the official governing body of chess, and FOA ratings appear on players’ profile cards on fide.com.
Some people, however, have expressed concern about the accuracy of FOA ratings. Although FOA ratings are supposed to roughly correlate with FIDE ratings, there’s not enough information to determine whether this is actually true.
Still, FOA players enjoy many of the same benefits as FIDE players, such as the opportunity to play in tournaments and see where they stand relative to other chess players.
The only difference is that while FIDE games are played over the board, FOA games are played exclusively online.
As you can see, getting an official online chess rating is relatively easy and painless.
Although you can’t get a FIDE rating by playing online games, you can get a FIDE Online Arena (FOA) rating, which basically correlates with FIDE ratings.
Bear in mind that FOA titles and the membership that comes along with them require payment in addition to participation in online games.
If you don’t want to pay and just want to enjoy the website’s most basic features, you can simply register for free, which will allow you to play on FIDE Online Arena.