World Championship Matches and Tournaments

FIDE took over the world championship title after the death of Alekhine. Five men played for the world championship in 1948, before the first cycle began. Botvinnik won.

The first cycle 1948-51

FIDE had planned zonal events, an interzonal tournament, a candidates contest and a world championship match. Zonal events had little success in 1947. Many participants of the first interzonal event entered by ballot. Twenty men played in Saltsjöbaden (near Stockholm) in 1948. Eight qualifiers from the Interzonal plus Smyslov and Keres played the candidates contest in Budapest during April and May 1950. Bronstein and Boleslavsky won before Smyslov, Keres, Najdorf, Kotov, Stahlberg, Flohr, Lilienthal and Szabo.
Bronstein defeated Boleslavsky in a match. Botvinnik - Bronstein ended 12 - 12 in 1951. Botvinnik retained the title.

The second cycle 1952-54

Zonal tournaments were played all over the world. The interzonal tournament occurred in the Radhuset of Stockholm and Grand Hotel Saltsjobaden in 1952. The Soviet participants Kotov, Petrosian, Taimanov, Geller and Averbakh won the event. Later Gligoric, Stahlberg and Szabo were also allowed, because the proportion of Soviet players had become too high for a candidates tournament in the West. Bronstein, Boleslavsky, Euwe, Keres, Najdorf, Reshevsky and Smyslov entered Neuhausen and Zürich 1953 as well. Smyslov won. He played 12–12 against Botvinnik in 1954. So Botvinnik kept the title.

The third cycle 1955-58

FIDE preferred to play the interzonal and candidates tournament in Western Europe. Often Dutchmen and Swedes were the organisers. 21 players took part in the interzonal event Goteborg 1955. Qualifiers became Bronstein, Keres, Panno, Petrosian, Geller, Szabo, Filip, Pilnik and debutant Spassky. A new Bronstein era seemed to have started, but it would become David's last great triumph. The nine qualifiers plus Smyslov played double rounds in Amsterdam 1956. Smyslov won. He defeated Botvinnik in Moscow 1957. Botvinnik won the title back in the rematch Moscow 1958.

The fourth cycle 1958-61

'All' chess players got a chance again and 21 players qualified in nine zonal tournaments. Spassky failed in Riga 1957. Interzonal became Portoroz 1958. Qualifiers became Tal, Gligoric, Petrosian, Benko, Fischer and Olafsson. Bronstein failed in the last round. Smyslov and Keres joined the qualifiers in the candidates tournament Bled, Zagreb and Belgrade 1959. Tal won again. He defeated Botvinnik in Moscow 1960. Everybody admired his genius, but he had a poor shape in the rematch Moscow 1961 and lost.

The fifth cycle 1961-63

The interzonal tournament became Stockholm 1962. 23 men competed for six places. Fischer scored a landslide victory. Other qualifiers were Geller, Petrosian, Filip and Kortschnoj. Benko gained a place in a playoff. Stein did not qualify, because he was the fourth Soviet player. Geller and Keres joined the qualifiers in the candidates tournament Curacao 1962. Petrosian won. He also triumphed in the world championship match Moscow 1963. The Botvinnik era had ended.

The sixth cycle 1964-66

The candidates tournament had changed into a set of matches after Curacao 1962, but Fischer stayed angry. Bobby refused to play in the Interzonal. Nevertheless, Amsterdam 1964 was a remarkable event by the incredible race of five Soviet players for three places. Larsen, Smyslov, Spassky, Tal, Ivkov and Portisch qualified. Stein and Bronstein were victims of the extra rule. Keres and Geller joined the six qualifiers. Spassky defeated Keres, Geller and Tal in 1965. Petrosian narrowly stopped him in Moscow 1966.

The seventh cycle 1967-69

The interzonal event was played in the Tunisian city of Sousse from 16 x until 15 xi 1967. Tournament hall was the Palace Hotel. Fischer withdrew, while he was leading. Larsen, Geller, Gligoric, Kortschnoj and Portisch qualified. Stein, Hort and Reshevsky entered a playoff. Sammy qualified after eight draws, because he had a better tiebreak! Spassky and Tal joined the six qualifiers. Spassky defeated Geller, Larsen and Kortschnoj in 1968. He also won the match against Petrosian in Moscow 1969.

The eighth cycle 1970-72

The eighth Interzonal was played in Palma on the Spain island Palma de Mallorca from 9 xi until 12 xii 1970. Fischer took the place of Benko. The qualifiers became Fischer, Larsen, Geller, Hübner, Taimanov and Uhlmann. Petrosian and Kortschnoj joined them. Fischer crushed Taimanov, Larsen and Petrosian in the candidates matches of 1971. Thereafter, Spassky was defeated in Reykjavik 1972. The Soviet domination had been broken!

The ninth cycle 1973-75

When the number of qualifiers from the zonal tournaments became too large, the interzonal was divided in two events of eighteen players. The first one was played in Leningrad from 3 until 27 vi 1973. Karpov, Kortschnoj and Byrne qualified. The second tournament was Petropolis (23 vii until 20 viii 1973). Mecking qualified at once. Portisch and Polugaevsky qualified at the cost of Geller in the playoff Portoroz ix 1973. Spassky and Petrosian were added to the qualifiers. Karpov defeated Polugaevsky, Spassky and Kortschnoj in 1974. Fischer lost by forfeit in 1975.

The tenth cycle 1976-78

The cycle had two interzonal events of twenty players. The first happened in Manila from 13 vi until 10 vii 1976. Mecking, Hort and Polugaevsky qualified. The second interzonal was played in Biel from 11 vii until 6 viii 1976. Larsen won. A playoff occurred in Varese from 10 until 25 x 1976. There Petrosian and Portisch qualified for the candidates matches in 1978. Kortschnoj and Spassky completed the candidates. They met in the final. Kortschnoj won. Karpov narrowly defeated him in Baguio 1979.

The eleventh cycle 1979-81

Two interzonal tournaments of eighteen players occurred. The first was Riga (4 until 30 ix) 1979. Tal and Polugaevsky qualified. Adorjan succeeded in a playoff later. The second one was played in Rio de Janeiro from 23 ix until 20 x 1979. Hübner, Petrosian and Portisch qualified. Timman came close. Kortschnoj and Spassky joined the six qualifiers. Kortschnoj won the candidates matches in 1980. Karpov defeated him in Merano 1981.

The twelfth cycle 1982-85

The number of qualifiers from the zonal events had further increased. So three interzonal tournaments of fourteen participants were played. The first one became Las Palmas vii 1982. Ribli and Smyslov qualified. The second interzonal was Toluca viii 1982. Portisch and Torre qualified. The third one was Moscow ix 1982. Kasparov and Beliavsky qualified. Kortschnoj and Hübner joined the candidates. Kasparov defeated Beliavsky, Kortschnoj and Smyslov in the candidates matches. The first match for the world championship against Karpov was stopped. Kasparov triumphed in Moscow 1985 and again in 1986.

The thirteenth cycle 1985-87

Sixteen players carried out a candidates tournament in Montpellier (12 x until 3 xi 1985). Actually, it was a super-interzonal, because the event did not produce the challenger. Jussupow, Vaganian and Sokolov won and qualified directly. Timman qualified in the playoff. Sokolov defeated Vaganian in the first semi final. Jussupow overcame Timman in the second semi final. Then Jussupow led by two points in the final Riga 1986. Sokolov made an incredible comeback by three successive wins. Andrei won the match by 7½–6½. The super final became Linares 1987. Karpov humiliated Sokolov by 7½–3½. Kasparov and Karpov played 12–12 in Sevilla 1987. Kasparov retained the title.

The fourteenth cycle 1988-90

Nine players qualified from three interzonal events. The four participants of the previous candidates matches and a Canadian also entered the preliminary matches in Saint John 1988. Jussupow, Short, Speelman, Portisch, Timman, Hjartarson and Spraggett made it to the candidates matches. Karpov was added. Eventually, Karpov defeated Timman in the final of the candidates matches Kuala Lumpur 1990. Later Kasparov kept the title.

The fifteenth cycle 1991-93

The interzonal was reduced to a Swiss event of sixty-four players. Eleven men qualified. Three participants of the previous candidates matches were added to the preliminary matches in 1991. Ivanchuk, Anand, Timman, Gelfand, Short, Kortschnoj and Jussupow plus Karpov entered the quarter finals in Brussels 1991. Karpov was eliminated in the semi finals by Short (Linares 1992). Short defeated Timman in the final (San Lorenzo de El Escorial 1993). A sensation happened after the final. Kasparov and Short played for the title in their own organisation. Kasparov triumphed. Karpov and Timman competed for the FIDE-title. Karpov won. The successful FIDE cycles became a mess for many years. A selection of events from this period has been made for the page about chess matches.

The sixteenth cycle 2007-08

The division of the chess world lasted until Kasparov stopped with competitive chess in Linares 2005. A reunification match for the world championship was played in 2006. Kramnik defeated Topalov and became the general world champion.
An only cycle under complete control of the FIDE could be started. Candidates matches happened in Elista, 27 v - 13 vi 2007. Aronian, Grischuk, Leko and Gelfand qualified. Kramnik, Anand, Svidler and Morozevich joined them in Mexico 2007. Anand won the tournament. He stayed world champion in the match against Kramnik, Bonn 2008.

The seventeenth cycle 2009-10

Kamsky qualified for the candidates match in the Siberian Khanty-Mansiysk 2007. He met Topalov in Sofia 2009. Topalov won and will play a match against world champion Anand in 2010. The cycle of the world championship has been restored.

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