US Chess Discussion

Welcome! This blog has no connection with the USCF. It's a blog where I provide chess fans with general information about US Chess as well as the USCF. It's also a site where everyone can productively discuss or ask questions about various USCF issues! Your contributions and comments are welcome! PLEASE KEEP IT CIVIL & RESPECT OTHERS! Enjoy! All posts that do not meet this guideline will be deleted -- WIN WITH GRACE, LOSE WITH DIGNITY!(TM) --- 2006 Susan Polgar©

Friday, January 12, 2007

Contrasting differences in philosophy

You be the judge!

When I decided to run for the USCF Executive Board, I had to have a petition signed by at least 30 voting members of the USCF. My supporters were proud to nominate me and my team and they would also be proud to have their names publicly displayed.

On the other hand, a current board member has been fighting hard to hide the names of the people who signed his petition! Why? Because he may or may not get 30 people to agree to have their names publicly published.

This is one of the big problems with the USCF. We have ample destructive chess politicians hiding behind closed doors for years while releasing confidential information and dirt to destroy anyone who they perceive as their political opponents through their surrogates. They want to keep good people away from the USCF so they can keep retain their pseudo power and ego.

This is why I am so adamant about cleaning up the USCF and US Chess Politics! I feel that we have to remove the cancer before any recovery can take place.

What is your take? Do you agree with me?
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  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 10:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When you decided to run for the board, what?

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 10:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Okay, I see it now. I was asking about an earlier version of this post which you now corrected.

    I refer you to my comment under "One Bad Board Member. . ." and say no more about that.

    There is a more important issue here. That is that you will have only one vote on the Board. If your supporters scatter their votes among the rest of the acceptable (to you) candidates and your opponents concentrate their votes on their candidates, we could end up with an Executive Board that resembles Polgar in the lions den.

    I know you have a comprehensive plan, so I'm sure you've addressed this but I think we should emphasize the importance of not only getting you elected, but of getting you a working majority on the Board, too. And we should do this at every opportunity.

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 11:10:00 AM, Anonymous JH said…

    I agree with Mr. LeMoine. We need to elect Susan and her entire team. Otherwise, the same bunch of loonies will try to block any positive thing she tries to make for us. I will vote for Susan, Mr. Korenman, Mr. Truong and Mr. Bauer.

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 12:05:00 PM, Blogger irishspy said…

    I intend to vote for the entire ticket. As far as I'm concerned, there needs to be wholesale change at the top.

    And for Sam to try to conceal the names of those who sign his petition* is just lame.

    *(Saying that anyone who wants to know the names can drive to Crossville is not sufficient.)

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 12:36:00 PM, Blogger david said…

    Before the last election I and many friends were all opposed to Sam. We all did not vote for Sam.

    We talked about who to vote for and we all decided that anyone else was fine. But we did not bring our votes together onto one solution. Thus Sam got elected even though we all opposed him.

    We must. Absolutely MUST have 4 people to vote for as a group or run a huge danger that Sam will be sitting there laughing.

    There may be say 5 good people but we want 4 and only 4 to vote for. So Susan you need to decide on who the other 3 people will be that will work with you most smoothly as a unit to make changes.

    Most of us do not know these people. We rely on you to make the decision on which 4 will make the best slate to vote for.

    We are all voting for you Susan now please tell us the other 3 you will be able to work smoothy with.

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 12:48:00 PM, Anonymous JH said…

    Susan has said numerous times. The other 3 she asked to run with her are Mikhail Korenman, Paul Truong and Randy Bauer.

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 1:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    jh, no she has not been clear on that. In "Not a Slate" last month she said she would announce which candidates she would support after the nominations were closed. They were closed last Wednesday.

    She then named 4 other people who she would support for the 3 remaining positions.

    Now, I think that I understand the politics of the thing. She doesn't want to engender bad feelings among the candidates that don't make the final cut. Sometimes good people need to be cut. That's politics. And in politics as in chess, you sometimes need to be ruthless. You need to sac a piece to win the game.

    Somebody's got to go. We all hope that that somebody will understand. We should treat that somebody with special respect. But Susan is going to have to come out and clearly and unambiguously tell us who made the final cut. We've simply have got to concentrate our votes on 4 and only on 4 candidates. If not, 1, 2, or more candidates we want might loose.

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 2:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "On the other hand, a current board member has been fighting hard to hide the names of the people who signed his petition! Why? Because he may or may not get 30 people to agree to have their names publicly published."

    His actions (in purposely using a petition form that would hide from people the fact that their names might be released) are clearly unethical.

    As I've said in other places, I don't intend to let this be swept under a rug. I intend to publish the names of the signers of these nominating petitions.

    Personally, I think we should each vote for the 4 best candidates. I think we should ignore such concepts as "slates". If the 4 best candidates are elected and Susan proposes something of merit in an EB meeting, then it should have no trouble passing (even if one of the persons elected to the EB isn't part of her "slate").

    Of course, if you were to decide that the 4 best people ARE the 4 people Susan supports, that would be your right!

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 3:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Tanstaafl, you are the most frustrating poster on the scene today. When you are right, you are absolutely wonderful. You have spent hours and hours of your time fighting for good. We all ought to be grateful for you getting those names and making sure that the process is done correctly. That takes real effort on your part and that effort should be recognized. But when you’re wrong . . . .

    How are we going to win this election?
    The political management issue we face here is concentration of votes versus diffusion of votes.

    The biggest example of this principle in US history was the presidential election of 1912. The Republicans had 2 candidates on the ballot: the incumbent President William Howard Taft; and a former President Theodore Roosevelt. (Technically, TR ran 3rd. party.) The Democrats had just one candidate: New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson. The two wings of the Republican Party turned out way more votes than the Democrats (high 50%); the Democrats scored in the low 40%. But since the R’s divided their votes between the 2 candidates, the D candidate, Wilson won.

    This might very be the kind of result if we follow your philosophy of voting, T. Not R vs. D, that was just an example. But there are clearly the Old Guard and Reform candidates in this election.

    What if Susan proposes something at a Board Meeting and it is shot down because not only did her team fail to get elected, but the other candidates that would have been acceptable failed, too? That's the concern here.

    What you say is great in theory; it just is not practical.

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 4:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I post this message as an ordinary USCF member who is a bit confused by the somewhat abstract way in which Politics withing the orgnazation is being discussed. Frequent references are made to "lies", "certain Board Members, "certain actions" and such vague notions, that I'm not exactly sure what's going on.

    Here's what I do know:

    - For some reason, the somewhat morally dubious character Sam Sloan managed to get himself elected to the board. Once there, he behaved badly- refusing, for instance, to take down a website he had maintained that is filled with things that an organization with many child members would not find appropriate.

    ... beyond this, I'm not clear, exactly, on what is going on.

    In the posts I have read on this site, there are vague references to other board members also behaving badly, but no names or details of their actions are given.

    Some questions:

    - How does the board work, exactly? In other words, how does the board function to make decisions, form corporate sponsorships, and spend money.

    -Do board members get paid for their contribution? How much?

    -How can Sam Sloan, as has been posted, single-handedly "nullify" someone else's actions? Isn't the board a voting body?

    -If Sam Sloan is the main problem in USCF, why not simply call him such? Point out to potential corporate sponsors the unfortunate situation, assure them that, despite the jester over in the corner, that the rest of the organization is ready and willing to work with partners for the betterment of chess in the US.

    Any clarifiation of these matters, and any general outline of the situation- in concrete terms- would be most helpful.

    Confusedly yours,

    Brad Hoehne

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 4:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A few other questions, if you don't mind:

    - If members are behaving "Politically" or "for their own personal gain", what could be their motivations?

    What, specifically, does someone achieve in manipulating the USCF to their own ends? Unless there is outright embezzlement or fraud, I can't see what anyone acting in bad faith would expect to glean from deliberately brining the organization in to disrepute?

  • At Friday, January 12, 2007 8:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Brad, I have an idea I've been mulling for some time. I'm going to throw it out and see what everybody thinks about it.

    The problem is that there is no organization to the content Susan puts out. This is a problem for us all but especially for new people like you. You're forced to ask questions (if you want to know what's going on) and Susan or somebody else is forced to repeat points that have been discussed before. Either that or you have to dig through mountains of content to find the answer to your question.

    My humble suggestion for a solution. How about an Unofficial Polgar Election Website? This site would not be connected with the Polgar campaign, hence she would have no responsibility for it. Also, no additional work commitments on her part. The site would consist of links to specific posts in the various Polgar Blogs that pertain to the election. Accompanying the links would be a short description of the content behind the link so the user would know what they're clicking on.

    There would be very little else to the site. The value to the site would not be additional content from me but simply organization of the content that is already here.

    Since it was an Unofficial site, I could also have links to specific posts on other sites such as the USCF forums that are important and relevant.

    Then newbies like you, Brad could go to the site, review the list of links, and click on the posts that may answer your questions. The value to us older (have I only been around for just a month??) users, would be that we could review past posts that we know are there somewhere but we just can't remember where we saw them.

    My big problem is that as fast as Susan churns out content, I'm not sure I could keep up with her. Still, even it went out of date, you would still have a reference to the old stuff that shouldn't have been forgotten.

    So what do you think? I really don't want to commit to all of that work if it is unwanted or not appreciated.

    P.S. If you don't want to respond to me publicly, you can send me a private e-mail and I promist to keep your comment private. Just click on my picture or my name and my profile comes up.

  • At Saturday, January 13, 2007 1:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Below I’m reposting a message I put on the USCF Forum.


    I started a thread inviting the candidates to put up their vision statements. Susan has what amounts to one (she hasn’t specifically labeled it “vision statement” but that is what it amounts to). She repeats it over and over. Those of us who regularly follow her have it practically memorized. You know how it goes:

    * Restore the respectability and credibility of the USCF.
    * Restore a balanced budget.
    * Restore the strong cooperation between adult, collegiate, youth and scholastic chess. The USCF needs to support and promote all its membership categories.
    * Recognize that the USCF is in need of Professional Marketing and PR.

    That was her initial roll out model. She’s punched up the wording since (though not the substance).

    Anyway, I thought wouldn’t it be nice to know what the other candidate’s statements were. So I started that thread.

    One candidate, Joe Lux responded, complaining that I was a Susan Polgar supporter and if she posted her statement first, then he would post his. At least he responded.

    Then more people chimed in with yet more attacks on Susan Polgar for not posting on the USCF forums. She’s explained both clearly and often but no matter. According to them, I’m just credulous for being taken in by her and her team.

    Oh, well! This is the background for the following post from the USCF Forum.

  • At Saturday, January 13, 2007 1:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Honestly, sometimes I think I’m on a completely different wavelength than some of the rest of you guys here. Here’s what was going on in my poor little brain when I started this thread.

    If I was a candidate, I would want to get my message out to whoever would listen. I would be posting in whatever blog or forum where people would let me. I would be seeking out ways to differentiate myself from the competition.

    A vision statement would be a key tool to get my name out there. Problem: how to do that without appearing to just be advertising?

    Back to the here and now. This is why I started this thread. So candidates can put themselves out there by invitation.

    But let’s say I was a candidate. In fact, to sweeten the pot, let’s say I was running AGAINST Susan Polgar. If so, I would have LOVED to have gotten this opening handed to me. I would have posted my statement at the first opportunity. And if this opportunity was due to a thread begun by another’s supporter, so much the better!. I would have said something like, “see there. I’m not afraid to discuss the issues, anytime, anyplace – even in forums hosted by my opponent!” And if I was the only candidate to have posted my statement, I would have ANOTHER point to present to the audience of this forum. “I am the ONLY candidate to respond to the voter’s concerns.”

    Not only would I have posted my statement on this thread, I would have gone to Susan’s blog and post it there, too. And anywhere else where there was a semblance of fair play.

    But that’s just me and how my poor little brain works.

    But I do wonder after today’s little experiment. Maybe Susan is RIGHT about the state of USCF politics. Maybe she is the only one to articulate a vision for the USCF’s future because she is the only one who actually HAS one. I don’t know. All I can say for sure is that she has the only one I’ve been able to actually read.

  • At Saturday, January 13, 2007 1:12:00 AM, Blogger SusanPolgar said…


    This is what I said before. Some of these people have no new idea. All they can do is bash everyone and everything.

    They do not like changes. They do not want changes. They want the status quo.

    I will not engage in ANY debate or discussion on the USCF forum until proper rules are strictly enforced.

    I had to laugh when I read that Paul Truong is my business manager, webmaster and ghostwriter. It is amazing how people can lie and make up anything they want.

    I have been writing chess books and for chess magazines in several languages for more than 20 years. I speak 7 languages. All of a sudden, I need a ghostwriter. Shocking!

    And for your information, my webmaster is Mr. Justin Jenkins in West Virginia. He is also an artist.

    I will let them continue their garbage. I will continue my messages

    Best wishes,
    Susan Polgar

  • At Saturday, January 13, 2007 1:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Brad asked "How does the board work, exactly? In other words, how does the board function to make decisions, form corporate sponsorships, and spend money." Ideally it should work like any other corporate board of directors. Ideally, they should set policy and not try to micromanage everything that's done. Ideally, they should behave in a professional manner and treat each other and potential sponsors with respect. I could go on and on. Let's just say that some members don't seem to understand the role of officers and directors of a corporation and don't behave appropriately.

    Brad asks "Do board members get paid for their contribution? How much?" They are paid nothing at all. They are unpaid volunteers that only receive reimbursements for required travel expense (transportation and lodging only, not meals). Some of the board members don't even accept the travel reimbursements. Some of them work up to 20 hours a week on USCF business.

    Brad asks "How can Sam Sloan, as has been posted, single-handedly "nullify" someone else's actions? Isn't the board a voting body?" Well, for one thing he can simply ignore the rules and do whatever he wants. He can get away with this for a while...

    Brad asks "If Sam Sloan is the main problem in USCF, why not simply call him such? Point out to potential corporate sponsors the unfortunate situation, assure them that, despite the jester over in the corner, that the rest of the organization is ready and willing to work with partners for the betterment of chess in the US." Sam is noticable enough that it's hard to ignore him. By the bylaws, he can't be excluded from any EB discussions or decision-making.

    Brad asks "If members are behaving "Politically" or "for their own personal gain", what could be their motivations?" Some of the "factional" disputes have gone on so long and become so acrimonious that people are taking sides, not on the basis of the issues, but as a form of political "payback" to their enemies. There's been much speculation that this is responsible for Sam Sloan's support from NJ. That a certain NJ chess politician supported Sloan to "get back" at Bill Goichberg.

  • At Saturday, January 13, 2007 1:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jack Le Moine said "Tanstaafl, you are the most frustrating poster on the scene today."

    Jack, your frustration comes from the fact that we aren't "on the same side". :)

    So far, I have decided to support two candidates: Susan Polgar and Randy Bauer. I'm still undecided on the other two candidates.

    However, my decision is based SOLELY on which individuals I think will be best for the USCF. I don't necessarily agree with everything Susan would support (I don't necessarily DISAGREE either -- I'm still deciding!) If I decide that another candidate, like Mr. Berry or Mr. Jones, would be better for the USCF than one of "Susan's Candidates", then that's how I'll vote. (I'm not necessarily leaning that way -- I JUST HAVEN'T DECIDED YET). Just speaking for myself, I'm going to have to hear more from some of the candidates before I make a firm decision on the other two spots.

    I think that even if Susan gets only 3 out of the 4 spots, her best ideas will still easily get accepted -- some of the current members are OK, after all. I sincerely doubt Susan would have any trouble working with Joel, for example. Perhaps even if she only gets 2 out of the 4 spots, she might still have enough support to make the changes she'd like.

    Other than supporting the best four candidates, I am trying to do one other thing -- oppose the WORST candidates. IMHO there are valid choices among the candidates and choices that would make no sense. For those that feel the same way I do, we have to not only support "our" candidates, but also inform the voters about the problematic candidates. This is a bit more work than just supporting a "slate" of candidates, but it's the best way, IMO. That's why I will clearly speak out against Mr. Schultz and Mr. Sloan, for example.

  • At Monday, January 15, 2007 3:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jack and tanstaafl,

    Thank you for your efforts- jack, for attempting to organize the mission statments of various candidates into something approaching comprehsibility, and tans for attemtping to answer my questions.

    I must confess, however, that I'm still somewhat perplexed by the current situation in the USCF. Based on various comments I have read here over the past few days, I get the sense that the USCF board has a number of member who, for one reason or another, take various actions within the organization simply to enact vengance for past slights.

    Why someone would devote their time and energy to an organization for no financial remuneration and then act in such a way that is clearly harmful to it, is beyond me. I could see rigging the system for some clear, selfish, purpose, but to simply use the organization as a proxy for doing battle against social enemies is almost incomprehensible.

    Are these members of the board really that infantile?


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