The Ultimate Guide to World Chess Championship

The World Chess Championship is the most prestigious tournament in the world of chess, pitting the two best players against each other in a series of matches.

Held every other year by the World Chess Federation, also known as FIDE, the one-year gap is used to determine the suitable challenger to take on the reigning champion.

This year, the championship will feature a showdown between Ian Nepomniatchi, the winner of the Candidates tournament, and Ding Li Ren, the runner-up.

It is worth noting that current World Champion Magnus Carlsen has declined to defend his title due to disagreements with FIDE, as seen in the video linked below.

The matches are set to take place from April 7th to April 30th, 2023.

Who qualifies for the World Chess Championship?

The winner of the previous World Chess Championship and the current Candidates tournament qualify for the upcoming World Chess Championship.

It is a showdown between the two best chess players in the world.

To become the challenger of world title, the winner of the Candidates tournament must first qualify for and win the tournament.

Eight players qualify for the Candidates tournament via one of the following routes:

  • Two from the FIDE World Cup (1st and 2nd finishers). If the world champion wins the World Cup, then the 2nd and 3rd finishers qualify for the Candidates tournament. If the world champion finishes 2nd in the World Cup, then the #1 and #3 finishers qualify for the Candidates.
  • One from the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament.
  • The top two finishers in the FIDE Grand Prix.
  • A Wildcard entry.
  • The highest-rated player in classical chess. If the world champion is the highest-rated player, then the 2nd highest-rated player qualifies for the Candidates tournament.
  • The runner-up of the previous year’s World Championship.

These eight players play a round-robin tournament in which every candidate plays against each candidate once with white and once with black pieces. The highest-scoring player at the end of the tournament qualifies for the World Championship.

If two players finish with the same score, the head-to-head high scorer in the Candidates tournament qualifies for the World Championship.

Even if the score is still equal, a series of additional games is played between the two players, followed by Armageddon if necessary to determine the winner.

World Chess Championship Format

The World Chess Championship format consists of 14 classical games. If the scores in classical chess remain level, Rapid and Blitz games will follow.

The time format for classical chess is 120 minutes plus a 30-second increment on each move.

After move 40, an additional 60 minutes will be added to the clock for the next 20 moves, followed by 15 more minutes for the remainder of the game.

The increment on every move will remain the same (30 seconds) from start to finish.

List of World Chess Champions (2006-present)

YearWinner Runner up
2006Vladimir KramnikVeselin Topalov
2007Viswanathan AnandVladimir Kramnik , Boris Gelfand
2008Viswanathan Anand Vladimir Kramnik
2010Viswanathan Anand Veselin Topalov
2012Viswanathan Anand Boris Gelfand
2013Magnus CarlsenViswanathan Anand
2014Magnus Carlsen Viswanathan Anand
2016Magnus Carlsen Sergey Karjakin
2018Magnus Carlsen Fabiano Caruana
2021Magnus CarlsenIan Nepomniatchi

Who has won the most Chess World Championship?

Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov have each won the world chess championship six times, making them the most decorated world champions.

Following closely behind is Magnus Carlsen, who has won the last five world championships in a row. Unfortunately, he has refused to defend his title for the sixth time.

Some Important Facts About World Championship:

  • Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion at the age of 22 in 1985.
  • The FIDE World Championship 2023 features a prize fund of 2 million euros.
  • This year’s world championship will be hosted in Astana, Kazakhstan.