Reports | August 03, 2011 19:10

World Cup: participants, pairings and FIDE's wild card policy

World Cup: participants, pairings and FIDE's wild card policyOn August 28th the first round of the FIDE World Cup is scheduled. Recenty FIDE published the list of participants and the first round pairings, which were soon 'updated'. However, the pairings and pairings tree currently published on the official website cannot be mutually correct. And why wasn't Anish Giri invited?

Recenty FIDE published the list of participants for the upcoming FIDE World Cup. Again, this is a 128-player knockout, again held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Siberia from August 26th till September 21st. The best three players will qualify for the next Candidates tournament.

FIDE World Cup 2011 | Participants (top 10)
Nr Title Name Rating Fed M/F Year of birth
1 GM Karjakin, Sergey 2788 RUS M 1990
2 GM Ivanchuk, Vassily 2768 UKR M 1969
3 GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2765 AZE M 1985
4 GM Ponomariov, Ruslan 2764 UKR M 1983
5 GM Gashimov, Vugar 2760 AZE M 1986
6 GM Grischuk, Alexander 2746 RUS M 1983
7 GM Radjabov, Teimour 2744 AZE M 1987
8 GM Kamsky, Gata 2741 USA M 1974
9 GM Svidler, Peter 2739 RUS M 1976
10 GM Jakovenko, Dmitry 2736 RUS M 1983

(Full list of participants here)

Pairings: unconfirmed

On July 15th the pairings for the first round were already published, which saw the interesting clash between Hou Yifan (China) and Judit Polgar (Hungary). Imagine that! The reigning Women's World Champion against the highest rated and most successful female player ever. Without providing an explanation, FIDE quickly updated these pairings - Hou Yifan now plays Sergey Movsesian (Armenia) while Judit Polgar faces Fidel Corrales Jimenez (Cuba).

However, these pairings, currently published (PDF here) on the official website, cannot be mutually correct with the pairings tree (PDF here). As was mentioned by Mark Crowther, there's at least one mistake. According to the pairings and pairings tree, GM Zong-Yuan Zhao (Australia) plays against GM Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia). According to the pairings tree the winner of this match plays against the winner of the match Dmitry Andreikin (Russia) vs Murtas Kazhgaleyev (Kazachstan). However, according to the pairings, Andreikin and Kazhgaleyev don't face each other in the first round!

Update 14:22 CET: We received an email from the FIDE Secretariat with an explanation:

The updated list of players and 1st round pairings of the World Cup have been announced on the FIDE website here since 24 July. There were some changes as in the initial list announced the previous day, the actual qualifier GM Quesada Perez (Yunieski) was accidentally mixed by the Chief Arbiter with FM Quesada Perez (Yasser), both from Cuba and with almost the same names. As you can see in table No. 37, GMs Andreikin and Kazhgaleyev indeed face each other in the 1st round.

Anish Giri

Anish Giri: not in the 2011 World CupWe were surprised not to see Anish Giri among the participants. The 17-year-old Dutchman, who is arguably the biggest talent on the planet these days, already passed the other top juniors Fabiano Caruana (Italy) and Le Quang Liem (Vietnam) on the live ratings list, where Giri is now 26th in the world. A more logical choice for a wild card is hard to imagine!

However, the FIDE President decided to give wild cards to GMs Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan), Emil Sutovsky (Israel), Peter Heine Nielsen (Denmark), Ding Liren (China), Viktor Bologan (Moldavia) and Elshan Moradiabadi (Iran). Don't get us wrong; these names all deserve to play in Khanty. Especially the wild card for Heine Nielsen is understandable after the Dane missed out as a result of weird tie-break calculations at the European Championship.

But still, Anish Giri, who beat Magnus Carlsen and who had the better end of the draw against the World Champion, in January at the Tata tournament in Wijk aan Zee. Who is, in fact, higher rated than all six wild cards chosen by the FIDE President. Giri's July 2011 rating would give him the right to participate, but for some reason the average of the July 2010 (!) and the January 2011 lists are used. (Especially with new lists every two months, this rule looks highly outdated.)

What must Mr Ilyumzhinov have been thinking? Journalist Stefan Löffler was wondering the same, and in fact simply asked FIDE about it. Here's the reply he received:

"The nominations of the FIDE President are awarded upon his decision, mostly as an incentive to national federations which actively support FIDE events and FIDE activities such as "Chess in Schools", as well as to former World or Continental champions. This year, high-rated players from Europe were also nominated who played in their continental championship but did not qualify because of applicable tie-breaks which are very often disputed or in doubt of their effectiveness.

We are sure that GM Anish Giri will participate in next year's qualifying European Championship and he will indeed have a bright future as a top world-class player."

Strangely, FIDE reasons that not only Peter Heine Nielsen was nominated after not qualifying in Aix-les-Bains "because of applicable tie-breaks which are very often disputed or in doubt of their effectiveness". They speak of "high-rated players from Europe" - plural. However, neither Kasimdzhanov, Sutovsky, Ding Liren, Bologan nor Moradiabadi fall into this category. As was explained in detail by Dr Vladica Andrejic on this and other websites, the other names who missed out, together with Heine Nielsen, were GMs Mircea-Emilian Parligras (Romania), Baris Esen (Turkey) and Ivan Saric (Croatia). Update: as Jochem mentions in the comments, both Parligras and Esen are among the World Cup participants as qualified from Aix-les-Bains, so probably some entitled players didn't use their invitation.

Anish Giri had an excellent reason to skip the European Championship this year: he had accepted Joop van Oosterom's invitation to play in the last Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament, a unique opportunity to get experience against the world's best chess players. And we're sure Mr Ilyumzhinov isn't blaming him for that. But the first paragraph of FIDE's reaction above, speaks volumes. The Royal Dutch Chess Federation doesn't actively support FIDE events and activities. Instead, they gave their vote to Anatoly Karpov, Ilyumzhinov's opponent in last year's Presidential Elections. And the Dutch federation was one of the few chess federations (together with the English and German federations) to openly condemn Ilyumzinov's recent visit to the leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi.


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Me's picture

Gata Kamsky is like always very serious, with stern expression on his face. I don't like that very much.

LMedemblik's picture

It reflects an enormous stupidity if you do not select a very fast upcoming young chesstalent, whether he's from Guatemala , Antarctica or the Netherlands.
Personally I hope that Its just a matter of time that Mr. Giri can prove the FIDE the same "honor" in future!

Hortensius's picture

This is a crime against chess!

szoker's picture

Anish Giri has a pretty good support I see, why is that ?

I mean he is very good and stuff but wouldnt it be better if we can see some other 2700+ players in super tournaments ?

Im kinda tired of seeing the same players all the time.

Go go Kamsky and Ivanchuk !!!

Jochem's picture

Note that both Parligras and Esen are among the World Cup participants as qualified from Aix-les-Bains. Probably some entitled players didn't use their invitation.

An argument against Giri is that he didn't participate in the qualifiers, although he had a very good reason of course. It would perhaps have been wiser for FIDE to give that as a reason..

Peter Doggers's picture

Right - did a small update.

Jochem's picture

I checked why Ivanisevic, Parligras, Romanov and Esen qualified contrary to earlier reports. McShane withdrew (why?), and from the Euro 2011 qualifiers Vallejo Pons, Vitiugov and Jakovenko qualified on rating, which apparently goes before zonal qualifiers. And Jobava who because of that now qualifed in Euro 2011, already qualified in Euro 2010. Nielsen was indeed the first one to miss out..

fen's picture

McShane has a job in the real world now :(

Arne Moll's picture

Anish should be proud - he was personally rejected by the biggest clown the chess world's ever seen!

Anthony's picture

Far more Libyans support Gadaffi than the so called 'rebels'.

Millions have supported him in the squares of Tripoli since Nato started it's horrific, illegal and criminal bombings.

Ilyumzhinov did well to be one of the few to venture there.

The cheap opportunists at the KNSB 'scored' a moot point and I hope Anish is not it's victim.

zeblakob80's picture

I hate FIDE.

MrBurger's picture

The Danish federation also denounced Ilyumzinov’s visit to Libya, although for some strange reason it was only published in Danish and thus overlooked by most.

They also voted for Karpov at the election, and despite of this Peter Heine got a wild card.

So maybe there isn't any conspiracy against Giri after all?

Thomas's picture

Likewise, the French federation conemned the Libya visit (in French). Well, maybe FIDE punishes them by letting Feller play the World Cup - unlike his federation, he favored Ilyumzhinov ... .

BTW, Bologan was also tied for 16th-44th place at the European Championship - though probably with a bad tiebreak by any system as he had a slow start into the event. The only 'strange' wildcard is Moradiabadi - what has he done to deserve it? He isn't even #1 of his country Iran.

As to Giri: don't get me wrong, I also consider him a very legitimate candidate for a wildcard. Maybe it also worked against him that he (or at least his coach Chuchelov, in an interview with the German magazine "Schach" right after Tata Steel) was publicly hoping for, and in a way claiming a wildcard invitation? Conspiracy theories are much more "sexy" - Stefan Löffler's was that the Russian federation 'controls FIDE', and wants to punish him for playing under the Dutch flag - which doesn't necessarily mean they're true.

luzin's picture

sorry chessvibes guys, but this article is cheap and hypocritic, not what we are used to from you :(
the whole concept of wildcards is that no rules apply, the boss does whatever wants with them. This is not fair? sure, it is not, but unfortunately you have no problem with the unfair system, not at all! if only your guy had been invited all would be fine!
Giri is a fine and talented guy, but you do no good to him by demanding for him something that he has not earned,just because he is so cool. Give it up, Giri already has lots of support and opportunities to show his talent.
You have power due to the numerous chessvibes fans, use it wisely, not to promote the interest of your favorite players.

Peter Doggers's picture

Naturally we thought about this, and since Anish is one of the co-editors of ChessVibes Training we cannot be 100% objective. However, you bet we would have written the same if this had happened to another highly talented junior, like Fabiano Caruana or Le Quang Liem.

bhabatosh's picture

@Peter we trust you about that . Chessvibe is one of the site which brings all these to our attention, otherwise we might have been searching giri's name during the tournament.
it's sad to see he misses the tournament. I dont see chessvibes endorsing his case , there is nothing wrong in it , He is the biggest talent after Carlsen/Karjakin .
And ofcourse very nice guy liked by everyone.
I dont know how FIDE can promote chess by missing this rising superstar.
This is totally unfair .

cip's picture

Seconded! I'd also like to see Anish's opinion on this subject. Did you ask him about it before writing this article up?

cip's picture

wait, my reply seconded luzin! just to be clear! peter posted while I was typing...

mishanp's picture

The question of Anish Giri not playing was also raised by Mark Crowther at TWIC:

"Loeffler understands [Giri] is very disappointed at the snub but he was restrained in his quote to Loeffler saying "No, I won´t play. I had a suspicion this was going to happen."

So ok, I agree it's a little awkward for ChessVibes to cover the story, but it is odd, objectively speaking, for Giri not to be granted a wild card - and other journalists with no particular link to Giri have raised the issue.

Septimus's picture

It is not very clear on how the participants were selected. Is it based on rating or victories in zonal contests? Did they just draw names out of a hat? What is going on?

I see that some kind of averaging formula was used, but that does not seem to work if you consider recent top performances. Very strange.

gg's picture

It's bad enough with Giri but it was even more funny when FIDE gave wild cards to Turkish players in the 2200s in the women's World Championship 2010 while Nadezhda Kosintseva wasn't given one and couldn't participate in spite of being the Caissar (women's chess Oscar) winner 2009 and top 5 throughout 2010 (2550+ on all lists but one).

choufleur's picture

It is too bad for Giri indeed, I can understand Peter Doggers point's of view. But the article seems somewhat biased indeed. Why to be so focused about dutch chess ?

Mark Crowther's picture

Am I right in thinking that there is just one World Championship Candidates place like last time from this event? In which case it is probably more of a loss for the FIDE World Cup to have Giri missing, than for Giri himself.

The chances of any individual player winning are pretty darn low. Which is why so many leading players decided to skip the event.

Sorry I can't be bothered to confirm this. I lost the will to read through FIDE regulations on the World Championship a long time ago except in dire circumstances.

mishanp's picture

Kamsky mentioned players are more interested in the World Cup this year as there are now 3 places in the Candidates on offer: I guess that's because it appears there's not going to be a male Grand Prix...

Mark Crowther's picture

Interesting. So there must be a 3rd-4th place play off alongside the final. One can't help feeling that this is a punishment for someone, somewhere along the line. Giri is one of the most exciting players in the world and if they can't find a place in the bloated 128 player field then there is something wrong.

Is there definitely no men's Grand Prix this time? It's a shame, but doesn't surprise me I suppose as the top players started withdrawing last time.

I'm glad the women still have one, I think it has done a tremendous amount of good in promoting their players.

mishanp's picture

I'm not sure about the Grand Prix - I think in some interview or other e.g. Levitov said something like "if there's no Grand Prix" then there'll be 3 players from the World Cup, Anand & Gelfand, plus 3 rating qualifiers. They were apparently looking for Grand Prix sponsors but then nothing's been heard since, so presumably they've just quietly given up.

bayde's picture

Given FIDE's track record when it comes to Grand Prix(s?), this is pretty much a certainty. So much so, that whenever FIDE now calls something a "Grand Prix" my reaction is "Dead in a year".

The resulting system is actually one of the most simple and practical options, though. Take some usual-suspect heavy-hitters from the rating list, take some non-usual-suspect qualifiers from the World Cup (which looks here to stay thanks to Russian oil $$$ [p.p.p.?]), throw in the World Championship loser, and there you have it, instant Candidates.

Only one event per year needs to be organized, which is about all FIDE has been able to accomplish. This is the most doable thing I've seen in years from these guys.

Thomas's picture

Hi mishanp: it was a Levitov interview that you translated on your site :) "Levitov on the collapse of the London match" (February 10th this year): "If by 1 March nowhere has been found to hold the four Grand Prix tournaments, then the cycle will be as follows: the candidates matches will consist of three players from the World Cup, three based on ratings, the nominee of the organising country and the player who lost the World Championship match."

The inherent problem of the Grand Prix was (is) that it's less attractive to sponsors than private events where they can choose the entire field. I find it a tiny bit odd or funny that, of all people, Mark Crowther calls it "a shame": Maybe he could organize one GP event with the money he raises for the London Classics. But then he wouldn't get all of his favorite world top players plus four English ones. Instead he would, in an ideal case, have two of Carlsen-Kramnik-Nakamura, two English players (Adams might qualify by rating, plus one wildcard) and a number of relatively unknown "Soviet" players. Or maybe he wouldn't succeed in raising enough money for such an event ... it was neither coincidence nor 100% failure of FIDE that the last GP became "the Caucasus cup".

gg's picture

The only thing that is clear is that Giri won't be able to participate in the World Championship cycle resulting in a challenger to either Anand or Gelfand around 2014-15. At the moment he's just over 20 points behind Gelfand on the rating list and it wouldn't be a big surprise if he was ahead at the time of next year's title match. It would be weird if Gelfand wins and a player rated higher than the World Champion wouldn't be among the 130 something players included in the cycle looking for his challenger.

Marcel's picture

Basically, its absurd that a player of 2720 of just 17 can't compete in the 2014 cycle. Nothing more, nothing less.

Harry_Flashman's picture

For sure Giri is one of the best players of his age-class , but Chessvibes' statement about his "superiority" is , IMHO , biased by sheer nationalism.
Le Quang Liem and Caruana seem , at least , have the same level of play .
Le Quang has also won twice in a row the Aeroflot Open , something which Giri hasn't done ( yet.. ).
The reference to the "live rating " is something , at least , very arguable.

That said, for sure Giri deserved an invitation .

gg's picture

"Le Quang Liem and Caruana seem , at least , have the same level of play"

Yes, even if they are 2-3 years older than Giri, so with that in mind I'd rank Giri as the most promising of the three.

roamingwind's picture

Plus Le Quang Liem just took 2nd place at Dormund, two years in a row,
ahead of Giri.
Giri is only 5 elo more than Le on live rating, not statistically significant.

To me Le, Giri, and Caruana are of the same playing level.

EverlastingPatzer's picture

KAMSKY the magnificent shall crush those patzers into their tiny pieces.

TM's picture


Wonderfully accurate description of Kamsky - I fully agree! Kamsky is a hero. The way he dominated the candidate matches in the early 90's, and they way he battles even now is simply awesome. He's the new Korchnoi! Go, Kamsky, Go!

Bali Mojo's picture

Uhgaeoi Bali Mojo aiiora humaegoi upboieub oesuragi aheumaa yiarxiewa.

leigh's picture

What I think:
1. The wild card are decided by FIDE president, not you, not me. That is his right. No matter whom he chosen, if he thinks it is right, it is right.
2. Giri is such a powerful player, why didn't he take part in the qualification match? you can't stand on two boats at same time, right?
3. His Federation did not support president, then you want president choose his federation's members, the question is: What the federations who support president will think?

bhabatosh's picture

"The Royal Dutch Chess Federation doesn’t actively support FIDE events and activities. Instead, they gave their vote to Anatoly Karpov, Ilyumzhinov’s opponent in last year’s Presidential Elections. And the Dutch federation was one of the few chess federations (together with the English and German federations) to openly condemn Ilyumzinov’s recent visit to the leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi" -- this is a revenge then , by not including the best dutch player.

I don't know how this is possible in civilized society.
screw FIDE - this is the worst organisation in the world.
corrupted , unethical ... you name it and you would find everything.

Creemer's picture

And we all complain about it with great endurance.

Objective's picture


CheckYourSources's picture

Giri played in Rijeka 2010 but didn't qualify.

Johnny's picture

Chessvibes, i love you guys. I have not visited in many months now. And you know what, I don't miss it one bit.

Brecht's picture

you don't need to participate in World Champion matches to be the best Chess Player on earth.....look at Magnus Carlsen....

So Giri, just play tournaments and become best player in world ....

I don't see any problem....

unless the 'title' of world champion is involved...but it is just a title, it doesn't mean you are the best chess player :)


Sadik's picture

Carlsen is almost the greatest player in earth, but unfortunately he has to prove his credentials against Mr Anand who is the current world champion to be the best player in the planet! and unfortunately he hasn't done that , and he chickened away needlessly from candidates!!( And I am sure he would have made it instead of Gelfand easily)....Was he scared he won't succeed against Anand in a match!?!

Estragon's picture

Carlsen quit the cycle when FIDE changed the rules for the second time during the process. He mistrusts the short match format, and his misgivings were borne out by the results. The GP events paid much less in guarantees to the top players because they thought they were playing into a limited field of challengers which kept expanding even as the format kept being changed.

If FIDE keeps messing around, the real sponsorship will come for a Carlsen - Anand (assuming he beats Gelfand) match outside of FIDE jurisdiction, and we will be back to the confusion of the Kasparov/PCA/GMA era.

nerd's picture

Well, the ‘title’ of world champion means money, prestige and a place in chess one could not say it is without importance...

Septimus's picture

It is debatable if Carlsen is indeed the best player in the world. The best player is Anand, he defended his WC crown twice already. How many WC's does Carlsen have? Win one and then we will talk.

kaboom's picture

Well, this is Ilyumzhinov. One should expect this kind of weirdness, probably after some instruction from his friends in outer space...

arkan's picture

Giri's time will come soon enough

steven's picture

First of all Giri is not a "dutchman", he is born in Sint-Petersburg and still has russian citizenship.
Stop whining; FIDE doesn't need to give explanations about the wildcards, just as the Société du Tour de France doesn't need to give explanations about the wild cards it gives for the Tour.
With a wild cards system, there will always be people complaining and whining "why am i not invited ?!"
Giri has nothing to complain; he receives one big tournament invitation after another and this already before he became a +2700 player.
Compare this with for example Nikit


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