Friday, 5 November 2010

What the what now?

Via Chessbase comes the news that Magnus Carlsen has decided to drop out of the current World Championship Cycle. In an open letter to FIDE Carlsen lists a number of objections to the current world championship format, some to do with the current cycle, but some of a more 'historical' nature.
One of his major objections is that the reigning world champion gets a free ride to the championship match, and draws comparisons to the football World Cup, where the reigning champion has to qualify for the final like everyone else. His proposal (for the next cycle) is to have an 8-10 player tournament to decide the World Champion.
It will be interesting to see what the other leading players make of all this. I suspect he won't find much support (either with the top players to the general public), as historically chess has been a sport where you have to beat the champion to become the champion. That is not to say the current system is perfect, but the overall framework (Candidate matches with a matchplay final) is generally accepted as a good system, it is just the mechanics that need improvement.

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