2013 FIDE World Chess ChampionshipWhile the concept of a World Chess Champion dates back to at least 1845, the history of the title has seen controversy, conflict, and contested results. In fact, only in the last few years has the process of choosing a World Chess Champion begun to settle again under the direction of FIDE (the World Chess Federation).

The current champion, Viswanathan Anand, will defend his title against challenger Magnus Carlsen November 7-28 in Chennai, India.

The challenger for a World Chess Championship match is selected in the Candidates Tournament, a double-round-robin event with eight participants. The eight players are:

  • The loser of the previous World Chess Championship
  • The top two finishers in the Chess World Cup.
  • The top two finishers in the FIDE Grand Prix series.
  • One player selected by the tournament’s host organizing committee.
  • The two highest FIDE rated players not otherwise qualified.

The FIDE Grand Prix is a series of six events with 18 total participants. Each participant, though, plays in only four of the matches. For each first place finish, a player earns 170 points. For each second place finish, 140. Third place, 110. And so on, dropping 20 points for the next place, and 10 each place after that. At the end of the Grand Prix series, the points are each player’s three best scores are totaled to determine the overall winners.

The 2012-2013 FIDE Grand Prix series has just concluded with Vaselin Topalov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the top two spots, thus qualifying for the next Candidates Tournament leading to the 2014 World Chess Championship.

The Chess World Cup is a single-elimination tournament with 128 players. For most of the tournament, individual matches consist of two games, except for the final round in which are played four games.