26 June 2019

Future of the Women's World Championship

After last week's post, 2019 Women's Candidates Tournament, Kazan, I tied up some loose ends and then tackled the future of the Women's World Chess Championship. Here's what I wrote last week:-
The information about the next cycle is scattered across different documents and, although it's consistent, I couldn't find a single document pulling everything together. [...] There might be a basic document that I've overlooked.

The most important document for understanding FIDE's current direction is the FIDE Handbook. Here's a copy of the World Championship section where I've highlighted the women's events in red.

There are four parts:-

07. Regulations for the Women's World Chess Championship Cycle
08. Regulations for the FIDE Women’s World Championship Match 2019-20
09. Regulations for the 2019-2020 Women's FIDE Grand Prix
10. Rules for the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament 2019

The first part should cover the entire cycle, but it describes the former system of a knockout championship alternating with a match.

07. Regulations for the Women's World Chess Championship Cycle

1.1. The Women’s World Chess Championship shall be organised annually and qualifying events include the following: National Championships, Zonal Tournaments, Continental Championships, FIDE Women’s Grand Prix and the final stages, the Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament in even years 2018, 2020 etc. (64-player knock out system) and the Women’s World Chess Championship Match (10 games, 2 players) in odd years 2017, 2019, etc.

2. Qualifying events for the Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament (knock out system)...

The other documents describe a future cycle. For example:-

09. Regulations for the 2019-2020 Women's FIDE Grand Prix

2.8. The two players who score the most number of cumulative points in WGP Series qualify to the FIDE Women Candidates Tournament to be held in the first half of 2021.

The next Women's World Cup is scheduled for Minsk, Belarus, starting September 2020. How many players will qualify for the 2021 Candidates Tournament? My guess is two, along with the loser of the forthcoming title match, a couple of seeds based on rating, and an organizer's choice.

The announcement of the women's candidates tournament changed a cycle which was already in progress, a rookie mistake. Where is the follow-through describing the next cycle? Note that the the women's events are not the only problem in the handbook, which currently describes two candidates tournaments in the main WCC cycle.

05. Rules & Regulations for the Candidates Tournament of the FIDE World Championship cycle 2016-2018
[...]
12. Regulations for the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020

Conclusion: Communication is not the strong point of the current FIDE management. The former FIDE management, despite their many shortcomings, did a better job of documenting their decisions.

19 June 2019

2019 Women's Candidates Tournament, Kazan

I added the recently completed 2019 Kazan Candidates Tournament to my index page on the World Chess Championship for Women. This should have been relatively straightforward, but I ran into complications when I tried to understand the structure of the next cycle.

The information about the next cycle is scattered across different documents and, although it's consistent, I couldn't find a single document pulling everything together. The subdomain for womenchess.fide.com is also hopelessly out of date. I'll come back to this at the same time I update the other data -- PGN and the Index of Women Players -- for the Kazan Candidates event. There might be a basic document that I've overlooked.

12 June 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C12

In my previous zonal post, Zonal Qualifiers C13-C16 (May 2019), I noted,
I was pleased with the correlation between my data and the ZQP [zonal qualifying paths] data. It was even better than I had hoped for and confirmed my belief that the ZQP data is an excellent source of info on the early FIDE zonals and interzonals.

That gave me a green light to proceed with the earlier World Championship cycles, C01-C12. An overview of C12 is shown in the following chart. It lists the players who competed in the three interzonals for that cycle.

The 1st & 3rd columns are from the ZQP data. The 2nd & 4th columns are from my own pages. The 2nd column shows in which interzonal the player participated and corresponds to the following list:-

The 4th column corresponds to the zonal numbering on my page (C12) 1981-1984 Zonal Cycle. Players who didn't qualify from a zonal were seeded on other criteria.

05 June 2019

2019 Grand Prix, Moscow

I added the crosstable and PGN for the first event in the 2019 Grand Prix. The tournament's logo is shown to the left. For more about the logos for the new Grand Prix, see Magic Beasts Are the Key Visuals for the 2019 Grand Prix Series (worldchess.com).

For more about the current cycle, see FIDE Starts the New Cycle (May 2019). For the last post about the Grand Prix in the previous cycle, see 2017-18 GP (December 2017).

29 May 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C13-C16

In the previous post, Zonal Qualifiers C01-C16, I started working with a summary of the qualifying paths from the zonal stage to the interzonal stage for the earliest World Championship cycles. On top of zonals, these paths included other means of seeding players into the Interzonals, like rating. To facilitate comparison, I created a table which is also shown near the end of today's post.
The table shows my count of the number of players who participated in the interzonals for C01 through C16. [...] The last column shows the number of players documented in the zonal material that I'm using as the base for this exercise. The table gives me a guide for further work on this particular project. [...] The new data lets me complete C01-C12 and also lets me doublecheck C13-C16.

The cycles C13-C16 took place during FIDE's darkest days. Let's have a recap of the interzonals that spanned nearly a decade.

C13 unfolded during the uncertainty of the first three Kasparov - Karpov (K-K) matches, when the continuity of the previous cycle (C12) had been disrupted and had entered uncharted territory. For C13, FIDE scrambled to organize something resembling a traditional cycle. There were three Interzonals that eventually led the way to the fourth K-K match.

C14 was played in (more-or-less) traditional circumstances. It was the last cycle to have three Interzonals. They culminated in the fifth K-K match, the last match between the two 'K's.

C15 saw the introduction of a single interzonal tournament using a Swiss system format instead of the traditional round-robin format. The cycle would eventually lead to the schism between FIDE and Kasparov, with two parallel World Championship matches.

C16 was played as the schism was deepening, with two parallel World Championship cycles. No one knew where world class chess was going.

The following chart is taken from the previous post, 'Zonal Qualifiers C01-C16', and highlights the four cycles featured in today's post. The counts show the approximate number of players who qualified into the interzonals for those cycles.

I compared the lists of players from my record of interzonals and the summary of zonal qualifying paths (ZQP). After identifying differences in the spelling of players' last names (needs more work to establish the accepted spelling) and accounting for the order of Asian names (like 'Qi Jinguan' and 'Jinguan Qi' in C13) I worked out the reason for the different numbers.

In C13 and C14, a total of four players were missing from the ZQP lists. C15 matched perfectly. C16 was due to a mismatch between my page on 1993 Biel and my Index of Players (they should also match); the ZQP data was perfect.

All things considered, I was pleased with the correlation between my data and the ZQP data. It was even better than I had hoped for and confirmed my belief that the ZQP data is an excellent source of info on the early FIDE zonals and interzonals.

22 May 2019

Zonal Qualifiers C01-C16

The current FIDE World Championship cycle is slowly getting into gear, so I'll fill the idle time with another crack at Small Projects for 2019 (January 2019):-
The first two of the actions on that [2018] 'Projects' post are still open [...], while the second required permission to reuse published material. This permission was granted recently: 'If you'd like to quote my zonal material, that's fine.'

That second action is a continuation of Zonal Qualifiers C01-C12 : Archive.org (June 2017), where I took 'the first steps for documenting the interzonal qualification process in C01-C12'. The numbering C01, C12, etc. is a convention I use to identify the different World Championship cycles that have taken place since 1948. According to that convention, we are in the 29th cycle or '2019-20 C29'. The complete cycles C01-C14 are documented on my page, Index of FIDE Events 1948-1990.

The table on the left shows my count of the number of players ('Plyrs') who participated in the interzonals for C01 through C16. The middle column ('Evts', events) shows the number of interzonals that took place during the cycle. The last column ('ZQP', zonal qualifying paths) shows the number of players documented in the zonal material that I'm using as the base for this exercise.

The table gives me a guide for further work on this particular project. Ideally, 'Plyrs' should be equal to 'ZQP', although even when it is there might be a mismatch between the names of the players.

I've already documented the qualifying paths for C13 through C28, as shown at the bottom of the page Index of Zonals. The new data lets me complete C01-C12 and also lets me doublecheck C13-C16.

15 May 2019

FIDE Starts the New Cycle

With the first leg of the 2019 Grand Prix starting this week, I added three new pages to my site for the World Chess Championship:-

The new pages include links to Fide.com announcements that I've documented in previous blog posts:-

The contest to determine the next challenger for World Champion Magnus Carlsen starts this week with the Grand Prix event in Moscow.