The US Chess Federation awards players permanent titles to recognize a player for outstanding performances at tournaments. There are 7 official titles you can achieve, as shown in the following table. In order to be awarded a title, you need to earn 5 “norms” for that rating level – norms are basically certification of “a high level of performance in a chess tournament” (as per Wikipedia). In addition to getting 5 norms, you also have to be above the respective rating level to become a Candidate Master, Life Master, or Senior Life Master. (Note: titles are permanent. Even if your rating falls below the threshold, once a “master” you’re always a master.)
For example, say you are working towards becoming a candidate master. You would need to play in 5 tournaments where your game results are sufficiently impressive for a 2000 rated player (i.e. 5 norms) and your rating must be above 2000 (read the official documentation for more details on how “sufficiently impressive” is calculated).
|Rating Level||Title||Rating Requirement?|
|2400||Senior Life Master||Yes|
The tournament must be an in-person USCF regular rated event and at least 4 rounds. Moreover, you can’t play the same opponent more than twice. In other words, you cannot earn a norm at an online Blitz, Quick-rated-only, or Correspondence chess event.
Yes! You can earn norms even if you are unrated or provisionally rated. However, you must have an established rating in order to earn a title.