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International Chess Federation
Fédération Internationale des Échecs
Abbreviation FIDE
Formation July 20, 1924; 99 years ago (1924-07-20) in Paris
Type International organization
Headquarters Lausanne, Switzerland
201 national associations
Arkady Dvorkovich
Deputy President
Viswanathan Anand
12.84 million (2022)

The International Chess Federation or World Chess Federation, commonly referred to by its French acronym FIDE (/ˈfd/ FEE-day Fédération Internationale des Échecs), is an international organization based in Switzerland that connects the various national chess federations and acts as the governing body of international chess competition. FIDE was founded in Paris, France, on July 20, 1924. Its motto is Gens una sumus, Latin for 'We are one Family'. In 1999, FIDE was recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As of December 21,  2023 (2023 -12-21) there are 201 member federations of FIDE.


FIDE's most visible activity is organizing the World Chess Championship since 1948. FIDE also organizes world championships for women, juniors, seniors, and the disabled. Another flagship event is the Chess Olympiad, a biennial chess tournament organized since 1924, in which national teams compete. In alternate years, FIDE also organizes the World Team Championship, in which the best teams from the previous Olympiad compete.

As part of the World Chess Championship cycle, FIDE also organizes the Candidates Tournament, which determines who will challenge the reigning World Champion, and the qualifying tournaments for the Candidates, such as the Chess World Cup, the FIDE Grand Prix, and the FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament 2019.

FIDE 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. Other tournaments are not overseen directly by FIDE, but they generally observe FIDE rules and regulations. Some national chess organizations such as the US Chess Federation use minor differences to FIDE rules.

FIDE defines the rules of chess, both for 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 organizational titles, including International Arbiter, which signifies that the recipient is competent and trusted to oversee top-class competitions.

FIDE calculates the Elo ratings of players and awards titles for achievement in competitive play, such as the Grandmaster title. It also awards titles to composers and solvers of chess problems and studies.

FIDE funds and manages outreach programs, such as the Chess for Freedom program and awards such as, since 2020, the Svetozar Gligoric Award for fair play.

Correspondence chess (chess played by post, email or on online servers) is regulated by the International Correspondence Chess Federation, an independent body that cooperates with FIDE where appropriate.

The FIDE budget for 2022 was 12.84 million, an increase from the 2021 budget which was €4 million. Income is primarily from rights to tournaments such as the Olympiad and World Championship, from various fees and commissions, and from corporate sponsorship and donations.


Foundation and early years (up to 1939)

In 1904, L'union Amicale, a French chess association, attempted to establish an international chess federation. In April 1914, an initiative was taken in St. Petersburg, Russia, to form an international chess federation. Another attempt was made in July 1914 during the Mannheim International Chess Tournament. Further efforts temporarily came to an end as a result of the outbreak of World War I. In 1920, another attempt to organize an international federation was made at the Gothenburg Tournament.

Players made the first attempt to produce rules for world championship matches—in 1922, world champion José Raúl 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 each; 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 (equivalent to $175,000 in 2022); 20% of the purse was to be paid to the title holder, with the remainder being divided, 60 percent to the winner of the match, and 40% to the loser; the highest purse bid must be accepted. Alekhine, Bogoljubov, Maróczy, Réti, Rubinstein, Tartakower and Vidmar promptly signed them. The only match played under those rules was Capablanca vs Alekhine in 1927.

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 July 20, 1924 the participants at the Paris tournament founded FIDE as a kind of players' union. In its early years, FIDE had little power, and it 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.

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.

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

While negotiating his 1937 World Championship re-match with 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 José Raúl 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. 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. 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.

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 becoming world champion, ending the interregnum.

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); 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. From 1950 until 1962 inclusive, the Candidates Tournament was a multi-round round-robin—how and why it was changed are described below.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Federación Internacional de Ajedrez para niños

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