The FIDE World Championship plan

by ChessBase
12/24/2003 – The World Chess Federation has published its rules for its next world championship cycle, consisting of qualifiers in four continents, a 128-player knock-out tournament and the winner will play against Garry Kasparov. The winner of that match then faces the winner of Kramnik vs Leko (if this is staged). The first leg will be held before July 1st 2004. Here are the details.

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At the bottom of this page you will find links to the full text published by FIDE. Since not everybody will have the time or energy to go through this 18-page document we have read it for you and present you with a summary of the most important points.


  • The FIDE World Chess Championship cycle 2003/04 will include four Continental Chess Championships (CCC), the World Chess Championship tournament (WCCT) and the World Chess Championship final match (WCCFM).

  • The Continental Chess Championships will be given to Europe, the Americas, Asia/Oceania and Africa.

  • Any FIDE member federation and any sponsor can bid for the WCCT or the WCCFM. The bidding process for the WCCT, which will be held before 1 July 2004, opened on 20 December 2003. Bids must be submitted no later than 20 February 2004. The envelopes will be opened in the FIDE Secretariat on 23 February at 12.00 local time. FIDE will choose the organizers on the basis of prize fund, local taxation, playing conditions, security, media coverage and climatic conditions.

  • Each applicant must pay a non-refundable fee of USD 1000 for the bidding form. Bank guarantees must be provided for 20% of the prize fund USD 50,000 for other obligations. The full amounts must be deposited in an escrow account one month before the start of the event. 50% of this amount will be retained by FIDE if the organizer fails to stage the event or breaches the agreement with FIDE.

  • The Continental Chess Championships will have a total prize fund of $350,000, divided among the Continents, as follows: Europe $120,000, Americas $80,000, Asia/Oceania $80,000 and Africa $70,000. FIDE retains 20% of the prize funds.

The World Chess Championship tournament

  • The WCCT can be organized in one group of 128 players or two groups with 64 players each. In the first case there will be seven rounds of knockout matches comprising of two games each in the first five rounds, four games for round six and six games for the final match (round seven). In case of 64 players there will be six rounds of knockout matches comprising of two games for rounds one to five and four games for round six.
  • The number of qualifiers for each continent is: Europe 46 players, Americas 19, Asia 19, Africa 6.
  • The 128 players of the WCCT will include the current FIDE World Champion, the runner-up and the two semi-finalists of the 2001-2002 World Championship (i.e. Ponomariov, Ivanchuk, Anand and Svidler), the world junior champion 2002, 20 highest rated players in the July 2002 and January 2003 list, 90 qualifiers from CCCs, 9 players nominated by the FIDE President and 4 by the organizers.
  • All players must pay their own cost of travel, accommodation and meals for their duration of stay. There will be no cash advance or pocket money for the players. There is an entry fee of $150 per player.

  • For purposes of pairings the players shall be ranked according to the current January 2004 published rating list. The World Champion will be seeded number one.

  • The rate of play is 1.5 hours for the first 40 moves, followed by 15 min till the end of the game, with an incremental time of 30 seconds per move from move one.

  • Tiebreaks: If the scores are level after the regular games two tie break games will be played. The rate of play is 25 minutes for all moves plus 10 seconds increment for each move. If the scores are still level two five-minute games will be played, with a 10 seconds increment for each move. If the score is still level one sudden death game will be played, with White getting six minutes and Black 5 minutes, without increment, with White having to win to qualify for the next round.

Commercial exploitation

  • FIDE has exclusive financial rights to the events and is free to exploit them commercially, including entering into advertisement agreements requiring players to wear clothes, aprons or caps with the branding of sponsors.

  • Income generated by admission charges, concessions, photography, radio, goes to the organizers. TV and Internet web transmission rights belong to FIDE, which has the exclusive rights for live games on Internet.

  • Only photographers and camera crew expressly authorized by the press officer can work in the playing venue.

Commitment of the World Champion

  • The winner of the final match of the World Championship tournament will be designated as World Champion. Following the spirit of the Prague Agreement and not later than July 2005, he must play a match against the best rated player GM G. Kasparov for a minimum prize fund of $500,000. The winner of this match shall be declared World Champion.

  • The winner of the WCCFM is precluded (alongside with the from the quarter-final stage of the Championship) from playing in any “World Championship” match that is not officially recognized by FIDE.

  • In accordance with the Prague Agreement, the new World Champion will play a match with the winner of the Kramnik-Leko match for the title of the undisputed World Champion. In case this match is not organized, FIDE shall announce its new decision in due course.


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