As I write this question, Ian Nepomniachtchi is leading the ongoing Candidates tournament by a substantial margin. Since it's a winner-takes-all tournament, everyone else needs Nepomniachtchi to lose.

Are the other players allowed to discuss how to achieve this collective goal? For example can they suggest openings to whoever is playing Nepomniachtchi, or discuss whether one should take risks and possibly lose in return for a chance at winning (as Rapport did in his game against Nepomniachtchi )?

  • 3
    Is it really winner-takes-all tournament? lichess.org/blog/YrzaZBIAACAAqAlz/….
    – Akavall
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 16:57
  • 1
    @Akavall that's only if Carlsen doesn't defend his title. If he doesn't play, he'd be the first active world number 1 who's not interested in being world champion. (Kasparov and Fischer were both inactive when they quit.)
    – Allure
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 6:25
  • 3
    There is prize money too (chess.com/article/view/…) so it's not stricly winner-takes-all. Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 11:44
  • 1
    @Allure winner-takes-all --> guess this didn't age well?
    – BCLC
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 19:56
  • @BCLC yeah, I wonder if other players like Nakamura are regretting not trying harder too.
    – Allure
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 23:26

1 Answer 1


Are the other players allowed to discuss how to achieve this collective goal? For example can they suggest openings to whoever is playing Nepomniatchi

While the games are in progress this is strictly forbidden. In between games this is perfectly acceptable. What would not be acceptable would be to pre-arrange quick draws amongst themselves to conserve energy for their fights with Nepo. This would be match fixing. This happened in Soviet times when the Soviets dominated world chess.

The FIDE 2022 Ethics and Disciplinary Code defines the offence of cheating as:

e) Cheating: Any player, or any person assisting a player, who deliberately -
(i) Uses or attempts to use electronic devices or other sources of information or advice during a game;
(ii) Commits a manipulation of a chess competition such as, including but not limited to, result manipulation, sandbagging, match fixing, rating fraud, false identity, falsification or alteration of birth certificates, and deliberate participation in fictitious tournaments and games or any other false information with the purpose of obtaining an unfair advantage for a player or a team.

  • 5
    Is there anywhere these rules (regarding discussions/collusion between the games) are rigorously defined or spelt out 'on paper'? Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 0:35
  • 6
    Even if some of the others colluded, with the common aim to prevent Nepo winning, would quick draws among themselves be the best way to seek to achieve this aim? That would seem to lessen the expected target point-total for Nepo to beat. Wouldn't a better aim be to try to promote one particular player? What rules are there to outlaw this?
    – Rosie F
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 5:29
  • @MobeusZoom The Ethics and Disciplinary Code says: "Fixing or contriving in any way, or otherwise improperly influencing, or being a party to fix or contrive in any way or otherwise improperly influence, the result, progress, outcome, conduct or any other aspect of an Event or Competition;" is a violation.
    – D M
    Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 2:25

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