Chess World Cup

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The Chess World Cup refers to three different events over the years. Since 2000, it has been a major chess event organized by FIDE, the World Chess Federation. Since 2005, it has been a 128-player single-elimination chess tournament, forming part of the qualification for the World Chess Championship.

Chess Strategy board game

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered gameboard with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. The game is played by millions of people worldwide. Chess is believed to be derived from the Indian game chaturanga some time before the 7th century. Chaturanga is also the likely ancestor of the Eastern strategy games xiangqi, janggi, and shogi. Chess reached Europe by the 9th century, due to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The pieces assumed their current powers in Spain in the late 15th century with the introduction of "Mad Queen Chess"; the modern rules were standardized in the 19th century.

FIDE international organization that connects the various national chess federations around the world

The Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation is an international organization that connects the various national chess federations around the world and acts as the governing body of international chess competition. It is usually referred to as FIDE, its French acronym.

Single-elimination tournament knock-out sports competition

A single-elimination, knockout, or sudden death tournament is a type of elimination tournament where the loser of each match-up is immediately eliminated from the tournament. Each winner will play another in the next round, until the final match-up, whose winner becomes the tournament champion. Each match-up may be a single match or several, for example two-legged ties in European football or best-of series in American pro sports. Defeated competitors may play no further part after losing, or may participate in "consolation" or "classification" matches against other losers to determine the lower final rankings; for example, a third place playoff between losing semi-finalists. In a shootout poker tournament, there are more than two players competing at each table, and sometimes more than one progressing to the next round. Some competitions are held with a pure single-elimination tournament system. Others have many phases, with the last being a single-elimination final stage, often called playoffs.


GMA World Cup (1988–1989)

In 1988–1989, the Grandmasters Association organised a series of six high-ranking World Cup tournaments in the form of a 'Grand Prix'. [1] [2]

FIDE World Cup (2000–2002)

In 2000 and 2002 FIDE, the World Chess Federation, staged their "First Chess World Cup" and "Second Chess World Cup" respectively. These were major tournaments, but not directly linked to the World Chess Championship. Both the 2000 [3] and 2002 [4] events were won by Viswanathan Anand of India.

World Chess Championship played to determine the World Champion in chess

The World Chess Championship is played to determine the world champion in chess. Since 2014, the schedule has settled on a two-year cycle with a championship held in every even year. Magnus Carlsen has been world champion since he dethroned Viswanathan Anand in 2013. He then went on to successfully defend his title against Anand in 2014, against Sergey Karjakin in 2016 and against Fabiano Caruana in 2018.

The FIDE World Cup 2000 was a 24-player Category XVI chess tournament played between 1 September and 13 September 2000 in Shenyang, China. The tournament was organized by FIDE, hosted by the Chinese Chess Association, and billed as the First Chess World Cup. Viswanathan Anand defeated Evgeny Bareev in the final to win the inaugural title and a $50,000 cash prize.

The FIDE World Cup 2002, marketed as the Second Chess World Cup, was a 24-player Category XVI chess tournament played between 9 October and 22 October 2002 in Hyderabad, India. The tournament was hosted at Ramoji Film City and organized by FIDE in conjunction with the All India Chess Federation. Former World Cup winner Viswanathan Anand defeated Rustam Kasimdzhanov in the final to retain the title.


YearDatesHostPlayersWinnerRunner-upThird placeFourth place
2000 1–13 Sep Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Shenyang, China 24 Flag of India.svg Viswanathan Anand Flag of Russia.svg Evgeny Bareev Flag of Israel.svg Boris Gelfand and Flag of Brazil.svg Gilberto Milos
2002 9–22 Oct Flag of India.svg Hyderabad, India 24 Flag of India.svg Viswanathan Anand Flag of Uzbekistan.svg Rustam Kasimdzhanov Flag of Slovenia.svg Alexander Beliavsky and Flag of Russia.svg Alexey Dreev

Both tournaments began with a round-robin state, consisting of four groups of six players each. The top two players from each group were subsequently seeded into an eight-player single-elimination bracket.

FIDE World Cup (since 2005)

Since 2005, a different event of the same name has been part of the World Chess Championship cycle. This event is being held every two years. It is a 128-player knockout tournament, in the same style as the Tilburg tournament between 1992–1994, or the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2004 FIDE World Championships.

The Tilburg chess tournament was a series of very strong chess tournaments held in Tilburg, Netherlands. It was established in 1977 and ran continuously through 1994 under the sponsorship of Interpolis, an insurance company. Fontys Hogescholen shortly revived the tournament series from 1996 to 1998, when the last edition was played. Since 1994 there is another annual chess tournament taking place in Tilburg, which has the name De Stukkenjagers, the field is generally much weaker than the traditional Tilburg tournament.

The FIDE World Chess Championship 1998 was contested in a match between the FIDE World Champion Anatoly Karpov and the challenger Viswanathan Anand. The match took place between 2 January and 9 January 1998 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The challenger was determined in a tournament held in Groningen, Netherlands, between 9 December and 30 December 1997. After the championship match ended in a draw, Karpov won the rapid playoff, becoming the 1998 FIDE World Chess Champion.

The FIDE World Chess Championship 1999 was held at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip between 31 July and 28 August 1999. The championship was won by Russian Alexander Khalifman, making him the FIDE World Chess Champion.

The event was held in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011 in Khanty-Mansiysk, and subsequently FIDE has given preference to bids for the Olympiad that also contain a bid for the preceding World Cup. [5] [6] During the 2015 finals of the World Cup, the main organizer commented "We received the right to host the Olympiad and then we were given an additional event – the World Cup." [7]

The Chess World Cup 2005 qualified ten players for the Candidates Tournament for the World Chess Championship 2007. Since then, every World Cup has qualified between one and three players for the Candidates Tournament.

The Chess World Cup 2005 served as a qualification tournament for the FIDE World Chess Championship 2007. It was held as a 128-player tournament, between 27 November and 17 December 2005, in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

The Candidates Tournament is a chess tournament organized by FIDE, chess's international governing body, since 1950, as the final contest to determine the challenger for the World Chess Championship. The winner of the Candidates earns the right to a match for the World Championship against the incumbent World Champion. The most recent FIDE World Chess Candidates tournament took place in Berlin from 10–28 March 2018.

World Chess Championship 2007 chess championship held in Mexico City

The World Chess Championship 2007 was held in Mexico City, from 12 September 2007 to 30 September 2007 to decide the world champion in the board game chess. It was an eight-player, double round robin tournament.

Two World Cup qualifiers (Boris Gelfand in 2009 and Sergey Karjakin in 2015) won the subsequent Candidates tournament and played in the World Championship match, in 2012 and 2016 respectively.


Since 2005, the format has been 128 players with 7 single-elimination rounds of "mini-matches", which are 2 games each followed by a series of rapid then blitz tiebreaks if necessary. The final usually has 4 games before the tiebreaks start. Since 2015, an extra rest day has recently been added before the semi-finals, in addition to before the final. [8]

Some criticism has been leveled at the scheduling effects, with the event being rather long (26 days), particularly with almost all of the players having left long before the end. [9] Fatigue thus plays a critical role, and while some players seek to conserve energy by avoiding tiebreaks, others "agree" (either explicitly or implicitly) to make short draws in the 2 long games and decide the winner in tiebreaks. There are often comments that system is mostly a lottery of who survives, though better players have more chances on the whole. [10] The anticlimax of the 4-round final, with both players now already qualified for the Candidates, has also been criticized. [11]


"Qual" refers to the number of players who qualify for the Candidates Tournament (marked with green background). For example, in 2015, the top 2 finishers qualified for the 2016 Candidates Tournament.

YearDatesHostPlayersQual.WinnerRunner-upThird placeFourth place
2005 27 Nov – 17 Dec Flag of Russia.svg Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia 12810 Flag of Armenia.svg Levon Aronian Flag of Ukraine.svg Ruslan Ponomariov Flag of France.svg Étienne Bacrot Flag of Russia.svg Alexander Grischuk
2007 24 Nov – 16 Dec Flag of Russia.svg Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia 1281 Flag of the United States.svg Gata Kamsky Flag of Spain.svg Alexei Shirov Flag of Norway.svg Magnus Carlsen and Flag of Ukraine.svg Sergey Karjakin
2009 20 Nov – 14 Dec Flag of Russia.svg Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia 1281 Flag of Israel.svg Boris Gelfand Flag of Ukraine.svg Ruslan Ponomariov Flag of Ukraine.svg Sergey Karjakin and Flag of Russia.svg Vladimir Malakhov
2011 26 Aug – 21 Sep Flag of Russia.svg Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia 1283 Flag of Russia.svg Peter Svidler Flag of Russia.svg Alexander Grischuk Flag of Ukraine.svg Vassily Ivanchuk Flag of Ukraine.svg Ruslan Ponomariov
2013 10 Aug – 4 Sep Flag of Norway.svg Tromsø, Norway 1282 Flag of Russia.svg Vladimir Kramnik Flag of Russia.svg Dmitry Andreikin Flag of Russia.svg Evgeny Tomashevsky and Flag of France.svg Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
2015 10 Sep – 5 Oct Flag of Azerbaijan.svg Baku, Azerbaijan 1282 Flag of Russia.svg Sergey Karjakin Flag of Russia.svg Peter Svidler Flag of the Netherlands.svg Anish Giri and Flag of Ukraine.svg Pavel Eljanov
2017 2–27 Sep Flag of Georgia.svg Tbilisi, Georgia 1282 Flag of Armenia.svg Levon Aronian Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Ding Liren Flag of the United States.svg Wesley So and Flag of France.svg Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
2019 4–30 Nov Flag of Russia.svg Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia [12] 1282TBDTBDTBD

All tournaments since 2006 were played in single-elimination format, as seen in the format section above.

See also

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  1. Garry Kasparov: A History of Profesional Chess, Mig Greengard, Chessbase, 4/8/2002
  2. Skelleftea World Cup 1989,
  3. The Week in Chess 306 (web archive) 18 September 2000
  4. The Week in Chess 415 (web archive) 21 October 2002
  5. Bidding Procedure for 2014 Olympiad
  6. FIDE General Assembly Minutes (2012), section 18.5
  7. Armenian chess players have no problems in Baku
  8. World Cup 2015 Regulations
  9. Svidler and Karjakin on the World Cup final (Chess24)
  10. Chess World Cup 2013, War of Attrition (
  11. World Cup 2013 Chess-News comments about Tromso
  12. "FIDE Presidential Board meeting held in Moscow". 2016-04-01. Retrieved 2017-12-14.