The Charlotte Chess Center (CCC) and North American Corporate Chess League (NACCL) are pleased to announce a partnership with Lichess to sponsor and organize a series of free online qualifier tournaments for the 2022 FIDE World Fischer Random Championship.
The CCC and NACCL-sponsored series of online arena and swiss qualifier tournaments will be held on lichess.org in August and September 2022 and lead up to an exciting in-person final in Reykjavik, Iceland at the end of October.
The Fischer Random World Championship will feature GM Magnus Carlsen, who will participate in his first official World Championship event after announcing his withdrawal from the Classical Chess World Championship cycle. The over-the-board World Championship final will feature reigning Fischer Random World Champion and current US #1, GM Wesley So, as well as Icelandic #1 GM Hjörvar Steinn Grétarsson.
The Lichess CCC & NACCL FIDE World Fischer Random Qualifiers are open to all players. There are no rating or title requirements, and no entry fees.
Reigning World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen and World Fischer Random Champion Wesley So to compete in the 2022 FIDE World Fischer Random Championship (photo Lennart Ootes/Chess.com)
Fischer Random Chess
Fischer Random Chess, also known as Chess960, is a variant of chess popularized by 11th World Champion Bobby Fischer. It follows the exact same rules of chess, except with a random starting position based on a shuffled back rank of pieces. It is the only chess variant currently recognized by FIDE, the World Chess Federation.
There are 960 starting configurations possible, making it nearly impossible for even the best players in the world to memorize opening moves and sequences. The absence of opening theory and randomness of the starting positions has made Fischer Random Chess exciting, especially in rapid and blitz formats. It has become very popular among those chess players, organizers, and fans who want to enjoy the game of chess without the burden of scientific opening study and rote memorization.
Many top players in the world have an affinity and passion for Fischer Random Chess, and previous unofficial World Champions include elite Grandmasters Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Peter Svidler, and Peter Leko.
2009 World Fischer Random Champion (unofficial), GM Hikaru Nakamura
In 2019, FIDE recognized the World Fischer Random Championship as an official World Championship event. GM Wesley So is the reigning Fischer Random World Champion, having defeated GM Magnus Carlsen in the 2019 FIDE World Fischer Random Championship. Also competing in the 2019 over-the-board world championship final were 2-time Classical World Championship contender GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (third place) and former World #2, GM Fabiano Caruana (fourth place).
Qualifiers will advance to the 2022 FIDE World Fischer Random Championship, October 25-30
Stage 1 (August 19 - September 4) of the Lichess CCC & NACCL Qualifiers will feature open and titled Chess960 arenas played at a blitz time control. 500 players from stage 1 will advance to stage 2 (September 10 - 11), an online Chess960 blitz swiss tournament followed by an exciting group stage which will include several CCC-selected wildcard entries.
The top 3 players from each group in stage 2 will join one final wildcard player, to make a 16-player qualifier for stage 3 (September 17 - 18). Stage 3 will be the most sensational phase, with a sudden-death elimination (knockout) format played at a rapid time control. There will be a prize fund of $2,500 during this stage, with $75 cash prizes for first-round knockouts up to $400 and qualification to the Reykjavik final for the winner.
The top 4 players from stage 3 will move to the qualifier semi-finals and finals (September 24 – 25). In the end, the winner of the overall Lichess CCC & NACCL Qualifier will qualify for the over-the-board 2022 FIDE World Fischer Random Championship. Side-by-side, the Offerspill Chess Club, Norway’s largest chess club, will organize an additional set of qualifiers on Lichess to seed another player into the World Fischer Random Championship in Reykjavik.
The full regulations can be found here.
All stages of the qualifiers will be monitored by Lichess’ robust fair play detection systems, including the use of video-camera monitoring and in-person arbiters in the later stages as needed.
The in-person final is an eight-player event with a $400,000 prize fund and is an official World Championship event sanctioned by FIDE. It will be held in Reykjavik, Iceland, near the 50th anniversary of the “Match of the Century” between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.
The Charlotte Chess Center and North American Corporate Chess League are partnering with Lichess to sponsor and organize these qualifier events at no cost to players, with an intention to have a strong but inclusive field and to give all players a chance to qualify to play an official FIDE World Championship event featuring Magnus Carlsen. The expected total turnout for the qualifiers is in the tens of thousands of players.