Who Decides Who Is A Grandmaster?
Chess has been around since the 6th century – but there wasn’t a grandmaster until a journalist used the phrase in 1838.
Even for the next decade, it was largely an informal term – used at the subject whim of journalists and players to describe great players in history. A grandmaster recognised by one player (or by one country) wasn’t necessarily recognised as a grandmaster by others.
This changed in the 1950s when FIDE (The World Chess Federation) put together a simple criteria which has gradually grown in complexity over the years.
The criteria doesn’t aim to identify the best players, chess has another system for that. It instead recognises players whose achievements can’t be fully captured within the rating system. It’s a title many will aspire to but few will ever gain.
You can probably see the parallels. I suspect many more communities would benefit from a dedicated leader like yourself putting together a simple criteria to recognise their grandmasters. Simple badges and superuser systems don’t quite cut it. You might put together a criteria that includes:
- Speaking on stage at a major event in your industry.
- Publishing a popular book in the field (or publishing an article/video with 50k+ views)
- Replying to over 1000 questions with 500 accepted solutions.
- 3 ideas incorporated into the community or the product.
If you research the people who have created a hall of fame, launched industry federations and associations, or set up their own grandmaster systems, you soon find they were rarely given permission. They simply saw the need and created it. Over time, it stuck.
Who are your Grandmasters going to be?