Qualification criteria for the Candidates announced, Radjabov gets a spot

by ChessBase
5/24/2021 – The International Chess Federation has published the qualification criteria that will be used to determine who participates in the next Candidates Tournament, scheduled to take place in 2022. Notably, Teimour Radjabov was granted a spot after the Azerbaijani withdrew from the previous edition, rightfully predicting that the sanitary crisis would become a real obstacle for the normal development of the event. FIDE has also eliminated the chance to qualify by rating. | Photo: FIDE

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


A shortened cycle

Ian NepomniachtchiThe 2020 Candidates Tournament was the last sporting event to be either postponed or cancelled after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite major efforts by FIDE to keep the tournament going, the event had to be stopped midway, with the second half starting over a year after the postponement.

About a month ago, Ian Nepomniachtchi won the event [pictured], becoming Magnus Carlsen’s challenger for the World Championship title. Once the event was over, FIDE announced that the next cycle will not be delayed, disclosing that they planned to organize the next Candidates Tournament in 2022. Today, they published the qualification criteria for the marquee event.

The most salient news is that Teimour Radjabov will be granted a spot. The Azerbaijani withdrew from the previous edition less than two weeks before the start of the event, claiming that he feared that a potential coronavirus infection might potentially disrupt the tournament — he requested that FIDE postpone the event and, once FIDE declined, he decided to withdraw.

Another notable modification is that there will not be a wildcard (unless we consider Radabov to be the wildcard?) nor a rating qualifier. As stated by FIDE, the goal is “to devise a democratic qualification system, where every reasonably strong player is given a chance to qualify”.

Press release by FIDE

The International Chess Federation has approved the qualification criteria to select the eight players who will participate in the Candidates Tournament 2022. Like in the previous cycle, the goal has been to devise a democratic qualification system, where every reasonably strong player is given a chance to qualify.

These are the different qualifying events and criteria:

A) One spot – FIDE World Championship Match 2021, Runner-up

As tradition goes, one spot will go directly to the runner-up at the FIDE World Championship Match, to be played in Dubai (UAE) in November-December 2021.

B) One spot – GM Teimour Radjabov (winner of the FIDE World Cup 2019)

One place will be reserved for Teimour Radjabov, the winner of the FIDE World Cup 2019. FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich mentioned that this was his intention in a recent interview. The FIDE Council members fully supported his position, so we are happy to confirm that Teimour will be granted this possibility.

C) Two spots – FIDE World Cup 2021

Two spots will be decided at the FIDE World Cup 2021, to be played in Sochi (Russia), in July-August 2021. The two finalists in this event will earn their tickets to the Candidates 2022.

It may happen that Teimour Radjabov or any of the two contenders in the 2021 match (Magnus Carlsen or Ian Nepomniachtchi) are in the final. In this case, the place will be passed on to the next non-qualified player in the FIDE World Cup (but not further than 4th place) or to the next non-qualified player in the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2022.

D) Two spots – FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2021

Two places will be at stake in the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss Tournament 2021, to be held in October-November 2021 in Douglas (Isle of Man). The two top-finishers in this 114-player event, which is expected to be the strongest Swiss event ever held, will advance to the next stage of the world championship cycle 2021-2022.

If any of these two players happen to be already qualified through events A, B or C, the spot will go to the next non-qualifying player in the standings of the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss Tournament 2021.

E) Two spots – FIDE Grand Prix Series 2022

The remaining two spots will be granted to the two top-finishers at the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2022, which will take place between February and April 2022. The Regulations for the Series will be published in June.

We must note that the winner of the FIDE World Championship Match 2021 is not allowed to participate in Grand Prix Series. Likewise, none of the players already qualified via events A, B, C or D, is expected to take part in the Grand Prix. If any of them decides to participate, they should give up their qualification spot previously earned.

In the eventuality of any schedule modification caused by the pandemic or any other force majeure circumstances, the FIDE Council is entitled to adjust the qualification criteria accordingly.


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register