23 February 2011

2010 FIDE General Assembly : Whither the World Championship?

In my most recent post, London, Siberia, Turkey, Siberia, ..., I promised to follow-up a post from a year ago 2009 FIDE Executive Board : Whither the World Championship?, by extracting relevant info from the 81st FIDE General Assembly Minutes and Annexes, '29 September to 2 October 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia'. The 2010 edition of FIDE's largest annual meeting was held during a FIDE election year, meaning that more emphasis was placed on the election than on other FIDE matters. The 2010 minutes contain far less material of interest to the World Championship than was found in the 2009 minutes.

Is it worth dissecting discussions that occurred almost five months ago? In my opinion, yes. It gives us a good feel for the general direction and management of the world's most important chess federation. Ilyumzhinov's annual report contained more about past achievements since his election in 2006 than about future directions. It also included one very curious remark.

1. Report of the President. (29 September) [...] On the same topic he would like to inform everyone of the bidding procedure for the 2009 World Youth Championships. These tournaments have become the most important and prestigious tournaments of FIDE, where about 2000 sportsmen, trainers and accompanying persons usually attend. Among them are future Grandmasters and World Champions. They are the future of FIDE. [...]

The italics are mine. In the past the World Championship events were 'the most important and prestigious tournaments of FIDE'. That position has now been ceded, at least in the FIDE President's mind, to the World Youth Championships. Another surprise, to me at least, was in the greatly increased commercial value of the Olympiad to FIDE.

Regarding this Olympiad 2010, the expenses of the Organisers total from 12 to 14 mln USD. FIDE received from the Khanty-Mansiysk organizers 900,000 USD (Dresden [2008] paid 100,000 USD, and Calvia [2004] even less). The most important thing is the considerable improvement of conditions for CACDEC members, for the arbiters, and for the first time there will be a prize fund of 200,000 euros. Charter flights, costing 1.2 million USD, have also been organized. Similar conditions have been received from the Istanbul Organisers.

After that, Ilyumzhinov touched on the World Championship directly.

On the World Championship cycle, he said we should move forward and meet today’s challenges, with new development in the chess world, especially in the commercial part. The summary is clear. We have come back to a traditional system with a world championship cycle and a final match. [...]

but then returned to a summary of past title matches.

This system is more attractive for sponsors and is more understandable to them. This has been proven by the two matches that took place during this period [post-Turin 2006] – Anand-Kramnik in Bonn [2008] and Anand-Topalov in Sofia [2010]. [...]

During the last Presidential Board, he had attended the closing of the Anand-Topalov match in Sofia. He wanted to express the gratitude of FIDE to the Government and Chess Federation of Bulgaria for the brilliant organization and holding of the World Championship. As everyone knew, there had been a lot of scepticism on whether equal conditions for both players could be achieved, but FIDE together with the Organising Committee managed to do everyone possible and necessary, even to overcome the force majeur situation, and the match was held on the highest level. [...]

No thoughts about the current or next World Championship cycle? We find that later in the minutes.

Section [8?]: FIDE Meetings, Tournaments and Matches (29 September) [...]

8.6. World Cup 2011. Deputy President, G. Makropoulos said that it might take place in Khanty-Mansiysk. The President would advise.

8.7. Candidates Matches 2011. The event shall be organised in Kazan, Russian Federation. Annex 18 is the list of participants. Mr. Makropoulos said the final contract had not been signed. We have discussed several details here with the Russian Federation. He requested the authorisation for the President and the Board to finalise the discussion. General Assembly approved.

[8.?] World Championship Match 2012. London has an option. We are facing a serious problem regarding a tax issue. Mr. Makropoulos asked approval for the Presidential Board to authorise the finalising of the details. He said that if we are not able to finalise in the next two weeks, maybe we will have to open a bidding procedure. The players who play in the candidates’ matches want to know first who will organise the final match, before they sign the contract for the candidates match. They want to know the organisers and the conditions.

8.8. Grand Prix 2008-2010. Annex 19 is the final standings.

8.9. Women’s World Chess Championship 2010. The event shall take place in Hatay, Turkey, 2-25 December 2010.

8.10. Women’s Grand Prix. Annex 20 is the current standings. Mr Borg reported that there is one leg to organise. The Chileans cannot organise the tournament this year because of the earthquake.

As I mentioned in the 'London, Siberia' post, the World Cup is now on the official calendar in August at Khanty-Mansiysk; the London match fell through end-January, when the organizers withdrew their bid; and the Women’s Grand Prix was rescheduled (it's going on right now). Although I haven't seen any formal announcement for the World Cup, the FIDE handbook has a section on 08. Regulations for the World Chess Cup 2011, which Google dates to no later than '12 Dec 2010'. Among many other details, the regulations specify who qualifies (plus the rules for replacements),

2. 3. 5. The number of qualifiers for each continent is: Europe 46, Americas 19, Asia 19, Africa 6

3. 1. Qualifiers – There are 128 qualifiers (in order of priority): World Champion + four (4) semi-finalists from the World Cup 2009, Women's World Champion, World Junior U-20 Champions 2009 & 2010, twenty (20) rated players as described in 3.1.2, ninety (90) players from Continental Championships, six (6) FIDE President nominees, four (4) organiser nominees.

the prizes, and qualifications to the next stage.

4. 1. The winner and the runner up of the World Cup 2011 will qualify to the Candidates stage of the World Championship cycle 2011-2013. If there is a 3rd place qualification, a match will be organized together with the final match of the World Cup to decide the 3rd place.

The phrase 'if there is a 3rd place qualification' implies that the rules for the Candidates stage have not yet been fixed. There will be at least two qualifications and possibly three. It's worth noting that every one of the four Khanty-Mansiysk World Cups has seen different rules for qualifying from the World Cup to the Candidates.

Returning to the minutes of the 2010 FIDE General Assembly, paragraph 8.5 on the Chess Olympiad 2014, stated that both federations bidding on the Olympiad (Bulgaria and Norway) 'are bidding to host the World Cup in 2013 as part of their overall package'.

There are many more topics in the minutes to be digested, but that's about all for the World Championship. I might cover some of the other topics -- especially the continent/zone structure, appointed FIDE officers, ethics, SportAccord, and the CNC -- as my future posts call for them.

16 February 2011

London, Siberia, Turkey, Siberia, ...

Since the time I last looked at Current Events, there's been so much activity related to the World Championship that it's about time I pulled my head out of the zonals (see FIDE Rating Reports for Zone 2.x for the last update) and documented some of the news. Following is a summary:
  • After a months-long news drought about the next World Championship match, it rained in buckets starting with the withdrawal of the London 2012 organizers. I opened a new page, 2012 Title Match, to keep track of the happenings.

  • FIDE finally published documents related to the 81st FIDE General Assembly Minutes and Annexes -- 'We are publishing the Minutes and Annexes of the General Assembly meeting that was held from 29 September to 2 October 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia' -- so I'll tackle those as soon as I can. This will be a follow-on to the summary I did in December 2009, 2009 FIDE Executive Board : Whither the World Championship?

  • Just when I thought that the most recent Women’s World Championship, the 2010 FIDE Knockout Matches, was history, some of the participants released OPEN LETTER to FIDE about the WWCC 2010 [Chessblog.com; lots of comments] • 'We, the players of the Women’s World Chess Championship 2010 in Antakya/Hatay [Turkey] who have signed this document below, would like to share with the chess community and FIDE our thoughts about the level of the organization of the recent women's world championship.'

  • The women's complaints followed hot on the heels of It’s Turkey’s Move [gambit.blogs.nytimes.com; see 'Related Posts' for previous news] • 'In late December, the Turkish Chess Federation, which had been awarded the right to organize the European Women’s Championship, withdrew as the host.' What's the connection with the World Championship? The European Women’s Championship is a qualifier into the next World Women's Championship.

  • Of the last 20 news items on Fide.com (covering a little less than three weeks), four were congratulatory messages, three were related to titles, two were site subdomain announcements, and two were the comings & goings of the FIDE President. Given this relative lack of significant news, the FIDE Calendar for this year and for next, FIDE Calendar 2012, take on special importance.

    After the Candidates Matches 2011 (Kazan, Russia; 3-May-2011; 27-May-2011), the next big, scheduled event is the World Cup 2011 (Khanty Mansiysk, Russia; 26-Aug-2011; 21-Sep-2011). The first major event in the next cycle, this listing is noteworthy for several reasons. First, the months are a change from all previous World Cups, which were held November - December. Second, previous discussions (see my 'Whither' post above) had the event taking place in Tallinn, Estonia. Third, it is once again, and for the fourth consecutive World Cup, in Khanty Mansiysk (Siberia). Soviet authorities used to banish political opponents to Siberia. Now FIDE authorities send chess players.

There is no official news on the structure of the cycle following the World Cup, but there is unofficial news.

If by 1 March nowhere has been found to hold the four Grand Prix tournaments, then the cycle will be as follows: the candidates matches will consist of three players from the World Cup, three based on ratings, the nominee of the organising country and the player who lost the World Championship match. - Levitov on the collapse of the London match [Chessintranslation.com]

According to that same Chess in Translation post, Levitov is 'a FIDE Vice President and the man in charge of the Russian Chess Federation'. The schedule change for the World Cup has an impact on the qualifying events held by the continents and zones. Here are the continental events currently listed on the calendar.

  • 1.0 European Individual Chess Championship 2011 (Aix-les-Bains, France; 21-Mar-2011; 3-Apr-2011)
  • 2.0 Panamerican Continental Chess Championship 2011 (Mexico)
  • 3.0 Asian Continental Championships 2011 (Mashad, Iran; 1-May-2011; 11-May-2011)
  • 4.0 African Individual Chess Championships 2011 (Maputo, Mozambique; 19-Sep-2011; 1-Oct-2011)

The Panamerican championship isn't scheduled yet, and the African Championship takes place after the World Cup. As for the zones, the following are currently listed:-

  • 2.1 (St Louis, USA; 13-Apr-2011; 28-Apr-2011)
  • 2.2 (Colombia; 22-Mar-2011; 29-Mar-2011)
  • 3.1 (Yemen; 27-May-2011)
  • 3.3 (Tagaytay, Philippines; 23-May-2011; 31-May-2011)
  • 3.4 (Tashkent, Uzbekistan; 2-Jun-2011; 15-Jun-2011)
  • 3.5 (Beijing, China; 13-May-2011; 22-May-2011)
  • 3.6 (Rotorua, New Zealand; 25-Jan-2011; 31-Jan-2011)
  • 4.3 (Gaborone, Botswana 29-Apr-2011 9-May-2011)

The FIDE Grand Prix might be dead, but the Women's Grand Prix lives on:-

  • 2009-10, no.6 (Doha, Qatar; 20-Feb-2011; 6-Mar-2011)
  • 2011-12, no.1 (Nalchik, Russia; 16-Apr-2011; 30-Apr-2011)
  • 2011-12, no.2 (Astrakhan, Russia; 1-Jun-2011; 15-Jun-2011)
  • 2011-12, no.3 (?; 1-Sep-2011; 15-Sep-2011)
  • 2011-12, no.4 (Istanbul, Turkey; 16-Apr-2012; 30-Apr-2012)
  • 2011-12, no.5 (Jermuk, Armenia; 1-Jun-2012; 15-Jun-2012)
  • 2011-12, no.6 (?; 1-Sep-2012; 15-Sep-2012)

A few other events have venues and dates (Is the schedule conflict with the SportAccord Mind Games the reason the World Cup was shifted?):-

  • 2nd Quarter 2011 Presidential Board (Al Ain, UAE; 4-Jun-2011; 7-Jun-2011)
  • 82nd FIDE Congress 2011 (Krakow, Poland; 15-Oct-2011; 22-Oct-2011)
  • SportAccord Mind Games 2011 (Beijing, China; 8-Dec-2011; 17-Dec-2011)

And a few lack one or both:-

  • Women's World Championship Match 2011
  • World Championship Match 2012 (London, England)
  • Women's World Championship 2012 (Khanty Mansiysk, Russia)
  • World Chess Olympiad 2012 (Istanbul, Turkey) [FIDE General Assembly]

That's a lot of news for the World Chess Championship. I'll follow these up as time and info permit.

09 February 2011

FIDE Rating Reports for Zone 2.x

Continuing with FIDE Rating Reports for Zonals, I added links for the America's Continental Championship (as it is called by FIDE and which I number unofficially as zone 2.0) and for the U.S. Championship (zone 2.1) to my page on World Chess Championship Zonals : Links (and Other References). Due to the irregular intervals of the FIDE World Championships and of the U.S. Championships, this was more difficult to piece together than I had expected. I'm still not sure it's complete and correct.

02 February 2011

FIDE Rating Reports for Zonals

I added a new page, Zonals : Links (and Other References) to my index of World Chess Championship : Zonals. For now it only has links to rating reports on ratings.fide.com, but I expect that it will eventually encompass more material.

I ran into problems documenting events for the U.S Championship (zone 2.1) in the context of the American Continental Championships (which I number unofficially as 2.0) and couldn't solve them in the time I had available. I'll return to those events another time.