Computer Chess World Championship – new format

by Frederic Friedel
6/7/2017 – The number of entries for this year's CCWC were disappointingly low, mainly due to the cost of participation. To overcome this problem the International Computer Games Association has decided to change the format and make it much like the FIDE human world championships. This year, from July 3rd-7th, there will be a tournament of four teams, each receiving a subsidy of €2000 from the ICGA. Anf from 2018 on the World Computer Chess Championship will be played as a match, between the reigning World Champion and a challenger chosen by a process that is still to be determined.

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World Computer Chess Championship – A New Format

Announcement by David Levy – ICGA President

The ICGA recently took a straw poll amongst the past contestants at the World Computer Chess Championship. Our aim was to discover the main reasons why the number of entries for this year’s championship was so low.

What we learned is that there are two main reasons: (a) The costs of participating in the event makes it unattractive; and (b) It is not so interesting for those contestants coming from different countries to compete every year in the same location.

Clearly the ICGA must take these problems on board and find a way to perpetuate the World Computer Chess Championship despite these problems. What we are going to do is to start a new era for our World Championship, by changing the format as follows.

Starting in 2018 the World Computer Chess Championship will be played as a match, between the reigning World Champion and a challenger chosen by a process which will be discussed amongst the ICGA Board and participants from recent years’ championships. That discussion will commence very soon after this year’s World Championship, which is taking place in Leiden from July 3rd-7th. This new format is akin to the FIDE World Championship (for human chess players)

Each contestant in the World Championship match will receive 2,000 Euro from the ICGA to offset their expenses in coming to the match. And there will be no entry fee. Furthermore, I believe that it will be relatively easy to find sponsors for a World Championship match, which will enable the ICGA to move the match to different locations each year according to wherever we can find the most attractive sponsorship offer. Our aim will be to secure sponsorship each year which is not only sufficient to cover the costs of the event but also to create an attractive prize fund for the two contestants, which will be split 60%-40%.

For the 2017 World Computer Chess Championship we are changing the format, removing the entry fee, and offering an expenses budget to each of the contestants. Our aim for 2017 will be to attract the strongest participants. There will be only four contestants, each of whom will receive 1,000 Euro for their expenses from the ICGA. The Komodo team have already indicated their acceptance, and we very much hope that some of the former World Champions and other leading programs will now find the event attractive and apply to participate.

The World Championship will be an-all-play all event of nine rounds, in which each program will play each of the others three times. The playing schedule will be as previously announced on our web site, with the opening ceremony and players’ meeting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday July 3rd and the final round played on the morning of July 7th, with play-off games if necessary in the afternoon. The program which finishes in second place this year will automatically be offered the challenger position for next year’s title match.

The closing date for entries for 2017 has been changed – it is now Sunday June 18th. By that date the ICGA hopes to receive applications from at least at least three leading programming teams, who together with the Komodo team will make the four contestants for this year’s World Championship. If there are more than three strong programs applying to participate alongside Komodo in this year’s event the ICGA will make its selection of the successful applications not later than Tuesday June 20th.

Please apply as soon as possible – send your application and any questions you might have to: or

Rules for the five ICGA Events in Leiden, the Netherlands (PDF)

ICGA Events 2017 in Leiden

The ICGA is delighted to announce that the 2017 ICGA events will be organized again in Leiden, the Netherlands, at the Department of Computer Science LIACS, Leiden University. The events will start on Saturday July 1st 2017 and end on Friday July 7th 2017. The deadline for registration is June 18th 2017. Click here for the Registration Form

The events will consist of

  • The ACG 2017 Computers and Games Conference
  • The World Computer Chess Championship
  • The World Computer Software Championship
  • The Speed Computer Chess Championship
  • The Computer Olympiad

Registration is 50 euro for the first computer program, 25 euro for the second, third, etc. (irrespective of professional/amateur status). Payment can be made via Direct Bank transfer to ING Bank, The Netherlands: IBAN: NL34INGB0003988921, BIC: INGBNL2A, or at the events in cash or via creditcard.

Editor-in-Chief Wanted

The ICGA is in need of a new Editor-in-Chief for the academic contributions to the ICGA Journal. After many, many years under the outstanding editorship of Professor Jaap van den Herik, who retired from the post in 2016, we need urgently to find a replacement.

Would any of you, be interested in taking on this role? If so please email me, with cc to Joke Hellemons at

David Levy [President – ICGA]

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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