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Candidates Tournament

The Candidates Tournament is a chess tournament organized by the world chess federation FIDE since 1950, as the final contest to determine the challenger for the World Chess Championship. The winner of the Candidates earns the right to a match for the World Championship against the incumbent World Champion. The next FIDE World Chess Candidates tournament will take place in Moscow, Russia from 10th to 30th of March, 2016.

In the early history, it was contested as a triennial tournament, but after the split of the World Championship in the early 1990s, followed with the changes in the determination of the World Champion Challenger, the tournament is held on a variable time basis.

Organization

The number of players in the tournament varied over the years, between eight and fifteen players. Most of these qualified from Interzonal tournaments, though some gained direct entry without having to play the Interzonal.

The first Interzonal/Candidates World Championship cycle began in 1948. Before 1965, the tournament was organized in a round-robin format. From 1965 on, the tournament was played as knockout matches, spread over several months. In 1995-1996, the defending FIDE champion (Anatoly Karpov) also entered the Candidates, in the semi-finals, so the winner was the FIDE world champion.

FIDE discontinued the Candidates Tournaments after 1996, though they have returned in a different form for the FIDE World Chess Championship 2007.

During its 1993 to 2006 split from FIDE, the "Classical" World Championship also held three Candidates Tournaments (in 1994-1995, 1998 and 2002) under a different sponsor and a different format each time. In one of these cases (Alexei Shirov in 1998) no title match eventuated, under disputed circumstances (see Classical World Chess Championship 2000).

Results of Candidates Tournaments

Paul Keres vs. Bobby Fischer, 1959 Candidates Tournament in Bled; Pal Benko watching

The tables below show the qualifiers and results for all interzonal, Candidates and world championship tournaments. Players shown bracketed in italics (Bondarevsky, Euwe, Fine and Reshevsky in 1950, Botvinnik en 1965, Fischer in 1977, Carlsen in 2011) qualified for the Candidates or were seeded in the Candidates, but did not play. Players shown in italics with an asterisk (like: Stein* and Bronstein*) were excluded in 1962 or 1965 from the Candidates by a rule limiting the number of players from one country. Players listed after players in italics (Flohr in 1950, Geller in 1965, Spassky in 1977, Grischuk in 2011) only qualified due to the non-participation of the bracketed players.

The "Seeded into Final" column usually refers to the incumbent champion, but this has a different meaning for the World Chess Championship 1948, in which five players were seeded into the championship tournament, the Classical World Chess Championship 2000 in which two players were seeded into the championship final, the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005 in which eight players were seeded into the final championship tournament, and the FIDE World Chess Championship 2007, in which four players were seeded into the final championship tournament.

1948-96: Interzonal and Candidates tournaments

Years Interzonal Format Interzonal Qualifiers Seeded into Candidates Candidates Format Candidates Winner(s) Seeded in Final Championship Final
1948 None In 1946-1947, FIDE decided that six players would participate to a tournament.
FIDE selected Keres and Fine as the winners of the AVRO 1938 chess tournament which had been recognized as a Candidates tournament for the championship. Reshevsky was selected as multiple champion of the USA, Botvinnik as Soviet champion, Euwe as former world champion and Smyslov was selected because he was one of the few Soviet grandmasters.
Fine withdrew from the 1948 tournament.
5 players,
Botvinnik, Smyslov, Keres, Reshevsky, Euwe
The Hague/ Moscow 1948
quintuple round robin,
1. Botvinnik 14 / 20
2. Smyslov 11
3.-4. Keres, Reshevsky 10½
1948-51 Saltsjöbaden (Stockholm) 1948
20 players,
single round robin, 8 qualified
1. Bronstein, 2. Szabo, 3. Boleslavsky, 4. Kotov, 5. Lilienthal,
6.-9. Najdorf, Ståhlberg, (Bondarevsky), Flohr
Smyslov, Keres
(Euwe, Fine, Reshevsky)
Budapest 1950
10 players,
double round robin
1.-2. Boleslavsky, Bronstein
3. Smyslov; 4. Keres
Bronstein
(won playoff match against Boleslavsky)
Botvinnik (1948 champion) Moscow 1951
24 games match
Drawn 12-12,
Botvinnik retained title
1952-54 Saltsjöbaden (Stockholm) 1952
21 players,
single round robin, 8 qualified
1. Kotov, 2.-3. Taimanov, Petrosian, 4. Geller,
5.-8. Averbakh, Ståhlberg, Szabo, Gligorić
Bronstein, Boleslavsky, Smyslov, Keres, Reshevsky, Najdorf, Euwe Zürich 1953
15 players,
double round robin
1. Smyslov
2.-4. Bronstein, Keres, Reshevsky
Smyslov Botvinnik (1951 champion) Moscow 1954
24 games match
Drawn 12-12,
Botvinnik retained title
1955-57 Göteborg 1955
21 players,
single round robin, 9 qualified
1. Bronstein, 2. Keres, 3. Panno, 4. Petrosian, 5.-6. Geller, Szabo, 7-9. Filip, Pilnik, Spassky Smyslov Amsterdam 1956
10 players,
double round robin
1. Smyslov
2. Keres
Smyslov Botvinnik (1954 champion) Moscow 1957
Smyslov won 12½-9½
1958 Rematch Botvinnik, Smyslov Moscow 1958
Botvinnik won
12½-10½
1958-60 Portorož 1958
21 players,
single round robin, 6 qualified
1. Tal, 2. Gligorić,
3.-4. Petrosian, Benko,
5.-6. Olafsson, Fischer
Smyslov, Keres Yugoslavia 1959
8 players, quadruple round robin
1. Tal; 2. Keres;
3. Petrosian;
4. Smyslov
Tal Botvinnik (1958 champion) Moscow 1960
Tal won 12½-8½
1961 Rematch Botvinnik, Tal Moscow 1961
Botvinnik won 13-8
1962-63 Stockholm 1962
23 players,
single round robin, 6 qualified
1. Fischer,
2.-3. Geller, Petrosian,
4.-5. Korchnoi, Filip,
6.-8. Stein*, Benko
Tal, Keres Curaçao 1962
8 players, quadruple round robin
1. Petrosian;
2. Keres; 3. Geller; 4. Fischer
Petrosian Botvinnik (1961 champion) Moscow 1963
Petrosian won
12½-9½
1964-66 Amsterdam 1964
24 players,
single round robin, 6 qualified
1.-4. Smyslov, Larsen, Spassky, Tal,
5. Stein*, 6. Bronstein*,
7. Ivkov,
8.-9. Portisch
Keres, (Botvinnik), Geller 1965:
8 players, matches
Semi-finals:
Spassky beat Geller
Tal beat Larsen
Spassky
beat Tal in the final
Petrosian (1963 champion) Moscow 1966
Petrosian won
12½-11½
1967-69 Sousse 1967
23 players,
single round robin, 6 qualified
1. Larsen,
2.-4. Korchnoi, Geller, Gligorić,
5. Portisch,
6.-8. Reshevsky
Spassky, Tal 1968:
8 players, matches
Semi-finals:
Korchnoi beat Tal
Spassky beat Larsen
Spassky
beat Korchnoi in the final
Petrosian (1966 champion) Moscow 1969
Spassky won
12½-10½
1970-72 Palma de Mallorca 1970
24 players,
single round robin, 6 qualified
1. Fischer,
2.-4. Larsen, Geller, Hübner, 5.-6. Taimanov, Uhlmann
Petrosian, Korchnoi 1971:
8 players, matches
Semi-finals: Petrosian beat Korchnoi
Fischer beat Larsen
Fischer
beat Petrosian in the final
Spassky (1969 champion) Reykjavík 1972
Fischer won 12½-8½
1973-75 1973:
Two 18 players, single round robin Interzonals; 3 qualified from each
Leningrad 1973:
1.-2. Korchnoi, Karpov,
3. Byrne;
Spassky, Petrosian 1974:
8 players, matches
Semi-finals : Korchnoi beat Petrosian
Karpov beat Spassky
Karpov
beat Korchnoi in the final
Fischer (1972 champion) 1975:
Karpov won on forfeit
Petropolis 1973:
1.Mecking,
2.-4.: Portisch,
Polugaevsky
1976-78 1976:
Two 20 players, single round robin Interzonals; 3 qualified from each
Biel 1976:
1. Larsen,
2.-4. Petrosian, Portisch
Korchnoi, (Fischer), Spassky 1977-78:
8 players, matches
Semi-finals : Korchnoi beat Polugaevsky
Spassky beat Portisch
Korchnoi
beat Spassky in the final (1977-78)
Karpov (1975 champion) Baguio City 1978
Karpov won 6-5
after 32 games
(draws not counting)
Manila 1976:
1. Mecking,
2.-3. Polugaevsky, Hort
1979-81 1979:
Two 18 players, single round robin Interzonals; 3 qualified from each
Riga 1979:
1.-2. Tal, Polugaevsky,
3.-4. Adorján;
Korchnoi, Spassky 1980:
8 players, matches
Semi-finals: Korchnoi beat Polugaevsky
Hübner beat Portisch
Korchnoi
beat Hübner in the final
Karpov (1978 champion) Meran 1981
Karpov won 6-2
after 18 games
(draws not counting)
Rio de Janeiro 1979:
1.-3. Portisch, Petrosian, Hübner
1982-85 1982:
Three 14 players, single round robin Interzonals; 2 qualified from each
Las Palmas 1982:
1. Ribli, 2. Smyslov;
Korchnoi, Hübner 1983-84:
8 players, matches
Semi-finals: Kasparov beat Korchnoi
Smyslov beat Ribli
Kasparov
beat Smyslov in the final (1984)
Karpov (1981 champion) Moscow 1984-85
Unlimited match abandoned after 48 games with Karpov leading 5-3
(draws not counting)
Toluca 1982:
1.-2. Portisch, Torre
1985 Moscow 1982:
1. Kasparov,
2. Beliavsky;
replay : Karpov, Kasparov Moscow 1985
24 games match
Kasparov won replay 13-11
1986 Rematch Karpov,

Kasparov

London/Leningrad 1986
Kasparov won 12½-11½
1985-87 1985:
Three 16-18 players, single round robin Interzonals; 4 qualified from each
Biel 1985:
1. Vaganian, 2. Seirawan, 3. Sokolov,
4.-6. Short;
Korchnoi, Ribli, Smyslov, Spassky (seeded in tournament)
Karpov (seeded in 1987 final)
Montpellier 1985:
16 players,
single round robin tournament,
1.-3. Yusupov, Sokolov, Vaganian,
4.-5. Timman
Linares 1987:
Karpov
beat matches winner (Sokolov) in the final.
Kasparov (1985 champion) Seville 1987
24 games match
Drawn 12-12,
Kasparov retained title
Taxco 1985:
1. Timman,
2. Nogueiras,
3. Tal, 4. Spraggett;
Tunis 1985:
1. Yusupov, 2. Beliavsky, 3. Portisch,
4.-5. Chernin
1986: 4 players played two rounds of matches: Yusupov beat Timman; Sokolov beat Vaganian and Yusupov.
1987-90 1987:
Three 17-18 players, single round robin Interzonals; 3 qualified from each
Subotica 1987:
1.-3. Sax, Short, Speelman;
Sokolov, Timman, Vaganian, Yusupov,
Spraggett
Karpov (seeded in second round)
1988: 14 players played one round of matches,
1989: Karpov joined winners in quarter finals
Semi-finals (1989):
Karpov beat Yusupov
Timman beat Speelman
Karpov
beat Timman in the final (1990)
Kasparov (1987 champion) New York/Lyon 1990
Kasparov won
12½-11½
Szirák 1987:
1.-2. Salov, Hjartarson,
3.-4. Portisch;
Zagreb 1987:
1. Korchnoi,
2.-3. Seirawan, Ehlvest
1990-93 Manila 1990
64 players Swiss, 11 qualified
1.-2. Gelfand, Ivanchuk,
3.-4. Anand, Short,
5.-11. Sax, Korchnoi, Hübner, Nikolić, Yudasin, Dolmatov, Dreev
Timman, Yusupov, Speelman
Karpov (seeded in second round)
1991: 14 players, played one round of matches,
1991: Karpov joined winners in quarter-finals
Semi-finals (1992):
Short beat Karpov
Timman beat Yusupov
Short
beat Timman in the final (1993)
Kasparov (1990 champion) London September-October 1993:
Kasparov defeated Short 13-8 under the auspices of the PCA;
Netherlands /Djakarta September-November 1993: Karpov defeated Timman 12½-8½ under the auspices of FIDE
1993-95 (PCA) Groningen December 1993
54 players Swiss, 7 qualified
1.-2. Adams, Anand,
3.-7. Kamsky, Kramnik, Tiviakov, Gulko, Romanishin
Short 1994-95:
8 players, matches
Semi-finals :
Kamsky beat Short
Anand beat Adams
Anand
beat Kamsky in the final (1995)
Kasparov (1993 PCA champion) New York
September-October 1995
20 games match
Kasparov won 10½-7½
1993-96 (FIDE) Biel July 1993
73 players Swiss, 10 qualified
1. Gelfand,
2.-9. Van der Sterren, Kamsky, Khalifman, Adams, Yudasin, Salov, Lautier, Kramnik,
10.-15. Anand
Timman, Yusupov 1994: 12 players played two rounds of matches. Semi-finals (February 1995):
Karpov beat Gelfand,
Kamsky beat Salov
Elista 1996
20 games match
Karpov won 10½-7½
Karpov (seeded in the semi-finals) 1995: Karpov joined winners (Gelfand, Kamsky, Salov) in the semi-finals.

1997-2006: Split titles

After 1996, interzonals ceased to exist, but FIDE continued to organize qualifying zonal tournaments.

Classical championships (1998-2004)
Years Candidates format Seeded into Candidates Candidates Winner(s) Seeded in Final Championship Final
1998 (Classical) Cazorla, May-June 1998
10-game match
Kramnik, Shirov
(on rating)
Shirov won 5½-3½ Kasparov
(1995 champion)
Match never took place
2000 (Classical) None Two players seeded in final:
Kasparov (1995 champion); Kramnik (on rating)
London: October-
November 2000
16-game match
Kramnik won 8½-6½
2002-2004 (Classical) Dortmund July 2002
preliminaries: two four players double round robins;
Semi-finals: the first from each group met the second from the other group in mini-matches
Preliminaries:
group 1: 1. Shirov, 2.Topalov, 3.Gelfand, 4.Lutz
group 2: 1.Bareev, 2.Leko, 3.Adams, 4.Morozevich
Semi-finals :
Leko beat Shirov and Topalov beat Bareev.
Leko
(beat Topalov in the final)
Kramnik
(2000 classical champion)
Brissago:
September-October 2004
14-game match
drawn 7-7,
Kramnik retained title
FIDE championships (1997-2005)
Years Candidates format Seeded into Candidates Finalists Championship Final
1997-1998 (FIDE) Groningen
December 1997,
7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament
100 players,
Quarter-finalists:
Adams, Van Wely, Short, Krasenkov, Gelfand, Dreev, Anand and Shirov.
Anand (beat Adams in candidates final)
Karpov (1996 FIDE champion)
Lausanne:
January 1998
6-game match
Drawn 3-3;
Karpov won rapid playoff 2-0
1999 (FIDE) Las Vegas
July-August 1999,
7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament
100 players,
Quarter-finalists:
Kramnik, Adams, Movsesian, Akopian, Shirov, Nisipeanu, Khalifman, J. Polgar
Semi-finals:
Khalifman beat Nisipeanu,
Akopian beat Adams
Las Vegas 1999
6-game match
Khalifman won 3½-2½
2000 (FIDE) New Delhi (6 rounds)/final in Tehran
November-December 2000
7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament with final match played in Tehran
100 players,
Quarter-finalists:
Anand, Khalifman, Adams, Topalov, Tkachiev, Grischuk, Shirov and Bareev
Semi-finals:
Anand beat Adams,
Shirov beat Grischuk
Tehran
December 2000
6-game match
Anand won 3½-½
2001-2002 (FIDE) Moscow
November-December 2001
7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament with relatively quick time controls
128 players,
Quarter-finalists:
Anand, Shirov, Ivanchuk, Lautier, Svidler, Gelfand, Ponomariov and Bareev
Semi-finals:
Ponomariov beat Svidler,
Ivanchuk beat Anand
Moscow
January 2002
8-game match
Ponomariov won 4½-2½
2004 (FIDE) Tripoli
June-July 2004
7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament with relatively quick time controls
128 players,
Quarter-finalists:
Topalov, Kharlov, Kasimdzhanov, Grischuk, Radjabov, Dominguez, Adams, Akopian
Semi-finals:
Adams beat Radjabov,
Kasimdzhanov beat Topalov
Tripoli July 2004
6-game match
drawn 3-3;
Kasimdzhanov won rapid playoff 1½-½
2005 (FIDE) None 8 players seeded in final:
Kasimdzhanov (FIDE champion); Adams (as FIDE 2004 finalist);
Anand, Morozevich, Topalov (on rating),
Leko (as classical 2004 finalist),
J. Polgár and Svidler (on rating)
San Luis: 8 players,
double round robin,
September-October 2005
1. Topalov : 10/14
2.-3. Anand and Svidler : 8½/14
4.Morozevich: 7/14
Reunification
2006 Reunification match Topalov (FIDE champion),
Kramnik (classical champion)
Elista October 2006
12-game match
drawn 6-6,
Kramnik won rapid playoff 2½-1½

2007-present: Reunified title

After the reunification of the FIDE and "classical" titles, the Chess World Cup and FIDE Grand Prix series were introduced as qualification for the Candidates Tournament.

Years Qualification format Qualifiers Seeded into Candidates Candidates Format Candidates Winner(s) Seeded in Final Championship Final
2005-2007 Chess World Cup 2005
Khanty-Mansiysk
November-December 2005
128 players, 7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament;
+ mini-matches to establish places 1 through 16.
top 10 qualify
1.Ponomariov, 2.Aronian, (3.Bacrot,)
4.Grischuk, 5.Bareev, 6.Gelfand, 7.Rublevsky, 8.Gurevich, 9.Kamsky, 10.Carlsen, 11.Malakhov
Kasimdzhanov, Leko, Adams,
J. Polgár
(5th-8th of 2005 championship),
Shirov, Bacrot
(on rating)
Elista:
May-June 2007
16 players,
two rounds of matches,
4 players qualify for championship tournament
Aronian,
Gelfand,
Grischuk,
Leko
Anand, Svidler, Morozevich
(2nd-4th in 2005);
Kramnik
(2006 Champion)
Mexico City:
September 2007
8 players,
double round robin
1. Anand 9/14
2.-3. Kramnik and Gelfand: 8/14
2008 Rematch Kramnik, Anand Bonn October 2008
12-game match
Anand won 6½-4½ to retain the title.
2007-2010 Chess World Cup 2007
Khanty-Mansiysk
November-December 2007
128 players, 7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament
Kamsky
beat A. Shirov 2½-1½ in the final.
Topalov
(2005 FIDE champion)
Sofia
February 2009,
8-game match
Topalov won 4½-2½ Anand
(2008 champion)
Sofia April-May 2010
12-game match
Anand won 6½-5½ to retain the title.
2008-2012 FIDE Grand Prix 2008-2010
2 qualified
Aronian, Radjabov
(Grischuk)
(Carlsen) Grischuk, Kramnik
(on rating),
Kamsky,
Topalov,
Mamedyarov
Kazan
May 2011,
8 players,
matches
Semifinals:
Gelfand defeated Kamsky;
Grischuk defeated Kramnik
Gelfand defeated Grischuk in the final 3½-2½ Anand
(2010 champion)
Moscow May 2012
12-game match drawn 6-6,

Anand won rapid playoff 2½-1½
to retain the title

Chess World Cup 2009
Khanty-Mansiysk
November-December 2009
128 players, 7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament (1st qualifies)
Gelfand (beat Ponomariov in the final)
2011-2013 Chess World Cup 2011
Khanty-Mansiysk
August-September 2011
128 players, 7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament (top three qualify)
Svidler, Grischuk, Ivanchuk Gelfand
Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik
Radjabov
London
March 2013
8 player double round-robin tournament
Carlsen
(won Candidates Tournament on tie breaks)
Anand
(2012 champion)
Chennai, November 2013
12-game match
Carlsen won 6½-3½
2012-2014 FIDE Grand Prix 2012-2013
2 qualified
Topalov, Mamedyarov Anand
Aronian, Karjakin
Svidler
Khanty-Mansiysk,
March 2014
8 player double round-robin tournament
Anand Carlsen
(2013 champion)
Sochi, November 2014
12-game match
Carlsen won 6½-4½ to retain the title
Chess World Cup 2013
Tromsø
August-September 2013
128 players, 7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament (top two qualify)
Kramnik, Andreikin
2014-2016 FIDE Grand Prix 2014-15
2 qualified
Caruana, Nakamura Anand
Topalov, Giri (ratings)
Aronian (wildcard)
Moscow, Russia
March 2016
8 player double round-robin tournament
TBD Carlsen
(2014 champion)
TBA, ultimo 2016
12-game match
Chess World Cup 2015
Baku
October 2015
128 players, 7 round, mini-match, knockout tournament (top two qualify)
Svidler, Karjakin

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