The FIDE Council approved yesterday a major reform of the qualification paths to the Candidates Tournament – the event that decides the challenger for the World Championship match. According to the new system, 1 player will qualify from the FIDE World Championship Match 2023 (runner-up), 3 players will qualify from the FIDE World Cup, 2 players will qualify from the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2023, 1 player will qualify from FIDE Circuit events, and 1 player will qualify according to FIDE rating.
Only eight months ago, the FIDE Council approved a cooperation agreement with the Grand Chess Tour which states that the two top finishers of the 2023 and 2025 Series will qualify for the Candidates Chess 2024 and 2026 respectively. Being asked to explain why the announced qualification paths don’t include Grand Chess Tour, the FIDE CEO Emil Sutovsky shortly answered: “It was a tentative agreement, but things did not work“.
GM Peter Heine Nielsen raised the question, but it was left unanswered by FIDE officials. “Can someone explain what has happened? FIDE Council decisions are legally binding as far as I understand. It seems like a pre-election stunt, signalling the will to stop using Russian Oligarchs, and the afterwards just ignoring the taken decisions“, wrote Nielsen on his twitter account.