The World Chess Championship is the biggest and most prestigious chess event. Both men and women can qualify for the title. The Championship is administered by FIDE, the biggest international chess organization in the world. World Chess Championship follows the knockout format eventually deciding on the World Champion who holds the crown for till the next cycle.
It was around 1845 that the concept of ‘World Champion’ came along. Till this time, chess was played but not on a professional level, tournaments scattered throughout the world. With the advent of this title, players across the globe unified themselves to contest against each other, challenge each other to be the best.
The competitive zeal and enthusiasm among the players caught attention of the chess lovers who started following these matches intently. The first recorded World championship match was played between Steinitz and Zukertort in the year 1886. Before 1948, the funds for the tournaments were arranged by the players and chess enthusiasts. The fund was provided in the form of stakes, which were placed as bets on the favorites for each Championship.
Soon the need for an external organization to manage the vast event of World Chess Championship became prominent as for the difficulties that arose while negotiating matches. Thus, FIDE or World Chess Federation was formed in Paris, in the year 1924 on the 20th July, which united the chess world.
Rise of FIDE:
Chess players tried to form an international organization, which could take care of the World Championship events. It was in the year 1924 on 20th July that participants at the Paris Tournaments formed FIDE, the players’ union. FIDE has lesser power when it was formed. Eventually in the year 1926, FIDE proposed the title of ‘Champion of FIDE’ and in the year 1928, referred to the match between Bogoljubow and Euwe being the first ‘FIDE championship’.
Alekhine who was the reigning chess master of the time agreed to put the forthcoming World Championship matches under the banner of FIDE. However his condition was FIDE allowing him to play Capablanca under the same conditions, which were there in the 1927 tournament. Sooner after Alekhine won the world championship match in the year 1929, the title ‘Champion of FIDE’ was forgotten.
FIDE- World Championship Cycle
Alexander Alekhine’s death along with the damages imposed upon by the Second World War created confusion in the chess world and in the normal cycle of World Championship. Countries could not send representatives for their deteriorated financial conditions. It was in the year 1947 that Soviet Union sent a telegram to FIDE requesting FIDE Committees to let USSR to participate in the future tournaments organized by FIDE. Mikhail Botvinnik was the first World Chess Champion under the FIDE system that rejuvenated itself after the Second World War.
There were proposals passed in the year 1948. It included the mention of procedure by which challengers for the World Championship would be selected in every three years. The proposal also stated that the countries have to be affiliated by FIDE to send players to the Zonal Tournaments. The players having the highest scores in the Zonal tournament will contest in the Interzonal Tournament and eventually as the numbers of players participating increased, it was decided that the qualifiers at the Interzonal tournament will have to compete in
The Candidates Tournament to contest in the World Championship Match. Hence, a format was created thus, allowing FIDE to work smoothly.
PCA or Professional Chess Association was formed in the year 1993. It was a rival organization of FIDE that was formed by Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short. It was formed as a result of the feud that took place between FIDE and Garry Kasparov. Kasparov formed PCA with the help of Short and appointed Bob Rice as the commissioner of the organization.
The World Chess Championship 1993 was played under the banner of PCA between Kasparov and Short. The match was organized in the Savoy Theatre, London. Kasparov won the title of PCA World Chess Championship with a score of 12.5 to 7.5. FIDE responded to this incident by stripping off Kasparov of the FIDE World Chess Champion title and organization between Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman. Anatoly Karpov, however, won the title of FIDE World Chess Championship. It was for the first time in the history of World Chess Championship, that two players held the title of World Championship at the same time.
PCA was dissolved in the year 1996 as its main sponsor Intel moved out of the organization. Finally the split was healed and a reunification match was held between Kramnik and Champion Veselin Topalov. The match was won by Kramnik.