11 January 2023

FIDE: 'No' to GPX and GCT; 'Yes' to HIT

Mid-December 2022, FIDE announced, FIDE reforms the qualifications paths to the Candidates Tournament (fide.com; 'FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024'). The announcement started,
The FIDE Council approved a major reform of the qualification paths to the Candidates Tournament. [...] The main innovation is creating a new qualification path through different FIDE-rated tournaments. [...] The second main change consists of increasing the number of qualification spots at the World Cup from 2 to 3.

To summarize the announcement:-

  • 1 spot - FIDE World Championship Match 2023, Runner-up
  • 3 spots - FIDE World Cup 2023
  • 2 spots - FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2023
  • 1 spot - High-Level International Tournaments (HIT)
  • 1 spot - The highest-rated player by standard rating in the January 2024 rating list

Most of the announcement discussed the criteria for 'Eligible Tournaments' in the newly invented 'HIT'. One consequence of the announcement was Grand Chess Tour out of new FIDE Candidates system (chess24.com; Colin McGourty). The article summarized FIDE's changes:-

The Grand Prix is gone and there’s no wildcard, with an extra 3rd spot for the World Cup and a new "FIDE Circuit" place for the best results in eligible tournaments in 2023. The biggest surprise is that the two announced spots for the Grand Chess Tour are gone.

The Grand Chess Tour [GCT] has never been associated with the FIDE World Championship, but there was a surprising announcement in April 2022: Grand Chess Tour becomes part of the World Championship Cycle (fide.com). The entire announcement said only this and nothing more:-

The FIDE Council has approved a cooperation agreement with the Grand Chess Tour. By virtue of this agreement, the two top finishers of the 2023 and 2025 Series will qualify for the Candidates 2024 and 2026 respectively. More details on the agreement and the format will follow in due time.

The phrase 'in due time' turned out to mean 'never'. The GCT was intended to replace the Grand Prix, last held in 2022. For a reminder of what happened then, see 2022 Grand Prix; Berlin / Belgrade, II-IV, 2022 (m-w.com). The two spots were won by Hikaru Nakamura and Richard Rapport.

For the official record of qualifications to the previous Candidates tournament, 2022 Candidates Tournament; Madrid, VI-VII, 2022 (m-w.com), see Road to Candidates (fide.com/madrid2022). There were several twists and turns along the way. I suppose we can expect more of the same for 2024.

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