In a statement published on its website, the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) makes a proposal for changing the world championship cycle. The main change the ACP proposes is to include open tournaments.
The association, a non-profit founded in 2003 to protect chess professionals’ rights, makes a comparison with tennis: “In tennis, we have the Grand Slams at the top, but also the local Futures tournaments at the bottom. The structure is clear, easy to understand and the players see the way to the top ahead of them.”
Chess is described as a pyramid with the world championship match at the top, and below that the Candidates tournament, the Grand Prix tournaments, the World Cup, and the continental championships—the latter being the only entry point for a large majority of the players.
The ACP calls this system “elitist.” The association claims that the continental championships are “not easily accessible to the lower-rated professionals, among other things because they are very expensive tournaments to play in.”
The ACP likes to add another, bottom layer to the pyramid: open tournaments, describing them as “the bread and butter of the chess world.” Although concrete research is not mentioned, the ACP states that many chess players “feel trapped in this ‘swamp’ of opens without a clear idea how to go ‘upwards,’ how to feel integrated in the big picture and feel part of the whole chess family. In its current state the chess world is a segregated place with the elite and the rest living in different worlds.”