The FIDE-World Chess Federation

FIDE, also known as the International Chess Federation or World Chess Federation, is the acronym for the Fédération Internationale des Échecs. The International Olympic Committee or IOC recognized FIDE as an International Sports Federation on June 1999. This recognition allowed the World Chess Federation to organize chess championships on a global and continental scale.

Many felt that the IOC recognition was a long time coming; FIDE was after all responsible for organizing the Olympiad beginning in 1927, and it was involved in the World Championship as far back as 1948. Today, the World Chess Federation is responsible for issuing the rules of the game, calculating international ratings, and granting titles for chess composition.

The History of FIDE

The origins of FIDE can actually be traced to as far back as 1922, when Jose Capablanca bested the competition at a master tournament held in London that year. This victory followed Capablanca’s wresting of the World Championship title from Emanuel Lasker. Following the master tournament in London, Eugene Znosko-Borovsky,a Russian chess master who had taken up residence in Paris and was a member of the British Chess Federation Congress, announced plans for the French Federation to host an international team chess competition in 1924. This event was intended to coincide with the Olympic Games in Paris.

That event became the first world team competition, and was called the Chess Olympic Games. It was not however considered an official Chess Olympiad, because FIDE had no involvement in the event, and because it used a different system of scoring than later chess events.

Nevertheless, 1924 became an important year for chess history in general and for the World Chess Federation in particular because this was the year that the FIDE was formed by the players who were then present in Paris. The official founding of the World Chess Federation is dated at July 20, 1924, and was signed by delegates of 15 countries. The first President of FIDE was Dr. Alexander Rueb from the Netherlands. He was elected in Paris and served loyally as president for 25 years.

The first FIDE competitions were held in cooperation with the FIDE Congress of Budapest in 1926. The 4th Congress was held in London in 1927, and featured the first Men's Olympiad as well as the first Women's World Championship.

Although the World Chess Federation planned more ambitious projects for the future, the first 20 years of its operation was limited to organizing similar events. It had virtually no influence on the World Championship title competition. The relatively small number of countries who counted among its members then effectively hindered FIDE, and the absence of the Soviet Union was a particularly formidable obstacle.

With the death in 1946 of the then reigning World Champion Alekhine, FIDE managed to control the world titles for over-the-board chess. Upon the membership of the Soviet Union in 1947, the World Chess Federation was finally widely accepted as the foremost chess organization in the world. At present, the World Chess Federation has managed to produce a World Champion almost continuously in the last 50 years.