If I play better than the current world champion, Carlsen, and I am able to win him - how would I do to become world champion as fast as possible? Would I have to go through long tournaments or is it enough to consistently beat the world champ?

If that is the case, I wonder why Vassily Ivanchuk isn't the world champion?

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    I vote to reopen this question, which is not a duplicate of Can almost anyone become a grandmaster if they devoted their life from age 6? This question here is more about the technical part (Which games/matches do I have to win...) of how to become world champion, while the supposed duplicate is about the chess part (How can I become as strong as the world champion or stronger...?). Perhaps the question should be copy-edited, but to me it is a perfectly legit question. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 20:04
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    @Those how marked this question as duplicate: Did you even read the two questions? There is virtually no overlap, apart from being about chess. One is about the role of talent in maximal achievable playing strength, the other about how the world championship cycle works. Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 9:17
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    @Bad_Bishop In what universe is the question "very vague"? What is it you do not understand? The title itself should be enough to understand what I am asking.
    – Habbo
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 17:15
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    @Bad_Bishop: I'm the author of that other question and think this one is much more general. I've also always enjoyed wondering "suppose I win everything from now on, how do I become world champion the fastest?" and that is more or less this question. Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 18:52
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    @user1583209 I support Bad_Bishop, because the question indeed very vague and pointless. We only have this discussion because of the answer, but it doesn't mean the question itself is good.
    – SmallChess
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 3:42

1 Answer 1


The rules for becoming world champion have changed over the years and might very well change in the future.

With the current rules, in order to become chess world champion, you have to beat the reigning world champion in a match over 12 games and potentially (if the score is 6-6) additional tie-break games. The next match will be in 2018. Rules for this FIDE World Championship Match are found in the FIDE Handbook

In order to qualify for this match for the world championship you have to win the Candidates Tournament. The following qualify for the next Candidates Tournament according to the FIDE Rules and Regulations:

  1. Sergey Karjakin (as runner-up of the previous WC match),
  2. the first two of the FIDE World Cup 2017,
  3. the first two of the FIDE Grand Prix 2017,
  4. the two highest rated players who are not otherwise qualified and who have participated in the FIDE World Cup or FIDE Grand Prix
  5. one player nominated by the organizer with a rating of at least 2725 in 2017

Some more detail regarding the Candidate tournament you can find in this question and answers

What is the quickest way to the Candidate tournament?

If you are just starting out with chess, it will take you many years to reach a level of 2725 (required for the organizer wildcard) or of being among the highest rated players not qualified otherwise (which would be in the 2800 range).

Qualification for the FIDE Grand Prix is also aimed at top level players. If you are interested you can read about it here

There are many ways to get to the FIDE World Cup (see here) including winning continental championships. If you are from a part of the world where chess is not all that popular, qualifying as IM is not impossible. In any case this seems to be the easiest route for getting to the Candidates Tournament.

  • I gave a detailed answer to my own question chess.stackexchange.com/questions/16026/… ; the regulations are official for 2018. The wildcard has to have a 2725+ rating, so the first step would be to get that. May be quicker to qualify for the World Cup by winning a continental championship, then reach the final in that. Or get a wildcard for the Grand Prix. Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 13:23
  • @RemcoGerlich: Thanks for the feedback, I adapted the answer to include the published FIDE regulations. Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 19:53

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