23 March 2007

FIDE's Current Plan for the WCC

To make sense of the current plan, it helps to go back to FIDE's December proposal. Chessbase explained the details of the plan, which were buried inside a PDF document on the FIDE site. It is reasonable to assume that the proposal was the idea of Ilyumzhinov, although Balgabaev was given credit. The gist was that an elimination event called the World Cup (held in odd years) would determine a match challenger for the reigning champion (even years). • NB: The links are all given with two dates. The first date is that of the document which is the subject of the link. The second date is that of the page which contains the document.
  • 2006-12-06 Proposal on the change of the World Chess Championship Cycle • 'FIDE is publishing the proposal on the change of the World Chess Championship Cycle made by Mr. Berik Balgabaev, Assistant to the FIDE President.' [6 December 2006; Fide.com]

  • 2006-12-09 FIDE's new world championship format • 'Since 1998 the FIDE world championship has been a 128-player knockout event, which never really found acceptance amongst chess players and fans. In 2005 the format was changed to an eight-player double round robin, with the knockout transforming into a "World Cup". Now FIDE has tabled a plan to merge the two.' [9 December; Chessbase.com]

According to later documents, the FIDE Presidential Board gave Ilyumzhinov the authority to make the decision and deferred it to a later date. FIDE also solicited the opinions of parties having a direct interest in the proposal. The December proposal was called 'A'; a second proposal, keeping the two events which FIDE had already proposed (a series of candidates matches and a double round robin tournament) was called 'B'.

Ilyumzhinov announced his decision at the beginning of March. It confirmed the December proposal ('Proposal A'). Various responses to the two proposals were only revealed after the decision had been announced.

  • 2007-02-19 Alexei Shirov on FIDE Proposals for future World Championship Cycles • 'Giving Mr. Kramnik a match in 2008 regardless the results in Mexico would only add the anarchy into our sport and therefore both proposals A and B are totally unacceptable. They also contradict your previous public statements and change the rules during the cycle. Finally there can not be two different democracies - one for a particular player and the other for the rest of the chess world.' [12 March; Chess-players.org (ACP)]

  • 2007-02-27 ACP position on "FIDE Proposals for future World Championship Cycles" • 'The ACP has thoroughly studied both proposals for the future World Chess Championship Cycles suggested by FIDE. In this letter we would like to present our official position, though we have to admit, that some of the ACP Board Members have different opinion.' [7 March; ; Chess-players.org (ACP)]

  • 2007-03-01 Decision of the FIDE President in respect of the World Chess Championship cycle • 'The FIDE Presidential Board in Antalya tasked the FIDE President to make a decision until 1 March 2007 in respect of the World Chess Championship Cycle for the coming 6 years.' [2 March; Fide.com (attaches only 'Proposal A')]

  • 2007-03-01 Decision of the FIDE President in respect of the World Chess Championship cycle • 'The FIDE Presidential Board decided in Antalya to present to the 20 Top Grandmasters and Candidates two proposals for the future World Championship Cycles. The ACP was also asked to present its opinion. The new format shall be stable and unchanged for a period of at least 6 years, starting after the Mexico WCCT 2007.'[12 March; Chess-players.org (ACP; attaches both 'Proposal A' & 'Proposal B')]

  • 2007-03-08 FIDE Follies Forever • 'If not forever at least until 2014, which is where the new FIDE world championship plan leaves off with ".. and so on." It may as well say 3014 from an organization that has changed its world championship format three times in the past year on paper and three other times in practice in just three years.' [8 March; Chessninja.com (lots of comments)]

  • 2007-03-12 FIDE President meets the World Champion Vladimir Kramnik • 'Today, 12 March 2007, the FIDE President has met the World Champion Vladimir Kramnik in Paris, France. Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov informed him on his decision in respect of the World Chess Championship cycle and decisions taken by the 1st quarter Presidential Board meeting held in Antalya, Turkey from 27 to 29 January 2007.' [12 March; Fide.com]

  • 2007-03-15 Alexei Shirov on the Decision regarding future World Championship Cycles • 'More than ten days passed after your decision on the future of the World Championships was published. At first I did not want to get further involved in the matter because after all the decision is the decision. But then I realized that something is still wrong.' [16 March; Chess-players.org (ACP)]

It is fairly clear from reading the various documents that FIDE had no intention of implementing anything other than the December proposal ('Proposal A'). The request for comments on the two proposals was political window dressing. While I have no particular preference for proposal 'A' or 'B', I find it a pity that the world's top players were ignored once again as FIDE continued to flip-flop on the format of the World Championship.


Following are a few more documents which have been published on the Web in recent weeks. They also have some relevance to the WCC events.

  • 2007-03-15 Charter flight from Moscow to Elista • 'The Organizing Committee of the Candidates Matches for the 2007 World Championship Tournament informs that a charter flight for participants, their accompanying persons, officials and mass media representatives will be organized on the 25th of May 2007.' [15 March; Fide.com]

  • 2007-03-19 ACP Proposal regarding Appeals Committee • 'Recently, the ACP has received many complaints (one of them attached) regarding the work of Appeals Committee during official FIDE events. Indeed, there was o lot of controversy even (or especially) during the World Championship Match in Elista 2006. Eventually, the FIDE President dismissed the Appeals Committee to have possibility of manoeuvre, as he admitted in an interview or the Members of the Appeals Committee voluntary resigned, as was stated on the FIDE website.' [19 March; Chess-players.org (ACP)]


Does anyone believe that the latest FIDE WCC proposal will hold as presented until 2014?

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