FIDE: Candidates Tournament 2007 in Elista

by ChessBase
11/19/2006 – Originally 16 players were to play a series of matches to fill four places in the 2007 World Championship. But there were no sponsors, so President Ilyumzhinov proposed staging a round robin with a reduced prize fund. Sharp protests by GMs followed. Now FIDE confirms: the event will be held as originally planned in May 2007 in Kalmykia.

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Originally the Candidates Matches with 16 players were announced in January 2006. The regulations were as follows: the matches would be organised in 2006/07 and be an integral part of the World Chess Championship cycle 2005-2007. The four winners qualify for the World Chess Championship Tournament 2007.

The original announcement specified that FIDE reserved the right to hold the Candidates Matches either together or in different dates and separate locations. Unfortunately there were no major bidders for the event or individual matches. On September 22-23 this year the FIDE Presidential Board decided to establish a separate company to serve as the commercial arm of FIDE, and proposed to stage a round-robin tournament with the 16 candidates instead of the matches that were originally announced. President Ilyumzhinov offered to host the tournament in Elista in April 2007.

This led to immediate protest by GMs who had qualified to play in the Candidates Matches, and in fact arranged their schedules to accommodate the October 2006 date that had been brought into play. GM Boris Gelfand of Israel wrote an open letter to the President of FIDE protesting the change in regulations and prize fund less than a month before the event. He urged FIDE not to change in the structure of the World Championship in the middle of a cycle, and threatened to sue FIDE to compensate him for damages incurred. Details can be seen in our previous report.

Now it appears that FIDE is back on track with Candidates Matches as originally planned, albeit at a later date. The prize fund has been confirmed at US $40,000 per match, up from the substantially reduced sum that had been brought into play for the round robin solution. Most of the money comes from a personal Kirsan Ilyumzhinov fund. That's how much this man loves chess!

The President's Letter

Moscow, 16 November 2006

Dear friends of chess,

On behalf of FIDE I am pleased to announce that both rounds of the Candidates Matches for the 2007 World Championship Tournament will take place in Elista, 26 May – 14 June 2007. The prize fund for each match of both rounds will be USD 40,000. I shall personally contribute 320,000 USD towards the total prize fund and a further USD 160,000 will be contributed by FIDE.

The 16 Grandmasters who will participate in the Candidates Matches are:

  1. Levon Aronian (ARM)
  2. Peter Leko (HUN)
  3. Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR)
  4. Boris Gelfand (ISR)
  5. Etienne Bacrot (FRA)
  6. Alexander Grischuk (RUS)
  7. Judith Polgar (HUN)
  8. Alexei Shirov (ESP)
  9. Michael Adams (ENG)
  10. Evgeny Bareev (RUS)
  11. Vladimir Malakhov (RUS)
  12. Gata Kamsky (USA)
  13. Rustam Kasimjanov (UZB)
  14. Sergei Rublevsky (RUS)
  15. Mikhail Gurevich (TUR)
  16. Magnus Carlsen (NOR)

Out of the above 16 Grandmasters, the top 4 will qualify for the 2007 World Chess Championship Tournament in Mexico, 11 September – 1 October, joining the defending World Champion Vladimir Kramnik (RUS) and GMs Vishy Anand (IND), Peter Svidler (RUS), Alexander Morozevich (RUS) who have already qualified from the previous World Championships.

We are all looking forward for another world class event to be held successfully in Elista.

Gens Una Sumus!
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
FIDE President

Letter on the official FIDE web site

The pairings

If everything goes accordint to the original plan the following matches were to be held in May 2007:

 1 Levon Aronian Magnus Carlsen
 2 Peter Leko Mikhail Gurevich
 3 Ruslan Ponomariov Sergei Rublevsky
 4 Boris Gelfand Rustam Kasimjanov
 5 Etienne Bacrot Gata Kamsky
 6 Alexander Grischuk Vladimir Malakhov
 7 Judith Polgar Evgeny Bareev
 8 Alexei Shirov Michael Adams

According to the original plan, which we assume is now in place, the first round of matches consist of six games, with the eight winners qualifying for the second round. This starts two days after the the end of the first round, with the winner of the first match playing the winner of the eighth match, the winner of the second against the winner of the seventh, etc. Once again the matches are over six games, with a rest day after game three.

So the matches would be as follow, with one player qualifying from each block:

1 Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen
8 Alexei Shirov
Michael Adams
3 Ruslan Ponomariov
Sergei Rublevsky
6 Alexander Grischuk
Vladimir Malakhov
2 Peter Leko
Mikhail Gurevich
7 Judith Polgar
Evgeny Bareev
4 Boris Gelfand
Rustam Kasimjanov
5 Etienne Bacrot
Gata Kamsky

According to the current plan the four qualifiers join the current world champion Vladimir Kramnik and GMs Vishy Anand (IND), Peter Svidler (RUS), Alexander Morozevich (RUS), who earned a place by finishing 2-4 in the previous world championship. Veselin Topalov, the former FIDE world champion, will have to sit this one out, having lost his title to Vladimir Kramnik in October this year. However we predict that he will enter the cycle if one of the 16 players pulls out.

In any case it looks like the 2007 World Championship in Mexico City will be held as planned.

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