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GM Igor Glek: Change the World to the Better!

Interview conducted by GM Mikhail Golubev, concerning the creation of an Association of Chess Players

Igor, skeptics are saying that the whole idea is a reaction of some players to poor conditions at the European Championship in Turkey in June…

Yes, till some extend that tournament forced us to do something. But the understanding that chess players need their own organization had existed for quite some time.

Who can join the Association?

At the meeting of participants of the European Championships on 9 June it was agreed that members of the Association could be Grandmasters and perhaps men with a rating of 2500+ and women with a rating of 2350+. In other words, chess professionals. But later the initiative group decided that it was not good to limit our membership by rating. Many people work professionally in chess: trainers, journalists, computer programmers, organizers, etc. We should enable them to take part in our organization.

Who are members of the initiative group?

At present, they are GMs Bologan, Glek, Krasenkow, Lautier, Pelletier, Skripchenko, Tregubov and Kharlov. New people can join - we are open for people with ideas, who want to work for chess!

How do you see the prospects of the Association and its main activities?

Our main goal is to improve conditions in chess tournaments, to create a good tournament calendar and tournament formats. We will also work in providing informational and legal aid to chess players, improving the rating system, attracting sponsors to chess and promoting chess in general. There are plenty of ideas, but the main thing is to create an effective, democratic and independent organization. We hope to work together with FIDE, other international and national chess bodies. We also trust that chess fans will support us.

Recently Ukrainian female player Rogonian was deprived a chance to play in the Junior World Championship in Azerbaijan. At least, this is how it seems to be from Ukraine. Do you think your Association will be able to deal with such problems?

I read about it. Not knowing all details, I cannot say who is responsible for it, but for sure such things should not happen. One of the direct tasks of the Association is to protect our members from the tyranny of bureaucrats of all kinds.

Do you take on board the experience of GMA and PCA, which existed when Kasparov was the champion? Having organized a series of good tournaments, those organizations collapsed…

We see, not least in the fate of the Prague Agreement, that all attempts to unite the chess world 'from the top', after initial euphoria, inevitably fail. Why? I think that the main reason is that the role of concrete persons, even if they were great players, in them was too big - those organisations were build around certain persons and mainly for them. Wider groups of players had little role in those organizations. Let's regard creation of our Association as an attempt to unite the chess world not from the top, but from the middle of the chess pyramid.

Do you work with the Grandmaster Committee, which emerged last year, and with GM Yasser Seirawan, its member?

Yes, we are in touch, Yasser sent us Charter of the Grandmaster Committee and some of its ideas will be used in our project. We see our Association as a broader organisation than that Committee, where only 200 leading players (according to rating) could vote. Most of the Committee members are over 40 and those, whom I spoke with, are rather pessimistic about the current situation in chess. On the contrary, in our group most people are under 30. They are energetic and want to change the world. This is very important! But we also have people who worked in the Grandmaster Committee - Krasenkow and Lautier.

What about the website of the Association?

Soon chess public will be able to visit, where GMs and IMs can make suggestions concerning Charter of our Association and nominate representatives to its Council.

All text Copyright Alexander Baburin unless otherwise noted