27 April 2019

Roadmap for a World Championship

The previous post, Summer Is Coming, started with intermittent reports of a 'Fischer Random World Chess Championship in the fall of 2019'. It continued,
This was confirmed in an announcement about 'The Fischer Random Chess Championship 2019' (frchess.com), which included a press release, 'Chess.com Announces FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship' (ditto).

In the week since that post, more detail about the event has emerged:-

  • 2019-04-20: The World Fischer Random Chess Championship is now officially recognized by FIDE (fide.com) • 'The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has granted the rights to host the inaugural FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship cycle to Dund AS, in partnership with Chess.com. And, for the first time in history, a chess world championship cycle will combine an online, open qualifier and worldwide participation with physical finals.'

Given Fischer's longstanding opposition to FIDE when he was alive, it's not clear how the world organization can use his name or assume ownership of his idea to 'grant the rights' to a World Championship. I'll leave that discussion to any parties that might have a legitimate claim.

The FIDE announcement also included links to PDF versions of a 'Press Release' and 'Regulations'. A few days later, Chess.com chimed in:-

The qualification process outlined in the second link, the 'Information Guide', is long and complicated. Its basic segments are shown in the following chart.

(Expands by 50%; see the 'Information Guide' or 'Regulations' for an even larger version.)

The three boxes in the top row define three distinct phases:-

  • "Open Qualifier" Phase : For Non-Titled Players
  • "Play-in" Phase : For Eligible Players
  • "Knockout" : 84 Players + 12 Invited Players

The 'Knockout' phase leads to 'Quarterfinal' (QF) matches that will eventually culminate in a 'Final' match. The first 'Open Qualifier' event starts tomorrow, 28 April. These organizers aren't wasting any time!

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