FISM Contestant Allocation System (CAS)

Written by Aldo Ghiurmino

Credits: Pictures provided by FISM


FISM and its championships have garnered increasing attention, drawing a growing number of contestants from around the globe. To manage this surge and ensure a fair distribution among nations, the FISM Contestant Allocation System (CAS) was established.


Before 2003, there were no official limitations on the number of contestants for a FISM World Championship of Magic (WCM). The competition was open to all applicants without restrictions.

In FISM WCM 2003, a rule in the FISM Contest rules and Procedures capped the total number of contestants at 150: 100 contestants for the stage competition and 50 for the close-up. Additionally, a guideline ensured that each member-society had the right to sponsor at least one contestant.

During this period, there was no predefined allocation per society.

After the initial 150 contestant spots were filled, new applicants were placed on a waiting list in chronological order.

The selection process operated on a "first come, first served" basis, allowing the earliest applicants to enter the competition as soon as a spot became available due to the withdrawal of an accepted contestant. This system, while straightforward, lacked a structured distribution method based on society or country.


At FISM WCM 2006, more stringent rules were implemented.

A new procedure was devised, wherein, after the application deadline, the theoretical number of contestants per society was calculated as a percentage of their votes relative to the total votes from all societies with applicant contestants. Surpluses and shortages were then distributed as fairly as possible.

However, there were no precise guidelines for this distribution process.

The outcomes were communicated to the Presidents of the member societies. Those who had sponsored more applicants than their theoretical maximum were requested to withdraw the surplus.

Although this system faced some resistance (one of the main objections raised was that Presidents did not know in advance how many applicants they could sponsor, potentially leading to the withdrawal of contestants less than three months before the competition started), it was accepted due to the absence of a better and more objective alternative.


Even if FISM Contestant Allocation System (CAS) was develped since 2007, at FISM WCM 2009, a procedure similar to that of FISM WCM 2006 was expected to be implemented.

Moreover, to emphasize the significance of the FISM European Championship of Magic (ECM), the FISM European Executive Board (EEB) expressed the desire to secure a place in FISM WCM 2012 for the first prize winners of FISM ECM 2011.

Starting from FISM WCM 2012 the FISM Contestant Allocation System (CAS), was introduced.

Under this system, the number of competitors allowed for each club is proportionate to the votes of each club in the general assembly. This approach aims to ensure a fair representation of clubs in the competition.The FISM CAS includes rules that allow adjustments in what is termed the "pool of compensation".




About the Author:

Aldo Ghiurmino joined the Club Magico Italiano (CMI) in Bologna in 1989 and was recognized with the esteemed "Premio Garatti" in 2006 for his outstanding contributions to "Magia Moderna" magazine. In 2014, he was appointed as the historian and archivist of CMI, highlighting his commitment to historical research in magic.

Aldo is a founding member of Masters of Magic and co-authored a booklet on Italian magic history. He hosted a segment on the Web TV of Masters of Magic from 2008 to 2013, receiving recognition for his contributions.

His written work extends beyond articles, with translations and publications of books like "Card Fictions" and "The Art of Switching Decks" in Italian. He's authored lecture notes and two books, including "Fism, the Book" and "Moroso e Dhotel una storia di amicizia e di magia."

Aldo's presence in the magic community is not limited to writing. He's an active participant in major magic conventions in Italy, serving as a translator, lecturer.

As a speaker, he regularly engages in historical magic conventions and contributed to the blog of the Congress in FISMITALY 2015 alongside prominent figures in the magic world.