World Computer Chess Championship – A New Format

Announcement by David Levy – ICGA President

The ICGA recently took a straw poll amongst the past contestants at the World Computer Chess Championship. Our aim was to discover the main reasons why the number of entries for this year’s championship was so low.

What we learned is that there are two main reasons: (a) The costs of participating in the event makes it unattractive; and (b) It is not so interesting for those contestants coming from different countries to compete every year in the same location.

Clearly the ICGA must take these problems on board and find a way to perpetuate the World Computer Chess Championship despite these problems. What we are going to do is to start a new era for our World Championship, by changing the format as follows.

Starting in 2018 the World Computer Chess Championship will be played as a match, between the reigning World Champion and a challenger chosen by a process which will be discussed amongst the ICGA Board and participants from recent years’ championships. That discussion will commence very soon after this year’s World Championship, which is taking place in Leiden from July 3rd-7th. This new format is akin to the FIDE World Championship (for human Chess players)

Each contestant in the World Championship match will receive 2,000 Euro from the ICGA to offset their expenses in coming to the match. And there will be no entry fee. Furthermore, I believe that it will be relatively easy to find sponsors for a World Championship match, which will enable the ICGA to move the match to different locations each year according to wherever we can find the most attractive sponsorship offer. Our aim will be to secure sponsorship each year which is not only sufficient to cover the costs of the event but also to create an attractive prize fund for the two contestants, which prize fund will be split 60%-40%.

For the 2017 World Computer Chess Championship we are changing the format, removing the entry fee, and offering an expenses budget to each of the contestants. Our aim for 2017 will be to attract the strongest participants. There will be only 4 contestants, each of whom will receive 1,000 Euro for their expenses from the ICGA. The Komodo team have already indicated their acceptance, and we very much hope that some of the former World Champions and other leading programs will now find the event attractive and apply to participate.

The World Championship will be an-all-play all event of 9 rounds, in which each program will play each of the others 3 times. The playing schedule will be as previously announced on our web site http://www.icga.org,  with the opening ceremony and players’ meeting at 10:00am on Monday July 3rd and the final round played on the morning of July 7th, with play-off games if necessary in the afternoon. The program which finishes in second place this year will automatically be offered the challenger position for next year’s title match.

The closing date for entries for 2017 has been changed – it is now Sunday June 18thBy that date the ICGA hopes to receive applications from at least at least three leading programming teams, who together with the Komodo team will make the four contestants for this year’s World Championship. If there are more than three strong programs applying to participate alongside Komodo in this year’s event the ICGA will make its selection of the successful applications not later than Tuesday June 20th.

Please apply as soon as possible – send your application and any questions you might have to: m.arntz@liacs.leidenuniv.nl or jaapvandenherik@gmail.com

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