In a statement published on its website, the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) makes a proposal for changing the world championship cycle. The main change the ACP proposes is to include open tournaments.
The association, a non-profit founded in 2003 to protectchess professionals rights,makes a comparison with tennis: "In tennis, we have the Grand Slams at the top, but also the local Futures tournaments at the bottom. The structure is clear, easy to understand and the players see the way to the top ahead of them."
Chess is described as a pyramid with the world championship match at the top, and below that the Candidates tournament,the Grand Prix tournaments, the World Cup, and the continental championshipsthe latter being the only entry point for a large majority of the players.
The ACP calls this system "elitist." The association claims that the continental championships are "not easily accessible to the lower-rated professionals, among other things because they are very expensive tournaments to play in."
The ACP likes to add another, bottom layer to the pyramid: open tournaments, describing them as "the bread and butter of the chess world." Although concrete research is not mentioned, the ACP states that many chess players "feel trapped in this 'swamp' of opens without a clear idea how to go 'upwards,' how to feel integrated in the big picture and feel part of the whole chess family. In its current state the chess world is a segregated place with the elite and the rest living in different worlds."
What the ACP proposes is to make open tournaments part of the world championship cycle, with the current ACP Tour system or a similar one serving as a point-based tournament circuit.
"At the end of the year, the top 20 of the World Open Circuit qualify for the first round of the World Cup, thus providing direct access to the world championship cycle," says the ACP. "This would ensure that chess is as meritocratic as it can be and as it should be."
The International Chess Federation, responsible for the world chess championship cycle, is reacting positively. FIDE Director GeneralEmil Sutovsky likes the idea but also notes that there are more opportunities to qualify for the World Cup than the ACP suggests:
"I like a lot the idea of Swiss events being implemented as a part of the cycle.However, I don't see how the ACP proposal addresses the problem of disproportional opportunities. Actually, FIDE made an effort last year and expanded the World Cup from 128 to 206 participants. One can qualify for it by rating, through continental championships, through numerous zonal events, and now through national championships in most of the countries as well. If we talk about the best opens, their winners would qualify for the World Cup through one of the above-mentioned paths.
"While rewarding one player who was just behind the qualifiers looks logical, it seems odd to allocate 20 spots for these purposes. In addition, it has to be said that a proposal to organize some circuit of 20 strong open events sounds untimely, as most of these events are now canceled or postponed."
"Having said that, I reiterate my opinion: big Swiss events shall be implemented one way or another to the cycle. Of course, it can happen only when normal life gets restored, and we will have a sufficient number of high-level events to call it a circuit.
"Meanwhile, FIDE is planning the Grand Swiss and Women Grand Swiss, which will be announced soon. These events help a lot to all the excellent players who are ranked between 2650 to 2750 (and 2400-2500 ladies)."
The Norwegian grandmaster Jon Ludvig Hammer, a popular chess commentator on national television, has a different opinion. He starts by saying that the ACP is "misleading" about the effects of such a tour system:
"The World Cup will rarely offer opportunities to what they call 'lower-rated professionals' because its a tournament for the very best, and as long as the World Cup remains an attractive tournament financially, the best will adapt to whatever qualification system used, including a tour."
Hammer agrees with the claim that the current state of the chess world is "a segregated place with the elite and the rest living in different worlds" but sees the bottleneck elsewhere:
"I think that separation happens at world rank 25, not the World Cup. In fact, the World Cup is the great equalizer, allowing second- and third-tier players a big payday if they perform their very best. If you are not rated in the top 100 in the world, making a living from exclusively playing will always be a challenging task, and many in that bracket wanting to be chess professionals try establishing themselves as coaches instead."
Australia's former top grandmaster, coach, and journalist Ian Rogers says the ACP proposal is likely going to be "unfair and expensive." According to Rogers, the proposal is too much focused on Europe:
"The proposal seems to have been devised by Europeans for the benefit of Europeans. Unless the ACP circuit includes an equitable number of open tournaments in Asia, the Americas, and Africa, as well as Europe, it is simply a method of tilting the odds against a non-European becoming world champion."
Rogers adds: "The problem which the ACP fails to address, or even acknowledge, is that it was Europe's choice to abolish their zonal tournaments and require everyone but the stars to play in an enormous continental championship in order to qualify for the World Cup. Then they forced the players to pay a lot of money to play in it. So Europe should solve their own problemsnot create a new pathway which is going to benefit them above others."
Since it was founded 17 years ago, the ACP has struggled to play a significant role in the chess world. That role seemed even further diminished when in 2018 the new FIDE leadership under President Arkady Dvorkovich accepted a lot of suggestions from the ACP and installed the now-former ACP President Sutovsky as its Director General.
"The ACP is a very niche organization," says Hammer. "In order to grow to a sustainable size, theyve had to accept more people from outside the top 100 than in it. As a result, we get press releases like this, where the ACP is representing its members, but members who dont have the level needed to live as full-time chess professionals. I think they should focus on bridging the gap between number 40 and number 20 on the world rankings, rather than bridging the gap between 600 and 100.
"I think ACPs true goal is to elevate their own product, the ACP tour, which hasnt been a big success at any point since its inception in 2005, but I fail to see how that qualification method is better than the established one we already have in place."
The rest is here:
- Meet the Fritztrainer - Chris Ward - Chessbase News - November 26th, 2020
- When a retreat is the best way to advance - Chessbase News - November 25th, 2020
- Ex-chess champ Garry Kasparov worries over 'enfeebled Congress', says 'extremist wings' will help Donald Trump - MEAWW - November 24th, 2020
- Who Was The First Female Grandmaster? - Chess.com - November 24th, 2020
- Calm and powerful - Chessbase News - November 21st, 2020
- On Chess: Mizzou's Chess Team Proves Capable Of Winning Even In A Virtual Space - KBIA - November 21st, 2020
- Two Chess Grandmasters Weigh in on "The Queen's Gambit" | Amanpour and Company - pbssocal.org - November 18th, 2020
- Vidit plays the Skilling Open... and Banter Blitz - chess24 - November 16th, 2020
- So wins 4th match in Speed Championship The Manila Times - The Manila Times - November 12th, 2020
- 50th anniversary of the Interzonal in Palma de Mallorca - Chessbase News - November 11th, 2020
- Iran's Chess On The Verge Of International Ban - Iran News By Radio Farda - November 11th, 2020
- Take it Outside: Fresh Air Chess in the Big City - uschess.org - November 11th, 2020
- Iran warned continued boycott of matches against Israelis will lead to FIDE ban - Insidethegames.biz - November 11th, 2020
- Vera Menchik: The Real-life Beth Harmon - Chess.com - November 11th, 2020
- 35 years ago: Kasparov becomes youngest World Champion in the history of chess - Chessbase News - November 11th, 2020
- Jeffery Xiong Wins Nov. 3 Titled Tuesday - Chess.com - November 5th, 2020
- I'm a Grandmaster and The Queen's Gambit has all the right moves - Sydney Morning Herald - November 3rd, 2020
- The real lives that inspired the O Gambito da Rainha prodigy re:Jerusalem - re:Jerusalem - November 3rd, 2020
- Just the Rules: Rulebook U-Turns | US Chess.org - uschess.org - November 3rd, 2020
- Whanganui weekend: 5 things to do - New Zealand Herald - November 3rd, 2020
- This week on "Sunday Morning" (November 1) - CBS News - November 1st, 2020
- This week on "Sunday Morning" (November 1) - msnNOW - October 31st, 2020
- U.S. Championship: So Still Leading the Way - Chess.com - October 30th, 2020
- So Tallies Five Straight Wins in U.S. Championship; Robson, Xiong Still Chase - uschess.org - October 29th, 2020
- U.S. Women's Championship: Krush tops the standings - Chessbase News - October 28th, 2020
- Irina Krush wins her 8th U.S. women's title - Chessbase News - October 28th, 2020
- Your chance to play two grandmasters on chess24 - chess24 - October 24th, 2020
- Chess, cricket, chickens and Nostradamus - TheArticle - October 24th, 2020
- Navara on the Candidates & reluctantly playing in Spain - chess24 - October 24th, 2020
- The memorable 4th edition of the Capablanca Memorial in 1965 - Chessbase News - October 24th, 2020
- Checks and counter checks - Chessbase News - October 24th, 2020
- Asian online team chess: India men and women enter semifinals - The Indian Express - October 24th, 2020
- Thomas Brodie-Sangster on Game Of Thrones final season: I havent met anyone that likes it - NME - October 24th, 2020
- On Chess: 18th And Olive: Historical Site Of The First World Chess Championship - St. Louis Public Radio - October 23rd, 2020
- Thomas Brodie-Sangster: Macca didnt like that John Lennon was taller in Nowhere Boy' - NME.com - October 23rd, 2020
- Pandemic Has Caused 'Cheating Crisis' in Chess - Newser - October 23rd, 2020
- The Queens Gambit Review: A Winning Chess Thriller - Wall Street Journal - October 23rd, 2020
- Tabada wins National Executive Chess Online tilt - manilastandard.net - October 23rd, 2020
- Anya Taylor-Joy Infiltrates the Boys Club of Chess in The Queens Gambit - Den of Geek - October 21st, 2020
- Chess, The Musical Finally Opens In Moscow - Chess.com - October 21st, 2020
- CBM 197: Magnus and his rivals - Chessbase News - October 19th, 2020
- The Best Shows and Movies to Watch This Week: The Vow Finale, Borat Sequel - Up News Info - October 19th, 2020
- Lighting lamps to guide physics on its way - The Hindu - October 19th, 2020
- 2020: A Year of Success for Oxford Chess - Cherwell Online - October 19th, 2020
- Hennessy Presents "Make Your Move" Featuring RZA And GZA Of Wu-Tang And Maurice Ashley - Chess.com - October 9th, 2020
- Dr C K Rajkumar: The Velvette man who pioneered the sachet revolution - Deccan Herald - October 9th, 2020
- 2020 Pacific Coast Open: Better Late Than Never! | US Chess.org - uschess.org - October 9th, 2020
- Asian Online Chess: India start favourites in both mens and womens events - The Indian Express - October 9th, 2020
- Chess vs. checkers: The brilliance behind Justin Houston's approach to the pass rush - The Indianapolis Star - October 9th, 2020
- How man and machine can work together in the age of AI - The European Sting - October 9th, 2020
- A trout in the milk? - Spectator.co.uk - October 8th, 2020
- 'Young and the Restless' Spoilers: Chelsea Considers Dumping Adam Will She Bail on 'Chadam'? - Soap Dirt - October 8th, 2020
- October Cover Stories with Chess Life: GM Maurice Ashley - uschess.org - October 7th, 2020
- Teen star stands out in Wilfredo Neri Memorial chess tiff - Philippine Star - October 7th, 2020
- Netflix in October: All the new shows and movies coming out Film Daily - Film Daily - October 7th, 2020
- Carlsen and So tie in Chess 9LX tournament - Stabroek News - October 5th, 2020
- King in the middle (2) - Chessbase News - October 3rd, 2020
- Its more natural for men to pick chess as an interest or women to pick arranging flowers - Mint - October 3rd, 2020
- Cloud9 Signs Chess Grandmaster Andrew 'penguingm1' Tang The Esports Observerhome of essential esports business news and insights - TEO - The Esports... - October 3rd, 2020
- The world's our lobster - TheArticle - October 3rd, 2020
- Trump joked while people suffered with Covid. Well, is now the time to stop? - The Guardian - October 3rd, 2020
- How to get more productive? Try this meditation app - Economic Times - October 1st, 2020
- How SPB helped a teenage Viswanathan Anand for a national championship - The News Minute - October 1st, 2020
- Bhavik Rathod ventures out with edtech platform Kyt - ETtech.com - October 1st, 2020
- The other Pandey: An ode, a shout out and a plea... - afaqs - September 30th, 2020
- Required Reading: The Secrets To Pro's Success MTG Arena Zone - MTG Arena Zone - September 30th, 2020
- Spotted on a Safari - The New York Times - September 30th, 2020
- Celebrities that stream Among Us TalkEsport - TalkEsport - September 29th, 2020
- Alexander Donchenko: The importance of working hard at the board - Chessbase News - September 28th, 2020
- AI in IT service and support: The promise approaches reality - TechBeacon - September 28th, 2020
- The Queen's Gambit Netflix release date, cast, trailer, plot: When is the series out? - Daily Express - September 28th, 2020
- 'The Queen's Gambit' Trailer: Anya Taylor-Joy Is A Chess-Prodigy Carving Her Place In A Man's World - Mashable India - September 26th, 2020
- Who are the 50 Greatest Chess Players of All Time? - chess24 - September 24th, 2020
- So, Carlsen Tie in Saint Louis Speed Event; Nakamura Third - uschess.org - September 24th, 2020
- Essential strategies to win every game in Auto Brawl Chess: Battle Royale - Pocket Gamer - September 24th, 2020
- Sheikh Hasina International Online Chess begins Thursday - United News of Bangladesh - September 24th, 2020
- Chess players in war of words Zambia - diggers.news - September 22nd, 2020
- What is the puzzle result win, loss or draw? - Financial Times - September 22nd, 2020
- Post-mortems and princes - Chessbase News - September 20th, 2020
- Centre's deadline to AICF warring factions nearing fast - Sify News - September 20th, 2020