It is now announced on the FIDE website, see my personal FIDE Card, that I am now a FIDE Arbiter. After leading some tournaments and a FIDE Arbiter seminar with passing an exam (with >=80% score), the application was formalized in Krakow at the FIDE Congress last month. However, you also need to be announced on the website for 60 days, so I had to wait until today when it formally appeared on the FIDE website.

Regularly people ask "When does the FIDE call you for leading a tournament?". Well, that is not where FIDE Arbiter or the next step International Arbiter titles are used for. You need a FA or IA title when there are chess titles at stake (IM, GM, WGM, WIM) or when the tournament is FIDE rated. For example, if you want to have the tournament FIDE rated and the chief arbiter is not FA or IA, the tournament will not be rated by the FIDE. Nor will any title norm be confirmed. So there is some specialist work to do.

Other people ask "How do you become a FA?". Well after doing some courses with your local federation, helping with some international tournaments which are FIDE rated and a FIDE Arbiter Seminar you can apply for the title. Which I did. You have to keep your knowledge up to date of course, so I probably will also go for the International Arbiter title and keep an eye on the Laws of Chess, rating regulations, title regulations, tournament regulations and other necessities for FIDE rated tournaments.

Sometimes I get asked "Are there many FA's or IA's?". Well it depends. World wide this is only a small percentage of the registered players at FIDE. And depending where you live there might be more or less people with this title. In the Netherlands we have a quite large group of FA/IA's. But we have also many possible tournaments for getting the norms. In other countries it might be more difficult to get the title.

Last but not least "Arbiters? With chess? Do they whistle like in soccer or rugby? Because of foul play?". Well, yes even in chess it is necessary to have arbiters. But the best are arbiters you do not see, do not hear and as a player you do not remember. A there are players that play a foul game on every level in every sport.