Elsewhere on the Web : 2005 FIDE World Cup - The Players

Saturday November 26, 2005

The 128 players competing at the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, (for more about the event, see Elsewhere on the Web 2005 FIDE World Cup - Introduction, 19 November 2005) qualified in many different ways. Some were successful in previous World Championship events, others were successful in regional qualifying events, some were chosen because of their high standing in the world rating system, while others were handpicked by the organizers. Let's look at the different ways that players earn the right to play in the World Championship cycle.

The 128 World Cup qualifying spots were first divvied up according to the following schema:-

Continental Championships: As described in our Introduction to World Chess Federation (FIDE) Zones, FIDE divides the chess world into four continents with a number of zones in each continent. Each continent is required to organize a championship where the World Cup qualifiers are selected in competition. The 90 qualifying spots were allocated to the four continents as shown in the following table (the links are to the corresponding FIDE page announcing the results of the Continental Championship):-

If you study the list of World Cup participants, you might notice that some players qualified under the continental quotas without playing in the championship. The management of each continent has the option to allow qualifiers from tournaments organized by the zones, a throwback to the traditional zonal events first used in 1946. There are limits on the number of players that can qualify from any single zone and the number of qualifiers from the zonals counts toward a continent's quota

Top rated players: FIDE World Championship events usually allow a certain number of players to qualify based on their ratings. The 20 places for the 2005 World Cup were allocated according to the average of players' ratings from the July 2004 and January 2005 FIDE rating lists. If two players have the same average, FIDE uses other criteria, like the number of games played, to decide which player receives an invitation.

Average ratings are also used to identify replacements if any of the seven qualifiers from previous World Championship events (World Champion, Women's Champion, etc.) decline to play. Where a player qualifies from both a Continental Championship and based on rating, the qualification on rating is used.

Some statistics: The 128 players qualified to play in Khanty-Mansiysk represent 48 different countries. Seven countries have five or more players participating. There are 23 players from Russia, 10 from the Ukraine, 9 from China, 8 from the USA, plus 5 each from Armenia, Israel, and Kazakhstan.

The 128 players have an average rating of just over 2600, making this the equivalent of a category 15 tournament. A player who goes the distance will certainly face stronger opposition than in a category 15 event.

Of the world's top-100 players, 65 are qualified to play in Khanty-Mansiysk; and of the world's top-10 players, three -- Vassily Ivanchuk (world no.5), Etienne Bacrot (no.9), and Lev Aronian (no.10) -- are qualified to play.

Where are the other top-10 players? World no.1 Garry Kasparov and no.7 Vladimir Kramnik have, for different reasons, declined to compete in the current FIDE cycle. The eight players, five of whom are in the top-10, who competed for the recent FIDE World Championship in San Luis, Argentina, (see ChessChrono, 2005 FIDE World Championship) are already seeded into later stages of the 2005-2007 FIDE World Championship cycle.

The top four finishers in San Luis are seeded into the next World Championship event scheduled for the end of 2007. The other four players are seeded (three based on rating and one as previous World Champion) into the Candidate Matches scheduled for end-2006. The top ten finishers at the 2005 FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk will also earn the right to play in the Candidate Matches, where the field of 16 will be rounded out by two other players chosen by rating.

For more information on this event, see the World Chess Cup 2005 official site, and our ChessChrono : 2005 FIDE World Cup.

Index of all World Championship blog posts