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The World Chess Championship 2011 will be a match, between the then world champion and a challenger, held in 2011 to determine a new World Chess Champion. It will be held under the auspices of FIDE, the World Chess Federation.
The defending champion will be the winner of the World Chess Championship 2010. The challenger will be the winner of an eight player Candidates Tournament.
The process for selecting the challenger has undergone a number of changes. A major change was announced on November 25, 2008, when it was announced that a two-player Challenger Match would be replaced with an eight player Candidates' Tournament. There was some ambiguity about whether this would take place, but FIDE's most recent announcements (March and June 2009) indicate this will definitely be the case. The change has been criticized by a number of players and commentators, as well as by the Association of Chess Professionals.
The challenger will be the winner of an eight player Candidates Tournament. The tournament organizer can decide whether this would be a double round robin or a series of matches (first two rounds being best of four, final being best of six). FIDE's most recent announcement (June 2009) indicates that the format will be matches.
The eight players in the tournament will be:
- The winner (Levon Aronian) and runner-up in the FIDE Grand Prix 2008-2009;
- The winner of the Chess World Cup 2009 (Boris Gelfand);
- The loser of the 2009 Challenger Match (Gata Kamsky);
- The loser of the World Chess Championship 2010 match (Viswanathan Anand or Veselin Topalov);
- The next two highest rated players in the world (average of July 2009 and January 2010 ratings). Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik have a strong lead in the race to take these two places;
- One nominee of the tournament organizers, who must have an Elo rating of at least 2700.