FIDE changes its plan, players protest

by ChessBase
10/27/2005 – Five months ago FIDE announced full details of its next World Championship cycle, which was to culminate in a final one-on-one match. Due to the success of the recent San Luis tournament FIDE has decided to amend the plan and stage an eight-player final. Here are the details – and vigorous protests by two former world championship finalists.

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At the beginning of May this year FIDE announced full details of its new World Championship cycle: it would start after the San Luis World Championship and would consist of a number of qualifying events, which include what has until now been the FIDE world championship (the 128-player knockout event) and culminate in Candidates Matches with ten players and classical time controls. The final of this would be the World Championship – the title being decided in a one-on-one match.

The success of the recent World Championship tournament has apparently impressed the FIDE leadership so much that they have decided to change the original plan radically. The new rules for the cycle will take the top four players from the San Luis event and add four more from Candidates Matches between 16 players. Here are the details.

World Cup Undertaking and Updated Regulations

FIDE is announcing the updated regulations for the World Chess Championship cycle 2005-2007, as approved by the FIDE Presidential Board meeting in San Luis. These updates were made after taking into consideration the proposals of the participants in the World Championship Tournament and the recent discussions of FIDE with ACP.

The major updates include:

a) The 8-player World Chess Championship Tournament is established as the final stage of the World Championship cycle. The event will include the reigning World Champion, the players placed 2-4 in San Luis and 4 qualifiers from the Candidate Matches.

b) The Last Chance Super Tournament has been removed from the World Championship cycle. Instead, the Candidate Matches include 16 players: 10 qualifiers from the World Cup, 5 players by rating and GM Rustam Kasimjanov as the previous World Champion.

c) FIDE is examining the possibility of interim World Championship matches for the title of World Champion under certain conditions.

d) The structure of the prize fund for the World Cup 2005 has been slighty altered. The total amount remains the same: 1,572,000 USD.

e) Due to lack of time this year between the World Junior U20 Championship and the World Cup, the 2005 World Junior U20 Champion is seeded directly in the next World Cup of the 2007-2009 cycle.

The participants and the reserve players of the World Cup 2005 are requested to send to the FIDE Secretariat the respective Player's Undertaking signed by the deadline of 31 October.

Released by the FIDE Secretariat
Athens, 24 October 2005

  • FIDE announcement with Regulations for the World Championship Cycle 2005-07 and Player`s Undertaking for the World Cup 2005 in PDF format.


Kamsky's protest

After the FIDE announcement was published we received the following letter from American GM and former world championship finalist Gata Kamsky (in 1996 he lost the 20-game final match to Anatoly Karpov in Elista, Kalmykia). After that Kamsky gave up chess to study medicine and law. He is now staging a chess comeback.

I believe that the changes to the FIDE 2005-2007 world championship cycle are important enough for everyone, and especially to the World Cup players, as they are most adversely affected by this update.

The principal issue of contention that I have is that never in the history of chess have any players been directly seeded into the Candidate Matches by rating, as was just decided. This makes the entire world cup qualification an insult to everyone who has to play through the tough competition, while the top rated players will not play, obviously, as they are guaranteed selection into next step.

Gata Kamsky, former world championship finalist

In contrast, before the update, the regulations allowed these top five rated players get into the Last Chance supertournament together with players ranked 6-10 on the World Cup tournament, where from these 10 players the top 3 finishers would be allowed into Candidate Matches together with 5 top finishers of the World Cup. Clearly, the change doesn't make any sense and is detrimental to the World Cup qualifiers.

I would like to request all World Cup players and their respective chess federations to make a direct action against this latest change and write an official letter of protest to stop FIDE from implementing this latest change.

I must add that time is of the essence here, as the FIDE has placed a deadline on the players to submit their contract before October 31st, which, if signed, would effectively make players agree to the changes that were made on October 24th. I believe this was an extremely dubious move on FIDE's part and demonstration of complete lack of respect to all players involved. Therefore, I urge ChessBase to publish the news and collect opinions from the world cup players and their respective federations as soon as possible to force FIDE to retract the changes or extend the contract deadlines to allow the changes to be retracted before players sign and give away their rights.

Gata Kamsky

Blitz comment: Alexey Shirov

In 1998 Alexei Shirov, currently the world's numer 14 player, defeated Vladimir Kramnik in a ten-game match to determine who would challenge World Champion Garry Kasparov. That world championship match had to be cancelled due to insufficient financial backing. Shirov refers to it in the following interview published on the ACP web site.

Alexei Shirov, who should have challenged Kasparov in 1998

Question: What is your attitude to sudden change of the world championship formula?

Shirov: These changes directly hit those players who haven't qualified yet, as they will compete for only four spots instead of eight. And there is a huge difference between these numbers!

Do you think the new system is better of worse than the previous one in principle?

"The system", as far as I understand, is not proposed yet. A round-robin format has a disadvantage – limiting number of the title contenders to eight is too harsh. I have always thought that the optimal number is sixteen.

Will the championship unification match Topalov-Kramnik, if organized in 2006 under FIDE aegis, benefit chess?

And why not Topalov-Anand? I guess, such a match would surely benefit chess a lot.

Does Kramnik, in your opinion, have moral or juridical rights to challenge Topalov?

Not a bit. It is sufficient to recall the year 1998.

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