Tim Harding is now a FIDE-licensed National Arbiter, having completed his qualification in August 2018.
This means Tim is qualified to officiate at FIDE-rated competitions and to assist at title tournaments (not only in Ireland), though he will not have time to do that until later in 2020 or next year.
The next, and much harder, step is to qualify as a FIDE Arbiter which qualifies one to be chief arbiter or deputy arbiter in most classes of tournament in which international titles may be earned.
The Irish Chess Union recently organised a FIDE Arbiter Seminar, which was conducted by International Arbiter and FIDE lecturer Alex McFarlane from Scotland. Attending one of these and passing the exam with a score of at least 80 per cent is an essential requirement, and Tim passed top of the class with a score in the 90s.
Nine of the 16 the candidates attending the seminar passed the exam; one was an Italian IA doing the course as a referesher and one was a Norwegian arbiter. Two of the non-Irish arbiters who passed the exam are actually resident here.
Together with the FA tournament norms which Tim earned in 2018 and 2019, this should enable him to be awarded the FA title at the next FIDE Congress in August, though ratification can be a slow process because there were abuses of the system in the past. The Irish Chess Union has in the past few days submitted Tim's application for ratification.
early next year, giving Tim and other Irish NAs the chance to complete their qualification for the higher title of FIDE Arbiter. At present Ireland has very few active and resident arbiters with the FA or higher IA titles and we need more. FAs can act as Chief Arbiter in most classes of title tournaments.
Tim has not recently acted as an arbiter, except as an emergency deputy, because of the intensive work on his new book about Steinitz. He intends to resume arbiting later this year and work towards the highest title of International Arbiter once the FA title has been confirmed.