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Interview with Yuri Garett and Pavel Tregubov, representatives from ACP

Press conference ACP thumbIf the summary, which we have published before, caused misunderstandings we are very sorry for it as it was not our intention.

Fontaine: We start our press conference with Yuri Garrett, the board director of ACP and the first question is when was ACP founded and how many people are there in the board?

Garrett: ACP was set up in 2003 and the organization is based in Paris, in the heart of Europe and since then there were several General Assemblies, managing the organization from one General Assembly to another. The last board was elected in the end of 2011 and started to work in 2012. It is directed by Emil Sutovsky, a grandmaster from Israel.

Fontaine: After Emil was elected could you please tell a few words about the board?

Garrett: The board is made of 9 people and the composition is very diverse. It consists of chess grandmasters of course, international organizers, members of federations, so its very diverse background from all of these members. I believe it's very useful because we have different perspectives on the chess world.

Fontaine: My question to Pavel Tregubov, the treasurer of ACP, who had joined us here. How many people, how many GMs were involved to the organization when it was founded and how many members are there in ACP now?

Tregubov: At the beginning we managed to gather 115 members but of course there were bad times and good times. At the best times we used to have about 250 people.

Fontaine: At that time what was the core idea to create this organization?

Tregubov: The basic idea was to protect player's rights. Then we were developing step by step and we were getting more and more ambitious and we started to organize our own tournaments. Nowadays our activities are much wider than at the very beginning.

Fontaine: Yuri, I would like to know about the relations of ACP and FIDE right now.

Garrett: The relation is mutual cooperation relationship. Of course we have much more representatives today and we have membership that approaches a thousand and now FIDE is interested in listening to our proposals and we try to work for improvement of the rules for example.

I think we did a good work in increasing the continents of participants, in increasing prize funds. Also our members work within commission, which is good again because we represent chess professionals there. There are no others who have good relations with both FIDE and ECU and I must say that although we are not always at the same positions, but relationship is based on the mutual benefit and collaboration.

Fontaine: And as for the arbiters' issues?

Garrett: Well, we brought our arbiters here, FIDE allowed us to make a list of excellent arbiters and they picked from this list. I will just make one example I proud of – I saw our arbiter working on board 1 of the women tournament so that means the arbiters from ACP were considered by the organizing committee and FIDE.

Fontaine: The ACP tour was created and can you tell us more a bit about two women events (ACP World Rapid Cup and ACP Blitz and Rapid Women World Championships)?

Tregubov: The basic idea was to make a cycle which is based on our own point system and to identify the best ACP player of the year, the ACP champion lets say. Of course there were bad times and good times. At the moment we are very optimistic about having those events next year.

Fontaine: Both of the events are women tournaments...

Tregubov: Women events are more attractive to sponsors and the prize fund is cheaper. Still the first women event was organized in 2009 by the Turkish Chess Federation and its President Ali Nihat Yazici. Even we have a gap between still I'm glad that we had two good events for women during this year.

Fontaine: There was an ACP tournament, organized in Amsterdam which saw a very old system of playing – adjourned games, first question is about who had this crazy idea to use such system?

Garrett: The crazy idea stamps out of the idea of research. Well, we really don't know what the future of chess is, technologies are coming, and they change things every day. We just wanted to see whether the ideas from the past are practicable, it's not because we want things to go this way, we just wanted to give it a try and then let the people decide.

And since we had support from many of the top players it was not difficult to make a top tournament and there was a number of very interesting games prior to the fact that in critical moments the players had to take critical decisions.

First of all everyone is thinking more interesting and secondly the fact that games were adjourned didn't change the result and computers were not that helpful because when the position is already decided grandmasters after three or four moves are both swimming in unknown waters and that was more or less proved in both cases when positions were opened.

And when Karpov and Kamsky played there last match with adjourned games the access to computers was not equal – rich players could use the computer and poor players couldn't but today almost everyone has the same set of good computer and good database and that more or less equals it out so the players have to fight – this attempt was just a try, perhaps we can try this again in the future.

Fontaine: Did the players like it?

Garrett: Well, the players have enjoyed it and it was not by chance that the strongest player won the tournament. Vasiliy played fantastic chess, he was in an excellent form and amazingly he won nearly all his games before the 40-th move or so.

The question from Strovsky is cut in the video and the only part of Garrett's answer is

Garrett: We do work a lot especially for those who are weaker. Our motto is "injustice done to one is an injustice done to everyone", so ACP is trying to pull all the sides together. We really believe if it's impossible to get all parts together the case should go to court. As long as court is not involved ACP tries to bring people together. Sometimes we have to take stand and we are not shy to send pres-releases.


Press conference ACP


Karlovich: I would like to ask the position that is taken by ACP towards Suat Atalik as you supported him in one moment but then he published letters, accusing a lot of people. So the question is if you are going to protect the others from Atalik?

Garrett: And starting from the second question – of course we are going to protect everyone. So grandmaster Atalik has sent us his letter and it took our time and it was a really complicated case so we couldn't simply get it to the national jurisdiction. Actually we don't have a jurisdiction so all we can do is to urge FIDE, Turkish chess Federation and Greek chess Federation to find an agreement with Grandmaster Atalik.

We mentioned which of their actions were against his rights but unfortunately grandmaster Atalik said that it was not enough which I understand but we are not acting like a court, we can't tell people what to do but we can only protect people rights which is what we did. He decided to go another way, he is welcome to do so and we wish him good luck but we will help everyone else who has similar problems to find an agreement by informing the community.

Karlovich: I mean, he made some negative statements and accused other people, besides he accused the organizer of chess event in organization of fake chess tournament, so my question is how are you going to defend other people from Atalik?

Garrett: If someone organized the fake event first of all we want this case to be proved, once it's proved and there's enough evidence, even it doesn't go to the court – we will stand up. And of course we are not deceived with what happens – we are unhappy with Suat Atalik's reply we really hoped we could help. Sometimes the best intentions don't get the greatest achievements.

Still if any other player comes to ACP we will analyze the case and support him. But please don't ask ACP to reply in one week. We are not an organization that can react in several days, we need to bring up the board, we need to analyze the case because we take it very seriously and our decision applies not only to one but applies to everyone. So when we declared our decision on the case about the journalist earlier this year we already thought about the situation that can arise in other cases.

The same with Atalik's case...Of course it is to deal with Atalik but we create a set of paces that will help others. We tried to make a precedent and I hoped we did. Unfortunately the conversation which we asked for between FIDE, Turkish Chess Federation, Greek Chess Federation and Atalik had never take place because Grandmaster Atalik said "No, I don't want to talk". It would have been very interesting to know what FIDE, Turkish chess federation and Greek chess federation would reply on the matter.

Videos posted at http://blip.tv/chess/acp-press-conference-6350154 and http://blip.tv/chess/acp-press-conference-p-2-6350163