Achievement Unlocked: International Arbiter

International Arbiter pin
Do I get one of these? Photo: pin_trader2 (ebay)

My International Arbiter (IA) title was officially approved at the 2023 1st FIDE Council meeting in Mexico City on April 4. With the typical waiting period, I guess my title should come into effect by mid-May.

A couple of years ago, I discussed how I achieved the lower FIDE Arbiter (FA) title. That one is actually much tougher to obtain, considering USA arbiters need to first become a Senior Tournament Director, then National Arbiter (NA), pass two exams and a seminar, and work three tournaments!

Food for Thought

The Senior TD hurdle eliminates a lot of prospective arbiters, because you can’t become SrTD unless you run many 4-round tournaments with 50 or more players!

Frankly, I’m not sure the Senior TD requirement is strictly necessary. After all, a TD who only runs big scholastics with near-beginners can easily clear the SrTD experience requirements. Perhaps Local TDs could be allowed to start on the FIDE path if they participate in a seminar of some sort and pass the NA exam.

Finishing the Job

Anyway, once an arbiter has become FA, IA is not so hard to get, assuming you have the opportunity to work tournaments that offer norms — a big IF, I know.

I made my first IA norm at the 52nd Continental Open in July 2022 (organized by the Continental Chess Association). This was key as the top section was a Swiss; remember that you usually need two types of tournaments in a valid IA title application.

That’s because I achieved my three other norms via Round Robins, in September 2022, November 2022, and January 2023 — these events were all organized by NYC Chess Norms.

Karl Heck assisted me in the November 2022 event, and I was happy to see he had his FA title approved in Mexico City as well! Congratulations, Karl!

In January 2024, the FIDE Arbiters’ Commission (ARB) is supposed to implement a seminar for prospective IA candidates holding the FA title.

Next Steps?

I will become an International Arbiter-Category D. The higher categories are, logically, C, B, and A. In practice this isn’t so important unless an arbiter wants to be appointed to top positions in World and Continental Championships. Still, I will try to go higher in the following years…