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.

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