In 1988–99, the Grandmasters Association organized a series of six high-ranking World Cup tournaments in the form of a 'Grand Prix'. In 2000 and 2002 FIDE, the World Chess Federation staged their "First Chess World Cup" and "Second Chess World Cup" respectively. These were major tournaments, but not directly linked to the World Chess Championship. Both the 2000 and 2002 events were won by Viswanathan Anand of India.

Since 2005, a different event of the same name has been part of the World Chess Championship cycle. This event is being held every two years. It is a 128-player knockout tournament, in the same style as the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2004 FIDE World Championships.

The Chess World Cup 2005 served as a qualification tournament for the FIDE World Chess Championship 2007. The time control for regular games was 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds added after each move. Tie breaks consisted of two rapid chess games (25 minutes each + 10 seconds per move); followed by two blitz games if required     (5 minutes + 10 seconds per move); followed by a single Armageddon chess game if required (white has 6 minutes and must win, black has 5 minutes and only needs to draw).

Top ten players qualified for the candidates matches of the World Chess Championship 2007. One of them (Étienne Bacrot) has qualified for the candidates matches via rating, freeing the place for the eleventh player at the World Cup (Vladimir Malakhov). The following players qualified for the World Cup:

  • Three of the four semi-finalists of the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004 (Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Michael Adams and Teimour Radjabov); the fourth semi-finalist, Veselin Topalov, was the reigning FIDE World Champion and already had a berth in the next championship.
  • 22 players with the highest Elo rating. The average ratings from July 2004 and January 2005 were used.
  • 90 players qualified from the continental and zonal championships:
    • 46 players from Europe,
    • 19 players from the Americas,
    • 19 players from Asia and Oceania,
    • 6 players from Africa.
  • 8 nominees of the FIDE President.
  • 3 nominees of the local Organizing Committee.

After the first round dropped out of the competition 11 Russian players, 12 will continue to fight. Players won with smaller elo in the 18 matches of the 63 (7th seed Akopian did not show up for his first round match against Lane and lost on forfeit). First great sensation  after the second round, Vassily Ivanchuk lost to Ivan Cheparinov Bulgarian chess player. After the second round dropped out of the competition for another 5 Russian players. The average rating of participants of the third round - 2663.22.The highest rating - 2725, Etienne Bacrot, low Rating - 2565, Yury Shulman.

Of the 16 matches of the third round, only five completed after the main match. Lost your match and drops out of another player rated over 2700 - Alexei Shirov.  The average rating  of the fourth round - 2678.87. The highest rating - in 2725, Etienne Bacrot, Low Rating - 2570, Magnus Carlsen. From the first sixteen places, 11 belong to the chess players - immigrants from the former Soviet republics. GM Levon Aronian won  Ruslan Ponomariv in final and won World Cup 2005.

The Chess World Cup 2007 served as a qualification tournament for the World Chess Championship 2009.  It was held as a 128-player single-elimination tournament, between 24 November and 16 December 2007, in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

The tournament is in the style of the FIDE World Chess Championships 1998–2004: each round consists of a two game match (except for the final round, which will be a four game match), followed by tie breaks at faster time controls if required. The time control for regular games is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds added after each move. Tie breaks consist of two rapid chess games (25 minutes each + 10 seconds per move); followed by two blitz games if required (5 minutes + 10 seconds per move); followed by a single Armageddon chess game if required (white has 6 minutes and must win, black has 5 minutes and only needs to draw).

The prize money ranged from US$6,000 for players eliminated in the first round to $80,000 for the losing finalist and $120,000 for the winner.

Round 1: Most of the top seeds progressed in first round. From the top 32, the only higher seeded players eliminated were Pavel Eljanov (19th seed), Konstantin Landa (25) and Pendyala Harikrishna(32).

Round 2: Players in the top 32 eliminated in regular games were Teimour Radjabov (seeded 3), Loek van Wely (24) in second round.  Top 32 players eliminated in tie breaks were Rustam Kasimdzhanov (22), Andrei Volokitin (26) and Vadim Zvjaginsev (30). This left 24 of the top 32 seeds in the final 32. High seeds needing tie breaks to progress included Vassily Ivanchuk (1), Magnus Carlsen (10), Ruslan Ponomariov (14) and Wang Yue (15).

Round 3: After the two regular games, 10 of the 16 matches had decisive results. Players going through on the regular games are: Alexei Shirov (seeded 5), Michael Adams (7), Evgeny Alekseev (8), Magnus Carlsen (10), Gata Kamsky (11), Vladimir Akopian (12), Dmitry Jakovenko (13), Ruslan Ponomariov (14), Wang Yue (15) and Ivan Cheparinov (31). Cheparinov eliminated the number 2 seed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The other six matches were decided in the tie breaks. Winners were Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (33) (eliminating top seed Vassily Ivanchuk), Krishnan Sasikiran (35), Evgeny Bareev(41), Levon Aronian (4), Peter Svidler (6), Sergey Karjakin (17).

Round 4: In the regular time control games, Shirov, Ponomariov, Carlsen, Karjakin and Cheparinov won their respective matches against Akopian, Sasikiran, Adams, Nisipeanu and Wang Yue. The other three matches (Jakovenko-Aronian, Svidler-Kamsky and Bareev-Alekseev) proceed to tie breaks, with wins to Jakovenko, Kamsky and Alekseev.

In an event attended by most leading players of the world, American Gata Kamsky emerged as the winner. He was unbeaten in the tournament, going into tie-break only once and defeating Spaniard Alexei Shirov, 2½–1½, in the four-game final. Two 17-year-old players, Sergey Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen, reached the semifinals.

By winning, Kamsky qualified for the Challenger Match, the final stage in determining the challenger for the World Chess Championship 2010; his participation in that match allowed him direct entry into the Candidates Matches for the World Chess Championship 2012. The final four also received direct entry into the FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2009, a qualifying stage for the World Chess Championship 2012.

The Chess World Cup 2009 was a 128-player single-elimination tournament, played between 20 November and 14 December 2009, in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

In the first round of the tournament all of the top 30 seeded players progressed, with the sole exception of Slovakian Sergei Movsesian (16), who was eliminated by the Chinese 113th seed Yu Yangyi. Judit Polgár achieved a walkover, due to her opponent Duško Pavasovič withdrawing from the competition due to injury. The round was notable for the 16-game match between Pavel Tregubov and Varuzhan Akobian: after each winning with white over the first two days, their tiebreak held a marathon of four rapid games followed by ten blitz games. The two players fought until near 1 a.m. local time for the right to face Ruslan Ponomariov in the second round (which would start the next morning), Akobian finally achieving the decisive two-point advantage in the final bout before an Armageddon game would have been required.

The first day of Round Two included a number of upsets. The highest seed to have won their match was Alexander Grischuk (8), as Peter Svidler (3), Alexander Morozevich (4),Teimour Radjabov (5) and Vassily Ivanchuk (6) all lost and the remaining highest seeds (Gelfand, Gashimov and Ponomariov) drew. On the next day of matches, Morozevich, Radjabov and Ivanchuk were all eliminated, and exactly half of the matches went to tie-breaks. Ultimately, of the 32 players to reach Round Three, all but seven players had been originally seeded in the top 32.

The next round is scheduled for 27–29 November 2009. Sixteen-year-old Wesley So, who had upset Ivanchuk in Round Two, achieved another major upset, defeating Gata Kamsky, the 2007 winner, 1½-½. In the second rapid tiebreak, Chinese players Wang Yue and Li Chao were not at their seats for the start of the round, and lost the game, and their matches against Bacrot and Gashimov.

The next round is scheduled for 30 November - 2 December 2009. It marked the departure of most of the youthful players from the World Cup. Wesley So (16), Fabiano Caruana (17) and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (19) were eliminated by the more experienced Malakhov, Gashimov and Gelfand respectively, leaving Sergey Karjakin the only under-20 player left in contention.

Boris Gelfand won Sergey Karjakin with score 2:0  and Ruslan Ponomariov won Vladimir Malakhov with 4:2 in semifinal matches. And final... After drawing the regular games Ruslan Ponomariov and Boris Gelfand and into the tiebreaks. The three weeks marathon of the 2009 World Cup finished with 41-year-old Boris Gelfand of Israel beating Ruslan Ponomariov.

The Chess World Cup 2011 was a chess 128-player single-elimination tournament, played between 26 August and 21 September 2011, in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.The Chess World Cup 2011 qualified three players for the World Chess Championship 2013 cycle, Russian GM Peter Svidler won this event. 

The Chess World Cup 2013 was a 128-player single-elimination chess tournament, played between 11 August and 2 September 2013, in the hotel Scandic Tromsø in Tromsø, Norway. It was won by Vladimir Kramnik, who defeated Dmitry Andreikin 2½–1½ in the final match. The finalists qualified for the 2014 Candidates Tournament.