Fédération Internationale des Échecs
(World Chess Federation)
FormationJuly 20, 1924
HeadquartersAthens, Greece
158 national associations
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

The Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation is an international organization that connects the various national chess federations around the world and acts as the governing body of international chess competition. It is usually referred to as FIDE (Template:PronEng "fee day"), its French acronym.[1]

FIDE was founded in Paris, France on July 20, 1924.[2] Its motto is Gens una sumus, meaning "We are one people". Its current president is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who is also president of Kalmykia, an autonomous Republic in Russia.


FIDE's most visible activity is organizing the World Chess Championship (overall and for women and juniors), regional championships and the Chess Olympiad. It is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the supreme body responsible for the organization of chess and its championships at global and continental levels.[3] FIDE oversees few other tournaments, although other top-level events, almost without exception, respect FIDE rules and regulations.

It defines the rules of chess, both for playing individual games (i.e. the board and moves) and for the conduct of international competitions. The international competition rules are the basis for local competitions, although local bodies are allowed to modify these rules to a certain extent. FIDE awards a number of organisational titles, including International Arbiter, which signifies that the recipient is competent and trusted to oversee top-class competitions.[4]

FIDE calculates the Elo ratings of players and uses these as the basis on which it awards titles for achievement in competitive play: FIDE Master, International Master, International Grandmaster, and women's versions of those titles.[5] It also awards Master and Grandmaster titles for achievement in problem and study composing and solving, and periodically publishes FIDE Albums of the best problems.[6]

Correspondence chess (chess played by post or email) is regulated by the International Correspondence Chess Federation, an independent body that co-operates with FIDE where appropriate.


Foundation and early years (up to 1939)

In April 1914, an initiative was taken in St. Petersburg to form an international chess federation. Another attempt was made in July, 1914 during the Mannheim International Chess Tournament, but further efforts temporarily came to an end as a result of the outbreak of World War I during the latter event. In 1920, another attempt to organize an international federation was made at the Gothenburg Tournament.[7]

Players also made the first attempt to produce rules for world championship matches - in 1922, world champion Jose Raul Capablanca proposed the "London rules": the first player to win six games outright would win the match; playing sessions would be limited to five hours; the time limit would be 40 moves in 2.5 hours; the champion would be obliged to defend his title within one year of receiving a challenge from a recognized master; the champion would decide the date of the match; the champion was not obliged to accept a challenge for a purse of less than $10,000; 20% of the purse was to paid to the title holder, with the remainder being divided, 60% to the winner of the match, and 40% to the loser; the highest purse bid must be accepted. Alekhine, Bogoljubow, Maróczy, Reti, Rubinstein, Tartakower and Vidmar promptly signed them.[8] The only match played under those rules was Capablanca vs Alekhine in 1927.[9]

In 1922, the Russian master Eugene Znosko-Borovsky, while participating in an international tournament in London, announced that a tournament would be held during the 8th Sports Olympic Games in Paris in 1924 and would be hosted by the French Chess Federation. On 20 July 1924 the participants at the Paris tournament founded FIDE as a kind of players' union.[3][7][10] In its early years, FIDE had little power, and was poorly financed.

FIDE's congresses in 1925 and 1926 expressed a desire to become involved in managing the world championship. FIDE was largely happy with the "London Rules", but claimed that the requirement for a purse of $10,000 was impracticable and called upon Capablanca to come to an agreement with the leading masters to revise the Rules.[11]

FIDE's third congress, in Budapest in 1926, also decided to organize a Chess Olympiad. The invitations were, however, late in being sent, with the result that only four countries participated, and the competition was called the Little Olympiad. The winner was Hungary, followed by Yugoslavia, Romania, and Germany. In 1927, FIDE began organizing the First Chess Olympiad during its 4th Congress in London. The official title of the tournament was the "Tournament of Nations", or "World Team Championship", but "Chess Olympiad" became a more popular title. The event was won by Hungary, with 16 teams competing.[7]

In 1928 FIDE recognized Bogoljubow as "Champion of FIDE" after he won a match against Max Euwe.[11]

Alekhine, the reigning world champion, attended part of the 1928 Congress and agreed to place future matches for the world title under the auspices of FIDE, although any match with Capablanca should be under the same conditions as in Buenos Aires, 1927, i.e. including the requirement for a purse of at least $10,000. FIDE accepted this and decided to form a commission to modify the London Rules for future matches, though this commission never met; by the time of the 1929 Congress, a world championship match between Alekhine and Bogoljubow was under way, held neither under the auspices of FIDE nor in accordance with the London Rules.[11]

While negotiating his 1937 World Championship re-match with Alexander Alekhine, Euwe proposed that if he retained the title, FIDE should manage the nomination of future challengers and the conduct of championship matches. FIDE had been trying since 1935 to introduce rules on how to select challengers, and its various proposals favored selection by some sort of committee. While they were debating procedures in 1937 and Alekhine and Euwe were preparing for their re-match later that year, the Dutch Chess Federation proposed that a super-tournament (AVRO) of ex-champions and rising stars should be held to select the next challenger. FIDE rejected this proposal and at their second attempt nominated Salo Flohr as the official challenger. Euwe then declared that: if he retained his title against Alekhine he was prepared to meet Flohr in 1940 but he reserved the right to arrange a title match either in 1938 or 1939 with Jose Raul Capablanca, who had lost the title to Alekhine in 1927; if Euwe lost his title to Capablanca then FIDE's decision should be followed and Capablanca would have to play Flohr in 1940. Most chess writers and players strongly supported the Dutch super-tournament proposal and opposed the committee processes favored by FIDE. While this confusion went unresolved: Euwe lost his title to Alekhine; the AVRO tournament in 1938 was won by Paul Keres under a tie-breaking rule, with Reuben Fine placed second and Capablanca and Flohr in the bottom places; and the outbreak of World War II in 1939 cut short the controversy.[12][13] Although competitive chess continued in many countries, including some that were under Nazi occupation, there was no international competition and FIDE was inactive during the war.

1946 to 1993

Birth of the World Championship challenge cycle

From the time of Emanuel Lasker's defeat of Wilhelm Steinitz in 1894, until 1946, a new World Champion had won the title by defeating the former champion in a match. Alexander Alekhine's death created an interregnum that made the normal procedure impossible. The situation was confused, with many respected players and commentators offering different solutions. FIDE found it difficult to organize the early discussions on how to resolve the interregnum, because problems with money and travel in the aftermath of World War II prevented many countries from sending representatives, most notably the Soviet Union. The shortage of clear information resulted in otherwise responsible magazines publishing rumors and speculation, which only made the situation more confused.[14] See Interregnum of World Chess Champions for more details.

This situation was exacerbated by the Soviet Union having long refused to join FIDE, and by this time it was clear that about half the credible contenders were Soviet citizens. The Soviet Union realized, however, it could not afford to be left out of the discussions regarding the vacant world championship, and in 1947 sent a telegram apologizing for the absence of Soviet representatives and requesting that the USSR be represented in future FIDE Committees.[14]

The eventual solution was similar to FIDE's initial proposal and to a proposal put forward by the Soviet Union (authored by Mikhail Botvinnik). The 1938 AVRO tournament was used as the basis for the 1948 Championship Tournament. The AVRO tournament had brought together the eight players who were, by general acclamation, the best players in the world at the time. Two of the participants at AVRO - Alekhine and former world champion Capablanca - had since died; but FIDE decided that the other six participants at AVRO would play a quadruple round robin tournament. These players were: Max Euwe (from The Netherlands); Botvinnik, Paul Keres and Salo Flohr (from the Soviet Union); and Reuben Fine and Samuel Reshevsky (from the United States). FIDE soon accepted a Soviet request to substitute Vasily Smyslov for Flohr, and Fine withdrew in order to continue his degree studies in psychiatry, so five players competed, in a quintuple round robin. Botvinnik won, thus became world champion, ending the interregnum.[14]

The proposals which led to the 1948 Championship Tournament also specified the procedure by which challengers for the World Championship would be selected in a three-year cycle: countries affiliated with FIDE would send players to Zonal Tournaments (the number varied depending on the number of strong players each country had); the players who gained the top places in these would compete in an Interzonal Tournament (later split into two, then three tournaments as the number of countries and eligible players increased[15]); the highest-placed players from the Interzonal would compete in the Candidates Tournament, along with the loser of the previous title match and the runner-up in the previous Candidates Tournament; and the winner of the Candidates played a title match against the champion.[14] From 1950 until 1962 inclusive, the Candidates Tournament was a multi-round round-robin - how and why it was changed are described below.

The Bobby Fischer controversies

FIDE found itself embroiled in some controversies relating to the American player Bobby Fischer, the first of which took place when Fischer alleged that at the 1962 Candidates Tournament in Curaçao, the Soviet players Tigran Petrosian, Keres and Efim Geller had pre-arranged draws in their games played amongst themselves, and that Viktor Korchnoi, another Soviet player, had been instructed to lose to them (Fischer had placed 4th, well behind Petrosian, Keres and Geller). Grandmaster Yuri Averbakh, a member of the Soviet delegation at the tournament, said in 2002 that Petrosian, Keres and Geller privately agreed to draw their games, and a statistical analysis in 2006 supported this conclusion.[16][17] FIDE responded by changing the format of Candidates Tournaments from a multi-round round-robin to a series of elimination matches, initially 10-12 games in duration, though by the 1970s, the Candidates final would be as long as 24 games.

In 1969, Fischer refused to play in the U.S. Championship because of disagreements about the tournament's format and prize fund. Since that event was being treated as a Zonal Tournament, Fischer forfeited his right to compete for the right to challenge world champion Boris Spassky in 1972. Grandmaster Pal Benko agreed to relinquish his qualifying place at the Interzonal in Fischer's favor, and the other participants waived their right to claim the spot. FIDE president Max Euwe interpreted the rules very flexibly to allow Fischer to play in the 1970 Interzonal at Palma de Mallorca, which he won convincingly. Fischer then crushed Mark Taimanov, Bent Larsen and Tigran Petrosian in the 1971 Candidates Tournament and won the title match with Spassky to become world champion.[18]

After winning the world championship, Fischer criticized the existing championship match format (24 games; the champion retained the title if the match was tied) on the grounds that it encouraged whoever got an early lead to play for draws. While this dispute was going on, Anatoly Karpov won the right to challenge in 1975. Fischer refused to accept any match format other than the one he proposed. Among Fischer's demands was a requirement that the challenger must beat him by at least two games in order to take his title. The FIDE argued that it was unfair for a challenger to be able to beat the world champion, yet not take his title. Fischer would not back down, and eventually FIDE awarded the title to Karpov by default.[19] Some commentators have questioned whether FIDE president Max Euwe did as much as he could have to prevent Fischer from forfeiting his world title.[18]

Other 1970s controversies

FIDE had a number of conflicts with the Soviet Chess Federation. These conflicts included:[18]

Rapid expansion of membership

During his period as president of FIDE (1970–1978) Max Euwe strove to increase the number of member countries, and Florencio Campomanes (president 1982-1995) continued this policy, with each member nation receiving one vote. Former world champion Anatoly Karpov later said this was a mixed blessing, as the inclusion of so many small, poor countries led to a "leadership vacuum at the head of the world of chess......"[18][20] Yuri Averbakh said the presence of so many weak countries made it easy to manipulate decisions.[21]

World Championship 1983-1985

The events leading to Garry Kasparov's winning the world championship involved FIDE in two controversies. While arranging the Candidates Tournament semi-final matches to be played in 1983, FIDE accepted bids to host Kasparov versus Victor Korchnoi in Pasadena, California. The Soviet Union refused to accept this, either because it feared Kasparov would defect or because it thought Kasparov was the greater threat to reigning champion Anatoly Karpov; and their refusal would have meant that Kasparov forfeited his chance of challenging for the title. FIDE president Florencio Campomanes negotiated with the Soviet Union and the match was played in London.[20][22]

In the 1984 world championship match between Karpov and Kasparov the winner was to be the first to win 6 games. In the first 27 games Karpov gained a 5-0 lead but by the end of the 48th Kasparov had reduced this to 5-3.[23] At this point the match had lasted for 159 days (from September 1984 to February 1985), Karpov looked exhausted and many thought Kasparov was the favorite to win. After six days of talks, on February 15 FIDE president Campomanes announced that "the match is ended without decision", that a new one would begin in September 1985 with the score 0-0, and that it would consist of at most 24 games. Karpov entered the press conference rather late and said he wished to continue the existing match with his version of the Mark Twain line, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!". Although nobody has revealed what had happened behind the scenes, there were ESPN cameras and reporters from Sports Illustrated in addition to American Grandmaster Max Dlugy. When the good cop-bad cop routine of Karpov and Campamanes caused a commotion an agitated Karpov stared at Campomanes, who was caught on film saying, "But Anatoly, I told them what you said!". Dlugy also reported this event in the US magazine Chess Life. Kasparov won the second match and became world champion.[20][24][25]

1993 to present

World Championship divided 1993-2006

In 1992 Nigel Short surprised the world by winning the Candidates Tournament and thus becoming the official challenger for Garry Kasparov's world title. FIDE very quickly accepted a bid from Manchester (England) to host the title match in 1993. But at that time Short was travelling to Greece and could not be consulted as FIDE's rules required. On learning of the situation Short contacted Kasparov, who had distrusted FIDE and its president, Florencio Campomanes ever since Campomanes had stopped his title match against Anatoly Karpov in 1984. Kasparov and Short concluded that FIDE had failed to get them the best financial deal available and announced that they would "play under the auspices of a new body, the "Professional Chess Association" (PCA). FIDE stripped Kasparov of his FIDE title and dropped Kasparov and Short from the official rating list. It also announced a title match between Karpov and Jan Timman, whom Short had defeated in the semi-final and final stages of the Candidates Tournament. Kasparov and Karpov won their matches and there were now two players claiming to be world champion.[26]

In 1994 Kasparov concluded that breaking away from FIDE had been a mistake, because both commercial sponsors and the majority of grandmasters disliked the split in the world championship.[27] Kasparov started trying to improve relations with FIDE and supported Campomanes' bid for re-election as president of FIDE. But many FIDE delegates regarded Campomanes as corrupt and in 1995 he agreed to resign provided his successor was Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the Republic of Kalmykia.[28]

In the next few years several attempts to re-unify the world championship failed for various reasons - notably inability to finance a match or Kasparov's opposition to any plan that required him to play in a qualifying series rather than go straight into a re-unification match. In 2000 Vladimir Kramnik defeated Kasparov in a match for what was now the Braingames World Chess Championship (the PCA had collapsed by this time). But Kramnik was also unwilling to play in a qualifying series, and objected strongly to FIDE's attempt to have the world championship decided by annual knock-out tournaments and to reduce the time limits for games, changes which FIDE hoped would make the game more interesting to outsiders.[28][29]

Finally in 2006 a re-unification match was played between Kramnik and Veselin Topalov, which Kramnik won after an unpleasant controversy which led to one game being awarded to Topalov.[28][30]

But the split in the world-title had after-effects, as shown by FIDE's complicated regulations for the 2007-2009 world championship cycle. Because Topalov was unable to compete in the 2007 World Chess Championship Tournament, FIDE decided he should have a "fast track" entry into the 2007-2009 cycle. And FIDE also decided that, if Kramnik did not win the 2007 championship tournament, he should play a championship match in 2008 against the winner - and this provision became applicable because Vishwanathan Anand won the tournament and thus became world champion.[31][32][33]

World Championships from 2007

In the Chess World Cup 2009, Boris Gelfand was the top seed, and defeated Judit Polgár, reigning World Junior Champion Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Dmitry Jakovenko, and Sergey Karjakin to reach the final. He then faced former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov for the championship, and won the match 7-5 in a playoff.[34] As winner of the Chess World Cup 2009, Gelfand will be automatically seeded into the World Chess Championship 2011 Candidates Tournament.

IOC Recognition

In 1999, FIDE was recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Two years later, it introduced the IOC's anti-drugs rules to chess, as part of its campaign for chess to become part of the Olympic Games.[35]

Member federations

There are at present 158 member federation of FIDE, including 142 UN member states and 16 other entities. There were 159 until recently, when one was dropped. The list fluctuates, as new nations join and sometimes national federations collapse or are unable to pay their dues.

The states are

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guernsey, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

And the other entities are

Aruba, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Chinese Taipei, England, Faroe Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Jersey, Macau, Netherlands Antilles, Palestine, Puerto Rico, Scotland, US Virgin Islands, and Wales

Ghana and Ivory Coast have been temporarily suspended from membership in FIDE because of their failure to meet their financial obligations.

FIDE Presidents


See also


  1. ^ Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992). The Oxford Companion to Chess (second ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 133. ISBN 0-19-280049-3.
  2. ^ Fide.com
  3. ^ a b "FIDE History". FIDE.
  4. ^ "FIDE Handbook". FIDE. (contents page)
  5. ^ "FIDE Ratings". FIDE. (portal to other FIDE ratings-related pages)
  6. ^ Harkola, H. "FIDE Albums".
  7. ^ a b c Wall, W. "FIDE History". Archived from the original on 2009-10-28.
  8. ^ Clayton, G. "The Mad Aussie's Chess Trivia - Archive #3".
  9. ^ Winter, E. "Capablanca v Alekhine, 1927".
  10. ^ Seirawan, Y. (1998). "Whose Title Is it, Anyway?". GAMES Magazine. ((cite journal)): Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  11. ^ a b c Winter, E. "Chess Notes Archive [17]".
  12. ^ Winter, E. "World Championship Disorder".
  13. ^ "AVRO 1938".
  14. ^ a b c d Winter, E. (2003–2004). "Interregnum". Chess History Center.((cite web)): CS1 maint: date format (link)
  15. ^ Weeks, M. "World Chess Championship FIDE Events 1948-1990".
  16. ^ Kingston, T. (2002). "Yuri Averbakh, An Interview with History, Part 2" (PDF). chesscafe.com.
  17. ^ Moul, C. and Nye, J.V.C. (2006). "Did the Soviets Collude?: A Statistical Analysis of Championship Chess 1940-64" (PDF). Washington University in St. Louis.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ a b c d Gennadi Sosonko (2001). "Remembering Max Euwe Part 1" (PDF). The Chess Cafe.
  19. ^ Weeks, M. "World Chess Championship 1975 - Fischer forfeits to Karpov". Mark Weeks.
  20. ^ a b c Abundo, C. "Campo's Legacy to World Chess". FIDE.
  21. ^ Kingston, T. (2002). "Yuri Averbakh: An Interview with History - Part 2" (PDF). ChessCafe.
  22. ^ Burns, J.F. (1983-08-06). "A crisis is looming in chess world". New York Times.
  23. ^ Weeks, M. "1984 Karpov - Kasparov Title Match".
  24. ^ Johnson, Daniel (2007-11-06). "White knight who brought down the Red king". London: The Times. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  25. ^ Week, M. "FIDE World Chess Championship 1948-1990". about.com. Also available on FIDE's Web site
  26. ^ Weeks, M. "The Schism: Two World Chess Champions (1993-1996)". about.com.
  27. ^ Greengard, M. "The Garry Kasparov Interview, Part 2". chessbase.com.
  28. ^ a b c "The Saga of Chess Unification (1994-2006)".
  29. ^ Vasiliev, Y. (2004-11-14). "Vladimir Kramnik: "I am ready for a civilized dialogue with FIDE"". Vladimir Kramnik.
  30. ^ "Kramnik vs Topalov, 2006 - Toiletgate in Elista". chessgames.com.
  31. ^ "Regulations for the 2007 - 2009 World Chess Championship Cycle". FIDE.
  32. ^ "Veselin Topalov and the new FIDE world championship cycle". 2007-06-24.
  33. ^ "World Chess Championship Tournament 2007. Mexico City - Results and Pairings". The Week in Chess. 2007. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  34. ^ Israel's Gelfand wins Chess World Cup, December 31, 2009, in Israel 21c A Focus Beyond Retrieved 2010-01-01
  35. ^ "FIDE to adopt IOC Medical Code". The Hindu. 2001-08-07.