Chess News

FIDE Director-General: We will have a decision for the World Championship Match by July 20

FIDE Director-General Emil Sutovsky yesterday joined the live studio of the FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2022 and spoke about his impressions from the Candidates, the venue, the upcoming World Chess Championship Match, negotiations with Magnus Carlsen, the new format of the Women’s Candidate Chess Tournament, different time-controls of different events and importance of online chess.

Candidates is always a great tournament. Every event whether it was this place or that place, it’s obviously a landmark in chess history and this event was no exception,” said Sutovsky about the Candidates 2022. “All in all, I think the event was a great success and we saw a lot of people following it both online and here in Spain. It generated a lot of interest and we are happy to organize it in Madrid,” he added.

Speaking about the massive viewership of the event, Sutovsky shared his thoughts about classical chess and what the future holds with respect to the fans: “I think this event proved very much and again proves that the classical chess is very much alive and kicking. (…) We had to realize that we are not here to be the guardians of classical chess, but also to feel the trends, to feel what the audience is looking for, and what kind of new ideas can be introduced. And indeed we are experimenting with those and we are talking with players about all that. Because for us is also very important that we are not imposing some time control without checking or asking opinions of top players, or sometimes a broader audience to see what’s their reaction.“.

FIDE Director-General revealed parts of the negotiations with Magnus Carlsen about the format of the World Chess Championship Match. The meeting of the FIDE President, FIDE Director-General, and the reigning World Chess Champion took place yesterday in Madrid, during the last round of the FIDE Candidates, and was held in private. “The meeting was with Magnus, FIDE President, and myself, because I am in charge basically for all the major events, including the Candidates and World Championship Match – their formats, and the venues and everything. Of course, it was important to talk and to understand“. He added that there is a misconception about Magnus’s attitude towards the Match: “If you knew Magnus you would take his words seriously, and we did. Our conversation yesterday also proved that he literally means what he is saying. And we are looking for the ways to have him stay within the World Championship cycle. There is one clear point I want to clarify, because there’s been a bit of means concepts that FIDE is going to change the format or adopt the new regulations. In fact, there are no regulations for Match 2023 so far. We have uncommitted ourselves because the talks about Magnus possibly not playing came right after Dubai (World Championship Match 2021), so we felt it would be wrong now to adopt, and then to talk to hear what Magnus has in mind, and then maybe to change. We didn’t actually approve it (the regulations for the World Chess Championship Match 2023) and we are still having quite a bit of time to decide and to finalize“.

World Chess Championship Match Carlsen – Nepo 2021, Photo: Niki Riga

Speaking about what would keep Magnus in the World Championship cycle, Sutovsky said: “Magnus was quite reasonable with his ideas. I will not disclose details here, it will be unfair. But I can tell that we have started discussing it internally in FIDE – what could be done to preserve the balance between what we feel is right, maybe also to hear some ideas of Magnus being implemented“.

At the same time, we don’t have a lot of time to waste. Because, imagine today, let’s say today we know Nepo is playing Magnus. But we can’t carry on for three months or something to not know, and then suddenly to start finding the venue and sponsor for the match with Hikaru or Ding. I mean, it would be absolutely different match, probably different venue and so on. So that’s why we agreed we have to intensify both internal consultations and also talking to Magnus“, he added.

With no much time left before the World Chess Championship Match 2023 Sutovsky says he believes the decision on the format will be made within 2-3 weeks: “I believe that the decision on the format will be within maybe two or three weeks time. (…) We haven’t set a formal deadline (for Magnus to decide), but I would say July 20 which is also International Chess Day is about the time when we will have a decision (whether Magnus agrees to play the Match).” See the complete interview below.

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