Reports | December 24, 2008 17:13

ACP: "Players' rights have been neglected"

ACPIn a new press release the Association of Chess Professionals calls for an "even higher standard of management" and recommends tournament organizers to "act carefully when announcing events which are not completely guaranteed yet." They argue that by kicking Al Modiahki and Pelletier out of the Grand Prix, "players' rights have been neglected".


The ACP draws the attention to the exclusion of players from the FIDE Grand Prix

The ACP expresses its concern about the management of events which recently shook the FIDE Grand Prix. The withdrawal of two host cities as well as the changes made by FIDE to the Regulations of the World Championship caused a disruption of the participants' field in the middle of the cycle.

At the end of November 2008, FIDE and Global Chess announced that the organizers of the third and fourth Grand Prix tournaments in Doha and Montreux would not be able to fulfill their obligations. Both events were therefore cancelled. Elista managed to spontaneously host the tournament planned in Doha, while it is said that Montreux will be replaced by Kiev. FIDE and Global Chess stated that such actions had solved all problems with the Grand Prix.

However, the switch of venues automatically led to both players, who had received wild cards as host city nominees, being thrown out of the Grand Prix. Replacing participants in a cycle in progress should be done only in case of absolute necessity, as it disrupts the natural course of the cycle and contradicts the most basic laws of sports and management. Players' rights have been neglected, inasmuch the Tournament's Regulations and the Player's Undertaking do not foresee such a possibility.

The Association of Chess Professionals would like to draw the attention of FIDE and Global Chess that such a situation mainly arose because the organizers were not asked for bank guarantees in advance. The ACP Board certainly understands all the difficulties linked with the organization of such an important Grand Prix, especially at a time of worldwide financial crisis, and hopes that the cycle will be ended in 2009 without interruption.

The ACP calls for an even higher standard of management and recommends tournament organizers to act carefully when announcing events which are not completely guaranteed yet. The ACP finally believes that both players deprived of their planned participation in the FIDE Grand Prix should be compensated for in some way.

The ACP Board

December 23, 2008

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


val's picture

@ Manu. It's common practice with quite a few modern-day trade union leaders..

Bartleby's picture

I don't know if the organizers are to blame, or FIDE is to blame, or the worldwide financial crisis is to blame. I don't know the legal details.

But I don't think it was Pelletier's or Al-Modiahki's part of the deal to organize the tournaments, and bring in sponsorship money.

They are professional chess players. They make a living playing tournaments.
If an organizer announces a tournament, they sign, but the tournament doesn't happen, of course they may seek compensation.
If an organization announces a tournament series, they sign, do everything they are required to do, but the organization excludes them after two tournaments, of course they may seek compensation.

val's picture

Thus spake guru: "My thought is irresistible cuz it's irrefutably true." :-}

me's picture

FIDE has given the organizers a free choice to pick anyone they wish to compete for the WCh in RETURN for the money. Then the organizers in Doha and Montreux backed out from the agreement, so why should FIDE now hold their part of the agreement?

Believe it or not, not everything is FIDE's fault.

Bartleby's picture

Pelletier and Al-Modiahki may not be biggest stars, and one can argue that they shouldn't have been invited in the first place. But it was done, they had been offered an unusual chance to compete for the WCh, and now, after the treaties have been signed, two tournaments have been played, FIDE decides to withdraw this offer. That is too late, and unfair to the excluded players.

I don't like the over-cautious wording, it sounds like a Chinese peasant daring to make a petition to his local mandarin. I don't understand why they speculate about the reasons and possible remedies. FIDE so far hasn't given any details besides blaming the organizers.

But if they get their players some money to compensate for the exclusions, they have done their job well.

me's picture

We can't just go back to the system used 40 or 60 years ago. Just imagine how the world has changed since then. I don't think any sport uses exactly the same rules/format that they used 40 and more years ago. Things change.

But of course you can't change the rules/format from one day to the next, and certanly not during the competition! If FIDE thought that this GP and World Cup cycle isn't good, then they should be working on changes (together with players and sponsors) for the NEXT cycle, or even for the one after that. When serious sport organizations change something, they announce changes at least one (possibly more) year/season in advance. And thats exactly how things should work.

val's picture

@ "me." Without being a staunch retrograde I still believe Gulko is basically right..No matter who created the traditional WCC cycle, the main thing is, it proved to be fair to all and reasonably stable. "Also I think the system has to be modified to suit the time we live in. But above all it has to be a stable system, without constant changes" All of that may sound fine, but isn't it sort of a contradiction in itself? Given weaknesses of the human nature, it is likely to be used to justify arbitrary rule and create a muddle such as we all are faced with presently. Finally I am talking here about return to a proven "paradise lost' rather than a format and suchlike.

Manu's picture

For me this is like a fake protest , the ACP is clearly not able to face FIDE like it should.
Its like that Unions (sindicato) that work for the owners instead of the workers.
Of course this is just an opinion, but give me a break , if you just want to draw FIDE s attention you will only get that and nothing more.
As an institution they should be trying to neutralize corruption , not to just be noticed by FIDE.

me's picture

It is only a myth that Botvinnik created the traditional World Championship cycle.

Also I think the system has to be modified to suit the time we live in. But above all it has to be a stable system, without constant changes. THATS whats killing the WCC cycle, not the format itself.

In my opinion the Grand Prix (as the main competition) and World Cup (as the backdoor) would be just fine, but FIDE screwed it all up by changing things again. And whats even worse, they changed it DURING the cycle. That just like extending the 100 m race to 200 m after the athlets were already at the 60 m mark. Sheer madness!

val's picture

US and USSR champion GM Boris Gulko: "I think that chess genius Mikhail Botvinnik created in 1948 a great and fair system. (its proven finalized version universally recognized: 1. zonal tournaments 2. interzonals 3. matches - val} Destruction of it (by Kasparov with his ACP, a mistake by K's own admission - val) was a big misfortune for chess. World Championship matches were greatest events in the history of our game."

ebutaljib's picture

Pelletier and Al-Modiahki were part of Grand Prix ONLY because of the sponsor money. Their sponsors "bought" them Grand Prix tickets so to speak. After their sponsors said "no money" it is logical that FIDE kicked them out and give tickets to those who will put up the money. Of course Pelletier and Al-Modiahki are not responsible for these events and couldn't do anything about it, but they really don't have anything to do in such tournaments.

What ACP should really protest about is the change of the WCC cycle. But in last interview Ilyumzhinov gave dubious answers about that. He said that GP winner will play World Cup winner for the right to play with World Champion (like it was originally planed), yet kept babling about the Candidates tournament later in the interview. So who knows whats going to happen. In my opinion Carlsen and Adams withdrew too soon in the heat of the moment. I think they should have participated in Elista and only then decide about their future participation. I'm curious what Aronian will do if nothing changes until the next Grand Prix in April.

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