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©

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My response to a USCF member about ethical issues

Dear Brian (Lafferty),

I am a columnist for Chess Life (CL) since 2002 and Chess Life for Kids (CL4K) since its inception last year. My work in chess journalism earned me several Chess Journalist of America Awards as well as the Cramer Award.

I receive $500 for each article in Chess Life and I receive $0 for articles in CL4K. I already informed the USCF ED many weeks ago (long before I submitted my election petition) that I would be happy to follow his instructions in regards to my column in CL.

I have no problem following the rules and regulations as long as they are fair and just for all members. The ethics proposal above is a start but it is incomplete as there are many other issues when it comes to being a viable, ethical and productive board member. What about the current board members?

This federation has lost the trust of too many members because of the ongoing dirty and destructive chess politics. If elected, I am committed to perform my duties at the highest level of integrity and professionalism. One of my many goals is to restore the much needed credibility and respectability to the USCF.

In the future, if you would like for me to answer your questions on a timely basis, please feel free to post them on my blog at or via my email at I will not be very active in this forum until proper rules are set and properly enforced and not selectively enforced for political reasons.

I decided a few weeks ago that I would not participate in discussions or debates in this (USCF) forum until rules are properly enforced. Many members asked me to reconsider my decision. I respected their requests and decided to give it another shot. Some members (including people on the board) immediately abused the process.

Even though this (USCF) forum does represent some important figures in chess, it does not represent the majority of the USCF members. On the other hand, this forum does represent some of the ongoing problems of this federation.

I decided to run for the Executive Board to help the USCF and not to join the dirty and destructive political wars that contributed to the demise of this federation. That is why I decided to take my goals, plans and vision directly to the majority of the USCF members. Thank you for bringing up this issue.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar Posted by Picasa


  • At Wednesday, January 17, 2007 7:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dear Susan,

    Yesterday I opined that you had reached the point of diminishing returns with your postings on the USCF Forums. Today, with the letter re-posted here I believe you passed that point. I regard this letter as unfortunate.

    The whole conflict of interest thing is just a red herring for the politics of personal destruction that you oppose and that we do to. Here in America every industry is trying to recruit the most talented people to lead their enterprises. Only in your profession is a person who is a former World Champion with the highest quality record regarded with suspicion, distrust, and distain. This must change and not just for your own good, either. It must change for the good of the USCF organization, the good of your profession, and for the good of the game as a whole.

    It is simply wrong for the USCF to ask professionals to give up their income (in whole or in part) in order to serve in a leadership capacity. Whatever your own personal situation might be, the policy trends to deprive us of the help of the people we need the most. And I’m not just talking of professional chess PLAYERS but of organizers, writers, and others who serve the game in some professional capacity.

    It is unfortunate that you told the ED that you would go by what he says. I hope that statement did not include your giving up your contract rights to compensation. You should retain complete freedom of action in your own hands. Moreover, I believe that you should enforce all your contract rights if and when you take office and maintain that policy throughout your tenure thereon. Furthermore, you should not hesitate to seek renewal of your contracts as they expire.

    Genuine concerns about conflicts of interests can be handled in a professional manner as they are done in the rest of society. Such demands as the one to which your letter responded should be resisted. Better to say nothing at all then to make any further concessions.

    As for the present rules that others have much commented upon: Many people seem to feel that the present UDCF governance rules prevent you from enforcing such contracts as you already have or negotiating new contracts. I most strongly believe that changing these rules ought to be an important part of your reform program.


  • At Wednesday, January 17, 2007 7:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had last checked into the USCF forums at lunch. I just checked in again and I see that you posted again and agreed to sign that letter. I regard that as a serious mistake.

    This action will make it harder to get chess professionals to serve in the future.

    You tell your students to double-check and triple-check each move before they make it. Today somebody from out of the blue threw out a letter and you willy-nilly agreed to sign it. (Seemingly – I don’t know what went on behind the scenes.)

    I wish you would reconsider but it’s probably too late. You publicly agreed to sign that thing.

    Oh, well! Sigh! You’re our leader and we should support you no matter what.

    As for the immediate future, could you cut back a little on those USCF Forum postings? Each one of your moves is trending worse than the last.

    P.S. I imagine you must be pretty sore at my comments but note that I and people like me are not demanding you sign some stupid letter as a condition of our support.

  • At Wednesday, January 17, 2007 7:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think your comments are off-base and that Susan is exactly correct in what she's said.

    In order to avoid the appearance of wrong doing, it is vital for officers of the USCF to receive no money from the USCF. Others in the past have followed the rules and we should thank them for their decision to do so.

    Susan's commitment to follow the rules that are already in place and that apply to all officers is a smart political move as well. It removes most of the potential criticism she would have been subjected to and takes the "high road". She clearly comes out of this as the winner.

  • At Wednesday, January 17, 2007 7:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Question for Jack: Have you ever heard the one about silence being golden?

  • At Wednesday, January 17, 2007 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was going to let go of this matter but that last comment impels me to say that whatever you found wrong with my previous, they were honest expressions of opinion and disappointment and not meant to be rude. I think that cheap shots like “silence is golden” is more appropriate to the way things are practiced at the USCF Forums than here.

    We need to be ENCOURAGING people to discuss the issues, not DISCOURAGING them. I’ve been feeling sad the last few days at the lack of other people posting onto this forum. I’d hate it if people saw a comment like the above and thought, “gee they might think that of my opinion, too.”

  • At Thursday, January 18, 2007 4:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dear Susan,

    It is important for everyone to be above board, especially when they are EB members. Having a financial dealing with USCF (other than EB members compensation) is clearly a conflict of interest. Therefore I salute you for this decision.


    Ravi Kulkarni


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