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FIDE reforms the Qualification system for the Candidates Tournament

The FIDE Council has approved today a major reform of the qualification paths to the Candidates Tournament – the event that decides the challenger for the World Championship match.

The main innovation is creating a new qualification path through different FIDE-rated tournaments. Tournaments that meet certain criteria, like being played under standard time control, supervised by International Arbiters, and where Fair Play measures are applied (among other criteria listed below in detail), will grant points towards the “FIDE Circuit”. The player with more points at the end of 2023 will get the coveted spot in the most prestigious of all chess tournaments.

The second main change consists of increasing the number of qualification spots at the World Cup from 2 to 3. Already a flagship event, the popularity and importance of the World Cup keep increasing even further, and this extra spot would add more interest for the match for the 3rd-4th place.

FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024 Qualification Paths

Eight players shall qualify for FIDE Candidates Tournament 2024 by the following criteria:

A. 1 spot – FIDE World Championship Match 2023, Runner-up (Ian Nepomniachtchi or Ding Liren)*
Reserve – according to rating as in (E);

B. 3 spots – FIDE World Cup 2023 (Baku 2023), three players who finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd.*
1st reserve – 4th place winner, next reserve – according to rating as in (E);

C. 2 spots – FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2023 (Isle of Man, 2023), two players who finish 1st and 2nd.*
1st reserve – 3rd place winner, next reserve – according to art. 4.5.2. of the Grand Swiss Regulations;

* Qualifiers from the earlier events are not counted for qualification purposes for later events.

D. 1 spot – a player who would achieve the highest results during one year (2023) in the FIDE-rated tournaments satisfying the below criteria approved by FIDE (eligible events). The winner becomes a qualifier before determining a qualifier by rating as in (E).

E. 1 spot – next (after qualifiers according to A-D) highest-rated player by standard rating as of 01/01/2024, provided that the player has played at least 4 eligible tournaments according to the criteria as in (D).

Qualification track (D):

1. Eligible Tournaments
1.1 Eligible tournaments are FIDE-rated individual tournaments which meet the following criteria:

(a) Completed in the 2023 calendar year
(b) A standard play time control
(c) Average standard rating of the top 8 players at the start of the tournament (TAR) is 2550 or more
(d) Supervised by International Arbiters
(e) Recommended FPL Fair Play procedures are applied
(f) Include players representing at least 3 national federations
(g) Not more than 50% of the top-20 rated players shall represent one federation

For National Championships, criteria f) and g) are waived.

1.2 The following non-standard play tournaments are included:

World Rapid Championship
World Blitz Championship
Continental Rapid and Blitz Championships
Other Rapid & Blitz tournaments with an average standard rating of top 8 players at the start of the tournament of 2700 or higher

2. Points System per Tournament
2.1 Points are awarded to players in one of the first 8 places in a tournament, provided that the player is in the top half of the final tournament ranking.

1st place   10 points
2nd place   8 points
3rd place   7 points
4th place   6 points
5th place   5 points
6th place   4 points
7th place   3 points
8th place   2 points

2.2 A player only counts in a round-robin if they play more than half of their scheduled game, and a player only counts in a Swiss if they miss at most one round (excluding pairing-allocated byes).

2.3 The number of points that tied players score shall be calculated as 50% of points for their final ranking determined by the tournament’s tie-break rules, plus 50% of the sum of points assigned for the tied places divided by the number of tied players. This also applies to players who tied for one of the first 8 places but appear below 8th place in the final ranking according to the tournament’s rules.

2.4 The event score for each player is determined by the number of points multiplied by the tournament strength factor calculated as follows: k= (TAR-2500)/100. If rapid and blitz tournaments are taken into account (if this is provided for by these rules), the standard rating of players is taken into account.

2.5 Losing Quarter Finalists in the World Cup shall be deemed to have finished in 5th place for the purpose of calculating the event score. World Cup event scores calculated using the method in 2.4 are added to 2 for the purpose of the final score calculation.

2.6 The event scores calculated using the method in 2.4 for the World Rapid and Blitz Championships are multiplied by 0.8 and 0.6, respectively, for the purpose of the final score calculation.

The event scores calculated using the method in 2.4 for the Continental Rapid and Blitz Championships and other eligible rapid and blitz events are multiplied by 0.6 and 0.4, respectively, for the purpose of the final score calculation.

3. Ranking List

3.1 Each player has to play in a minimum of 5 eligible tournaments, including at least 4 eligible tournaments with standard time control.

3.2 The final score of a player for the purposes of qualification to the Candidates is calculated as the sum of the player’s five highest event scores, of which at least 4 tournaments must be tournaments with standard time controls. The final score calculation can include the following eligible tournaments:

3.2.1 Official eligible tournaments: National Championships and/or FIDE competitions organised under the aegis of EVE and GSC, as well as Continental Championships

3.2.2 Other eligible tournaments: A maximum of one event per country (except for official eligible tournaments in 3.2.1). A “country” for the purpose of this rule is defined as the territories represented by national federations.

3.3 In case of a tie in the final ranking of players, the tie will be broken by removing the lowest event score that was included in the player’s final score calculation. If this fails to resolve the tie, then this process shall be repeated until the tie is broken.

3.4 FIDE shall update and publish the Ranking List on a weekly basis.

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