Besides traditional super strong tournaments (like Wijk aan Zee, Linares-Morelia, MTel Masters and Dortmund) we now have a new series of super tournaments (6 tournaments) which are part of the next World championship cycle.
<STRIKE>The Grand prix winner will play against World Cup 2009 winner for the right to challenge the reigning World champion for the title.</STRIKE>
EDIT: First two in overall Grand Prix standings (as well as 2009 World Cup winner) qualify for Candidates matches.
The initial qualifiers were as follows:
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">1. Matches</span> (players that are "still in the game" in the current World championship cycle)
- Viswanathan Anand (the reigning World Champion)
- Vladimir Kramnik (former World champion and the first challenger - Kramnik will play Anand in October 2008)
- Veselin Topalov (former FIDE World champion)
- Gata Kamsky (winner of World Cup 2007)
Kamsky and Topalov will play (probably) in Bulgaria in November-December 2008 for the right to challenge the winner of Anand-Kramnik match for the title (probably in September or October 2009).
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">2. World Cup 2007</span>
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">3. Rating list</span> (Average of Jan2007 and Oct2007 rating lists)
*) Viswanathan Anand (2790)
*) Veselin Topalov (2776)
*) Vladimir Kramnik (2775,5)
1) Vassilly Ivanchuk (2768.5)
2) Shakriyar Mamedyarov (2753)
3) Peter Leko (2752)
4) Alexander Morozevich (2748)
5) Levon Aronian (2742.5)
6) Teimur Radjabov (2735.5)
7) Boris Gelfand (2734.5)
1) Michael Adams (2732)
2) Peter Svidler (2730)
*) Alexei Shirov (2727)
3) Judit Polgar (2717.5)
4) Alexander Grischuk (2716)
5) Ruslan Ponomariov (2714)
*) Gata Kamsky (2709,5)
6) Vladimir Akopian (2706,5)
*) Magnus Carlsen (2702)
*) Dmitry Jakovenko (2700,5)
7) Etienne Bacrot (2700)
8) Evgeny Alekseev (2688,5)
*) David Navara (2687,5)
*) Sergey Karjakin (2686)
9) Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2686)
10) Pavel Eljanov (2683)
11) Loek Van Wely (2681)
12) Krishnan Sasikiran (2680,5)
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">4. President nominee</span>
FIDE president can nominate one player from the latest top 40 rating list. Kirsan (- the president) chose Peter Svidler as his nominee.
If any players from 1. decline (which is what happened), the president can fill their places.
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">5. Host city nominees</span>
Each of the host cities can nominate one player who has a rating of at least 2550. The nominess are as follows:
- Vugar Gashimov (2665) - nominated by Baku, Azerbaijdzan
- Dmitry Jakovenko (2720) - nominated by Soci, Russia
- Mohamad Al Modiakhi (2569) - nominated by Doha, Qatar
- Yannick Pelletier (2600) - nominated by Montreux, Switzerland
- Ernesto inarkiev (2681) - nominated by Elista, Russia
- David Navara (2680) - nominated by Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Players that declined to participate</span>
With the exception of Gata Kamsky, all players from 1. (Anand, Kramnik, Topalov) refused to participate (probably they all plan to win all their matches and thus participating in the cycle automatically as World champion - at least two of them will regret their decision )
As a result the FIDE president could nominate three more players (he already picked Svidler). He chose:
- Ivan Cheparinov (2713)
- Etiene Bacrot (2700)
- Wang Yue (2698)
From other qualifiers Alexei Shirov and Alexander Morozevich refused to participate so the two reserves from the rating list had to be called in. First reserves were Michael Adams and Peter Svidler, but because Svidler was already nominated by the FIDE president the next reserve - Judit Polgar was called in. Judit also refused so Alexander Grischuk took the final place.
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">GRAND PRIX</span>
The <span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Final list of participants</span> and the schedule of the Grand prix tournaments. Each tournament will be a 13 round-robin tournament. Every participant will play in 4 of the 6 Grand prix tournament. The point structure of the Grand prix tournaments is as follows:
In case of ties, the points will be split equally. The overall winner of the Grand Prix will be the one who will score the most number of cumulative points. The cumulative score will be calculated from the best three results for each player. As already stated, the overall Grand prix winner will play against World Cup 2009 winner for the right to challenge the World champion (official regulations)
<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Other ways to be part in the World championship cycle</span>
Everybody that didn't qualify for Grand prix (or refused to participate) still have a chance to fight for the world champion title. The World Cup (128 player knock-out tournament) will be held in November-December 2009 and, as said before, the World cup winner plays the Grand prix winner.
Note: There is no reason that a player who participated in Grand prix can't participate in World cup too.
Since 1950's until 1993 when Kasparov split the chess world there was a 3 year cycle. First the zonal tournaments, then Inter-zonals, followed by the Candidates tournament. Later, after complains (mostly from Fischer) that the Soviet players are drawing against each other and play "full throtle" against the rest of the world, the Candidates tournament was replaced with knock-out matches - Candidates matches. The winner of the Candidates tournament/matches then challenged the World champion in a match. If the champion lost, the re-match was played next year (the re-match rule was abolished in 1960-3 cycle, but reinstated back in the 1980's)
I really enjoyed the interview... but I think Topalov's statements are somewhat contradictory. He said the system was too long and too big of a commitment (since one has to guarantee playing in four tournaments); but before that, he said it was a stable system.
I did notice that there's no love lost between Topalov and Kramnik -- or even Kasparov, for that matter.
The system is as stable as FIDE is, and FIDE isn't stable at all (in the meantime they "did it" again with the Women world championship - 3 months before the tournament they change the venue). So you'll never know how things will turn out. If this Grand prix and World Cup system will be used like it says on the paper, then all players will get used to it and will accept it, and thus the system will be stable as it was in the past. But if they will change something again... I think everybody should be satisfied with this system because it's a mixture of every other system we had. Tournaments (Grand prix), short KO matches with faster time controls (World Cup) and long standard matches (challenger match and World championship match).
In the past 15 years there have been constant changes, many times even during the cycle. It is understandable that many players refused to participate because they couldn't prepare for the events in advance, and even if they did, they didn't know if it will really come something out of it or not, because someone could change the rules in the meantime.
In other sports the venues and dates of big events like world championships are known at least at the beginning of the season if not years in advance. Everybody knows exactly what he/she has to do to qualify for the championship and what the format of competition is going to be. In chess they keep on changing the format, time controls, everything. Until we have this stabillity in chess, it is going to be as it is. The most disturbing statement in that interview is when Topalov says (about his possible match with Kramnik) that three things must happen. First two are obvious, he must beat Kamsky and Kramnik has to beat Anand, but the third ("we have to sign a contract with him [Kramnik], to play a match. Given the relations between us, this will not be an easy thing.") is unimaginable in other sports. Imagine that Federer and Nadal would win their semi-finals and would then say that they won't play the final of Wimbledon because of this and that So for chess sake I hope Anand wins. He was never someone who would be involved in chess politics and he never requested some special status like other players did (hell he even agreed that in case of a tie, the rapid tie-breaks are played in his match against Kramnik. I'm 100% sure that Kramnik, and most other players, would have never agreed to this).
It's a shame that Topalov won't participate in Grand prix, but it is understandable. His manager, Danailov, is the main figure behind the Grand slam tournaments (Wijk ann Zee, Morelia-Linares, M-Tel Sofia, Dortmund, Ciudad de Mexico and final tournament of the winners). The negotiations for these series started before anything was known about Grand Prix. So of course Topalov obligated himself to play in Grand slam tournaments. The dates aren't really overlapping but it would really be too much if he would play in Grand slam and Grand prix, plus the matches inbetween. He would go insane
I think the relationship between Kramnik and Topalov will never improve (as with Karpov and Korchnoi). I don't think he has anything against Kasparov, and I agree with him. Everything was concentrated around Kasparov - he was the ultimate chess superstar (not undeservingly). Now the attention is more equally distributed. It was really probably like this, that the potential sponsors first asked if Kasparov will play before deciding to sponsor a tournament or not.
True... it seems that FIDE changes things far too often. It's much too complex for many people to follow.
Topalov's condtions about a possible match with Kramnik make it clear that it will never happen.
I will agree that I would like to see Anand win. Not only is he extremely intelligent; he's also very amiable -- not at all arrogant, like others. Given that, how can someone not want to wish him well?
As to his comments about Kasparov, I think the interviewer twisted the question -- he started asking about Kasparov's suggestions to improve FIDE's system, but then changed the question to "Do you miss Garry?"
Still, I would have to agree with Topalov's answer. For quite some time, all the attention was on Kasparov (much like it was on Bobby Fischer during the 1970s). Now everyone is getting the credit they are due.
The only problem is, when some sports lose a superstar, they also lose a lot of followers. Depending on how you look at things, that could be a good thing, too... because the remaining fans are generally smarter and more passionate about the sport.