New format for the Women's World Championship Cycle

by ChessBase
11/28/2018 – The 2018 Championship ended last Friday, with Chinese GM Ju Wenjun winning the 64-player knockout tournament to retain her title. In the meantime FIDE had revised the system, and surprised the chess world with a comprehensively revised new format. It consists of an eight-player double round robin Candidates Tournament to be held in the first half of 2019, with the winner playing the reigning Women's World Champion at the end of the same year. Here are the details of the whole cycle.

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FIDE Women's World Championship Cycle

Press release

FIDE and the newly elected President, Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich, consider the development of women's chess to be one of their most important priorities. We believe that this goal can be achieved by increasing the number of elite tournaments for women and by establishing a coherent and logical system to the Women’s World Championship cycle. We are pleased to note that the first official steps in this direction have been taken.

According to the existing regulations, in 2019 there should have been a Women’s World Championship match between the current winner of the 2018 Women’s World KO Championship and the winner of the FIDE Women`s Grand Prix Series 2017-2018. Unfortunately, the previous FIDE leadership were unable to hold the Grand Prix series, thus threatening the 2019 Women`s World Championship match entirely.

It is therefore why the newly elected FIDE leadership have taken the necessary decision to hold the Women’s Candidates Tournament in the first half of 2019. The winner will then earn the right to play a match against the reigning Women’s World Champion. At the last Presidential Board meeting, FIDE reinforced its support for women’s chess by increasing the prize fund of the Women’s World Championship from €200,000 to a record-breaking €500,000.

FIDE has prepared amendments to the 2020 Women`s World Championship Cycle and subject to approval the new structure will look like this:

  • Women's Candidates Tournament – first half of 2019.

  • Women's World Championship Match – between the winner of FIDE World Women's KO Championship and the winner of Women's Candidates – end of 2019.

  • FIDE Women's grand prix – to be launched and conducted in 2019-2020.

  • Women's knockout world Cup – to replace Women's KO World Championship with the same financial terms: August 2020.

  • Women's Candidates Tournament – 2021 etc...

We would like to stress that the prize fund of the new Women`s World Cup will be no less than the prize fund of the current Women`s KO World Championship. All players who are qualified for the Women's World Championship 2020 will automatically proceed to the Women's World Cup 2020 and retain all rights.

We believe that, not only will the new Women’s World Championship cycle guarantee a new range of top-level events but will also bring it in line with the World Championship cycle. FIDE is already working with potential organizers to secure future locations.

FIDE is fully committed to its pledges to make positive reforms. We recognize that there may be some transitional issues, but in the end, having a clear system can only be a huge benefit to chess.

Together we will make chess better.

Bidding procedure for the FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament 2019

1. FIDE is opening a bidding procedure for the FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament 2019

2. Each bid shall contain the following particulars as minimum:

a) Proposed exact place and dates of the event.
b) Proposed tournament venue.
c) Proposed prize fund for the players (minimum 200,000 euros should be offered net of any applicable local taxes).
d) The contribution to FIDE (net of any applicable local taxes and not less than 20% of the prize fund in addition to the prize fund).
e) Commitment to cover all financial obligations to FIDE, including all the stipends.
f) Commitment to cover all organizational costs, in accordance with the regulations of the event.
g) Category of official hotel (minimum 4 stars), and its name, with special room rates including meals.
h) A statement that the applicant accepts the regulations of the event without any reservations.
i) An invitation for at least two members of the GSC to inspect the proposed venue and examine the other conditions, with all travel and hotel expenses paid by the bidder.
j) The applicant's name, signatures and authentication
k) Letters of support from the national federation and relevant local authorities.

3. A bid is considered valid if it is accompanied with a non-refundable Bid Fee of 1,000 euros payable to FIDE.

4. With effect from 1st January 2013, a bid for any FIDE Competitions onwards shall include the name of a FIDE licensed International Organizer.

5. All bids should be submitted by the due date in sealed envelope or scanned documents to the FIDE Secretariat, postal address: 9 Syggrou Avenue, 11743 Athens - Greece / Fax: (+30) 2109212859 / Email: by 15th December 2018, 16:00 local time (UTC/GMT + 2 hours).

See also: Full rules for the FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament 2019


The World Champion Ju Wenjun reacted positively following the defence of her title in Khanty-Mansiysk:


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