Veselin Topalov and the new FIDE world championship cycle

6/24/2007 – 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.

The following press releases are due to appear shortly on the FIDE web site.

New World Chess Championship cycle

FIDE Presidential Board has approved the introduction of a new Grand Prix series initiated by Global Chess as part of the new World Championship Cycle. The Grand Prix series will span a period of two years with one tournament every year in America, Asia and Europe.

Following initial research carried out with a number of countries and sponsors, there is a high degree of interest in the introduction of such a series of tournaments, traditionally referred to as a Grand Prix series, whereby players acquire ranking points and the player with the highest cumulative points is proclaimed GP Winner at the end of a season.

In the new cycle, the winner of the Grand Prix would challenge the winner of the World Cup in an eight game match and the eventual winner of this match would then face the World Champion in a twelve game match for the world title. Global Chess will be responsible for locating sponsors and together with FIDE finding organising cities, who would be interested in any respective parts of the Grand Prix.

FIDE and Global Chess will draft detailed regulations for the Grand Prix starting in 2008 for the next Presidential Board in Mexico City. The regulations for the forthcoming World Cup were approved by the Presidential Board in Tallinn.

The chart below details the new cycle and long term intentions of the new World Championship cycle.


Click to enlarge


Topalov in the new World Chess Championship cycle

In connection with setting-up the new system, the Presidential Board was determined to close matters related to the previous and recent WCCh cycles. Regarding one of the most critical issues in the world chess community, the Presidential Board received the delegation of the Bulgarian Chess Federation including Ms. Vessela Letcheva, Minister of Sport, Mr. S. Sergei, President of the Federation and Mr. S. Danailov, manager of GM Topalov.

After presenting its evaluation of the situation that former world champion GM Veselin Topalov was unable to participate in the ongoing WCCh cycle anymore and may lose such an opportunity for two years, the Bulgarian delegation accepted the proposal of the FIDE Presidential Board. In accordance with the decision, GM Topalov will have an eight-game Challenger Match against the winner of the 2007 World Cup in the year 2008 as part of the new WCCh cycle.

The winner of that Challenger Match can play against the winner of the 2008 Universal Event Promotion match (UEP) in 2009 for the World Chess Championship title (as can be seen in the diagram). The minimum prize fund for the Challenger Match is set at 150,000 USD. The Bulgarian Chess Federation has expressed its wish to organize the Challenger Match.

According to the regulations if GM Kramnik wins the WCCh tournament in Mexico City 2007, a match between GM Kramnik and GM Topalov, the current and the previous world champions, will take place in 2008. In that case, the winner of the Kramnik-Topalov match will play against the winner of the 2007 World Cup.

Peter Rajcsanyi
PR and Marketing Director


Interpretation and scenarios

Just like us, normal chess fans (and probably some of the directly affected chess players) may not immediately understand all the details and ramifications of the above decisions of the FIDE Presidential Board. So, with the assistance of FIDE officials who are at the board meeting in Tallinn, we have tried to break it down into digestible pieces. Here is our take:

  1. The World Chess Championship tournament is to be held in Mexico City from September 12 to 30, 2007. The winner of this tournament will be the next world champion, succeeding the current world champion Vladimir Kramnik.

  2. From November 23 to December 16 the city of Khanty-Mansyisk, Russia, will stage a the FIDE World Cup 2007, with 128 players.

  3. Former FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov gets to play an eight-game "Challenger's Match" against the winner of the 2007 World Cup. The minimum prize for this match is US $150,000 and it will probably be staged in Bulgaria.

  4. If Kramnik does not win the Mexico City world championship tournament he gets to play a match against the winner of Mexico, as a one-time right to challenge the new world champion. This match, staged by UEP (Universal Event Promotion) in 2008, is an official world championship match, regulated by existing contracts with FIDE. The winner of this match will play against the winner of the "Challenger's Match" (section 3 above).

  5. If Kramnik wins the World Championship tournament in Mexico City then he has to play Topalov directly for the world championship in 2008. In this case there will be no "Challenger's Match". Instead the winner of the 2007 World Cup in Khanty-Mansyisk gets to play a world championship match against the winner of the Kramnik-Topalov match in 2009.

  6. After all of this has been sorted out the challenger for the world championship will be determined in a match between the winner of the FIDE World Cup and the new Grand Prix series.

For those of you who are still confused we will try to describe two possible scenarios:

  1. Kramnik wins Mexico, Radjabov wins the World Cup 2007. In this case Topalov plays Kramnik in 2008, and Radjabov plays the winner in 2009. Both are full world championship title matches.

  2. Anand wins Mexico, Radjabov wins the World Cup 2007. In this case Kramnik gets to play Anand in 2008, and Radjabov plays an eight-game Challenger's Match against Topalov for the right to challenge the winner. The winner of Kramnik-Anand plays the winner of Radjabov-Topalov for the world championship in 2009.

Got it? Remember we are simple rocket scientists and so may not have got every nuance right. We will be checking with FIDE officials to see if any corrections or further explanations are required.


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