Letter to FIDE
To: FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov & FIDE World Championship Committee.
Reference is made to the ongoing World Championship cycle.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of my decision not to take part
in the planned Candidate Matches between March and May 2011.
After careful consideration I’ve reached the conclusion that the ongoing
2008–2012 cycle does not represent a system, sufficiently modern and fair,
to provide the motivation I need to go through a lengthy process of preparations
and matches and to perform at my best.
Reigning champion privileges, the long (five year) span of the cycle, changes
made during the cycle resulting in a new format (Candidates) that no World Champion
has had to go through since Kasparov, puzzling ranking criteria as well as the
shallow ceaseless match-after-match concept are all less than satisfactory in
By providing you with four months notice before the earliest start of the
Candidates as well as in time before you have presented player contracts
or detailed regulations, I rest assured that you will be able to find an appropriate
Although the purpose of this letter is not to influence you to make further
changes to the ongoing cycle, I would like to take the opportunity to present
a few ideas about future cycles in line with our input to FIDE during the December
27th 2008 phone conference between FIDE leaders and a group of top-level
In my opinion privileges should in general be abolished and a future World
Championship model should be based on a fair fight between the best players
in the World, on equal terms. This should apply also to the winner of the previous
World Championship, and especially so when there are several players at approximately
the same level in the world elite. (Why should one player have one out of two
tickets to the final to the detriment of all remaining players in the world?
Imagine that the winner of the 2010 Football World Cup would be directly qualified
to the 2014 World Cup final while all the rest of the teams would have to fight
for the other spot.)
One possibility for future cycles would be to stage an 8-10 player World Championship
tournament similar to the 2005 and 2007 events.
The proposal to abolish the privileges of the World Champion in the future
is not in any way meant as criticism of, or an attack on, the reigning World
Champion Viswanathan Anand, who is a worthy World Champion, a role model chess
colleague and a highly esteemed opponent.
Rest assured that I am still motivated to play competitive chess. My current
plan is to continue to participate in well-organised top-level tournaments and
to try to maintain the no 1 spot on the rating list that I have successfully
defended for most of 2010.
IGM Magnus Carlsen
Mini-Interview with Magnus
Question: Magnus, you've got to feel a bit uneasy about this momentous
Magnus Carlsen: It's been a difficult process. But now that
the decision has been taken, I actually feel relieved.
Even if that means you will be missing an entire World Championship cycle?
The World Championship cycle will last for almost five years, and with constant
rule changes. It takes too much effort to deal with the political part of the
process. I would therefore like to focus my energy on developing my skills as
a chess player, and to defend my position as number one in the world rankings.
How do you think the chess public will react to your action? Many may
think you are throwing away a golden chance.
Well, I understand if they are a bit puzzled, but I have to make the decision
that I think is best for me and my career.
Does this mean that you will not participate in a World Championship
in the future?
No, no, absolutely not. I hope that there will be changes in the future. It
is clear that I will be back in it then. The decision now applies only to the
current world championship cycle.
With your decision are you making a special point against FIDE?
No, it is a personal decision based on what I think is best for me.
||Candidates Matches in Kiev – proposal by the UCF
15.08.2010 – Two days ago we published a
report on FIDE Presidential candidate Anatoly Karpov's proposal to
move the Candidates matches to Kiev, Ukraine. Today we received a message
from the Ukrainian Chess Federation confirming that it would gladly host
the matches – in a longer format and with a break before the final. The
UCF also wants to organise a "Chess Davos". Press
||Karpov proposes Kiev for Candidates matches
13.08.2010 – They were originally scheduled
for Baku, Azerbaijan, then moved to Kazan, Russia – in spite of a stern
protest by Veselin Topalov. There are still some unresolved issues, e.g.
who would fill the wildcard? Now Anatoly Karpov has proposed moving the
Candidates matches to Kiev, Ukraine, and nominating former FIDE world
champion Ruslan Ponomariov as a candidate. Press
||Danailov: If we have to, then we’ll play
03.08.2010 – When FIDE decided to move the
Candidates matches from Baku, Azerbaijan there was a sharp protest by
Veselin Topalov, who threatened to withdraw from the cycle if he had to
face a Russian opponent in Russia. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov fired
back, implying Topalov could be replaced. In a remarkable Sports Express
interview Yuri Vasiliev brings some clarity
into the matter.
||FIDE moves Candidates matches to Kazan, Russia
27.07.2010 – Just days after a request from
the Russian Chess Federation to move the 2011 Candidates matches away
from Baku, Azerbaijan, FIDE President Kirsan Illumzhinov has announced
that the match will indeed now take place in Kazan. If Topalov refuses
to play in Russia, as he has threatened, he will (brace yourself) be replaced
by Alexander Grischuk. Sport
||FIDE to move Candidates Matches, Topalov threatens boycott
24.07.2010 – The Candidates Matches for the
next FIDE World Championship cycle were scheduled to be played in Baku,
Azerbaijan. Since one of the candidates, Levon Aronian, is Armenian, and
the two countries are de facto at war, FIDE wants to move the matches
to Kazan in Russia. To this another candidate, Veselin Topalov, has issued
a very sharp protest
||Sutovsky: Proposal for the Candidates Matches|
22.07.2010 – "On July 20 I was invited to meet
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov," writes Israeli GM Emil Sutovsky, "in
order to discuss the situation with the Candidates Matches 2011. I was
given few minutes to submit my proposal, and it was agreed, that I will
publish an open letter on this very important matter." Here is Sutovsky's
||FIDE Candidates Tournament split between two venues
18.10.2009 – The 2011 World Championship challenger
is decided in a Candidates Tournament with eight participants (including
World Chp and Grand Prix winners). At the 80th FIDE Congress in Greece
this week FIDE decided, remarkably, that the tournament, scheduled for
2010/2011, would be split into two parts, to allow candidate Levon Aronian,
who is from Armenia, to
avoid playing in Azerbaijan.
||Veselin Topalov and the new FIDE world championship
24.06.2007 – At the Presidential Board meeting,
which is currently being held in Tallinn, Estonia, FIDE has introduced
a new Grand Prix series and a new world championship cycle. With a high-ranking
Bulgarian delegation presenting a case for Veselin Topalov to enter the
world championship FIDE made some special rules to govern the 2007-2009
stage. We have tried to decipher
the new system.