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Wesley So didn't get full championship privilege in the 2022 WFRCC unlike Magnus and Vishy did from 2008 to 2021. They got only 1 opponent to defend against, namely the unique winner of a candidates tournament. Had this been the case for the 2022 WFRCC, Wesley So's I guess guaranteed at least the 2nd place prize of US$85,000. Instead, Wesley So had to defend against 7 other players. It's partial privilege at least. Better than no privilege at all like in blitz & rapid WCC's where the champion really starts from scratch. But still...

Question: Why didn't Wesley So get full championship privilege? In the absence of official explanation from FIDE, is there historical precedent for something like this?

Guesses:

  1. FIDE was afraid of another complete obliteration like in the 2019 WFRCC where Wesley So beat Magnus 13.5-2.5.

  2. Vishy and Magnus were so dominant (in chess) in their respective times (except when Magnus was starting to catch up to Vishy) and that FIDE was convinced they could be seeded into the finals. Meanwhile Wesley So didn't do so well (palindrome acronym WSDDSW) in fast rapid (20min games) in St Louis Chess 9LX 2020 and 2021. (And well yeah this was repeated in the 2022 Chess 9LX and 2022 WFRCC, both fast rapid.) --> If this is your answer, then I'd like to please see some historical precedence like: Did FIDE change championship privilege depending how convinced they were by the champion's ability to defend the title?

  3. Maybe for some reason the low time controls implies less reason for championship privilege like with the rapid & blitz WCCs. Maybe rapid & blitz WCC have the same fear from FIDE regardless of your rating simply because of the time control: We're not convinced you can defend even if you're Magnus, so we won't give you full / any privilege.

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The simple answer is "tradition". Even before FIDE the regular chess world championship was organised on a champion vs challenger basis. The exceptions to this were in 1948 when Alekhine's death left the title vacant and a quintuple round-robin tournament between Botvinnik, Euwe, Smyslov, Keres and Reshevsky was held to decide the new champion and the PCA interregnum years when FIDE experimented with knock-out formats.

Interestingly the 1948 multiple round robin format is far and away the fairest / best system that has ever been used and the knock-out system the worst.

FIDE have only organised a chess960 world championships since 2019 and, thankfully, they are using the much fairer round robin format. This gives no player an advantage over the others and reduces the element of luck to the lowest possible level.

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    Huh? Why wouldn't tradition favour the exact opposite stance - if the tradition is champion vs challenger then why is this tradition in chess not carried over to chess960?
    – BCLC
    Feb 6, 2023 at 5:44

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