World Championship Cycle… improvement?

Has anyone figured out the new World Championship cycle? FIDE released a report of changes made essentially to accommodate former FIDE champion, Veselin Topalov. As you all know, Bulgaria’s Topalov played Russia’s Vladimir Kramnik in a match last year… and lost amidst the ‘toiletgate’ controversy. Here’s a Google of ‘toiletgate chess‘ if you need details.

At a time when Kramnik was seeking legitimacy from the diminishing value of his world title, Topalov agreed to play the unification match. Fans breathed a sigh of relief since controvery had rankled the chess world since (at the time) World Champion Garry Kasparov broke away from FIDE, formed a competing organization and played a “PCA World Championship” match against Nigel Short of England. After failure to organize a cycle, PCA folded and another match was not played until 2000. Kasparov then lost to Kramnik in a shocking result. Kramnik held the title (defending only once against Peter Leko) while FIDE had organized successive cycles with their own champion.

Most felt that Kramnik did not have a chance against Topalov due to health reasons and because Topalov had been destroying competition in elite tournaments for the past two years. When the unification format was planned, FIDE perhaps did not see Topalov losing and basically wrote the loser out of the cycle for two years. NOW, there is a dilemma in not having the world’s #2 in the cycle. The unification has turned out to be a disaster for Topalov and he has assembled a strong Bulgarian delegation to argue his case for inclusion.

I have looked it over and it is very complex and it appears a consistent schedule will only begin in 2010 (in two-year cycles). Here is what they have designed. WARNING: Brain might explode in trying to figure this out.


  1. If Kirsan had realized that the old FIDE championship cycle wasn’t broken until he tried to fix it, this wouldn’t have happened. All we needed was a simple reunification match with the loser of the match being seeded into the next cycle. No fuss, no muss and no silly knock out tournaments to determine the world champion, who would just as likely be Walter Mitty as Garry Kasparov.

    I never understood why the loser of the reunification match had to be excluded from anything, so including Topalov sooner rather than later is all right with me. Had Kramnik lost, I would say that he should be included.

  2. Wild Bill,
    I thought the format was very strange as I have seen no other sports organization (that I know of) where the loser of the championship would not be eligible to re-enter the cycle for two years. In most instances, everyone starts over.

    For all the muck-racking in the WCC last year and the San Luis cheating allegations notwithstanding, it would be a travesty NOT to have Topalov in Mexico. But this new format… a mish-mash of different styles is appears to be an attempt to satisfy a number of different entities. It makes one think… “what would the chess world had been like if Kasparov had not bolted FIDE?”

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