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©

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Welcome to the ugly world of USCF politics

This was posted on the USCF Forums yesterday:

Dear friends and colleagues,

I would like to thank the members of the FOC and the moderators for giving up their time to help. However, we are facing a very serious situation. This is the same problem that has existed in the USCF for decades. This is the same problem that chased away many good people including sponsors and supporters.

Not long ago, I decided to make a test. I purposely told someone (who has been a big time person in this system for a long time) some random information. I asked that person to keep it confidential. 2 days later, that information landed in the hands of one of the candidates and it publicly came out. I obviously know how this candidate got the information because I only told 1 person as a test. Checkmate!

Now, we are facing the same situation in this forum. A few weeks ago, one of the posters brought up the name of one of my best friends since I was 17-18 who also happened to be my ex-wife. We have two beautiful kids together (girl 15 and son 14) and we are still great friends to this day. My ex-wife has never attended a single chess tournament and she knows no one in chess. But her name was dragged in this ugly and dirty political game.

I sent a Private Message to 2 FOC members to inform them the identity of the person whose name was dragged into this. This Private Message was leaked and it was not leaked by the 2 people who I sent the PM to. It was leaked by another member of the FOC committee. I know exactly who this person is but it is no use to talk about it. Then I got an anonymous email telling me that he/she knows where my children live.

Private messages are intended to be private. I do not trust anyone who publishes private messages. I think it is unprofessional and I do not condone that kind of behavior. What kind of legal problems would the USCF get into if private messages in the USCF sanctioned forums are published by the USCF office? This is one the big reasons why I decided to run in this election. This sort of practice has happened for decades and it will not stop unless the leadership would be strong enough to put their foot down. It is harmful for the federation legally and professionally.

Some people would do anything to win the election even if they are not qualified or have no necessary experience to help the USCF. They know that nothing will be done to them. I do not expect anything to change now because it is election season. In order to win, one of the oldest tactics is to make sure your opponents are harmed as much as possible.

GM Polgar received anonymous emails not long ago demanding her to drop out of the election or her family and children would be harmed. Other threats were made to her foundation as well. So instead of helping to promote chess, they would stoop to this level. After consulting her attorneys, she was told to get out of this forum or she would be a sitting duck waiting for frivolous lawsuits for political reasons.

Others also faced legal threats. In the mean time, there are tons of problems that are being ignored because we are wasting our time with this kind of nonsense. I have personally apologized to some members of the FOC for having to go through this. A few people feel that they just have to harass and abuse our volunteers and supporters for their own agenda. Nobody deserves to be treated this way, especially people who volunteer their valuable time to help the USCF.

I pleaded over and over to discuss real issues to help the USCF. I pleaded to discuss the qualifications of each candidate. The EB is angry when I brought up the problems facing the USCF. But what have been done to protect our members, sponsors, volunteers or supporters? Is this not important? I will not be a part of this political game.

From this day on, I will no longer post in this (USCF) forum until this disgusting practice of destruction and abuse can be stopped. I stopped once before but many asked me to come back and I gave it another shot. Enough is enough. I am not going to open myself up to potential lawsuits. These people know that I will not sue the USCF because I love chess and I care deeply about this federation.

Once again, I would like to thank the members of the FOC and all the moderators. Just ask yourself one question, if the identity of some of the moderators and FOC members (in the beginning) are supposed to be confidential, how do some of these people know their identities? Why is there a need to protect them? Why do the same 4-5-6 people insisting on finding out their identities? Why shouldn't we make it public? Because these volunteers do not deserve to face what they are facing now!

Just look at has happened! An FOC member resigned quietly and the info was leaked immediately. A new moderator just got started and his identity was leaked! Is this the kind of ethical behavior we expect from our candidates and their supporters? And some USCF EB members, candidates and their supporters attacked me for not revealing info for them to verify my past employment. Do they really expect all of us to be this naive? Amazing! Some things just do not change!

How can you expect different results when we keep on electing the same group of people again and again? If you want to ask me about any USCF issue, please feel free to email me or via Susan’s blog ( I wish you all of you the best and good luck to all the candidates.

Best regards,
Paul Truong - EB Candidate

PS. I am sorry Terry and Gregory! You do not deserve this. You have my most sincere apology. I am very disappointed that the candidates that these people endorsed have not said a thing publicly about the ethics and integrity of their front men. This will not happen under my watch if I am elected. This will stop or the USCF will be doomed. We cannot afford to keep chasing away one good person after another.
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  • At Thursday, May 03, 2007 9:19:00 PM, Anonymous Dirty Sanchez said…

    These are what some of the posts on the USCF forum about Hal Bogner said:

    According to the ED, this was to happen in the future. Hey, when did I start working for you anyway? Are you the ED? You do not have the right to determine, over-ride, and then ruin the policies that were carefully drafted and agreed upon.

    Your source was wrong for releasing this, and you were even more wrong for posting it. You did not have the right to demand your changes by releasing information that you should have never had in the first place. Shame on you Hal.

    I assure you, from this moment forward; I will never do business with you. Don't call me, don't write personal letters to me again Hal. Our friendship is terminated.
    Gregory Alexander

    Then another member added:

    I wouldn't recommend anyone do business with him. If this is how he handles confidential information, just imagine what Chess Magnet School might do with your personal information.

    And Hal Bogner was responsible for getting lawyer Stephen Jones to run. So far, Mr. Jones has not denounced the actions of Mr. Bogner.

    Can you blame people for running away from I would.

  • At Thursday, May 03, 2007 11:50:00 PM, Blogger billbrock said…

    Absent evidence, I would not assume that a candidate's failure to distance him/herself from Mr. Bogner's unfortunate statements & actions implies endorsement of same.

    Elections have winners and losers. There will be honorable & responsible people who don't vote for the winners--it's important to be able to work with them.

    This is of course not intended to be an apologia for the few who are dishonorable....

  • At Thursday, May 03, 2007 11:57:00 PM, Anonymous BKW said…

    I would not do business with Bogner anyway. He tried to blackmail ICC after he was fired. I would definitely stay away from anything that he does. I don't know anything about Lafferty. Who is he?

  • At Friday, May 04, 2007 2:09:00 AM, Anonymous Angry USCF member said…

    I agree with the guy name Smith. I wouldn't sign up with because of someone like Hal Bogner. It's wrong of him to release confidential information. How can you trust people like that? Until he publicly apologizes to everyone, I would urge people to boycott this company. I'm not going to spend my hard earned money for a company that I can't trust.

    Angry USCF member

  • At Friday, May 04, 2007 2:11:00 AM, Anonymous VVJ said…

    What did Mr. Stephen Jones, Joe Lux and Don Schultz say about the ethics of Hal Bogner? My decision on who to vote for will depend on this. If they don't speak out against Hal Bogner, it shows me what I need to see.


  • At Friday, May 04, 2007 2:43:00 AM, Anonymous said…

    Vote the Polgar Slate in June, 2007

    On December 7, 2006 (interesting date choice, don't you think - Pearl Harbor Day) - GM Susan Polgar officially announced at her blog that she would be running for the Executive Board of the USCF. But prior to that date fans of her blog had been encouraging her to run in the upcoming election (June, 2007), I'd say, going back at least to October, 2006.

    So, when I read this last night in the May, 2007 issue of Chess Life magazine (official magazine of the USCF), I had a good laugh:

    "Across the Board" page 9:

    by Bill Goichberg, USCF President

    USCF Membership Surges...
    The seven months since my last report in the October 2006 Chess Life have seen an almost unprecendeted gain in USCF membership. Total members for the period 9/1/06 through 3/31/07 are up by 6,016, the second largest gain for any seven-month period in the history of the federation. Our current membership total of 84,495 is also the highest in almost three years.

    The "due sales" offering adult membership...

    During the seven months 9/06 through 3/07, USCF gained 494 adult members, the largest increase for any period of seven consecutive months in 12 years. ..."

    Bill Goichberg, bless his heart, attributes the increase in adult memberships (they are the only ones who can vote, as I understand current USCF policy - all the rest of the membership increase is, I assume, from scholastic members and they can't vote and so, in the eyes of some chess politicans, they really "don't count") - to a "dues sale!" That increase couldn't possibly have - nah - it couldn't possibly have anything to do with Susan Polgar and her slate of candidates running for the USCF Executive Board and the fact that in order to vote in the election next month, you have to be a member in good standing - nah. LOL!

    Mr. Goichberg goes on to say that he is aware that "one of the factors that has held back USCF growth in recent years is unwarranted negativism, especially popular on Internet discussion groups." Yeah, all right. So in the face of all this negativism, why the sudden surge in membership - voting membership? Wouldn't all the unwarranted and (it is implied, unrelenting and continuing) negativism lead, instead, to a further decline in membership?

    As much as Mr. Goichberg tries to put a positive spin on the things that he cites as improvements since the near bankruptcy of the USCF in 2003, the USCF is actually just recently slowly and painfully attempting to rectify a gross decline in service that used to be provided to paying (and voting) members - adult members. I do not fault Mr. Goichberg for the prior failings of the USCF - he wasn't an officer or Executive Board member when so many of the really bad decisions were made. Since he has come on board as President things have improved - but not enough. Certainly not enough for the long-suffering members of USCF.

    My bet is that Mr. Goichberg has already read the handwriting on the proverbial wall and he's now being the consummate chess politician that he has always been - and because he's the President of USCF he gets a free in-print forum to do it. But no matter what spin Mr. Goichberg puts on it, there is only one reason for the increase of adult, i.e., voting membership in the USCF - Susan Polgar and her slate of candidates. People have joined (or rejoined) the USCF with the sole intent of voting in Susan Polgar and her slate of candidates to the USCF Executive Board next month.

    Mr. Goichberg, will you embrace the four new Board members - Polgar, Bauer, Truong and Korenman - when they are elected in June?

  • At Friday, May 04, 2007 12:35:00 PM, Blogger SusanPolgar said…

    Let's not attack Mr. Bogner. Let's give him a chance to defend his conducts and actions.

    Best wishes,
    Susan Polgar

  • At Friday, May 04, 2007 6:46:00 PM, Anonymous GetRidOfTheWeasels said…

    Terry Winchester: "Perhaps Mr. Bogner should tell us how he came to find out about my resignation."

    "Hal wishes to have transparency.. come on Hal, tell us your dirty little secrets. Who gave you this information?"

    Gregory Alexander: "Thanks for taking it yourself to expose my moderator status Hal. How lovely for you to take this upon yourself. Exposing information that should have been held in confidentiality by your source is rotten. As far as deleting your post, why? The cat is out of the bag, and you will probably post this in the RGCP forums as well.

    I am not pleased with your ethical style Hal."

  • At Thursday, May 10, 2007 4:18:00 PM, Blogger Eric V. Kirk said…

    All this political crap over a chess organization? What ever happened to the quiet skinny horn-rimmed-glasses-wearing nerds who used to kick my ass all over the board then warmly shake my hand in genuine gratitude for the game? I miss them!

    As an attorney I'll volunteer some free legal advice (now watch and somebody will turn me in for the illegal practice of law in 49 states). Don't let threats of lawsuits deter you from participation in discussions of issues of public interest. The first amendment is very strong when it comes to forums like this and any public discourse. Most states now have some form of anti-SLAPP protection from frivolous suits aimed at shutting you up. This link takes you to a post I wrote on California law, but it contains links which should be helpful for other states as well.

    Anyway, I don't know enough about these issues to take sides in the actual issues. I haven't played tournament chess nor been a member in a couple of decades, so I have no idea of what's happening. I just have a 5 year old kid showing strong interest in the game, and I'd like to see find out what the organization has to offer. I hope there's an organization in place by the time he's ready.


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