New regulations for World Chess Championships


Lausanne April 26, 2019

FIDE has approved the regulations for the World Championship Match 2020, as well as for the Women's World Championship match 2019-2020. The bidding procedure will last three months.

After extensive consultations with representatives of the chess community, some significant changes are introduced in the new regulations. These are the main ones:

The length of the match has been extended, from 12 games to 14. This change reflects the general opinion that the match should be slightly longer. To keep the event within a reasonable time frame, the rest days have been reduced from 6 to 5. This is a more dynamic schedule that will allow to have all Saturdays and Sundays as playing days.

FIDE has established restrictions on the draw by mutual agreement: the players cannot settle for a draw before black's 40th move. A claim for a draw before black's 40th move is permitted only through an Arbiter in case of threefold repetition.

The recommendation for the prize fund have been raised to an expected minimum of 2 million euros net of any applicable local taxes. The winner will take 60% of this amount, while the runner-up gets 40% - as long as the World Championship Match ends within 14 games. In the eventuality of the title being decided in the tie-break, the prize fund will be split more evenly, with the winner receiving 55% and the runner-up 45%.

The time control has also been changed to the "Classical" format: the players will have 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. There is no increment whatsoever during the first 60 moves of the game.

As for the Women's World Championship, as it had been announced last month, the knock-out system is abandoned and this competition adopts now the same format of a Candidates Tournament followed by a title match. In this case, the final will be decided at the distance of 12 games, and both players will fight for a total prize fund of 500.000 € (after taxes). For comparison, in the last match between Ju Wenjun and Kateryna Lagno, the winner took home 90.000 € while the runner up received 30.000 €.

Apart from the technical and format changes in both cycles, the main novelty respect to the past few years is that FIDE is again in charge of organising the World Championship match. After having delegated this responsibility on a third party company for the past few editions, a top priority for the new leadership under Arkady Dvorkovich's direction was to regain the commercial rights over its flagship event. The approval of these regulations marks the completion of this plan.