March 07, 2012 21:13

FIDE confirms London Candidates, announces 4-year schedule - players' comments

FIDE confirms London, announces 4-year schedule - players' comments

The FIDE Candidates Tournament will be held October 24th-November 12th, 2012 in London. This was announced in a brief press release published on Monday on the FIDE website. In another press release, FIDE gives a 4-year schedule for two World Championship cycles, and names cities like Paris and Madrid as locations for new Grand Prix tournaments.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had already mentioned it in an interview on February 10th, and now FIDE has finally announced it on its website: the 2012 Candidates Tournament is going to take place in London.

AGON: Chess Candidates Tournament to Take Place in London from October 24 - November 12, 2012

Athens/Moscow – March 3, 2012 – After consultations with FIDE, Agon, the World Chess Federation's new partner for organizing the World Chess Championship Cycle, is pleased to announce that the Candidates Tournament will take place in London, UK, from October 24 – November 12, 2012.

Andrew Paulson, General Director of AGON, said, “I am glad to be bringing one of the main Chess events to London and hope that both players and spectators will enjoy it.”

Contact: Agon Ltd.
+1 917 475 6452

Despite criticism from players and tournament organizers, it will be held in October-November, very soon after the Grand Slam Masters Final in Bilbao and not long before the London Chess Classic. Earlier, Ilyumzhinov had mentioned October 23-November 13. As if FIDE wanted to make a symbolic concession, it will now start one day later: October 24-November 12.


Also on Monday, Ilya Levitov, President of the Russian Chess Federation and FIDE Vice President, apologized to the organizers of Bilbao and London in two tweets:

As FIDE vice-president I apologize to M.Pein and J.C.Fernández that I can't change the dates of the Candidates tournament. I hope your wonderful tournaments will survive.

In Chess Today 4136, Mikhail Golubev compared the situation to what happened eleven years ago.

The situation with the London Candidates makes us recall how the then FIDE Commerce president, Artem Tarasov had threatened to organise FIDE events in the same terms when the top private events take place. He said this after organizers of Dortmund, Linares and Wijk refused to co- operate with a FIDE Grand Prix in 2001. ("Yet, if you don't join us, we shall have only one way out: to hold our Grand Prix tournaments at the same time with your events. War is war" - Tarasov). The most important difference is that now the threat is executed.

Last Friday, the Bilbao organizers had in fact attempted to come to a solution by proposing a meeting between FIDE and the organizers of the main private tournaments. In a press release, they wrote:

FIDE and the top tournaments should work together and harmoniously to decide the tournaments yearly calendar. We are already in March, and FIDE has still not announced officially the dates for the Candidates Tournament. In this respect, several Grand Masters, like current number one Magnus Carlsen and former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, have already declared his preference for playing the Candidates in the first half of 2013, when there are enough dates to place it without affecting the top tournaments.

Comments by participants

We asked a number of participants of the Candidates Tournament for a comment, now that the location and the dates have been confirmed.

Vladimir Kramnik, who qualified by rating:

The location and dates are fine, but I agree that there must be a meeting between organizers and FIDE a.s.a.p. in order to clarify the calendar from next year on. Besides, we all have our experience in the past so let's see if the event in London really takes place. Finally, I think that Mr. Paulson will have to say openly and publicly what he is going to do next. I mean: what is his programm, etc, not just general words. Because nobody knows him and his plans and his reasons to be involved in chess.

Levon Aronian, who qualified by rating:

I still have not got any emails or contracts from FIDE. So for now i just have an agreement with Bilbao. Once there is an update, I will be able to comment.

Peter Svidler, who won the World Cup:

Love London, not ecstatic about the dates, but not as big a deal for me, obviously, as it is for the organizers of the LCC, Tal Mem, Bilbao and so on. Know next to nothing about Agon, and - a rarity - tend to agree with Silvio's point: the bidding procedure has been somewhat subverted. Interesting wild-card choice, too, considering the venue.

Teimour Radjabov, who got the wild card:

I do not have any special opinion about it, didn't think about it deeply. I will of course inform you if I have any specific opinion on this matter.
Alexander Grischuk, who finished second at the World Cup:

I would say that I am very satisfied with both dates and place. Both are pretty much excellent. Of course, the situation is a bit weird with Azerbaidzhan-England stuff, but it's none of my business.

4-year schedule

Apparently for FIDE it was not an option to hold the Candidates Tournament in for example March 2013. It is now clear why: it wouldn't fit in the bigger plans the World Chess Federation has cooked up together with Andrew Paulson's Agon. In a separate press release, a 4-year schedule for two World Championship cycles was announced:

Athens – March 6, 2012 – FIDE, after consultations with AGON, its new partner for organizing the World Chess Championship Cycle, is pleased to announce a draft calendar of event dates for the next two cycles over four years. Once finalised, FIDE and AGON intend to retain the 2014-15 competition schedule as the model for the indefinite future.

Championship Moscow May 10 – May 30
Olympiad Istanbul August 27 – September 10
Grand Prix Chelyabinsk September 19 – October 3
Candidates London October 24 – November 12
Grand Prix Tashkent November 21 - Dec 4
Grand Prix Lisbon April 10 – April 24
Grand Prix Madrid May 22 – June 4
Grand Prix Berlin July 3 – July 17
World Cup Tromsø, Norway August 10 – September 5
Grand Prix Paris September 18 – October 2
Championship TBD October – November, TBD
Grand Prix TBD May 14 – May 28
Grand Prix TBD July 2 – July 16
Olympiad Tromsø, Norway August 1 – August 14
Grand Prix TBD September 10 – September 24
Candidates TBD November 5 – November 24
Grand Prix TBD May 13 – May 27
Grand Prix TBD July 1 – July 15
World Cup TBD August
Grand Prix TBD September 9 – September 23
Championship TBD November 4 – November 25

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, said, “I am pleased finally to be able to bring a grand European Tour to our European colleagues! And, even more important, players and fans are already excited and energized.”

Andrew Paulson, Director of AGON, said, “We are glad to be bringing a series of World Chess events to the capitals of Europe. In the future we will be progressing continent by continent, bringing great competitions to the world’s capitals in a regular and predictable schedule.”

Contacts: FIDE

+1 917 475 6452

We have to give credit to FIDE/Agon for introducing something new into the World Championship cycle: consistency. However, we'll have to wait and see whether all this reflects a realistic future for top chess. We vividly remember that three of the original six cities (Montreux, Doha and Prague) all disappeared from the first Grand Prix Series and had to be replaced for other locations.

It would be wonderful if the majority of these tournaments would indeed take place in major European cities (or take place at all), but taking into account the developments in the last decade or so, it's hard to be optimistic. It probably won't come from Mr Ilyumzhinov himself, so it has to be Mr Paulson to prove us wrong!

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Anonymous 's picture

Loved Grischuk's comment! lol

bayde's picture

I guess this supersedes the last "schedule for the indefinite future" then, doesn't it. What a shame, it had all those pretty colors and boxes and arrows on it. Any bets on how long it will take before the delays and reschedulings start happening to this one too?

silvakov's picture

The schedule is designed to cover april-november. except for wijk aan zee, all other major tournaments will either become gran prix stages or choose a date between feb and march. It means the top guns will have to play at least the gran prix, and that's nice.
Now it's all about reliability...

Thomas's picture

The top players, as well as all other participants, will (presumably) play just four out of six Grand Prix events - so there is still room for strong private events that overlap with or fall close to the GP dates. Notably, dates for Dortmund are basically fixed because the venue is only available during summer theater holidays - funny that it seems to coincide with the Berlin GP, two strong events in the same country at the same time!?
The problem, however, is that the participants of the candidates event will play neither Chelyabinsk nor Tashkent ... .

BTW, TWIC mentions that "Sao Paulo, almost with complete certainty, will host again the first half [of Bilbao], as in 2011". This might explain why dates are fine for Kramnik - it's known that he doesn't like intercontinental supertournaments: He declined the Sao Paulo/Bilbao invitation last year (saying he would have considered it if it was in the same town or at least on the same continent), and he never played Morelia-Linares. It seems that the Bilbao organizers didn't tell him about their plans when they wanted his support to change the dates of the candidates event??

Final slight correction: this time Aronian also qualified by rating, with his Grand Prix victory he had qualified for the previous (Kazan) candidates event.

Peter Doggers's picture

Rght, of course, thx, corrected.

stevefraser's picture

A world championship match every two years is perfect. Now to put chess marketing and promotion in the hands of professionals (not chess players!).

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Ok one thing is not clear. The candidates tournament (October-November) is to decide the challenger for 2013 wch match. Obviously the next set of Grand Prix would be to decide the challenger in 2015. Then why do the 6 Grand Prix events all finish by end of year 2013 itself. We then have 6 more grand prix events by the end of year 2015.

Juan Castillo's picture

No, the set of Grand Prix tournaments would decide who participates in the Candidates, (the last time Aronian and Radjabov were in the Candidates because of his 1st and 2nd place in Grand Prix).

The Candidates in 2014 will decide 2015 challenger.

Juan Castillo's picture

Of course, by "last time" I mean 2011 Candidates tournament, not the one to be played in London this year.

redivivo's picture

Svidler's comment "Interesting wild-card choice, too, considering the venue" seems to ignore the logic in the Azeris picking Radjabov, just like they picked Mamedyarov after paying for the previous Candidates. What would be more mysterious would be if the Azeris paid for the right to pick Adams.

Thomas's picture

Methinks Svidler's comment can be interpreted in two ways which would both make perfect sense:
1) He doesn't know that Azerbaijan still pays for the event. To my knowledge, this has been stated by Azeri sources but was never confirmed by FIDE (also not in the latest press release). And top chess players may not follow this and various other chess sites regularly to obtain all info and all rumors?
2) He makes fun of the entire procedure: one country (Azerbaijan) pays for the event, a company or an American-Russian businessman (Agon/Paulson) organizes it, and the venue is in yet another place (London).

redivivo's picture

I'd guess it's the first alternative since he finds the wild card surprising for an event held in London (his compatriot Grischuk seems to be more in the know going by his comment about Azerbaijan). That Grischuk finds the timing excellent is unexpected, maybe he means that the top players are bound to be worn out and that his own chances will improve.

Thomas's picture

It depends on whether one considers Svidler capable of being ironic or even sarcastic. At other occasions he's quite good at it (including self-irony), and I like it ... . And that's why his comment didn't really surprise me.

Bobby Fiske's picture

This new FIDE tournament circuit is of course good news for everybody.
The only question is whether the tournaments will take place or if they will fold, like they did in the past. And if they fold, how much damage will it cause to the existing tournament circuit?

Only time will tell.

Thomas's picture

How much damage did the previous GP series cause to the existing tournament circuit? No matter whether one calls it "folded" or "improvised" - as all six events happened in the end.
One difference is that the forthcoming series takes 1 year (according to the draft calendar), while the previous one (and the next one in the draft calendar) was designed to take 1 1/2 years - which became 2 years because the last event was postponed.
Another possible one remains to be seen: not all world-top players participated in the previous GP series, some were 'always' available (or - Carlsen - became available) for private events. What's currently missing are exact qualifying criteria for the next candidates event: how many spots from GP and World Cup, how many rating spots? Holding all events under the auspices of Agon which doesn't have ties to a particular country or player might eliminate the need for a wildcard, which I would consider good news.
Which leaves the rating spots: Should players already know how good their chances to play the next candidates event can be if they do NOT play the GP series?

mishanp's picture

Peter, I think you got a little mixed up with the dates. They've changed from 23rd October - 13th November to 24th October - 12th November, NOT 14th November. At a guess the new dates are the playing days and don't include a day for the opening/closing ceremony. I don't think they've made a "symbolic concession".

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