ACP - The Association of Chess Professionals

The ACP or Association of Chess Professionals is a non-profit organization that basically serves as a trade union for professional chess players all over the world. Their primary goals are the protection of the rights of professional chess players, as well as the promotion of the sport worldwide. In the pursuit of its goals, the ACP is involved in organizing chess tournaments as well as other chess related events.

The current President of the ACP is Joel Lautier, who is a French Grandmaster. Bartlomiej Macieja serves as the association’s secretary, while Almira Skripchenko and Pavel Tregubov serves as its Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer, respectively. The ACP board is currently comprised of Anna Hahn, Igor Glek, Vladimir Kramnik, Yannick Pelletier, and Peter Heine Nielsen.

The Association of Chess Professionals currently counts some of the most prominent players in the chess world among its two hundred members. Among them are Viswanathan Anand, Judit Polgar, and Péter Lékó, although noticeably absent from its roster of members is Garry Kasparov. While Ruslan Ponomariov and Veselin Topalov once belonged to the association, they withdrew their membership in December 2004, citing disagreements with the “politics” and the decisions of the board of the ACP.

The ACP was established in 2003 amidst a bit of controversy in the chess world. The controversy stemmed from the disagreement of the European Chess Union with the hotel that the 2003 European Individual Chess Championship players were required to stay in. Since then, the ACP has been involved in several areas of professional chess.

While the Association of Chess Professionals has been compared to the Professional Chess Association or PCA, they did not set out to compete directly with the FIDE–as the PCA did–and in fact stated from the beginning that it hoped to work together with FIDE, as well as other national and international chess organizations. The PCA was actually formed by Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short after they broke away from FIDE. Kasparov and Short established the organization in order to play the 1993 World Chess Championship. However, as of March 2005, the FIDE has refused to acknowledge the ACP, and Lautier does not see any change to the situation in the near future.

Since then, the ACP has openly voiced its criticism of a number of decisions that FIDE has made, particularly the federation’s choice of Libya as 2004 Chess Championship site. With Libya as the host country of the event, the chances of Israeli chess players taking in the championship were rendered highly unlikely. The ACP has also been critical of certain aspects related to the players’ contracts in that event.

The Association of Chess Professionals’ activities are not limited to chess politics however. They have also been involved in organizing several online chess tournaments, which are open to its members. These tournaments are hosted on the ‘Playchess’ server operated by Chessbase. An inaugural ACP tour was also held in 2004, wherein eight of the best ACP members played in the ACP Masters tournament for the distinction of being the best player of the season.