Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Aiming for a united and improved USCF


This is an open thread about the USCF, its problems, solutions and direction. I will place a permanent link to this thread on the left side of this blog. This way, it can stay open for discussion and not disappear. Please keep it clean!

My goal is to help unite all membership groups and improve the USCF. Too many feuds in decades have done enough damages to our federation in so many ways. It is time to fix the problems and head toward a prominent future.

I urge all chess politicians to put aside their differences and start to work together for a positive change. I will work with everyone who puts the best interest of US Chess and the USCF first!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and thank you for your support!

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

I stated the following as the biggest problems and followed up with my goals for the USCF:

I would like to rebuild the USCF into a strong, successful and respectable organization. This is why I decided to run in this election. Here are some of the past major problems that need to be corrected in order for the USCF to prosper:

• Too many bad financial and business decisions
• Too many decisions made for political reasons instead of the best interests of US chess and the USCF
• Too much frivolous spending without long-term vision
• Too little effort to raise much-needed revenues to ensure the good health of this federation• Too little focus on positive chess marketing and promotion
• Too little focus on many membership categories such as adult, scholastic, collegiate, correspondence, and military chess
• Too little effort to retain our memberships, especially the scholastic members
• Too little integrity, honesty, credibility and professionalism by some board members
• Too little accountability of our board members
• Too little respect for our members, affiliates, partners, supporters and sponsors
• Too little willingness to keep the USCF up with the times

Here are some of my areas of focus for the USCF if I’m elected:

• Restore respectability, integrity, credibility and professionalism to the USCF
• Reestablish a sound and balanced budget
• Develop strong cooperation and support for adult, scholastic, collegiate, correspondence, military and internet chess
• Establish a strong professional marketing and PR system
• End the petty and destructive politics

And to help me with these critical areas, I recommended the following candidates who can help turn the USCF into a strong and viable organization:

• Paul Truong: He’s by far the most successful person in chess marketing, promotion, public relations, and management. Paul can bring something to this federation that no one could in the past. We badly need his expertise.

• Mikhail Korenman: He has a strong record in promoting and organizing chess events. He’s a member of the USCF Scholastic Council. He’s well respected by many people, including former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev and many others.

• Randy Bauer: He has had tremendous success as the budget director of the state of Iowa, dealing with a multibillion dollar budget. We need his financial expertise.
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119 comments:

HKL said...

GM Polgar,

I've been a USCF member for 31 years. I play perhaps 1-2 tournaments a year. I enjoy playing on the Internet as a substitute.

I have only a few complaints. I care about chess. I don't care for chess politics. I just wish that the board would take greater care of our members and volunteers.

How could someone like Mr. Sam Sloan get elected? This is an embarrassment to chess and our entire federation. I heard that it had to do with personal politics between political parties.

I don't care what problems people have with each other but destroying the USCF is utter madness. What can you do to make sure that things like this will never happen again so we don't continue to lose sponsors or supporters?

Cordially,
HKL

Anonymous said...

Susan, There are a small group of people attacking you and Mr. Truong on a daily basis. Do you plan to address them?

chess fan said...

My advice to Susan and Paul is to keep focused on the positive things that they both do for chess on a daily basis. Remember that the USCF issues forum is read by a very small percentage of USCF members and even on that forum, the neutral or pro-Polgar posters are far more numerous than the handful of mudslingers, none of whom are known or respected by the vast majority of USCF members.

SusanPolgar said...

This is my response to hkl: Thank you for writing. I understand where you are coming from. You are not the only one who feels this way. The current system of the USCF is very flawed and basically a person who has no business being on the board was elected. As a result of this, a lot of damages were done to the reputation of this federation including losing the biggest sponsor.

The only thing that I can do is to alert everyone of the problems and make sure that the wrong people will not be elected again. I give you my words that I will continue to fight for the rights of the members every single day.

I will do everything I can in my power to steer this federation into a much more efficient, prosperous, successful and professional organization.

To the anon poster:

I no longer have an account in the USCF forums. I have asked to have my account removed after legal threats were made against me, my foundation and personal threats were made to my family and children.

At one time, it was a place for members to have meaningful exchanges of conversations and ideas. Now, it has become a place for legal traps, personal attacks and insults. There is nothing I can do about the personal attacks, insults and dirty politics. I just have to rise above it and continue to do good things for chess.

Mr. Truong and I have both pleaded with many of these people to discuss important issues such as how we can help this federation or what each candidate has done for chess and the USCF in the past 5 years. Dead silence!

I receive hundreds of emails daily. I answer most of them. But I am not going to respond to anyone who is rude, obnoxious and unprofessional. If these people do not want to vote for me then so be it. I want to make this federation better and more professional. I do not want to get into the mud with them.

If they cannot see what I have done throughout my entire career and what I have done to promote this game in the past 5-6 years then what more can I say? Mr. Truong and I have proven records no matter how these politicians want to minimize them.

I am running in this election to help chess and the USCF. I did not do this to trade insults with these chess politicians. They have done a good job with creating animosity and hatred toward each other for decades. I will not be a part of it.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Anonymous said...

If elected, will you propose a stricter code of conducts for members and board members?

SusanPolgar said...

Yes! This is one big problem for the USCF right now. This must be changed.

However, I would hold a candidate or a board member to a much higher standard. We need people with strong integrity and moral, not people who would be willing to destroy the welfare of chess and the USCF for their own motives.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar
www.PolgarChess.com

Anonymous said...

Will you answer all questions if asked?

SusanPolgar said...

No. I am the most active grandmaster out there when it comes to interacting with the fans. However, everything has a limit. Do you know how many times a day I receive email from strangers asking me to go out or to marry them?

Being fan friendly and protecting me and my family are two totally different things. People may ask me about my plans, my views, my assessments, etc. I will not answer any personal question. My personal safety and the safety of my children come first.
I am willing to give as much time as needed to fix the USCF. I have no problem shifting my schedule to do that. It is ridiculous for some people to keep on making innuendos.

As to Paul Truong, I have known him for more than 20 years. I met people in his previous business. I was invited to meet them because they are potential sponsors and supporters for chess. I can tell you personally that they RAVED about him and wish that he would come back.

He has no secret about his past employment history. But I applaud his decision not to give it out to any John Doe out there just because they demand for it. It is absurd and unprofessional, especially when a current board member illegally published his confidential information as falsified various information. But this board member has done it many times in the past including to GM Benjamin just a few days ago. But nothing happened and nothing will happen because politicians need a front man willing to do the dirty works.

I was there in Oak Brook when he proposed to Bill Goichberg and Bill Hall to require every candidate and board member to submit a verifiable resume. He was told no.

By the way, when he was interviewed by various media sources about his experience, he had no problem providing everything to them. In fact, he just submitted his resume to a very prestigious group a few days ago for a major chess proposal. Paul is one of the most qualified people in this election. I have no doubt in this and he is by far the most knowledgeable and most successful person in chess marketing, PR and promotion right now in the US.

To suggest anything else is nonsense but I expect this kind of tactic from chess politicians. If you do not answer something, they accuse you of hiding something. If you answer, they will continue to attack the next point. I was on the USCF forum. I tried. I was very accommodating. Instead of a thank you, I got hit with personal and legal threats.

Put on your seat belts. I expect them to go lower and lower in the next 6-7 weeks.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar
www.PolgarChess.com

Joe Erjavec said...

Susan,

Thank you for all your hard work, and I am sorry you have to suffer those attacks from those who have no interest in improving chess.

I will be voting for you, Paul, Randy, and Mikhail next month.

My 2 cents said...

You and your team have my votes. We need changes as a federation. I appreciate everything Mr. Goichberg and Schultz have done but it is time for new leaders.

Just my 2 cents

MN Bishop said...

I'm totally disgusted with some of the people on the USCF forums. It's a sewer now. You made the right decision to get out and I would urge others to do the same. All some of them want to do is trash people since they have nothing good to say about the other candidates. I've seen this for 21 years and I have enough.

JW said...

I see you are making fun of Paul and Susan.


These are two people who have done much to raise chess above a hobby
level. Their impact with the school system and scholastic chess, and having such a high profile of main-stream media coverage and articles
published;has been perhaps the most successful coverage of chess in the media, since the Fischer era.


And all of the Fischer stuff was not positive.


I have found both parties credibility way above average.


Is this the same Jerry Hanken who supports the Treasurer of the Chess Journalists of America to keep secret from other CJA Board members, all financial records?


As well as to only keep a secret record of CJA Board motions passed, with no record made available to its members?


And it appears that you have been caught is a number of published lies by you in your own CJA magazine published online. Would you like to have the particular pages & paragraphs cited?


Hanken, you also have done a good amount for chess. If you would only learn to not handle your chess responsibilities like a dictator.


Regards, J.W.

Anonymous said...

Honest Jerry Hanken has managed to voluntarily change the subject from Benjamin's plaint about the US Championship, and the leaking of his letter - to the marital status of those who comment on it.

Honest Jerry is so far from achieving any objective standards of honesty himself, he showed up here to represent MonRoi, and reluctantly admitted he was a paid consultant for them - casually ignoring questions to him, and rubbishing the questioners.

Honest Jerry permits no such challenges in his own shop, where ethical complaints are not heard!

I would guess that Honest Jerry is not any more concerned over the poor USCF, as he is over the poor US Championship, and is really a-feared that 'if that slate is elected', pity poor Honest Jerry!

Anonymous said...

Time for wholesale changes. Time for Susan, Mikhail, Randy and Paul!

Oklahoma Diary said...

I'll only vote for 2 of the people you recommend: Mikhail and Paul. I'll also vote for you and Jim Berry.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with everything Susan has just said. The uscf forums are a hot bed of attack. Incredible and terrible. Some people have no ability to be nice.

I am with you all the way Susan. The rotten apples in the bushel have spread their rot long enough.

By the way nice to see a uscf member of 31 years. I have been a member about 37 years. I really like chess also. Susan is the most wonderful person to come along in the entire time. We simply must get the entire team of 4 members elected to have the votes to make the difference.

Susan can not do it alone.

If anyone goes to uscf forums they are trying upside down and sideways to get Paul to debate them so they can attack Paul again and again over imaginary ideas they make up new every day.

You are right Susan. Things are going to get worse and worse as the election approaches. The Forces of the Dark Side are going to fight to the bitter end.

But if all the Susan Polgar fans unite to vote for all 4 team members there will dawn a new era in chess in America. I have waited since 1970 to see this new era in chess. I know Susan is the one to accomplish this task.

I will be here for the victory party that shall celebrate from sea to shining sea. All the chess players of America are going to be the winners if Susan and her full team is elected. We win when Susan wins. So get out and vote for our future.

Anonymous said...

It's a big joke that Hal Bogner, Brian Lafferty and their group are demanding transparency. But every time they bring up some charges, it's always the same tune:

- 2 anonymous persons told me
- Someone told me but doesn't want to be mentioned

I've done business with Mr. Bogner before and I've my lesson. Never again! He has no problem publishing private and confidential information. He's lost my friendship and support forever.

I know nothing about Mr. Lafferty but his behavior is similar to Mr. Bogner.

Transparency for everyone but them! Right! They would probably want to sell me the GG bridge next.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Susan! Good luck! I'm looking forward to voting for you and your team!

Anonymous said...

Oklahoma Diary,

Thank you for the 3 votes for the team. Every vote counts. I will vote all 4 of my votes for the team. I do not live in Oklahoma and do not know Jim. If Jim is elected, I hope he will work together with Susan to help clean up the USCF.

I am personally not taking any chances with any of my votes. I strongly support the entire Polgar team. I will vote for all 4 Polgar team members.

The time for change has arrived. We must succeed now to turn the uscf into a positive force for chess for all members.

Anonymous said...

I actually like Jim Berry too. I'll vote for Susan, Mikhail and Paul. My last vote will go to either Jim or Randy. Both are in finance and both are good for chess.

CalTech said...

Berry and Bauer are actually good choices. They both have financial experience. Both are good for chess. I would lean to Berry more just because he's rich :-) My other votes are definitely for Truong, Korenman and Polgar. I expect Bauer to win without my vote anyway.

Anonymous said...

Here is my question. I am going to vote for Susan, Paul, Mikhail and Randy. I sincerely hope that they are all elected. But even if they are elected, the Brian Lafferty/Hal Bogner/Sam Sloan cadre is not going away. How will you (Susan) deal with the mudslingers after you are elected?

Anonymous said...

By making sure that the AUG is strictly enforced :-) The current EB now is sitting back and allowing them to do it so Schultz can get reelected. Don't you see the trick?

Anonymous said...

It fills my heart with joy to read all the comments that agree with me. For all too long the uscf has wallowed in the corruption. Finally someone has come along to challenge the corruption.

You have all 4 of my votes Susan.

My big worry is that they will not send out the ballots. Last election the vast majority of the members never received a ballot. I believe that was a dirty trick to get Sam Sloan elected.

And do not even mention Brian Lafferty. What a joke. He gets out the wrong side of the bed every morning.

Jerry Hanken. Have to remember that name. I think he gets paid to write articles for chess life. I think he does so called interviews. Probably worried he will lose the easy money.

Anonymous said...

BE CAREFUL

>>>Anonymous said...
I actually like Jim Berry too. I'll vote for Susan, Mikhail and Paul. My last vote will go to either Jim or Randy. Both are in finance <<<

NOT really. Jim spent his entire life as a Stockbroker. Since he was a stockbroker he met so many people with lots of money. The bank hired him as a BOD to help the bank get loans from these people with money. But Jim does not really know banking. He does understand how to dump stock onto the public that his brokerage firm wants to unload.

In the April chess life he claims to be a retired stockbroker. In the May issue he waxes and wanes all about what a wonderful banker he is. Watch out he changes disguises every month.

I have little or no respect for stockbrokers. They will tell you anything to get their commission. Now he is telling the members anything to get elected.

I will vote for all 4 members of Susan's team. I do not want any mistakes made. This election is too critical to play games with my vote. I have waited too long to see change. The time is NOW.

concerned said...

I am concerned about the ballots but I'm also concerned about counting the ballots. Who counts the ballots? Is it an outside, neutral party or parties.

Anonymous said...

My original idea was to vote for Susan, Paul, Lux and Jone. Lux lost me after falsely accusing Susan of doing something wrong when he got information from his politician buddies. He apologized but too late. Now they're setting him up again.

Jones lost me because of Hal Bogner. Anyone who associates himself with Bogner won't get my vote. I now lean toward Berry and Bauer.

Still undecided said...

I agree with the last poster. The more Bogner opens his mouth, the less I want to see Jones on the EB. Jones would have gotten my vote too. I haven't decided about Lux yet. I like the fact that he apologized to Susan for making bonehead accusations. That scored points for me. Paul and Susan have my 2 votes for sure right now.

out with the old said...

Agree about Jones. I was leaning toward voting for him as I liked the idea of having a lawyer on the board and he seemed neutral. But in the past few weeks, it has become clear that he is allied in some way with Hal Bogner and I have not been impressed with how Bogner has comported himself on the USCF issues forum. I'm also concerned that Jones will be Bogner's puppet on the board. So Bogner's conduct just lost a vote for Jones. I'm definitely not voting for Sloan or Schultz. Out with the old. Leaning toward Polgar, Truong and Bauer but not sure about the last one.

Anonymous said...

The more Bogner speaks, the less votes Jones will have. I crossed Jones off my list just from watching Bogner in the USCF forum. What a .... boner!

Anonymous said...

Didn't Don Schultz say that he wouldn't run again? How can we trust him if he can't keep his words?

JLM said...

I agree with Susan's asessment and her idea for an improved USCF. It's the best thing I've heard in a long time. Thank you for doing so much for chess.

Anonymous said...

Berry is NOT a good choice.

He and his brother lost an election in Oklahoma and were sore losers. They split the Oklahoma chess community into 2 parts. By the way the other part then fight agaist with no mercy is working hard to support scholastic chess. So Jim Berry is no fan of scholastic chess.

I believe that Jim Berry is running for EB so the 2 Berry brothers can bring the OKlahoma conflict to the National level and attempt to crush the other side. The other side is the official representative of USCF in Oklahoma.

I do not see how anyone can view Berry as good for chess in Oklahoma. You can read all about how the Berrys use their money to get what they want with chess in OKlahoma.

Both brothers constantly refuse to compromise with the official OKlahoma USCF representatives. They want to crush them and replace them. This is not good for chess.

Wake up fokes. Do not sell your vote to someone with money who is using his money to fight for what he wants even if he is wrong.

Berry will only bring more fighting to the national level of USCF.

Anonymous said...

This election is not about getting Susan elected. This election is about getting her elected with the votes to make the change. I see little sense in electing Susan all by herself. She will be eatten alive by the sharkes.

If you want change then vote for the entire team.

If the entire team is not elected then the dirty politics will simply continue. With the team elected then something can be accomplished in a unifying manner.

Do not fall into the hands of the dirty tricksters and allow any of the opposition to win a seat. We must get all 4 candidates elected so Susan can be effective in making change.

This is the first opportunity to make change in some 40 years. Waiting another 40 years for a new attempt is just rediculous. We must make the change NOW. Vote for all 4 members of the team.

Miami Sharks said...

I see a lot of waste within the USCF right now. I see this board and previous boards making plenty of mistakes. I see a lot of political fighting causing sponsors to walk away. I see the need for a professional board. I support Polgar, Korenman, Truong and Berry. My 5th choice is Bauer.

Ninja Fan said...

Just back from Seattle. I'll catch up tomorrow. I'm not sure my stomach is up for reading a thread with multiple mentions of Spam Sloan's name. He's a leading example of why I and so many other sane people abandoned the Usenet chess forums, which were subjected to dozens of his off-topic demonstrations of lunacy on a daily basis and probably still are. Amusing to hear that he's poisoning the USCF forums with his bile. Surely they deserve it for allowing such a creature to remain on their board. I'm quite sure anything he says about me I would consider a compliment coming from something like him. The difference is that the many cases against his sanity, probity, veracity, and morality are all best proven by his own words (and deeds) and not those of others. Case in point.

I'm glad there are at least a few people who can make four from two and two. Erik Anderson wasn't going to get into a 100-meter sewer swim with someone like Sloan, whose entire mission in public forums has always been to drag others and the debate in general down to his level. Of course few others can go that low, or want to, at which point he declares himself the winner, the sewer's King Turd. He doesn't realize most don't want that crown. Regardless, it was quite clear that Erik didn't feel it was safe to expose his board and the mission of the AF4C to an organization with someone on its board who would accuse the AF4C of distributing pornography. (As has been well known for a long time, the old domain name of the AF4C's prior incarnation, the Seattle Chess Foundation, was hijacked by a porn site. This is hardly unusual for one, obviously not their fault beyond domain renewal negligence, and mostly harmless because they'd already stopped using the domain. At the time Sloan posted his slander it had been around five years since they'd used it from what I can tell. It is still registered by porn and link-pushing squatters. The USCF couldn't come up with anything better than censuring Sloan on the wrist for accusing the AF4C of distributing pornography, even while he defended (and still defends) his actions.)

Not to be cliche, but Erik is a serious person and he has substantial responsibilities he takes seriously. He wants to stay positive and focus on the good things the AF4C is doing, such as doubling the size of their scholastic enrollment for next fall. The AF4C remains committed to promoting professional chess and even the US Championship. But as long as the USCF is the gatekeeper and as long as they have such, well, let's call it poor quality control, on its board, it's very unlikely to happen. Maybe next year if things change. If this seems petty, ask yourself how long you would want your non-profit, kid-friendly, organization to be associated with a group that produced such episodes. Just stop and imagine "US Chess Federation official accuses Seattle-based chess education charity of distributing pornography" in the Seattle papers. With your name mentioned throughout and your board members interviewed about it. The ones who donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote chess in schools across the country. And what could be next? As for my sources, maybe it helped that 1) I've worked with the AF4C off and on for years and 2) I'm not a psychopath. Just a guess though.

Sloan is what he is. You could sooner blame a slug for its slime. But his arrival to the board and subsequent lack of ways-changing should have been a loud warning that the system was fatally flawed. Live and, we would hope, learn. His continued presence on the board is an entirely separate crime for which he is entirely blameless.

Posted by Mig Greengard on ChessNinja

Ninja Fan said...

I was only adding some context to the situation by explaining why what Sloan did was not trivial, nor simply malicious and stupid. "Kid-friendly" just meant an organization working with children and any other scholastic chess group certainly would qualify. I'm sure they would all react just as happily to being accused by someone on the USCF board of distributing porn. I'm equally sure they eventually will be if Sloan sticks around.

"What have they done for us lately?" is always valid, but so is "why aren't they doing what they did anymore?" The USCF allowed the AF4C's organization of the Championship to expire. Their proposed new format was definitely controversial. The AF4C announced they were going to provide a chunk of money toward the 07 championship anyway as a sort of parting gift of good faith. They were soon met by Sloan's latest outburst, which left Anderson feeling like they'd be rewarding bad and dangerous behavior if they followed through with the gift. They would also be publicly and formally associating themselves with an organization and event directly tied to the person making these accusations, which was deemed unacceptable.


Posted by Mig Greengard on ChessNinja

Ninja Fan said...

First off, the amount the AF4C later said they would donate to this championship was $25,000, so let's get that settled before it's 100K and lollipops for everyone.

Next, the AF4C didn't withdraw from anything. Their right to organize the US championship, a right bestowed by the USCF, was up for renewal at the end of 2006 and the USCF declined to renew it. That formally severed the AF4C's relationship with the event. The abovementioned 25K was then mentioned by the AF4C as what I described at the time, sarcastically, as a parting gift. This was put on tenuous ground when the USCF quickly announced that much of that money would go to the USCF directly and not to the event or the prize fund. This infuriated many players as well as the AF4C, where they were always only concerned about the players. The donation/association was discontinued entirely when a member of the USCF board publicly accused the AF4C of distributing pornography on their website. Try that with a corporate sponsor and find yourself in court fighting to keep your last gulp of Tennessee whiskey.

Yes, the players are the ones who suffer most, as usual. But other people have interests, too.

Posted by Mig Greengard on ChessNinja

NM Coyote said...

I also agree with a number of posters here. I decided against Jones and Lux because of Bogner. Sloan and Goodall are not in the same league. Schultz and Berry are good but Schultz has been around too long. He's no longer effective.

Therefore, my choices are: Berry, Polgar, Truong, Korenman and Bauer. I'm leaning toward the top 4.

New Mexico Coyote

no more legal threats said...

Go Mig! Finally someone who calls it as it is. But I am hoping that Sloan's USCF board tenure is about to be over. The bigger problem is Brian Lafferty who is using his own caricature of an obnoxious lawyer to hold the USCF issues forum hostage. He is barely even a chess player and a total Johnny come lately to the USCF, yet in the few months that he has been a member he has made numerous threats to file lawsuits, call in the authorities and otherwise badger and bully USCF board members and FOC members into doing his bidding.

Aspen said...

Schultz lost my vote when he sits there and allows Lafferty, Sloan and Bogner to do whatever they wish. That's not what I want to see in a board member. We need leaders, not politicians.

Sam Sloan IS the reason why we lost the AF4C. Only people like Lafferty, Bogner, Schultz and Hanken would defend someone like Sloan. There is no doubt about their pitiful motives. Unfortunately, Goichberg and Schultz are afraid to do anything.

What a complete bunch of imcompetent chess politicians!

Legal threat by Lafferty said...

To make the legal situation clear, I consider this instance of post-pulling to be political in nature. As such it is, prima facae, an improper attempt to influence the outcome of the current EB election; to put it in the vernacular, election fraud.

Unless the pulled posts are restored by 5pm on 5/14/2007, I will prepare and file a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General. If this political gamesmanship continues and candidate Truong and/or Polgar win, I will then seriously consider commencing an action in the Illinois courts asking that the election results be set aside and a trustee appointed by the court to supervise another election campaign to assure fairness to all candidates.

I hope that the FOC consults with Bill Hall and USCF counsel before we start down a very messy, time consuming and costly road.

Pull this post at your peril.

_________________
End the Censorship or Shut Down the Issues Forum

Posted by Brian Lafferty, ESQ in the USCF forums

Anonymous said...

And guess who is Attorney Lafferty endorsing? Attorney Stephen Jones. Is this what we want in the USCF? And Attornety Jones has said nothing while enjoying the work of Hal Bogner and Attorney Brian Lafferty.

If any actions amount to election tampering it's bowing to Mr. Lafferty's pressure and allowing him to continue to post (in spite of charges that he's been breaking the rules) because members of the EB happen to benefit from his posts.

Anonymous said...

Now I understand the incredibly disgusting state of the USCF.

USCF Life Member said...

As many have pointed out, Goichberg, Schultz and company are sitting there allowing Lafferty, Bogner and Sloan to do as they wish. Why? Because they know that Susan and her team would win by a landslide and they have no way to stop them except to use dirty politics.

I've seen this every few years for 30 years and I'm tired of it.

Anonymous said...

My concern is that the current board has no backbone and they will allow an online bully like Lafferty to strongarm them into doing whatever he wants or maybe one of the other posters is correct and the current board is happy to have Lafferty doing their dirty work as it helps them to maintain the status quo. By the way, I noticed that the Massachusetts Chess Association just endorsed Jones and Lux. It would be a bizarre endorsement if you didn't know about the triumverate of Lafferty (MA), Alarie (MA) and Bogner (CA).

chess mom said...

To focus on something positive, there is a really nice reference to GM Polgar in this month's issue of Chess Life in an interview with David MacEnulty (by Alexey Root). Root asks MacEnulty: "You've been named the 2007 Chess Educator of the Year. Previous award winners were Susan Polgar (2004), Sunil Weeramantry (2005), and Erik Anderson (2006). What does receiving this award mean to you?" David MacEnulty responds "Susan is a brilliant teacher and a World Champion. Sunil has more national titles to his credit than any ten coaches combined -- maybe twenty or thirty. Erik has made a major contribution to chess education with his America's Foundation for Chess. It's very humbling to be in that crowd."

Randy Fan said...

Brian Lafferty wrote:

To make the legal situation clear, I consider this instance of post-pulling to be political in nature. As such it is, prima facae, an improper attempt to influence the outcome of the current EB election; to put it in the vernacular, election fraud.

Unless the pulled posts are restored by 5pm on 5/14/2007, I will prepare and file a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General. If this political gamesmanship continues and candidate Truong and/or Polgar win, I will then seriously consider commencing an action in the Illinois courts asking that the election results be set aside and a trustee appointed by the court to supervise another election campaign to assure fairness to all candidates.

I hope that the FOC consults with Bill Hall and USCF counsel before we start down a very messy, time consuming and costly road.

Pull this post at your peril.

-------------------------------

LOL!

Geez, Brian, do you know anything about Illinois politics? Do you really think the State Attorney General will view moderator actions on a Forum generally populated by a couple hundred individuals in a not for profit organization to be worthy of significant staff time? This isn't exactly a front page news story.

I'm pretty good friends with a couple of State Attorney Generals and am aware of the issues that they care about. I think you're going to have to work a lot harder to make this into something that meets that test.
_________________
Randy Bauer

This is why we need Randy on board with Susan, Paul and Mikhail. They're not intimidated by a .... like Lafferty and Bogner. Well done Randy.

Bauer fan said...

I agree. Randy Bauer just got my vote. Backbone and humor. What a refreshing change.

Anonymous said...

This is why we don't need another lawyer on the board, especially one who was asked to run by Hal Bogner. Stay away from them. This is what they do. No thanks!

USCF mess said...

Brian Lafferty wrote:

The reality of AG's offices in most states is that they investigate such complaints, particularly when it involves a non- profit corporation with an annual budget approaching $3 million. As to the courts, they consider whatever case is brought before them. If Polgar, Truong and their supporters want to play slime politics, we'll be seeing a good deal of each other down the road in Illinois.
_________________
End the Censorship or Shut Down the Issues Forum

------------------------

I've yet to meet the Assistant AG (and I know many) who would view your concerns as compelling. This has ho-hum written all over it. I find it hard to believe that this would be a productive use of their or your time. Maybe I've misvalued your time.
_________________
Randy Bauer

Just to remind the USCF members, Attorney Lafferty is endorsing for Attorney Stephen Jones. There is no telling if Attorney Jones know about this but these posts were made in the USCF forums where Attorney Jones is a member and has posted a number of times.

And this is also to remind the USCF members that Mr. Hal Bogner who is doing a paid project for the USCF got Attorney Jones to run for the EB.

It is also interesting to note that Mr. Hal Bogner has repeatedly whined, complained and attacked other candidates including GM Polgar and Mr. Truong.

I'm not endorsing anyone yet but I just want to put out the facts so far.

Anonymous said...

tanstaafl wrote:

Keep posting, by all means, Mr. Lafferty. You're probably HELPING Susan. I think the readers can judge very well who's playing slime politics. Wouldn't it be more fun to play chess?

Let me make it clear Brian, since you seem to have ignored part (most) of my earlier point:

Most of the current EB members (the guys that appointed the FOC) are quite happy with attacks on Susan and her fellow candidates. YOU attack Susan and her fellow candidates. YOU have been charged with breaking the forum's rules, yet YOU are still allowed to post. I question whether this has anything to do with the fact that allowing you to continue to post (even though many think you've violated the AUG) supports their political agenda. That's the only potential election manipulation I see -- the possibility that you're only being allowed to post because the "insiders" can use you to manipulate the election. If any of them feel this way, I think they're wrong and that such a strategy will backfire. After all, it didn't work out so well for them when they allegedly tried to use Sam Sloan to attack their opponents.

More from the USCF forum

Javier said...

Ms. Polgar, I'm thoroughly disgusted with the USCF and its leaders. I pray that your team and you can win and fix all its problems. They ran this federation to the ground and they'll continue to do it as long as they're in power.

Good luck and God bless!
Javier

CA Delegate said...

I'm very disgusted with many posts by Mr. Bogner and Mr. Lafferty. It seems clear to me that they've some hidden agenda. This is the way how the uscf has operated for years and this is why changes are needed. I've ran into Mr. Bogner a number of times. My experience with him at the last national hs event that he was involved with was not pleasant. I would never think of doing business with someone like this. Just the thought of Mr. Bogner and Mr. Lafferty makes me stay away from voting for Mr. Jones. The uscf doesn't need more legal threats. This federations needs good leaders.

CA delegate

IL Chess Dad said...

This is my take. I'm a chess Dad. I care about scholastic chess. Only 3 people here have extensive experience dealing with the big issues of scholastic chess: Susan, Paul and Mikhail. They have my votes. My last vote would be to someone who can help with finance issues. That would be Randy or Jim. This is a toss up.

Anonymous said...

The idea of the USCF forums without directions which resulted in chaos and legal threats can be pinpointed to this board. It's irresponsible for these board members to allow it. Unless Mr. Schultz can show me that he's willing to put his foot down and end this madness immediately, he won't have my vote. The USCF doesn't need to waste thousands of dollars defending lawsuits because the board is incompetent or wants to play politics by allowing people to attack their political opponents.

Anonymous said...

How come the USCF lost money again? What will the current board do about Sam Sloan? The USCF has become a big joke with an individual like this on the board.

Anonymous said...

It's a sad state of the USCF. The lack of strong leadership is now causing serious legal problems. Just look at the forums and everyone can understand. How can the USCF function if the board continues to allow threat of lawsuits virtually every single day?

Hopeless said...

How can you unite a bunch of people who don't want to be united? They've been at each for 20-30 years. I don't see the use but thanks for trying.

Anonymous said...

"out with the old said...
Agree about Jones. I was leaning toward voting for him as I liked the idea of having a lawyer on the board and he seemed neutral. But in the past few weeks, it has become clear that he is allied in some way with Hal Bogner and I have not been impressed with how Bogner has comported himself on the USCF issues forum."

Couldn't agree with you more. Bogner is the sole reason why I won't vote for Jones, Schultz and Lux. I may change my mind if Jones, Lux or Schultz speak out about the actions of their endorsers Bogner and Lafferty.

Anonymous said...

Susan, in your post outlining the rules for comments on this blog, you stated that personal attacks would not be allowed. It seems from this thread that personal attacks are allowed provided they are against certain people. Obviously, you don't have a problem with personal attacks on Sam Sloan, Hal Bogner, Steve Jones, and Lafferty. And apparently, the Berrys of Oklahoma can also be attacked.

It also seems that making positive statements about some of the people on this list is also not allowed, although it isn't clear what part of your policy that violates.

I am not defending any of these people, but I perceive some inconsistency in how your moderation rules are being applied.

Please clarify your moderation rules.

chess dad said...

What I would like to see is less chess politics and more support for scholastic chess. The USCF is doing very little to help our talented kids.

Anonymous said...

The current board can't do anything about Sam Sloan other than censure him, which they do regularly.

He was elected to his position by the members of USCF, and if they tried to expel him from the USCF, they would find themselves in a lawsuit, most probably. Sloan is quite litigious. He has sued the USCF in the past.

Goichberg already asked the USCF lawyer for an opinion on how to get rid of Sloan, and the lawyer's advice, apparently, was that they couldn't.

The only way for people who are adverse to Sloan to remove him is to convince the USCF voters to vote in somebody else.

Anonymous said...

It isn't true that the USCF does little for scholastic chess. The USCF sponsors almost all national-level scholastic tournaments. By the way, this includes the Polgar Invitational, for which the USCF pays.

There is a lot of politics, to be sure, but that is true of almost any democratic membership organization.

Mateo said...

"Anonymous said...
The current board can't do anything about Sam Sloan other than censure him, which they do regularly."

I disagree. They can make sure the AUG is strictly enforced. This is the same board who voted to suspend his suspension. That's poor judgement and lack of leadership.

chess dad said...

The USCF does not pay for the Polgar Invitational. Susan and her foundation do. Holding events = money for the USCF. What does it have to do with helping the more talented kids that I just mentioned?

Mr. Z said...

The USCF provides opportunities for kids to play. It's a business for the USCF. But they don't have special programs to help top kids. Other groups or foundation do much more than the USCF in this area.

I'm not so worried about this area. I just don't want to see the USCF lose money again and again.

Anonymous said...

I think you will find that the Polgar Invitational is a USCF event. In the USCF database, the "affiliate" reporting the tournament results is the USCF itself.

The prizes (which are scholarships) are paid by the Susan Polgar Foundation, or at least some of them, but I believe other aspects are paid by the USCF.

Indeed, there was some controversy at the USCF level in 2004 when the first iteration of the tournament was held -- about whether the USCF should be sponsoring a "Susan Polgar" event. There was some precedent for this, though, since the USCF already sponsored the "Denker" High School event. Susan referred to this controversy in a quite recent post.

If the USCF weren't sponsoring the event, there could hardly have been a controversy about it.

But perhaps Susan can clarify what the situation is with this event.

Anonymous said...

The USCF spends about $700K per year sponsoring tournaments, not including the salaries of USCF staffers who might get involved. It makes about $500K from entry fees and concessions. So overall the tournaments are not profitable.

Most of the USCF events are scholastic tournaments, and it is rumoured that the scholastic events are profitable. Since the USCF does not report tournament expenses and revenues separately for adult versus scholastic tournaments, this is sort of guessing.

Of course, this doesn't stop some "scholastic people" from complaining that they are subsidizing adult tournaments. Nobody really knows if this is so, other than the USCF accountants.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the heart of the problems? The USCF doesn't know if it is making or losing money? More excuses! More incompetence! What else is new? Time for change!

Anonymous said...

As the parent of a scholastic player, I think the USCF does a fine job running the national scholastic tournaments. That's due to very competent staff members. But beyond that, as the parent of one of my son's friends (a 2nd grader with a USCF rating of 1400) said : what has the USCF done for my kid? Not much. There should be USCF training programs for kids on the top 100 list of their age group. I joined the USCF this year although I don't play chess because I was apalled by the results of the last election and by the USCF board's apparent inability to control loose cannons like Sam Sloan (see the recent post on Mig Greengard's blog if you want to know more about the damage caused by Sloan's election). Now they are allowing the USCF issues forum to be hijacked by a loudmouth with a law degree. I think the USCF executive board needs an infusion of fresh blood and fresh perspectives. I may not agree 100% with everything Susan, Paul, Mikhail or Randy have done in their lives but as a group, I think they are far, far better than any of the alternatives. Susan Polgar, in particular, is uniquely qualified to help lead the USCF on these issues. A former scholastic player herself, first woman GM, organizer and promoter of scholastic tournaments, well-respected and successful chess teacher, chess mom, chess sister, tireless promoter of chess to the general public.

Anonymous said...

There is no reason to suppose that they don't know which tournaments are profitable, and which not. They just don't report that detail to the public or the general membership; so the public does not know which specific tournaments make money for the USCF and which tournaments are being subsidized by other USCF revenue, such as membership fees. Overall, tournaments are subsidized.

Nobody thinks that USCF tournaments should all be profitable. The USCF is a non-profit organization; it isn't expected to be operating at a huge surplus, and there would be something wrong if it were.

I would like to see the USCF building up some reserves and then run more or less at a break-even. A huge surplus in any one year is almost as bad as a huge deficit.

It is impossible to run a $3 million organization so that it comes out dead even every year. The ideal is a small surplus every year, with the occasional small deficit, with (obviously) the surpluses overall exceeding the deficits.

In the last three years, the USCF had a surplus of over $500K. The most recent full year (2006) was about a 4% deficit. In a February review of 2007 finances, a surplus for 2007 was predicted, as memberships are looking very solid this year probably as a result of the dues sale.

There was a period, ending in 2003, when the USCF was experiencing quite large deficits every year, and things looked very dire.

Selling the New Windsor building, moving to Crossville, outsourcing the book and equipment business, and the dues reduction ("dues sale") all seem to have helped the finances.

The biggest financial problem the USCF has right now is that it has very low cash reserves. But the picture that some people paint of the USCF still in being in dire financial straits is not really true at all.

Goichberg and the others actually deserve quite a lot of credit for the financial performance over the last four years.

Middle said...

I agree that Goichberg and company deserve a lot of credits but they also deserve a lot of blame. Can't have it one way.

Anonymous said...

This is a great thread. Lots of Truths are coming out. Everyone is beginning to see the corruption.

Make no mistake. Vote for all 4 team members. Other candidates might at first appear to be acceptable but if you take the time to look deeper you will see their problems come out.

Berry is not a banker for example. He is a retired stockbroker. Stockbrokers are people who learn to tell you what you want to hear so they can profit. Berry has no formal training as a banker. He knows the money people locally. The bank wants those money people as customers. Berry can provide that. It is all about money. Stockbrokers are High Risk Gamblers. USCF does not need a high risk gambler. Randy Bauer is super qualified to watch the money flow.

Lawyers are below Used Car Salesmen. We do not want any lawyers of the kind running here. Lawyers are trained to get people to argue and fight each other in the courts. Most lawyers do not help people to get along in harmony. Watch out for lawyers or you will have them force take your money away from you. Remember Lawyers are the only profession that wins when the client loses. The client then needs the lawyer to make the appeal. more money down the drain. First the lawyer talked you into the law suit telling you that you had an easy win. Now you are losing your home and need him to continue the fight via an appeal to save your home. Mean time he has charged you upwards of $100,000 for the litigation. All of which you had to pay him up front. When you run out of money they dump you as a client. I say no lawyers of the type running in this election. I have known lawyers who soft soaped their clients and purposely lost their case because they did not believe their client. Lawyers do everything for the dollar for their pocket and care nothing about anyone else. And all their ever do is cry they dont make enough money.

And you are correct. I have a very low opinion of lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Is it me or the USCF forums is down? Perhaps the shut it down due to legal threats? Help please?

Anonymous said...

I agree that Goichberg and company deserve a lot of credits but they also deserve a lot of blame. Can't have it one way.

But why not? Is it necessary to blame people for things when they don't deserve it?

What do they deserve blame for, specifically? I ask this in all seriousness because it seems to be the conventional wisdom among commenters on this blog that Goichberg and the others are just an unmitigated disaster. I think the opposite is true.

But what are the specifics?

Most of the criticisms seem to boil down to two things.

First, Sam Sloan was elected to the Executive Board last summer and his personal life raises a lot of eyebrows, to say the least. Somebody could have found out these details before the election, since Sam is extremely open about his personal life. But most people who voted for Sloan probably didn't delve into his background much, and didn't become aware of all this until after he was elected.

Moreover, his attempts since being elected to spotlight what he regards as improprieties and incompetence in the USCF have been very disruptive, even though this is exactly what he said he was going to do.

People seem to want to blame all the other EB members for the fact that Sloan got himself elected. Goichberg strongly opposed Sloan's election, as did many of the ohters. But some of the other board members didn't oppose Sloan, or they didn't oppose Sloan strongly enough. In fact, some have been accused of supporting him in order to disrupt the work of their political opponents. But now everybody on the board is being tarred with the brush of supporting Sloan.

While there is a tendency on this blog and in some quarters to exaggerate how disruptive Sloan is, he has undoubtedly been disruptive and if there is any merit to his accusations of financial and procedural impropriety, he hasn't gotten anywhere with those charges. Also, amongst Sloans targets are Susan Polgar and Paul Truong, and of course those charges haven't made him too popular around here, along with everything else.

But many people around here seem to hold it against the rest of the board that they have not ejected Sloan, not realizing that the USCF is a democratic organization, that Sloan was elected, that courts and lawyers might not regard his conduct as so obviously outrageous as his opponents seem to think, and that there is a limit on what the other elected members of the board can do to control him.

Second, there is a lot of negative reaction to posts on the USCF Issues Forum. Again, this is partly a consequence of the the USCF being a democratic organization. Everybody who participates in that forum is a paid-up member of the USCF. It turns out that the ratio of social misfits and, worse, sociopaths is high amongst chessplayers, and therefore the forum is not very decorous.

What is the USCF Executive Board supposed to do about that? Require a note from a psychologist that you are well-adjusted before allowing you to join the USCF? (That might be more difficult for some players than getting their GM norms.)

By the way, the board has reacted to this problem by imposing fairly stringent moderation on the Issues forum. I have a lot of misgivings about that. It's a democratic membership organization, and if there are a significant number of sociopaths in the organization, its forums, online or otherwise, are not going to be very decorous. People who don't like this should pick a different activity with nicer people, like quilting or shuffleboard. (Or though I hear that shuffleboard politics is pretty dirty.)

Anonymous said...

The whole USCF website seems to be down. I wonder what is going on.

Judgement Day said...

Mike Goodall signed the nomination petition for Sam Sloan to run. He lost my vote. He's the same as Sloan.

Sam Sloan is a no no.

Schultz said he wouldn't run again so he lied. We don't need people who can't keep their words.

So that leaves us with 7 candidates.

Jones: Good guy but poor judgement by associating himself with Lafferty, Goichberg and Bogner. Being a lawyer is a minus in my book.

Polgar: Good all around but perhaps too busy.

Lux: Good guy but part of the Goichberg regime. A vote for him is a vote for Goichberg and keeping things the same

Truong: Good guy but he's too independent. He needs to soften up on his stance to clean house.

Korenman: Good guy but he's too close to the scholastic people.

Bauer: Good guy but he's associated himself with Marinello in the past.

Berry: Good guy but has serious Oklahoma history.

Life Member said...

Sam Sloan was elected because of the war between Goichberg and Dubeck.

Goichberg should not be the President of the USCF and CCA. It's a conflict of interest. Not understanding this is a big problem.

You can defend Goichberg all you want. We're not as stupid as you think.

Goichberg has been influencing the USCF for decades and he deserves credits and blame. I won't vote for anyone who associates with Goichberg.

I say it's time for new ideas and energy.

Anonymous said...

Good! They should shut it down before the USCF will be sued by Lafferty and Bogner. I say enough threats by them. Shut it down!

Transparency said...

These are the people who nominated Sam Sloan for the election this year:

11115292 SLOAN, SAM
10489032 GOODALL, MIKE
12774231 SLOAN, GEORGE RANKOTH
10074258 TEASLEY, DOROTHY
12462863 PRINCE, HOWARD
12655385 LLOYD, STEADROY A
12407354 PRIVMAN, BORIS
10104874 SCHNITZLER, GABOR J
12924840 KAN, PENG FEI
13024036 NARANJA, RENATO C
12713319 FIGLER, ILYE
12693373 PRESSMAN, LEIF
12287160 POLYAKIN, VLADIMIR L
12834803 ESCHELBACH, KARL
12680785 CHERNICK, STEVEN
12435108 GARCIA, ROBERT C
12670285 HARDING, ANDRE E
10101301 CONTICELLO, NICK
12724150 TOWSEN, JOHN
12809190 RAMANUJAM, SRINIVASAN
11017134 PACIULLI, FRANK R
10078954 TANNENBAUM, JEFFREY ALAN
10105544 FITZKO, MITCHELL
13102976 JOSEPH, MITCH M
12197010 BROWN, LARRY A
10074819 RIGONO, GABRIEL
12768106 DIGREGORIO, ROBERT
12395472 PACCHIANA, DOUGLAS
12791591 HASAN, SHAHZAD
13411328 SHADIEV, MURODJON
13553190 NICOLAS, JEAN
11099599 ZUKOFF, LEON
13457195 SMITH, KASHIFE

Anonymous said...

Seriously, does anyone know what is going on with the USCF website? A few parents on my son's team need to switch sections for the Elementary Nationals and they can't get onto the website.

Anonymous said...

If you voted for Schulz because he made a promise not to run again, I can see why that might disqualify him in your eyes now.

But I doubt that promise played much of a part in his original election, and I reckon he is entitled to change his mind. A lot of people running for office make those kind of promises before they are first elected, then they find the office fulfilling and interesting, and want to keep running. Its human, and I don't hold it against someone when he changes his mind on something like that.

Don Schulz seems like a good guy, as do most of the other candidates. He was a successful IBM exec who retired early and has given his retirement years to chess in the U.S., rather selflessly. He has done a lot of great things for chess, has a lot of experience, and I think he has a lot still to contribute.

Anonymous said...

Fair comment about Schultz. He can also contribute outside of the board. We need fresh ideas and fresh blood in the board now. I haven't made up my mind yet but I narrowed it down to 6 candidates.

Anonymous said...

I am openminded about Schultz but how long has he been on the USCF board? I think he has done more for chess than say, Stephen Jones and seems to have more interesting ideas than, say Joe Lux. Are there term limits?

Anonymous said...

There aren't any term limits. All I'm saying here regarding the self-imposed limit is that if people think Don Schulz is one of the best four candidates, his change of heart concerning the self-imposed term limit shouldn't be an impediment to voting for him. Changing your mind on something like this isn't "lying" and, in my view, doesn't reflect on your integrity.

Anonymous said...

I wanna thank chessdone for all the years of service. Unfortunately, I can't vote for him this time. I want to see the USCF heading to a different direction.

Anonymous said...

I dislike the USCF website. I think it looks horrible. Can we do something about this?

Anonymous said...

I don't see an inherent conflict of interest between being President of CCA and President of USCF, as Goichberg is.

If an issue comes before the board where there is the appearance of a conflict of interest, one of the board members should point that out, this should be noted in the minutes, and the person concerned should recuse himself. Perhaps there should be a mechanism for the other members to compel a recusal, in case someone doesn't recuse himself voluntarily when he ought.

To my knowledge, there has been no occasion for Goichberg to recuse himself during his tenure as USCF President. The potential for a conflict due to his being in charge of CCA is only that: potential. And, as I stated, this is true of all the EB members. It will be true, on some issues, of Susan Polgar and Paul Truong if they are elected.

Obviously, all the people elected to the USCF board are people who are heavily involved in chess in various ways. Why else would they run? If for some bizarre reason, a person ran who had no previous involvement in organized chess, would he even be regarded as qualified and be elected? I doubt it.

Since the USCF makes decisions that reach into almost every corner of organized chess in the US, anybody elected to the Executive Board has the potential to be involved in conflicts of interest.

The important thing is not that all conflicts of interest be eliminated, but rather that there be transparency and a good procedure for dealing with them when they arise.

DrCheckmate said...

I disagree. Bill made a lot of decisions than can influence both the USCF and CCA. The $75 fees, the US Championship, the qualifiers, etc.

I'm not saying if he did or didn't do anything wrong. The point is he refused to understand that there's a conflict of interest is a bad sign.

Bill has been warned about the forums. He shows that he lacks the leadership skills to handle it. Are you telling me that it's OK for the board to sit around while threats are being made to opposing candidates, members of the forums and the USCF itself?

Don and Sam have to go. I want to see new people. Lux, Jones and Berry lost my votes because Goichberg recommends them. Now I have to choose 4 from the 5 remaining candidates: Goodall, Polgar, Bauer, Truong and Korenman.

Anonymous said...

I like Polgar, Berry, Truong and Korenman. Bauer can earn my vote if he can show backbones toward Lafferty and Bogner.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick and tired of the same old politics. Susan and her team show strength and they're the favorite to win this election. So instead of helping her and her team succeed in helping the USCF, their opponents decide to trash them and want to derail the election with lawsuit threats. How uttertly digusting!

Anonymous said...

It's bad news for many if Susan, Randy, Mikhail, Paul and Jim win this election. That spells the end of decades of corruption and destruction. Good luck guys! You're taking on a group of people who want to rule the USCF forever.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the USCF Issues Forum, I think that the USCF should either not have a forum at all, or else they should have a very loosely moderated uncensored forum, where people can say whatever they want.

Internet forums, generally, are not very conducive to polite behaviour. Everybody knows this. Moreover, civility hasn't been making progress in America during the last few decades. On top of that, I think any group of chessplayers will on the average be a lot more obnoxious than a random selection of people.

All this adds up to an Internet forum for American chess players being a likely disaster, if your aim is reasoned, calm, civil discourse. If civility is the paramount aim, the USCF is better off without an issues forum at all. And even if an Issues forum could be a positive thing, at this point, the Issues forum as it has actually developed is such a poisonous force in the USCF that it might be better to eliminate it, at least for a while.

But if there is to be a USCF Issues Forum, the Executive Board should be prepared for what will happen, and exercise relatively light moderation. You can't force people to be polite if they aren't basically polite to begin with. There is no politeness test to join the USCF, which is just as well else the membership might be considerably reduced.

So, if there is going to have an issues forum at all, the USCF should basically let it be. Let people say what they want, even if it reveals them to be the obnoxious jerks which they are. The USCF should abandon the notion that they are somehow responsible for what people say in the forum. They are just offering a forum -- a venue -- for people to discuss issues. They can't be held responsible, and should not feel responsibility for, what people actually say. When people are offended and go running to the USCF to have "insults" etc deleted, the USCF should simply say, "Sorry, anybody can say what they want in this forum, including you, as long as it isn't illegal. If you have a problem with what someone has said about you, the forum is available to you to reply. We will remove illegal statements in the forum, but otherwise the forum is uncensored. That applies to your statements, and to those of everybody else."

So, apart from light moderation that removes racist and ethnic slurs, obvious defammatory statements, and outright off-topic batsh*t loonieness, the issues forum should be uncensored. Or else it shouldn't exist at all. (And I lean towards the latter.)

Anonymous said...

I'm fine with the USCF issues forum not existing as I think it's about 25% to 30% useful discussion and 70% to 75% a waste of time. Maybe better to keep a forum for specific topics like Tournament Direction, Organization, Scholastic issues, Correspondence chess. But if they do keep it, they need to moderate it for liability purposes. If you want an unmoderated forum, those newsgroups exist. Actually, there is a trend toward moderation and encouraging civility in online blogs and discussion groups. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/09/technology/09blog.html?ex=1178856000&en=f214c5fa6e67593b&ei=5070

USCF SC said...

Electing Susan is a waste of time unless she can have a team which can help her. That's her success in chess and with her foundation.

She would not be able to do anything if the majority of the board will continue to block her.

Just look at GM Alburt. He was on the board. He suggested that the USCF should start taking credit card payments. They voted him down 6-1. They basically voted everything against him.

He said he would never be involved again. They will do the same to Susan. They have done it to everybody for 20-30 years.

Don't waste your votes for the same old garbage. We need changes immediately.

Chess Patzer said...

Susan is the best hope for a complete positive change. We've had the same people for decades and we have a long history of waste and failure. I will vote for Susan and everyone she recommends. Just look at her daily accomplishments and compare to Jones, Lux, Schultz, Goodall or Sloan. You don't have to be a genius to see that they're not in the same league. I vote for Susan and her team!

Anonymous said...

One of the main problems with trying to enforce civility, in an internet forum especially, is that civility is very much in the eyes of the beholder.

One group of people get defined as "the trolls" and they have their comments regularly deleted and find themselves banned or suspended. Sometimes this is justified, but more often it is quite inconsistent. Many comments that are deleted from "trolls" would have been allowed to stand if they had come from the "non-trolls", especially if the comments had been turned around. Attacks on "the trolls" are OK (after all the targets are trolls); but attacks on the non-trolls are unacceptable behaviour qualifying one as a troll. And many non-troll comments are allowed to stand, which would have been deleted instantly if made by a "troll", especially if, again, they are turned around.

This inconsistency, which seems almost inevitable, generally leads to a lot of heated discussion about the moderation policies, and even more incivility. In these discussions the aggrieved people (the "trolls") often have a valid point.

One sees this all the time in the USCF Issues Forum. If the forum is going to exist, it is better to let most comments stand and allow readers to decide for themselves who are the trolls. Forum software often has mechanisms to let the contributors score each other for relevance and other factors, and for them to filter out posts from people with low scores.

One sees this inconsistency also, I'm afraid, on this blog. Susan says that she wants people to be polite and that she does not allow personal attacks. She has instituted moderation to filter out personal attacks. But one can see clearly from this very thread that personal attacks on some people are allowed.

I've been moderating Internet forums for four years, and I used to be quite interventionist. I've come around to the point of view that in most forums, it is better to let people say their piece and to let the readers decide what is obnoxious. These days, I pretty much only delete the obvious spam related to stock picks and body parts.

Anonymous said...

The USCF forums are a mess. Trolls are everywhere. It's damaging to the reputation of the USCF and I fault the current board members for not planning ahead. You don't do something then try to fix it later. This is a pattern of failure as we've seen in the past. We need real leaders not chess politicians who want power for their ego.

Vote for Berry, Korenman, Truong, Polgar and Bauer.

Anonymous said...

I don't fault the USCF Board for having an Issues forum. It is admirable that they are inviting input and feedback and are willing to host discussion about the issues of the organization.

It isn't surprising that such a forum would attract "trolls", since that happens on every Internet forum, even forums about knitting. They should expect it, and should resist pressure to eliminate it and channel the forum into some pre-conceived channel.

As with other forums, a few of the people who get classified as trolls will be attention-seeking people who post in bad faith, but more of the so-called trolls will simply be people who hold unpopular or minority points of view, or are will be people who are unable to express themselves politely in writing. , or who are easily provoked or enflamed. Hot-headed people have valuable things to say sometimes.

It is more or less impossible to suppress the real trolls without unfairly suppressing unpopular, controversial opinion, or views that are embarassing to someone.

If the USCF doesn't want "trolls", it should close the forum. Where I fault them is in yielding to the demands to have unpopular opinions suppressed.

You can do that, if like this blog, a forum is viewed as your personal domain. Everybody thinks that a host should be able to eject obnoxious people from his house, if he chooses. It will require a lot of work at moderation.

I don't think that should even be attempted in a forum run by a non-profit democratic organization that solicits memberships from the public.

Live with the so-called trolls. It goes with democracy and free speech.

Anonymous said...

I can't see the reason for this board to allow the legal threats to USCF members and supporters. This is completely ridiculous. Do people on this board even know what they're doing?

Business solutions said...

I no longer visit the uscf forums. It's becoming a big and embarrassment joke for the uscf and all of the board members. They've lost control of this federation long ago. An employee had to wait a few years to get her pension and after a long delay, they finally issued her a $24,000 check. Guess what? It bounced TWICE! But business as usual for the uscf and these board members. But they have no problem finding plans to attack and destroy their political opponents. It's so nasty and nothing will ever change unless people like polgar, bauer, truong or korenman are elected. The last we all need is more politicians. We need business professionals.

Anonymous said...

If I'm Susan, I wouldn't waste a second in the USCF forum. Very little will ever get accomplished in there. I would not go to ANY forum that Sam Sloan is in and I would never vote for anyone who Sam Sloan thinks is qualified. He likes Jones, Goodall, Lux and Schultz. Thank you Sam for your valuable opinion.

Anonymous said...

Can someone telle me about how the EB works and what is does?

Is Bill G. one of the EB?

How many members does it have?

When are members re-elected?

Is a simple majority required for passing issues?

bpl said...

There are 6 board members. The board has the power to create rules for the USCF forums. They did before. But they choose to sit back and allow people to make legal threats to members, sponsors, supporters and volunteers. You may wonder why. It's because otherwise the candidates that they endorsed have very little chances to win. Therefore, it's a must for them to attack the strongest candidates. This is the same tactic that has existed for years.

SusanPolgar said...

Please do not attack anyone. I don't want to see people sinking to this level. Please feel free to express your opinion but no personal attack.

Thank you!
Susan Polgar
www.PolgarChess.com

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the reforms that people are advocating on this blog would have the effect of making the USCF a less democratic and a less transparent organization.

Susan has advocated a "code of conduct" for USCF members. That seems to be aimed at people like Sam Sloan and intended to provide a basis for removing him and people like him from USCF office, or anybody else who embarasses chess, the USCF or its officers.

Sam is an embarassing person, and very few people will step forward to defend much of his behaviour. But he was elected to his position. Whether or not one views them as sufficiently informed, a plurality of USCF members at the time of the election thought he was the best person for the job. Since taking office he has asked a series of questions regarding the conduct of USCF officials and others. Those questions are embarassing to those people. Susan and Paul are included in this group.

So far, few or none of his allegations have gained any traction at all. Sam hasn't been able to get any other Executive Board members to support him in even one of his queries, and he has been censured several times by the rest of the Board for persisting in his claims. His allegations have only had the effect of being disruptive, at the least, and it is said that he has driven away important sponsors.

If there had been a "code of conduct", Sam would have been ejected from the Executive Board by now for asking too many damn questions and posting things embarassing to the USCF, its sponsors, etc, on web sites. Many people posting on this blog seem to think that this would have been great. The sooner the better.

But keep in mind that in an alternative universe in which Sam Sloan was a true-blue do-gooder and all of his claims were true, the same "code of conduct" would have been used to get rid of him.

Anti-democratic codes of conduct, designed to enforce "politeness", good conduct, "professionalism", etc, can be used to suppress dissent and challenges to authority and to keep everybody towing the line.

We shouldn't be in a big hurry to create codes of conduct that cut against people like Sam because the same codes can be used to cut down the kind of person that Sam imagines himself to be -- the crusaders the whistleblowers, the people shining light on misconduct, impropriety, and incompetence.

It isn't polite or seemly to do that, but it is necessary and honorable. (As long as you are right.)

Others on this blog are running against the USCF Issues Forum. They say it is unseemly, full of "trolls", and "embarassing". They blame the Executive Board for not suppressing that behaviour even more than they already do.

That too, is anti-democratic and authoritarian. The USCF is an open democratic organization. Giving a voice to "trolls", letting them say things that others find "embarassing", and so forth, goes with the democratic territory. Democracy isn't seemly, well-behaved, or professional.

I doubt Susan realizes how anti-democratic and authoritarian some of her proposals seem. Her background perhaps has not given her insight into how noisy, unseemly, and messy democracy can be. I believe, though, that she is a good person who means well. I can't believe that she wants to change the USCF from being a democratic organization. I hope she will reconsider some of her proposals.

Anonymous said...

Let's see. You want to allow board members to release confidential information at will if it's beneficial to them. You want to allow people to make legal threats to everyone because they're sanctioned for violating the AUG. You want the USCF to spend tons of money defending itself instead of promoting chess. You want the ED and staff to be bogged down with bureaucracy and paralyzed from performing due to fear of frivolous legal actions. Uh, no. That's not democracy. That's stupidity. That's bureaucracy. That's failure. That's why we're losing money so many times in the past 10 years.

SusanPolgar said...

Anon at 4:56 pm, please do not speak for what I stand when you do not know what my positions are.

Thanks!
Susan Polgar
www.PolgarChess.com

Anonymous said...

Susan, haven't you proposed a "Code of Conduct"? And haven't you called for tighter control of the Issues forum? If I've misinterpreted your positions, I'd be delighted if you would clarify your views.

SusanPolgar said...

I have dozens of issues to deal with if I am elected. The USCF has many serious problems. This is not the #1 issue. The financial health of the USCF would be the most critical matter. I do not want to see this federation lose a penny under my watch.

I expect all board members to conduct themselves in exemplary manners. Some have not. This will not happen if my team and I are elected.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar
www.PolgarChess.com

Anon at 4:56PM said...

But your team is only 4 people. Even if all four of you are elected, and you become USCF President, there will still be two other EB members who won't be on your "team". There will be more elections to the EB before the end of your term. Some of the members of your team may turn out to be more independent than you count on.

How will you enforce "exemplary" behaviour from anybody but yourself, and who defines "exemplary"?

Anonymous said...

Why waste time with a troll Susan? Ignore them.

Anonymous said...

What would you do on the financial side?

It looks like the USCF isn't in too bad financial shape at present. The situation certainly has improved a lot since the few years ending 2003.

If you ask me, it seems the main problem is that the USCF doesn't have much cash in reserve, so it lives pretty much hand-to-mouth. A bad year or two, and it is in bad shape again.

On the other hand, it is hard to see what to do about this. Some people say the staff should be cut dramatically.

I think that the magazine
should be eliminated and that the editorial content currently printed in the magazine should become a members-only section of the web site. However, many people think that is very risky.

What would you do on the financial side?

SusanPolgar said...

I would do a lot on the financial side. However, it would be unethical for me to discuss it now. I will present my plans at the proper time.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar
www.PolgarChess.com

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why it would be unethical to discuss your financial proposals right now.

Joe Erjavec said...

Adding moderation to an electronic forum is similar to leading a discussion and making sure everyone has a voice. Trolls have no interest in letting other voices be heard. Rather, they want to disrupt and monopolize the bandwidth with their incivility, which is shown by the large number of posts. Susan is definitely correct in adding this feature to the blog. I don't want to have to sort through reams of that garbage to get to the meaningful, productive conversation.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Life Member, but unable to vote because I live outside the U.S. Perhaps if you get elected you could look at this and eliminate 2nd class members.

eric moskow said...

It is important to remember what the priorites are, who the audience is and where the uscf wants to go. As a M.D., executive and chess master I have spent tens of millions of dollars building reputation, securing relationships built on integrity, grit and always trying to make good moves. On 3 occassions I have tried to give large sums of money to better us chess. my history of philanthropy, both mine and my family include, a recent 1 million dollar donage to temple kol tikvah in parkland florida.Donations to endow chair at Brown,Cornell, providing collge scholorships and endowments to hospital and psychiatric institutes. This has garner goodwill for the community and myself. In dealing with hundreds of executives I have never seen a board so ired in petty disputes, conflict of interest and need for control. The focus must change from web site slander to action. Susan Polgar and her team are professional, fiscally responsible, even handed and honest. How can you compare these fine people to the ones that have perpetuated petty wars for decades. The awful expierince that Mr andersen had, I have now had on 3 occassions, intel, and other corporate sponsors have endured is a shame. In Norway, I am an honored quest, the players Carlsen, Lie in particular treat me with respect, educate me and treat me as an equal. The organizer Hans Olav in Gausdal is caring and sincere. I return to blogs, boards, insults and deceit. Quess where my money will go. Susan cna bring us all in from the cold. Out wth the old in with the new. Go Susan.;