Open letters from van Wely and the ACP

by ChessBase
10/31/2005 – The debate on the FIDE World Cup continues, with GM Loek van Wely (picture) sending us an open letter. In it Holland's top joins Gata Kamsky in his criticism of the way the qualification for the next world championship cycle is being handled. GM Bartlomiej Macieja of Poland joins in and gives the ACP's take on this matter. Food for thought.

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Open Letter from GM Loek van Wely

Dear ChessBase,

In case of the cycle 2005-2007, in my opinion changing the format should not be done, unless a) the existing conditions were not acceptable or clearly inferior to what is proposed now; or b) all parties agree.

Top Dutch GM Loek van Wely

The "already old" cycle was certainly chaotic, but also given the circumstances, acceptable. The new cycle is still chaotic, but unfortunately favours some players more than others. Some players are getting privileges, where the intent was to abolish them as much as possible.

FIDE claims they have consulted both ACP and the players present in San Luis. Since I am an ACP member I am very curious what the role of ACP has been in these consultations. For sure I am not happy with the outcome of it. As far as the players from San Luis are concerned, they certainly got themselves a good deal. Five of the eight got themselves a sure seat into the second or final phase of the next cycle (and most likely two more). Seven of the eight players in San Luis qualified by rating. Maybe someone can explain to me why someone with a slightly inferior rating has to start his trip via Siberia, whereas those players can quietly wait (and prepare) for the world championship tournament?

In my opinion only Topalov, the winner of Siberia, the highest rated player in the world, and perhaps Kramnik (although he did not do much to deserve this) should be seeded for the final eight. The last four places could e.g. go to the winners of supertournaments , such as Wijk aan Zee, Linares, Sofia and Dortmund, or according to ACP ranking list. Also Fide managed now to devaluate the Siberia World Cup. Finishing in the top ten does not bring you much further in the cycle.

All what Fide needs to do is to make a good and clean cycle, to have clear dates, so that other organisers and players can program their schedule better, and to have a guaranteed prize-money, which after the Fide Grand Prix and the Kasparov-Ponomariov matches is no excessive luxury.

Now that I am finished with the World Cup in Siberia, I would like to say also something about the World Team Championships in Israel. Between the WTCh 2001 and the WTCh 2005 three European Team Championships have taken place, of which The Netherlands managed to win two. Unfortunately this did not give us the right to participate in the WTCh. As you can see, Fide really appreciates winning the strongest continental championships. Nevertheless we Dutch still thought that we would have a chance based on our eighth place in the Calvia Olympiad. If you start counting: 1) host = Israel; 2) World champion = Ukraine; 3) European champion = Russia; 4) Asia = China; 5) Africa = Egypt; 6) America = Cuba; then start to count from Olympiad 7) Armenia, 8) USA 9) India 10) The Netherlands.

Unfortunately this logic did not work out, and somehow Georgia's third place at the European Team Championship in 2003 (for those who remember it) was rewarded with an invitation. Given also the fact that a Chinese women's team was invited did not give us a more positive feeling towards the WTCh. Then however, due to the cancellation of Africa, we received an informal invitation three weeks before the start of the event. On such short terms it did not seem possible to find the necessary sponsorship, so we had to decline the invitation.

A few days later we suddenly got hope to get the necessary pecunia. On our inquiry if the invitation was still open, Fide answered that 1) we should not have been invited in the first place, according to regulations it should have been India; 2) India is not going to be invited because they need a visa to enter Israel and the time was too short to arrange that; 3) the reserved rooms had already been assigned to others (as if such a small problem could not be dealt with). All I can conclude is that Fide prefers to have a World Team Championship with nine weaker teams than with the ten strongest teams.

ACP reply to Gata Kamsky

Dear Gata

I have just read your comments to the last changes in the FIDE World Championship Cycle. As you have proved to Mr Sand, the changes make a task of the FIDE World Cup qualifiers much harder.

Polish GM and ACP Secretary Bartlomiej Macieja

It is not my aim now to compare advantages and disadvantages of both systems, I would just like to stress, that the changes made me no less surprised than you, though I participated (on behalf of the ACP) in the meeting with the FIDE representatives in Athens (July 2005). The FIDE World Championship was one of the discussed subjects, the ACP made a few proposals to improve the system of events, however the proposals were different from the currently applied by FIDE and, additionally, concerned only the following cycles. Let me quote just one sentence from the report of that meeting:

"The rules for the next FIDE World Chess championship cycle, which includes the World Cup, the Last Chance Tournament and the Candidates' Matches, have been announced and may not be changed."

Thus, all words of the criticism or of the support to the current changes should not be addressed to the ACP, as the ACP was not aware of them.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to remind you of two important changes which have been proposed by the ACP and approved by FIDE:

  1. The schedule of the FIDE World Cup has been modified, in order to have one extra day for tie-breaks in every round. This means that every round will be held over three days instead of two.
  2. For the FIDE World Cup, a contract between FIDE and organisers will be added as annex in players' undertakings.

The first change has already been applied, I am very surprised that the contract has not been added yet.

In the end, I would like to confirm your doubts, that not all professionals are ACP members (yet!), however the number constantly grows and currently:

  • 56 out of 112 so far announced participants of the FIDE World Cup 2005 are ACP members
  • 7 out of 8 participants of the FIDE World Championship in San Luis are ACP members

I am aware that the information about the ACP activity and achievements has not always been widely known, I admit that the ACP has not every time succeed, however I sincerely hope, that you will one day consider joining the ACP. As more chess professionals are united in the association, as more it can achieve.

Best regards
GM Bartlomiej Macieja
ACP Secretary
Report of the ACP-FIDE meeting, May 2005
Report of the ACP-FIDE meeting, July 2005

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