ACP's position on the FIDE World Championship format

by ChessBase
3/7/2007 – Recently the world chess federation (FIDE) announced its decision on a new world championship format. Now the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) has published its position on the FIDE decision. Press release.

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ACP position on "FIDE Proposals for future World Championship Cycles"

27th of February 2007

To: Mr Kirsan Ilyumzhinov - FIDE President
CC: FIDE World Chess Championship Committee, FIDE Office

Dear Sir,

The ACP has thoroughly studied both proposals for the future World Chess Championship Cycles suggested by FIDE. In this letter we would like to present our official position, though we have to admit, that some of the ACP Board Members have different opinions.

Both the World Chess Championship Match (WCCM) in Elista and the World Chess Championship Tournament (WCCT) in San Luis were very successful in the terms they attracted spectators all over the world. Every day chess fans were following and media were covering both events, thus it would not be rational to resign neither from the WCCM nor from the WCCT. Therefore, the first proposal (Proposal A) cannot be treated as an improvement to the current situation. Contrary, the second proposal (Proposal B) includes all three important events (World Chess Cup – WCC, World Chess Championship Tournament, and World Chess Championship Match), at the same time drastically simplifying the whole cycle by elimination of Candidates Matches, Last Chance Tournament, and "2700 rule". All these changes were proposed by the ACP already a long time ago, thus we welcome them with open arms.

While studying the official proposal, we have found a few possibilities to improve it:

1) In our opinion, the WCCT and the WCC should not be played in the same year for several reasons:

a) It leads to the confusion among chess players and especially journalists who often mix cycles.
b) It is always better to separate events in time than to have many events organised at a short period of time followed by a long break.
c) The participants of the WCCT will have more time to rest and to prepare to the WCC, so they will not massively decline their participation in the WCC as was the case in 2005.
d) It is not reasonable to have such a long break (2 years!) between the qualifying event (WCC) and the final event (WCCT).

For the above mentioned reasons, the ACP proposes the following schedule:
I) WCCT 2007 in Mexico
II) WCC 2007 in Russia
III) WCC 2008
IV) WCCT 2009
V) WCC 2010
VI) WCCT 2011

World Chess Championship Matches should be organised in years following World Chess Championship Tournaments.

2) We find the rule: "A challenger cannot use his right as previous World Champion more than once. If such a case occurs, then he is replaced by the winner of the last World Cup." illogical and not consistent with the whole proposal. There is no reason to decline the participation in the WCCM to any player who constantly becomes the world champion by winning the WCCM as well as to any player who constantly wins the WCCT.

3) It has to be decided who shall get the right to challenge the world champion if the same person wins the WCCM and the WCCT. There are 5 possible solutions:

a) the previous world champion
b) the winner of the WCC
c) the leader of the rating list
d) the player who finished second in the WCCT
e) there will be no match

First three options may lead to serious irregularities. Let's imagine that the previous world champion (or the winner of the WCC or the leader of the rating list) plays in the last round of the WCCT against the winner of the WCCM. If the game is won by the winner of the WCCM, he keeps the title of the world champion, thus his opponent gains the right to challenge him in the match! If the game is drawn or won by the opponent, somebody else wins the WCCT, thus by not losing the game, the opponent loses the right to participate in the WCCM! Of course, this is unacceptable.

It would be a pity not to have a match at all, thus the most reasonable possibility is to give the right to challenge the champion to the player who finished second in the WCCT.

4) There should be strict rules regarding substitutions in the WCCT. We propose the following solution:

a) If one or both of 2 best players from the previous WCCT withdraw(s), the qualification spot(s) go(es) to the previous WCCT.
b) If one or more players from the WCC withdraw(s) or one (or both) of 2 best players from the previous WCCT finish(es) on one of top 4 places in the WCC, the qualification spot(s) go(es) to the WCC. For this reason it is important to establish not only the order of top 4 players in the WCC, but also reserve players, thus the players losing their matches in 1/4-finals of the WCC should continue their participation to determine the final order.

5) All spots by rating (including the one to the WCCT) should be determined according to the most current rating and not average of old ones for two reasons:

a) organisers, media, and chess fans prefare to see in action currently best players
b) if a player has the highest current rating, but not the avarage rating, it means he has played well in recent tournaments, it means he is currently better than his opponents, thus he currently deserves more to qualifying to a tournament (for instance to the WCCT) than his opponent who was better but a year earlier.

6) In our opinion, it deserves consideration to introduce the rule allowing the winner of the WCCT to keep the title of the world champion in the case he draws the WCCM against the challenger. It would visibly increase the prestige of the winner of the WCCT, who could be otherwise considered as only "the candidate", not the real champion. However, this possibility needs to be discussed more widely.

7) There should be a minimal prize fund announced and secured for all three events.

Best regards
ACP Board

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