US Chess: Candidate Tournament Qualification Letter to FIDE

by Press release
12/5/2023 – David Hater, FIDE delegate of the US Chess Federation, has written an open letter to FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich on behalf of the USCF, complaining that imprecise FIDE rules for qualifying for the FIDE Circuit Candidates Tournament and for rating have caused confusion among players. FIDE had changed the rules at short notice.

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Press release

December 4, 2023

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich
FIDE Headquarters
Avenue de Rhodanie 54
1007 Lausanne, Switzerland

Dear President Dvorkovich,

The US Chess Federation would like to take this opportunity to provide some comments for the qualification for the current World Championship cycle.

As I'm sure you would agree, the right to compete for the World Chess Championship is the pinnacle for any elite chess grandmaster and there are so many deserving players, but very few can actually be afforded the opportunity to compete in any given cycle. The margin where one player is selected and another is not is often razor thin.

Because of this, we believe it is absolutely critical that the procedures used to select who will be afforded this prestigious opportunity must be completely transparent and be extremely clear to all parties so that there can be no doubt as to how selections will occur.

For this current cycle, there was a bit of confusion regarding the procedures whereby the player qualifies by rating. The rules to qualify from the FIDE Circuit specify that in order to be on the FIDE Circuit ranking list a player can only have a maximum of one event per country, with the exclusion of FIDE competitions and national championships (3.2). The rules to qualify by rating make no mention of this requirement, only referring to the need for events to be eligible for the FIDE Circuit (1.1). Even today, there is no mention of this requirement in the FIDE Handbook although we do understand that within the last week, FIDE announced that the same requirements used for FIDE Circuit qualification would be used for the highest rating qualification.

We support this rule applying to the qualification by rating. However, many players were unaware of this requirement. We do understand there was an intent to make this the requirement, but in our opinion, it was not clearly communicated and has still not been published in the FIDE Handbook

The USA is quite pleased that we will have multiple players who will be competing in the Candidates' Tournament. Regardless of who ultimately receives the final selection, we wish all the competitors the best and look forward to great chess at the tournament! Notwithstanding our best wishes for all the competitors, we again want to implore FIDE to ensure that all the administrative requirements are known to all potential participants at the beginning of the cycle and that there are no unintended surprises late in the selection cycle.

Thank you for your consideration.

David Hater

USA Delegate

Original at the USCF...