The runners and riders have been jostling all week, but the news from New York yesterday that Dominique Strauss-Kahn had resigned from the IMF was the signal. Now they're off and running.
Coming up on the stand side is the favourite, Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, squeaky clean and female, so unlikely to find herself on the wrong side of a chambermaid or a hotel butler.
She is heavily backed by European officials, who have helped to pick the past 10 bosses of the fund, a privilege awarded in a deal with the Americans back at the time of Bretton Woods, leaving an American to helm the World Bank.
The developing world, for so long at the beck and call of the IMF, is keen to break up the cosy cartel. Its runners include: Trevor Manuel, a former finance minister of South Africa; Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's finance minister; Kemal Dervis, a former economic affairs minister of Turkey; and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, an economic aide to the Indian prime minister.
Mehmet Simsek of Turkey has been the most vocal, insisting that he has all the right qualifications for the job. I hate to break the news to him, but I think Turkey will be a member of the EU before a Turk takes over at 700 19th Street NW in Washington DC.
Mr Manuel, a former electrician who performed miracles with the South African rand, would be an inspired choice. He would also be handy if there were a power cut.
The developing world's best bet might be to try to persuade the Europeans to appoint Jose Angel Gurria, a former finance minister of Mexico who is now secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He is based in Paris, so they might think that he's a Frenchman with a funny name.
Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister and finance minister wants the job, and while he may have wrecked the British economy, he was at least quick to spot the potential damage to the world when the credit crunch hit in 2008. A more popular choice might be Tony Blair, Britain's leader for 10 years, who is well-known in America and liked around the world, except perhaps in Europe.
In the past, managing directors of the IMF have been male, middle-aged and unmemorable - hands up those who remembers Horst Koehler? - although an American lady, Anne Osborn Krueger, was acting head for a few months in 2004. But isn't it time for a dark horse to emerge and break the mould of dull old men? What about Bono? Or Sir Alex Ferguson? He's a canny Scot who invariably ends up winning, even if he's a bit long in the tooth himself. You could even plump for Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese coach of Real Madrid, who I'm sure finds the football stage too small and would love to start rearranging the world's economy, although he'd probably spend most of the time shouting at the referee.
The likelihood is that Ms Lagarde will get it. She has the support of the Scandinavians, which is always essential in my book. The sadness is that these shenanigans overshadow the fact that Dominique Strauss-Kahn rejuvenated the IMF and made it relevant again. Best thing of all might be to persuade him to stay on, but tell him to make up his own room.