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hansie 428 ( +1 | -1 )
The best World Chess Championship format Dear Friends,

Although there has been a unification of the World Chess Champion Title for the present, I feel that it will not last for long, as Kramnik is sure to walk away from the Mexico 2007. Can not we have a world championship format which is acceptable to most of the people, particularly, important players like Kramnik, whose approach is more traditional and classical in the matter? If chess is to survive in face of numerous challenges (such as computers) and continue to attract fans, finance, corporate sponsorship, etc., it needs a world champion who is the strongest player in the world and who wins/retains/regains his crown in a manner most convincing, appealing and imaginative to the fans in general and in a form appropriate to all, the players, the organizers, the sponsors and the chess fans.

I propose below a summary of what I feel is the most appropriate world chess championship format. The details would be posted in instalments.

(A chess fan from India)
17 October 2006


The World Chess Championship Cycle (a single year cycle) shall be organized in accordance with a fixed multi-year calendar finalized well in advance and shall consist of the following stages:

National (Qualifier to The World Qualifier to World Candidates Chess Championship) Championships, which shall be the responsibility of the Federations.

The World Qualifier to World Candidates Chess Championship (WQWCCC), a double elimination knockout tournament with 256 players: the Woman's World Champion, World Junior U-20 Champion, World Seniors Champion, 90 rated players, 158 nominees from 158 member federations, two FIDE nominees, three organizer nominees. There shall be seven/eight knockout rounds of two-games matches. Shall be held in September every year concurrently with the World Chess Championship Match of the previous cycle.

The World Candidates Chess Championship, a single elimination knockout tournament with 16 players: One (1) player shall qualify as the previous World Vice-Champion, rest 15 (fifteen) players shall qualify from WQWCCC. There shall be four knockout rounds of six-game matches. Shall be held in two legs every year in December and April.

The World Chess Championship Match shall be played between the winner of the World Candidates Chess Championship and the Reigning World Champion. Shall be held in September every year concurrently with the WQWCCC of the subsequent cycle.

Drawing of colours: In the WQWCCC and World Candidates Chess Championship, the lower ranked player in all the matches shall receive White in all the ODD numbered games (including the tie-break games), In the World Chess Championship Match, the Challenger (Winner of the World Candidates Chess Championship) shall receive White in all the ODD numbered games.

Pairings: Pairings in the WQWCCC and the World Candidates Chess Championship shall follow the principle of top most vs. bottom most in all the rounds for which initially the players shall be ranked as per the most recent rating list. In case of WQWCCC, for the subsequent rounds, the remaining players shall be re-ranked as per the ratings adjusted for the performance in the previous rounds. In case of World Candidates Chess Championship, re-ranking in the subsequent rounds shall be done as per the most recent of any later rating list. If any later rating list is not available than then the re-ranking shall be as per the ratings adjusted for the performance in the previous rounds.

Time Control: All the events in the World Chess Championship Cycle shall be played with the Classical time control of 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.

Tie breaks: Both in the WQWCCC and in the World Candidates Chess Championship, the first tie break shall consist of a mini-match of four rapid games, the second tie break shall consist of a mini-match of two blitz games and the third tie break shall consist of one decisive sudden death blitz game. In the World Chess Championship Match the reigning World Champion shall retain the title in the case of a tie and there shall be NO tie break.

buddie 29 ( +1 | -1 )
The problem: There is one big problem for knockout competitions - money (lack of).

No sponsor is going to pay for sixteen or eight super-GMs playing the "round of 16" or the quarter-finals for a month.
Sponsors will only be interested in the final itself or a "final eliminator".
Without the sponsorship, the best players won't play.

ionadowman 38 ( +1 | -1 )
World Champs... ... A tournament. Top half-dozen, based on performance, possibly measured (faute de mieux) by ELO, play quadruple round robin. Possible restriction: just one player from any given nation. I don't particularly like this suggestion, but it might please the sp...ons/ectat...ors. Tournament to be played annually or once every 2 years.
Short, simple, sweet. That is why it won't be adopted.
hansie 67 ( +1 | -1 )
The problem buddie, you are partially right about the sponsor part.
But please remember a few things,
One, till 1995, World Championships both (FIDE and PCA) were played out in the similar formats and there was no dearth of sponsors,
Two, Topalov did not play in this year's Sparkassen (and Biel) tournament(s) which was(were) successful,
Three, despite top players not playing, it was possible to hold the World Cup 2005,
Four, it is true that "sixteen or eight super-GMs playing the "round of 16" or the quarter-finals" is not the final eliminator, but it will indeed provide 'final four' candidates who could be as exciting as Topalov, Anand, Svidler and Morozevich to challenge the Champion (Kramnik).
hansie 67 ( +1 | -1 )
World Champs... ionadowman, thanks for your opinion. However,
your suggestion: six players, quadruple round robin, restriction (1 country-1 player)
San Luis '05/Mexico '07: eight players, double round robin, no restriction.
Thus your suggestion is only slightly different from the present scenario.
Two, there are certain problems in picking the top six straight from ELO or so-called 'performances', which I shall elaborate upon shortly in another post.
Three, despite the country specific 'restriction', there are certain issues which can not be addresed by a round robin tournament. Again, I shall elaborate upon that shortly in another post.
ionadowman 53 ( +1 | -1 )
I accept I'm a bit out of touch... ... (more than a bit, actually) so I was expressing a view long held. Note that I was a bit tentative about some aspects (ELO as a basis for selection, and the restriction by nation).
So I have done the organizers (FIDE?) a disservice: they had adopted an idea similar to mine.
One-on-one matches have serious problems, and the continual fiddling around with the format seems to indicate they aren't satisfactory, but the issues concerning tournaments to which hansie alludes may be sufficiently compelling to force a different view.