Chess News

Azerbaijan awarded with Candidate Matches, but only one half of the competition (Update II)

by Teymur Tushiev for

Sunday, October 18th

Azerbaijan will organize Candidate Matches for the new World Championship cycle. This decision was reached at the FIDE Congress, which is currently taking place in Kalithea, Greece. However, the format of the competition was somewhat modified.

FIDE Congress decided to divide the event between Azerbaijan and another, yet unspecified, country. One group of four participants will square off in Azerbaijan, who as hosting country will still have the right to delegate one nominated player. The original plan was to have the complete Candidate Matches in Baku, who were also the only bidder to come forward with a concrete proposal. At the same time, Azerbaijan had given guarantees of security and appropriate conditions for all the participants, including the best Armenian player Levon Aronian, who qualified as the convincing winner of the FIDE Grand Prix. However, according to Faik Gasanov, Vice-President of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation, Levon Aronian refused to come to Baku.

Therefore, FIDE decided to split the matches between two hosting countries. The playing format will remain unchanged – the eight players will play knockout matches, only the number of games on each level is to be announced. Winners of the two halves will play a final match to determinate the next challenger of the ruling World Champion. The final match will also take place in Azerbaijan, but if Levon Aronian reaches this stage, it will be moved to a neutral country. The time frame to conclude the Candidate Matches is end of 2010 – beginning of 2011.

News courtesy of

Monday, October 19th
Editorial update

Armenian Chess Federation stated that Levon Aronian did not refuse to go to Baku and that decision to divide the Candidate Matches has nothing to do with the Armenian player. Source – Armenia Today.

According to, FIDE unofficially asked the Armenian Chess Federation to organize the second half of the Candidate Matches in Yerevan. The Armenian side will discuss the proposal. Via

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