World Chess Championship
The World Chess Championship is played to determine the World Champion in chess. Both men and women are eligible to contest this title. In addition, there is a separate event for women for the title of ‘Woman’s World Champion’. There are also separate competitions and titles for juniors, seniors and computers.
History of the event
The official world championship is believed to have begun in 1886, when the two leading players in the world played a match. From 1886 to 1946, the championship was held on an informal basis, with a challenger having to defeat the current champion in a match to become the new world champion.
FIDE-Controlled Title (1948-1993)
FIDE organised the world chess championship in 1948 between five of the world’s strongest players: Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Paul Keres, Samuel Reshevsky, and Max Euwe. Botvinnik won the tournament by a large margin, and thus the championship, and FIDE continued to organise the championship thereafter.
In the new system, there were qualifying tournaments and matches. The world’s strongest players were seeded into ‘Interzonal tournaments’, where they were joined by players who had qualified from ‘Zonal tournaments’. The leading finishers in these Interzonals would go in the ‘Candidates’ stage, which was initially a tournament, later a series of knock-out matches. The winner of the Candidates Tournament would then play a match against the reigning champion (who did not have to qualify through this process) for the championship.
In 1993, the reigning champion (Garry Kasparov) broke away from FIDE and formed PCA. Each organization held their respective championships until 2006, when the title was unified at the FIDE World Chess Championship 2006.