In chess, the International Master title is the second highest title awarded by FIDE (World Chess Federation) a chess player can hope to achieve in recognition for exceptional near-world-class individual over-the-board performances. Once awarded, the international title remains for life.
How to become an International Master in chess?
There are many pathways towards achieving this title, and from time to time title regulations are being updated by FIDE. The latest one, with “direct titles” (after one tournament only), which include all other players’ direct titles, and “direct title norms” as well can be found here and here. You should familiarise yourself with them.
FIDE Handbook covers all other ways for achieving the International Master (IM) title here.
With technological advances, we still await expert software which would be able to generate IM title prospects based on tournament input, as well as norms or titles achieved based on performances at events. A step towards has been made by Swiss Manager Unicode.
Traditionally, all upcoming chess players strive to become an International Master, and of course dream of becoming a Grand Master and of becoming a World Chess Champion.
Representing your country in international events in the sport you love matters too.
I’ve drawn a pyramid which will give you some idea on all the presently approved players’ titles in chess:
Other information online resources (interesting, but often incomplete and sometimes misleading):