01 May 2019

FIDE Details the New Cycle

Following-up the previous post on FIDE's new management, FIDE Maps the New Cycle (February 2019), we find that FIDE has pressed ahead with its plans. In this post I'll cover announcements related to various aspects of the World Championship. The first batch all appeared around the same time. (Links are to Fide.com.)

That last link, an interview covering several talking points related to the World Championship, took place at the same time as the PB meeting in Astana.

AD [Arkady Dvorkovich]: We are working on the World Championship Cycle. The Regulations of the Title Match and the Candidates Tournament will soon be ready for publication, which will naturally launch the bidding procedure for these events. [...]

YP [Yannick Pelletier]: A few significant modifications have been brought to the formula of the World Championship cycle. What impact will they have in your opinion?

AD: First of all, we are improving the visibility of our tournaments. The new "Grand Swiss" will be spectacular and attractive. This event opens the door to the Candidates Tournament for all young and talented players who have not yet made it to the Top-10. And it also represents an opportunity for all participants to improve by being confronted directly with world-class players. Moreover, we have reformed the Grand Prix Series. For the first time, tournaments will be staged with the knockout system, as in tennis. We are expecting to arouse interest from sponsors and journalists through this new format. All participants will be motivated to fight until the end, both for the qualification spots and for prizes in each event and the overall rankings.

Another aspect I would like to broach is the importance of side events at such tournaments. Starting with the World Rapid and Blitz Championship in St Petersburg, and also here in Astana, we are making a point of cooperating with local organizers to have a program of parallel activities, like simultaneous, events for kids, blitz, etc. I consider it crucial to open the doors of a top tournament to all levels of chess players and fans, and thus to avoid seclusion. It improves the image of chess and attracts attention.

YP: A last question related to the World Championship cycle, which has been sent to me by Mr. Leonard Barden, emblematic figure for chess in The Guardian: What has been done to try and build a friendly relationship with Rex Sinquefield and Garry Kasparov, since it is clear that an agreement could bring major benefits to chess?

AD: I met Rex Sinquefield for the first time during the opening ceremony of the World Championship match in London and our short discussion was very friendly. Actually, my colleague of the management board Director General Emil Sutovsky has had intense consultations with Sinquefield’s team of the Grand Chess Tour, including Garry Kasparov, in order to adjust the tournament calendar. They have increased the number of events this year, so that coordination with the World Championship cycle was essential.

All tournaments now have their place in the calendar 2019, and we basically avoided clashes of the main competitions, except for November which was completely unavoidable. But the smooth cooperation with the Grand Chess Tour allowed to minimize the damage for the players. Indeed, providing for the satisfactory distribution of all participants in the events of both cycles was fundamental. Both sides are happy and continue to work effectively. FIDE has big expectations for the upcoming World Championship and I hope that we will receive competing bids from many countries.

Of the 35 PB decisions, I counted five related to the World Championship. Note the new African zone.

  • 2019-03-13: List of Q1 2019 Presidential Board Decisions
    Q1PB-2019/17 To approve the regulations for the 2020 World Chess Championship Candidate Tournament. Also to set a recommended prize fund of 2 Mln Euro for the Title Match.
    Q1PB-2019/18 To approve GSC proposal to ban draws by mutual agreement before move 40 in Candidates and World Championship Matches starting 2020.
    Q1PB-2019/19 To approve GSC proposal in regards to the tie-break criteria for the Swiss-system events of the World Championship Cycle.
    Q1PB-2019/25 To confirm the new Addendum to the Agreement with World Chess., approved by absentee voting in January 2019.
    Q1PB-2019/32 To approve the African continental report and the creation of the zone 4.5 with further ratification by GA.

  • 2019-03-14: Tie-break criteria in Swiss-system events of the World Championship Cycle

  • 2019-03-26: Kazan inaugurates a new stage in women’s chess • See PDF

The following announcements were accompanied by PDF documents giving details.

  • 2019-04-19: FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss Tournament • 'Please find below the updated version of the Tournament Regulations in accordance with the decision of the FIDE Presidential Board as well as the current ranking of top 120 players by average rating as per April 1, 2019.'

  • 2019-04-26: New regulations for the World Championship matches • 'FIDE has approved the regulations for the World Championship Match 2020, as well as for the Women's World Championship match 2019-2020. The bidding procedure will last three months. [...] Apart from the technical and format changes in both cycles, the main novelty respect to the past few years is that FIDE is again in charge of organizing the World Championship match. After having delegated this responsibility on a third party company for the past few editions, a top priority for the new leadership under Arkady Dvorkovich's direction was to regain the commercial rights over its flagship event. The approval of these regulations marks the completion of this plan.'

In the last day, two more announcements further separated current FIDE management from the previous administration.

According to the previous post, 'FIDE Maps the New Cycle', we will see two events in May: (1) the first event of the new Grand Prix tournaments, in Moscow; and (2) the Women’s Candidates Tournament in Kazan, Russia. All eyes will be on FIDE to see whether it can execute its plans as smoothly as it announces them.

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