Five years of the ACP: results and development

by ChessBase
7/24/2009 – On January 1st 2004 the Association of Chess Professionals took up operations. Today it has 250 members from 44 countries, and has organised eight tournaments with a total prize fund of over 400,000 Euros. Five years is long enough to draw some conclusions about the activities, and to develop directions for the years to come. ACP Secretary Olena Boytsun reports.

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Five years of the ACP: results and development

By ACP Secretary Olena Boytsun

In 2009 the Association of Chess Professionals, which was registered on September 2003 in Paris, France, celebrates its five year anniversary. The first ACP Board started working as of 01.01.2004. Five years is long enough to draw some conclusions from the activities, and to develop directions for the years to come.

The ACP is a not-for-profit international organization that unites chess players, organizers, journalists and arbiters. The main aims of the organization are the protection of the rights of chess professionals and the promotion of the game of chess in the world. There are currently 250 members from 44 countries. 208 of them are male, and the percentage of female members amounts to 17%. The countries most represented are Russia, Ukraine, Germany, USA.

First ACP Board meeting on January 16 2004 in Wijk aan Zee

The ACP has organized eight tournaments with an overall prize fund of more than EUR 400,000. The Association developed and implemented the system of the ACP Tour: the most important chess events are united in an annual cycle. Chess players, who take part in tournaments, receive points according to a special system of rating calculation. Thus, the rating of a chess player depends on his results during the season only.

The Fifth ACP Tour 2008-2009 and the Second ACP Women Series 2008-2009 ended together with the World Open on July 6th 2009. The winner of the season was Levon Aronian (Armenia), who gathered 2799 ACP points out of only seven tournaments. Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia) and the last-year winner Vasily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) finished second and third, with 2519 points and 2447 points respectively. The final standings can be found here. 70-80 tournaments are counted in the ACP Tour annually, 475 tournaments and 15 team events have been calculated overall.

At the end of the season the best players receive the right to take part in the final event of the ACP Tour – the ACP World Cup. The following grandmasters were the winners of the ACP World Cup:

2007 – Peter Leko (Hungary)
2008 – Teimur Radjabov (Azerbajdzhan)
2009 – Boris Gelfand (Israel)

Peter Leko, winner of the ACP World Cup 2007

The current ACP Champion Boris Gelfand answered some questions about the organization:

You took part at all three ACP World Cups. What is your overall impression of the events, what were the differences among tournaments in different years?

I have a good impression of all events. In the past the ACP Cup was organized in the legendary hotel “Londonskaya” in January, and this year it was in May, and in the different playing hall in Odessa, Ukraine. But I enjoyed playing in all three tournaments. I hope that the tradition of the tournament will be continued.

Why did you decide to become a member of the ACP?

My opinion was that the organization could be a good platform for discussion of important questions of the chess life and serve as some kind of counterbalance, once some decisions by FIDE crossed the reach of reason.

In 2009 the ACP celebrated five years. How do you estimate the results of the ACP activities?

The 2009 ACP World Cup winner

In general, reasonably good. The most important achievement is the organization of the ACP Cup plus some aims from the previous question were achieved.

What kind of direction or projects for the ACP would you mark as a priority for development?

I cannot judge, since I take part in the organization’s work only passively.

The most important point – why do you play chess?

Good question! Chess is an outstanding game that brings me a lot of joy.

In order to encourage female players the ACP Women Series were developed. The first prize giving of the winners of the Women Series took place in autumn 2008. The winner was Viktorija Cmilyte (Lithuania).

Winner of the ACP World Series 2008: Viktorija Cmilyte

The Second Women Series gathered eleven events, not mentioning all tournaments of the ACP Tour, where women players can earn points as well. Russian players clearly dominated the season, as they occupy the four first places of the Final Standings. The winner is Tatiana Kosintseva with 1730 ACP points out of six events. Her compatriots Alexandra Kosteniuk and Natalia Pogonina come second and third with 976 and 883 points respectively. The battle for the crucial eighth place was hard fought, and Lela Javakhishvili eventually edged out Monika Socko by just a few points.

The official website of the organization has published more than 1130 articles over the past five years, both in English and Russian. They are written mostly by ACP members. The newsletter of the Board is issued on regular basis and is distributed among ACP members. Opinion polls among ACP members are carried on actual and strategic questions.

The current ACP Board gathers for their meetings no less than once per month. The main activities of the Board consist in the examination of inquires and the informational support of ACP members, the monitoring of the information field and the development of recommendations to regulate the chess community, as well as the development and the implementation of new projects in order to promote the game of chess.

Among others the following development directions of the organization were defined by the Board:

  • The development of women chess – the development of the ACP Women Series and the organization of an annual women tournament ACP Masters;

  • The promotion of the game of chess in the world. Using the experience of other sport organizations, the ACP intends to develop recommendations for national federations as well as private organizers on marketing and PR for chess, which not only increases the promotion level, but will also strengthen the position of chess during negotiations with the IOC.

  • The increase of the informational support level. The ACP is going to reorganize its official web site and widen the frequency and topics of the information provided.

  • The development of recommendations for organizers of chess events, while anti-cheating measures remain one of the most topical issues.

  • During the period of 2004-2007 the relationship between the ACP and FIDE has been developed, and the organizations have been successfully working in cooperation in order to establish the most efficient system for the World Chess Championship cycle as well as in order to develop the rules for time controls in the official events. The ACP Board was also glad to welcome FIDE President Kirsan Iljumzhinov as the honored guest at the first ACP World Rapid Cup in Odessa, Ukraine. During the last two years the questions of anti-cheating measures as well as doping control are being examined. Since July 2009 representatives of the ACP Board became members of the FIDE Commissions:
    • Emil Sutovsky – Commision for World Championships and Olympiads
    • Elmira Mirzoeva – Commision for Women Chess
    • Olena Boytsun – Events Comission

    ACP Secretary Olena Boytsun at the 2008 World Championship in Bonn

A report by Olena Boytsun on the FIDE PB meeting of June 16-17, 2009, in Krakow, Poland, can be found here.

Pictorial impressions of the FIDE Presidential Board meeting in Krakow

FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos welcoming the delegates in the Krakow Hotel “Europe”

Part of the welcoming dinner of the Presidential Board: Polish children dancing

An informal gathering of the Presidential board members: Continental President for Africa Dabilani Buthali; Chairman of Verification Commission Lakhdar Mazouz; Vice President Khalifa Mohammed Al-Hitmi, Hon. Vice President Israel Gelfer, Vice Presidents Ali Nihat Yazici, FIDE Vice President William Kelleher, FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos.

On the second day: Israel Gelfer, Continental President for Europe Boris Kutin,
Continental President for Americas Mr. Jorge Vega at the Presidential meeting

Informal discussions during a break, with Ignatius Leong, Ali Nihat Yazici, Georgios Makropoulos, Geoffrey Borg and GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili (standing)

President of the Malopolska Chess Association Jan Kusina, Chairman of the Verification Commission Lakhdar Mazouz, FIDE Commercial Director Geoffrey Borg

At table: Marketing and PR Director Peter Rajcsanyi, Assistant to the FIDE President Berik Balgabaev, ACP General Secretary Olena Boytsun

At the Town Hall of Krakow: FIDE CEO for Development David Kaplan, President of the Malopolska Chess Association Jan Kusina, FIDE President Kirsan Iljumzhinov, Chairman of Technical Commission Dr. Andrzej Filipowicz, FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, FIDE Treasurer Nigel Freeman, Assistant to FIDE President Berik Balgabaev

All photos by Jan Kusina

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