World Chess Championship

About FIDE

Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation is an international organization and a governing body of international chess competitions. It connects all world national chess federations. World Chess Federation is referred to as FIDE. Currently, there are 185 member federations of FIDE. This number is not constant, since new federations join and some get suspended if they do not manage to pay their dues. FIDE is organizing the World Chess Championship, Chess Olympiad and World Team Championship for national teams. A few other tournaments and events are monitored by FIDE and conducted after FIDE’s rule and regulations. Rules of chess, both for individual games and international competitions are defined by FIDE. FIDE also calculates the Elo Ratings of players.

History and World Championship

In the course of 10 years, from 1914 to 1924, there were several attempts by chess players and national federations to set up and organization which will be organizing and hosting international competitions. At this time, players were also trying to define rules for championship matches, and in 1922, then world champion Jose Raul Capablanca proposed the ‘London rules’, which were redefined some years later. When it comes to creation on a governing organization, this finally came into being in 1924, when the participants at the Paris tournament founded FIDE. It was a kind of players’ union and in the beginning it had little influence and was poorly financed. However, in 1925 and 1926, FIDE expressed their readiness to participate in organization of the world championship. FIDE was also organizing a Chess Olympiad in Budapest in 1926, but not very successfully since only four countries participated, and this competition was called Little Olympiad. In 1927, FIDE was the organizer of the First Chess Olympiad in London, and this time 16 countries participated.

In the coming years, FIDE was struggling to act as a governing body as they were constantly requesting modification of the ‘London Rules’. Even though FIDE decided to form a commission to modify to Rules, the commission never met, and the match between the reigning champion Alekhine and ‘Champion of FIDE’ Bogoljubow in 1929 was held neither under auspices of FIDE nor under the ‘London Rules’. This was a reason more for FIDE to try once again to redefine rules, and Max Euwe who was in 1937 preparing for a rematch with Alekhine, proposed that if he wins the title in the 1937 Championship, FIDE should manage the nomination of future challengers and conduct championship matches. At the same time, the Dutch Chess Federation proposed a super-tournament of ex-champions and rising starts (AVRO) to be held to select the next challenger. The majority was in favor of Dutch Chess Federation proposal over FIDE’s. The issue remained unresolved mostly due to the outbreak of the WWII.

Following the WWII, world of chess faced numerous issues which now were a combination of pre-war unresolved issues and new ones coming as a consequence of the war. The situation got even more confusing when in 1946, Alexander Alekhine suddenly died because now the position of World Champions was vacant. This was a stimulus for Soviet Union to join FIDE and participate in the discussion about vacant world championship. In 1948, the procedures of selecting challengers for World Championship were established.

FIDE-Agon agreement

Since 1960s, FIDE was involved in several controversies starting with American player Bobby Fischer, continuing with a number of conflicts in 1970s with Soviet Union to the split in the world-title which resulted in FIDE introducing complicated regulations for the 2007-09 championship cycle. One of the controversies around FIDE is the FIDE-Agon agreement.

FIDE made a commercial agreement with the company Agon Limited in 2012. With the contract, Agon got ‘sole and exclusive’ rights over the events that fall under the agreement. According to the contract, about 7 million Euros was supposed to accrue to FIDE every two years, and Agon had to pay an initial deposit of 500000. However, none of these things happened. In 2014, the agreement was leaked to the media, and allegedly the ultimate benefactor in the contract and the owner of Agon was FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. FIDE’s deputy vice president stated that the agreement was only a draft document and that the violation of FIDE Code of Ethics did not occur. In October 2014, Agon was sold to its current CEO Ilya Merenzon for the sum of one pound.

In 2015, Agon was supposed to pay 80 000 dollar for organization of 2015 Rapid and Blitz Championships. Rumors had it that the agreement of non-payment was already made before the event, but FIDE’s version of the story said that they did not press Agon to pay this amount because they have lost 200 000 on it. Starting at the end of 2016, Agon is obliged to pay 500000 euros every year to FIDE.