FIDE Candidates Tournament split between two venues

by ChessBase
10/18/2009 – 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.

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At the Presidential Board meeting in June 2007 FIDE introduced a new world championship cycle. It included a Grand Prix series, which would span a period of two years, with a tournament every year in America, Asia and Europe. We tried at the time and to the best of our ability to decipher the new system.

Subsequently, at the General Assembly in Dresden (at the end of November 2008), FIDE was spurred into action by the failure of Grand Prix events from materialising. The organisation created a new candidates tournament to find the challenger. This could, it was decided, be an eight-player round robin or a four-game knockout series (with a six-game final). The eight participants would be two Grand Prix winners; two World Cup winners; the loser of the 2009 Kamsky-Topalov Challenger match; the world's highest ranked player; the loser of the 2009 World Championship match; and a 2700+ wildcard nominated by the organiser.

80th FIDE Congress in Kallithea, Greece

Now, at the Anniversary Congress in Kallithea (October 15-17, 2009), details of the Candidates Tournament were discussed and some remarkable decisions taken. The correspondent of the Azeri chess site ExtraTime, Teimur Tushiev, reports that in order to address the concerns of individual players the World Championship Candidates Match will be split into two groups, with four players in each. One of these will be held in Azerbaidjan, and the other (in which Aronian will play) in a different country. This must, at the insistence of Azerbaidjan, not be Armenia. This is to be seen against the backdrop of a decade-long conflict between the two countries, who have never enjoyed cordial relations.

So what happens if the final match has to be contested between representatives of Azerbaidjan and Armenia. In that case, the FIDE Congress decided, it will be played in a neutral country. "If the final is between a representative of Azerbaidjan and a player other than Aronian, it will be played in Azerbaidjan. Finally, if the final is between Aronian and a representative of another country, other than Azerbaidjan, the final will take place in another country."

We are informed that the Candidates matches will take place at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011.

Translations: Steve Giddins

Relevant ChessBase reports

Veselin Topalov and the new FIDE world championship cycle
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.

FIDE decides on a new Candidates format
27.11.2008 – The General Assembly of the 79th FIDE Congress has approved a new World Chess Championship cycle for 2011. It will be an eight-player round robin or knockout (the organiser gets to decide which); and the participants will be two each from the Grand Prix and World Cup, the loser of Kamsky-Topalov; the loser of Anand vs Kamsky-Topalov; the highest ranked player; and an organiser nominee. Details.

Ilyumzhinov: 'Candidates Tournament in Spring 2010'
27.11.2008 – Our previous report describes the new FIDE Candidates cycle. In an interview conducted by Yuri Vasiliev FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov defends the decision to create a new format. "The knockout, the Candidates and the Grand Prix are all my children," Ilyumzhinov says, "and I love them all. But time does not stand still, FIDE must adapt to the requirements." Sport Express interview.

Adams withdraws from Grand Prix cycle
11.12.2008 It was in the air and speculated on by many, especially after his name disappeared from the list of players for the Grand Prix in Elista (originally Doha, Qatar). Now the British GM Michael Adams has issued a formal statement on his withdrawal from the cycle. The reasons he gives are the sudden switch of venues, replacement of players, and the uncertainty of future GP events. Open letter.

Magnus Carlsen withdraws from Grand Prix
05.12.2008 After a week of correspondence with the FIDE office in Athens, and after receiving replies he deemed unsatisfactory, Magnus Carlsen, the world's number four ranked player, has decided to withdraw from the 2008-2009 FIDE Grand Prix cycle. Instead, the Norwegian GM, who turned 18 last Sunday, will "concentrate on playing well organised and interesting top level events elsewhere". From Magnus' blog.

Carlsen on the Grand Prix + readers' feedback
03.12.2008 – The cauldron is on the boil, FIDE has changed the World Championship qualification regulations, Alexei Shirov has lodged a protest. Now Magnus Carlsen, represented by his father Henrik, hints at legal action and withdrawal from the cycle. We bring you a report from his blog and feedback from readers on this and other subjects (including Aronian on women and computers!). A long, interesting read.

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