Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
My vision for a better USCF
My vision for a better USCF
Here are the 12 most critical areas which I think must be improved in order for the USCF to grow and prosper.
1. Building a strong membership base via grassroots marketing, promotion and strong structural support for the local clubs, affiliates, organizers, volunteers and supporters. We need to develop a high level or mutual respect and cooperation among these groups.
2. Building a strong membership recruiting plan with excellent incentives for organizations to partner up with us. There are a lot more active players who are NOT members of the USCF than there are USCF members. Many of these players are disgruntled with the USCF. Most do not see the benefits for joining the USCF. This has to change. We must get our message out much better. We must also work with our partners to offer our members and potential members more values and benefits for their money.
3. Building a strong support system for scholastic, college, adult, tournament, correspondence, internet, military and professional players. If there is no strong support and plans to retain scholastic players, it will harm college chess and obviously adult chess will also suffer as we have seen in the past many years. We must also recognize that there are a lot more internet players than we have ever had in the past. But we cannot forget or ignore our correspondence or professional players. Communications and joint efforts are needed with the leaders of all of these membership groups. It is vital to the health of this federation.
4. Building a strong and respectable image and reputation for the USCF. Without this, we cannot get support from state, federal or local government as well as the private sectors. Any of these agencies and organizations can do a background check on the USCF and this is the #1 reason why we keep losing one sponsor after another. We cannot have incompetent and unprofessional people leading this federation. We need to bring in people with proper experience, expertise, energy and passion for chess along with strong records of success.
5. Building a strong, sensible, and cost sensitive marketing, promotion and PR project. It does not have to cost tens and thousands of dollars to be effective. I have proven that with the Susan Polgar Foundation. We get more positive publicity than the USCF with a zero budget. It can be done if we know how. We cannot continue to milk money from scholastic parents or tournament players. It is not working. Too many people are fighting and bickering about dollars and cents while throwing away opportunity to increase substantial revenues through sponsorships, grants and other avenues.
6. Building a sound and fiscally responsible budget with minimal waste. The savings from the inefficiency alone can fund many additional projects to help the USCF. We must build the USCF into a viable organization. This federation is not running at an optimal level right now.
7. Building a strong relationship and partnership with countless other chess organizations nationwide and worldwide. We need to unite to win. Constant political wars and internal feud will only harm chess and the USCF. As a leading federation in the world of chess, we should lead by examples and work with everyone to better our sport.
8. Building a strong relationship and partnership with countless volunteers and supporters to help improve many current weaknesses of this federation. There are plenty of people who are willing, ready and able to help but they are not being utilized properly due to chess politics.
9. Building a strong relationship and partnership with kindergarten, elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges and universities across the country to promote chess and education. We also have to work with parents of homeschooled students in addition to organizations which represent these homeschoolers.
10. Building a strong relationship and partnership with countless companies across the country and around the world to promote chess and all its benefits. They want to promote their companies, products or services and we want their sponsorships. It is a win win situation for both sides.
11. Building a strong communication channel with all members, volunteers, supporters and sponsors, etc. We need to get our strong and positive messages out to our people. We cannot continue to hide things behind closed doors and have under the table deals. There have been too much mistrust and animosity because of dubious decisions and actions by various chess leaders in the past. At the same time, we cannot allow reckless and irresponsible behavior by our leaders and/or members without consequence. There should be rules set to protect the USCF and all its members, volunteers, supporters and sponsors.
12. Building a strong business vision and plan. We need to run this federation like any successful and reputable company. All business decisions must make sense financially or it must help this federation in one way or another. We cannot make business decisions as a way to reward our political supporters as being done in the past. This is the formula for failures.
We have the numbers and strength to be a competitive and viable organization. All we need is to take advantage of the opportunities and change our approach to running this federation. Instead of saying why it cannot be done, we have to be willing to sit down and figure out what it would take to make things happen for the best interest of chess and the USCF. It is like a chess game, we must be able to maximize every single advantage and improve every weakness.
We have people who can help and they are running in this Executive Board election. The 4 candidates who can best help the USCF with the 12 points above are:
- Dr. Mikhail Korenman
- Mr. Paul Truong
- Mr. Randy Bauer
- Susan Polgar
I ask you to vote for this team because of our expertise, experience, energy, and record of success. Other candidates who can also help in various ways are:
- Mr. Jim Berry
- Mr. Stephen Jones
- Mr. Don Schultz
But the most important thing is to vote! Let your voice be heard! Together, we can turn around this federation and build it into a strong and viable organization!
Thank you for your support!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Happy to help chess!
This is Paul (at 14) and his father as Vietnamese boat people back in 1979
Here is an interview that Mr. Randy Hough (a USCF board member) did with Paul more than 20 years ago (there are a few minor factual errors but in general it is a fantastic article). He has not changed. He is still full of energy, still loves chess as much as anyone (even though he does not play competitively, he uses his knowledge to help countless youngsters) and still works hard, but now for chess full time. Even though he basically stopped playing serious chess in the mid 80's, he's still a very strong player.
Paul played a major part in helping the 2004 US Women's Olympiad team capture the team Silver and me in capture 4 Olympiad medals (He's my personal chess coach as well as captain and business manager of the team.) I remember that the Vietnamese chess delegation at the 2004 Olympiad still feared him. They know of his reputation in chess 3 decades earlier. And they were right. Just as Mr. Clayton said of Paul as a youngster, he was also right. Paul has an incredible ability to evaluate and assess positions correctly.
He is also the same way in life. Paul's strategy in the last round of the Olympiad help our team defeated Vietnam 2.5 - 0.5 to win the team Silver. If it was not for Paul, we would have went home with no medal as a number of teams were separated by only 1 point (The US Women's Teams have never won a single medal in Olympiad history until Paul was involved and we came back from the 2004 Olympiad with 4 medals - 2 Gold and 2 Silver.)
The USCF is very fortunate to have someone with his experience, professional expertise and passion for chess wanting to help our sport. Just look at what he has helped me accomplish with the Susan Polgar Foundation as well as promoting chess in the US since 2001. As I stated before, no one can even come close to him in chess marketing, promotion and PR. And everything was done with virtually a zero budget.
Instead of using Paul as a person who can motivate and energize the entire sport, I am stunned that some vicious chess politicians choose to attack him because of where he came from and what he had to endure throughout his life. Instead of thinking for the best interest of chess, they chose to attack Paul because they are intimidated by his immense success and talent.
Sept 1986 Chess Life, page 26
Happy To Be A USCF Member
BY RANDALL HOUGH
Assistant Editor, Chess Life
Paul Truong is a survivor. And although he would like to say that his love for chess helped to sustain him during two hellish weeks in early 1979 aboard a crowded, leaky, wooden refugee boat -- it would be untrue.
For Paul, who was born in Saigon on June 2, 1965, and whose Vietnamese name is Hoainhan, found that "survival pushed everything else to the back of [his] mind." Still, chess does play an important role in the life of this energetic, young Vietnamese-American.
Paul learned the moves in 1971 at age six from USCF master Kenneth Clayton (Paul learned chess at age 5 from his father. Mr. Clayton started to teach him at age 6 but since one does not speak Vietnam and one does not speak English, their interaction was very difficult.), who was then working in Vietnam as a computer adviser. Paul and his father Tien, who spoke good English, used to visit a local sports club (It was actually not a local sport club. It was the National Sports Center. It's local because of the vincinity of the center.) with a large swimming pool, billiards tables, and whatnot. But it was chess which attracted the lad.
Recalls Clayton of the young boy: "He was always attentive, retained what I taught him, possessed good nerves and evaluated positions objectively. I recall one game against a strong player, whom Paul defeated in an ending in which he used a Bishop to trap his opponent's Knight on the run of the board. Playing virtually a piece up, he just walked in with the King. He had seen a similar maneuver in one of my games."
At age eight, Paul won the closest thing that Vietnam had to a national championship (This was the national championship of South Vietnam and not Vietnam because at that time, North and South Vietnam were split. They were 2 separate countries just as North and South Korea. Therefore, no player from North Vietnam could compete and this championship only included players from South Vietnam.) by finishing behind only Clayton in a tournament at the sports club. "
In our game," Clayton remembers, "I set some nice traps that he saw. I was finally able to wear him down positionally, but it was a real struggle." Clayton estimates that the eight-year-olds strength was in the class "A" range.
The happy times didn't last. The South Vietnamese government fell to the Communists in early 1975, and Tien Truong, a former employee of the United States government, faced hard times for himself and for his family. And in 1979, when the Communists began to persecute Vietnamese citizens of Chinese ancestry, the Truongs formulated a plan to leave. Acquiring false identification papers and greasing the palms of a few officials, Tien and Paul managed to leave.
"We wanted the freedom a human being deserves," says Paul, "and my father was concerned about his children's futures." But Paul's mother, Yen, and a younger brother, who was too young to make the perilous journey through the South China Sea, had to remain behind.
The following six weeks were the most memorable period of Paul's life. Over 600 passengers were crammed into a 150-foot wooden vessel, which had to return to Vietnam for repairs after several days at sea. When the boat again left Vietnam, after payment by the passengers of additional bribes, it was boarded by pirates on the second day out. And the refugees found themselves without much of their food, medical supplies, and valuables. Women were raped, and the boat was virtually torn apart as the pirates searched for jewelry.
There were additional boardings, and the boat drifted for days beneath the tropical sun - a vessel of misery filled with terrorized human beings. And then the refugees were spotted by an American oil tanker.
Tien Truong persuaded the tanker's captain to help the passengers reach the East Coast of Malaysia, where they spent weeks in a teeming, island refugee camp before setting out in a new boat. On this second voyage, people began to die of hunger and thirst before reaching the coast of Indonesian Sumatra ... where they were again turned away.
In despair the passengers began to throw overboard the dead bodies in order to lighten the boat's load. And suddenly, the Indonesian authorities took pity on these unwanted refugees, allowing them ashore. Whereupon. Tien and Paul spent six months in yet another camp. On December 1, 1979, Tien and Paul arrived in the United States, sponsored by an aunt who lived in New Jersey.
PRAYERS, HARD WORK, SAVING
Paul started school in the ninth grade in Washington Township, New Jersey finding that he had plenty of catching up to do. Tien looked for and eventually found a job with Versa a valve manufacturer in Paramus, New Jersey. Where he now works as a control manager. After school, Paul also worked. He and his father offered and they saved money to pay for the freedom of his mother and younger brother And years later - in August 1985 - they to arrived in America.
School, money scrimping, hard work - none these things kept Paul away from his old love of chess. But his rust was apparent in early American tournaments, and his first rating was only in the 1600s. However, he improved rapidly thanks in significant measure, to support from the North New Jersey chess community. At the 1981 New York State Championship, he achieved a USCF master's rating, which he has kept ever since.
Thus far in his chess life, Paul's most memorable competitive experiences (aside from playing for the Collins Kids against Iceland in 1983) occurred in the summer of 1984 when he qualified for the U.S. Junior closed (in which he finished a disappointing eleventh in a twelve-player field despite defeating tournament favorite Maxim Dlugy) and when he participated in Gary Kasparov's "Starwars Simul" - a set of ten game played by Kasparov in London against British and U.S. juniors with the Americans in New York playing via a telecommunications hookup. Paul went astray in a complex middlegame, but the then world championship contender later said that Paul played better than any of his compatriots.
In a Sicilian Defense, Paul Truong sacks a Rook for White's Knight on c3. That's the sort of sharp trading he had to practice to survive a perilous journey to the United States.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The troubling state of the USCF
Now that some of the USCF voting members have received their ballots (most still do not have them), lies, lies and more lies are starting to pop up in the USCF forums and various newsgroups hoping to confuse the voters while trying the hide the troubling state of the USCF.
This is the win at all cost election by the people who are desperately trying to maintain their power and they will do whatever it takes to accomplish this including physical threats to my children and I, legal threats to my husband and I and daily insults and attacks.
None and I mean none of the board members spoke out against this kind of classless tactic. In fact, some even helped fuel the attacks and some even launched these deplorable tactics themselves.
While some of us are busting our behinds to do positive things for chess and the USCF, these people spam the newsgroup with thousands and thousands of posts with derogatory and false information.
The strategy is simple. They believe that if they lie and throw out 1,000 false items, some people will believe in some of these lies and that is what they are hoping for. They know that it is impossible to have enough time in a 24 hour day to respond to all the garbage. This is how the USCF has functioned for years. Instead of doing the right things, they do what is right for them. They use the same tactic for years.
And if people like me who want to be above their tactic and not go back and forth with them, they continue their daily insults and attacks while telling the members that if there is no response, it means that the charges are true. I am sorry to say but my children and students behave better than some of our leaders.
GM Alburt was elected and was not allowed to do much. GM Seirawan, one of the most well known chess ambassador of the US, lost the election. They did the same thing to GM Seirawan. They also attacked, insulted and tried to destroy his reputation.
So what is the bottom line? The bottom line is they are not capable of discussing the accomplishments of their candidates in the past 3-5 years. They are also not capable of discussing real issues such as:
* Shrinking revenues and rising expenses which caused the USCF to lose money in 9 of the last 11 years
* Membership level dipped from the mid 90 thousand to low 80 thousand
* Loss of 3 multi-million dollar sponsorship possibilities in the last 5-6 months due to the USCF politics and incompetence
* Pitiful marketing and promotion of the USCF* Loss of a $250,000 US Championship and a sponsor which invested more than $1 million in chess
* Lack of support for parents, coaches and the scholastic members
* There is no program or plan to help teach and certify more chess teachers to accommodate countless schools across the country
* Lack of support for Internet, College, Correspondence and professional players, etc.
* Displeasure of the USCF members with the board that they elected a board member with conviction records to keep the current board members "honest", which directly harm the reputation or what's left of it of the USCF
* Coming up ideas or plans which can restore the integrity, respectability, professionalism or increase revenues and visibility of this federation
* Creating plans or ideas to promote chess the right way, increase memberships or retaining the current members
* and many more issues...
What they are capable of is throwing out baseless accusations, rumors, innuendos and insults, etc. There is no chance in the world that these people can change their ways. They have no vision, no experience, no understanding and no ability to turn this sinking ship around.
I made my recommendations here and here. You have the power to make this change. The choice is up to you.
We all need to unite to change this federation. Thank you for your support!
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
My response to malicious lies by chess politicians
This letter was posted on the USCF Forums to respond to the people who decided to spread false information about Paul, me and other candidates for political reason. Their tactic is if they lie about 10 things every day, someone will believe in some of them. Instead of doing positive things for chess or talk about what their candidates can do to help the USCF, they decided to viciously attack and lie about their opponents. Here is my letter:
I was told that a number of people are trying to discredit Paul and his marketing, promotion and PR expertise. One of the keys for his success is he likes to work in the background to accomplish many incredible things. He does not like to be in the limelight. He does not like to talk about himself or his personal life. It took me nearly 17 years to convince him to allow me to interview him about his life story.
So when he stays in the background, people say that he accomplished nothing. But if I tell people what he has done, people say he is boasting. Now which way do they want? Sounds like the Bud commercial: “Taste great! Less filling!”
If it was not for this election, most people would not even know about his accomplishments and he prefers it that way. But people need to know the truth. Today, an employee of the USCF asked Paul for the contact information to verify his past professional experience. It took Paul 10 seconds after he received this email to give this person the information for verification. He has nothing to hide but he is not going to give it to any Joe Blow. It is also unfortunate that we have chess politicians wanting to destroy people’s life for their own reasons. This is the same reason why I would never give anyone my personal contacts or private information either.
Here are just some of the things that came up off the top of my head that he has done in the past 5 years.
2004 US Women’s Olympiad Training Program (sponsor, manager and my coach)
2004 US Women’s Olympiad Team (sponsor, manager and my coach)
Handled the negotiation and brought the 2004 US Women’s Olympiad Training Squad to IBM HQ in Yorktown Heights and Stillwater, Oklahoma for an event organized and sponsored by Mr. Frank K. Berry.
Handled the negotiation to obtain sponsorships for the 2004 US Women’s Olympiad Training Squad and Team with IBM, ChessBase, ChessCafe, KCF, London Chess Center, Excalibur, ChessOnDVD.com, Frank Berry and his foundation, A&L Sheet Metal Corp, World Chess Network, US Chess Live, US Chess Trust, and many more)
Chess for Peace in Lindsborg (assisted Dr. Korenman in organizing this event and handled some of the marketing and PR duties)
Chess for Peace in Moscow (assisted Dr. Korenman in organizing this event and handled some of the marketing and PR duties)
Co-organizer with Dr. Korenman of 2 Battle of the Gender matches between Anatoly Karpov and me (Paul was also my coach on both matches)
One of the organizers (with Joel Channing and Don Schultz) of the World Record Simul in Palm Beach Garden (one of top 5 biggest chess stories in the world in the media for that year)
Co-organizer, sponsor, promoter and PR person for:
4 Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) and all side events
2 Susan Polgar National Open Championship for Girls (2006, 2007) and all side events
2 Susan Polgar World Open Championship for Girls (2006, 2007) and all side events
Susan Polgar All-Star Girl's Chess Team (2006-07)
2001 NY City Mayor’s Cup Invitational Tournament with Mayor Giuliani and NYC Sports Commissioner Ken Podziba (Hikaru Nakamura, Irina Krush, Greg Shahade, Eugene Perelshteyn, Dmitry Schneider, Leonid Yudasin, Pavel Blatny, Igor Novikov, etc.)
2006 NY City Mayor's Cup Invitational Tournament with Mayor Bloomberg and NYC Sports Commissioner Ken Podziba (highest rated RR event in US history Average USCF Rating: 2665+ Average FIDE Rating: 2622.5 – Gata Kamsky, Alex Onischuk, Ildar Ibragimov, Boris Gulko, Alex Stripunsky)
Tri-State Scholastic Championship with the honorable NY Governor George Pataki (2006)
Paul is also responsible for negotiating and obtaining most of the college scholarships awarded by the Susan Polgar Foundation in the past 3-4 years. There are a lot more but I think this is more than enough. I challenge other candidates to compare their accomplishments in chess in the past 3-5 years. I think only 1 or 2 candidates can come close to matching this.
It is very disappointing that some people keep on spreading false information to attack others daily instead of spending time and effort to do something positive for chess. Imagine how much better would the USCF be if everyone would just volunteer their time to help US Chess and the USCF instead of bashing each other all day long?
People questioned Dr. Korenman about why he hasn’t campaigned much. The reason for that is he is busy working on one of the biggest scholastic FIDE related project for January 2008 and many others. He is a doer, not talker and definitely not a chess politician.
And one last point, some people asked me about my marriage and why it was not on AP News.
Here was my response in case if you missed it:
I married my best friend of over 20 years. We have worked together for the last 6 years. How many people even knew that we were great friends since 1985-86? We never publicized our friendship because Paul does not care for anyone to know. My marriage is a private matter but it was NOT a secret. At least a few thousand people knew about it. The reason why it was not publicized is security. I have an order of protection by the family court as well as the criminal court. There are 3 trials coming up in June and July. It is the advice of my attorney, the police and the DA office not to make matters worse. I cannot go into details but it is a matter of life or death for my children and I. Chess politics is not nearly as important. This was TOLD to the board. I am sorry if people do not approve of my decision but I had to think of my family first. If I wanted to hide about marriage, I would have waited until after the election to get married. The board knew about this. So to make this a political issue after knowing the reason is reprehensible.
No, Paul was never paid by me for all his work. He did not accept any money for helping my sisters or any other players. And no, we do not have any joint account. That is our decision. Isn’t quite outlandish for people to speculate on my personal business? And yet it has to be brought up. Why? Yes, I am very much in love. Yes, I am very happy. It is not every day people can get married to their best friends. I wish everyone could. But as any other couple, we do not agree on many issues including business and the USCF, even when we worked together as friends before. In addition, we each have our own expertise and the USCF would miss out big time if one of us would not be able to serve.I am asked why my husband and I want to be on the board to serve. Simple! We have completely different expertise in areas that can greatly help the USCF which none of the candidates have. This board knew what we can do. We had a potential sponsor who wanted to give $1 mil to chess gradually over the next few years. That individual told this board specifically that he is very upset with the way how they treated him. A number of board members were copied on the email by this individual. He specifically requested to negotiate with Paul or me. He cannot be clearer than this.
Knowing this, the board refused to ask Paul or me to step in and help. All of a sudden, Mr. Lux (a nice person but has no experience dealing with this kind of sponsor), who was not copied on any of the emails, called this individual. This potential sponsor refused to take his call and was furious. He ended all negotiations with this board. I cannot even repeat what he said to the board members. Because of this, the USCF lost another potential $1 million sponsor.
In a week or so, there will be a major announcement about Paul regarding the upcoming World Championship in Mexico City. All I can tell you right now is the main sponsor and organizer has asked Paul to take a major role in this incredible event. Serious business people know what Paul can do while a few people decide to bash him even if it costs the USCF at the end. And this is for the best interest of this federation?
The bottom line is members can choose to elect chess politicians or they can choose to elect people who do things to help chess. If there is only one choice, I would put Paul as a more valuable board member than me because of what he can do.
Thank you for letting me know about the question.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
USCF members' blogs
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Election analysis by a major chess source
About.com is one of the most popular websites in the world. It is usually ranked around the top 100 most popular websites on this planet. There is a recent column about the upcoming USCF election.
Issues on the Chess Table : 2007 USCF Executive Board Election
From Mark Weeks,
Your Guide to Chess
...The list presents an unusually well qualified set of candidates, although all have their pluses and minuses. Each candidate received space to make a statement in the USCF's Chess Life for the months of April, May, and June.
...One of the features making the 2007 election unusually interesting is the candidacy of GM Susan Polgar. Mrs. Polgar is one-third of the famous chess playing Polgar sisters, a former Women's World Champion, an active organizer for scholastic chess (particularly for girls), a mother of two children, and a blogger who posts 10-15 items per day on her personal chess blog. Not since the heyday of Bobby Fischer have Americans seen such a strong chess personality with such an intense devotion to the game.
Polgar announced her candidacy in December 2006, along with a 'slate' consisting of Truong, Bauer, and Korenman (see I WILL run for the 2007 USCF Executive Board) with the words, 'I love chess and I cannot stand what some chess politicians have done to US Chess and the USCF. We HAVE to do better!'
In May 2007, she announced her marriage to Truong. The announcement took many observers by surprise.
...The About Chess choices: At About Chess, we have an interest in the future of chess in general, and the future of American chess in particular. We like and appreciate what both Susan Polgar and Bill Goichberg have done for the game in the United States. It pains us that they are at loggerheads in this election.
We also realize that Truong is the marketing and promotional mastermind behind Polgar's media success. While his efforts have been concentrated on his good friend (now spouse), rather than on the broad community of professional chess players, we feel that he should be given the opportunity to work his media magic for the benefit of all USCF members.
We don't like 'slates'. It isn't healthy to have four people with different backgrounds and objectives band together to create a 4-3 voting majority on a seven member board. For this reason, we prefer to look at what the other eight candidates have done for the good of chess.
After having spent some time learning about the candidates, our choices for election to the USCF Executive Board are Polgar, Truong, Bauer, and Schultz.
Bauer has a financial background and already served on the EB for one year, when he was elected to replace a member who resigned after the 2003 election. Schultz is a long time insider who knows everything and everybody connected to chess politics.
More can be read on chess.about.com website. Even without this election, check out this website. I highly recommend it.
A call for peace and unity for the sake of chess
Since I announced my candidacy for the USCF Executive Board, my life has been turned upside down. It is one thing I would not recommend my worst enemy to do. I am being harassed, threatened, insulted and attacked just about every single day. And that is a good day.
I would like to thank the countless of you who called me, emailed me and posted supporting messages. I really appreciate it. This election is not about me. Believe me, volunteering 4 years of my time to be treated like a caged animal is not something anyone would look forward to. But I made my decision to run because I had to. I had no choice. I cannot stand looking in from the outside and see what is being done to our sport. It is disheartening to me.
I have achieved everything I set out to do and more in chess. I could walk away from this sport and be proud and content. But I cannot. I owe it to chess, the sport that gave me so much in the past 34 years. I owe it to all the people who have supported me over the years. I owe it to the countless parents I met, people who sacrificed so much to give valuable opportunities to their children. I owe it to the thousands of players I faced or made acquaintance with over the years. I owe it to my children as a chess Mom. I cannot leave seeing the current state of the USCF. I will fight for its welfare and integrity with every ounce of energy that I have.
I have been bombarded with calls, emails and posts in the past 24-48 hours from friends and supporters, expressing their anger and outraged with the recent post card and email that they received from the USCF President Bill Goichberg and Continental Chess Association. I understand that the message was quite insulting and demeaning. It is disappointing. I understand that every tactic is being used by some people to win this election.
However, I urge all of you to show respect to Mr. Goichberg. He has done a lot for US Chess and the USCF over the years. Hatred and animosity will not help the USCF. It will only further divide the membership and further weakens this federation. I ask you to rise above them. We will address the issues while they deal with politics. We have a strong vision while they are still seeking for the light at the end of the tunnel. We will win because we are more qualified, more passionate and more energetic, and not because we can scream louder or destroy more.
If we do not do things differently, we would just be joining their path of failure and destruction year after year. Let's show them our voice with our votes and not insults. Let's unite and do the right things for the sake of US Chess and the USCF. Thank you for your support and thank you for doing the right things.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
The distasteful tactics
On a recent Alaska chess cruise I had the great pleasure of meeting both GM Polgar and FM Truong. I was most impressed with their passion for chess. On Friday June 1, I received a rather odd orange and black postcard in the mail from Bill Goichberg that was quite derogatory toward GM Polgar's and FM Truong's campaigns for the USCF Executive Board, claiming that the 2 were running "negative" campaigns.
Several thoughts come to mind. For one, I'm not positive, but isn't it a bit negative to say that others are negative? For another, who is paying for these postcards - mailed at the "presorted first class mail" rate! More to the point, why is someone going to such great expense to attack 2 accomplished candidates and relegate them to the "Other Candidates" section of the postcard, as if to trivialize them? And when speaking to fellow chess players, isn't it customary to refer to players by their earned titles?
Then too, who gave my USCF membership name and address for use in a direct mail campaign, and do all candidates for office have access to this list? Did all USCF members receive this same postcard? Forgetting (if one can) the direct attack on 2 fine candidates, something suspicious is afoot. Even a class B player like me can see one move deep!
Posted by Jeff Leach, Frederick MD USA
Saturday, June 02, 2007 2:27:00 AM
Here are some of sample posts by the supporters of candidates endorsed by Mr. Goichberg. It is important for everyone to see what I have to deal with and why the USCF desparately needs changes. There are 30-40 derogatory posts similar to this every single day!
If I was Bill Goichberg, I would ban Susan Polgar from the USCF. We don't need a woman in charge. It would be a tragedy if she and her team win. What does she know about chess politics? Nothing. How can she make deals with people who have been in the system for decades? Does she want to change things because it's 2007? There's nothing wrong with the USCF. Bill Goichberg, Sam Sloan, Joe Channing, Don Schultz, Randy Hough and Beatriz Marinello are great board members. I don't want to see any foreigner running this federation. This is my country. I'm proud to serve my country and send those immigrants back to where they came from. The USCF needs people like Stephen Jones, Joe Lux, Don Schultz, Mike Goodall, Sam Sloan and Jim Berry. They're born and raise in the USA and they know how things work.
Friday, June 01, 2007 3:52:00 PM
Reelect Don Schultz, Sam Sloan along with Joe Lux and Stephen Jones! We don't need any foreigner running the USCF. They should go back to to where they came from. The USCF was fine before she got here and it will be fine after. No changes are needed.
Friday, June 01, 2007 1:36:00 PM
Go back to where you came from. Leave this board and the USCF alone. We don't need a Hungarian running the show.
Friday, June 01, 2007 1:40:00 PM
Friday, June 01, 2007
The latest shocking USCF development
Countless parents approached me in the past few years about reducing the costs of the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls. Last year, a poll was taken about this matter. The choices were:
- Keep the tournament for 6 days
- Shorten it to 4 days (2 rounds on day 1, 2 rounds on day 2, 1 round on day 3 and 4)
Two separate polls were taken. The combine average of the 2 polls was:
- 79% of the parents favor the 4 day schedule to save 2 nights of hotels and meals
- 12% of the parents favor keeping it 6 days
- 9% cannot decide
A took a sample poll about moving the event to Texas Tech University where lodging and meals are taken care of the sponsor. Of the 18 parents who I discussed this with, 100% voted to accept the sponsorship from Texas Tech.
Another interesting note is my foundation, the Susan Polgar Foundation, and I, fully funded the annual $5,000+ in stipends and expenses since the inception of the event in 2004. We also sponsor the prizes for the side events.
In addition, I was present every single day of the event in the past 3 years without getting paid a penny. I do it because I want to help girls in chess. Because of this effort, thousands of young girls each year try very hard to qualify for this event. This is a motivation to keep girls in chess, something which the USCF asked me to do back in 2002/2003.
The USCF only provides the playing area and TD. A contract was signed with the USCF until at least 2009 and it was signed by the current USCF President Bill Goichberg. But because this is an election season, and because I refused to cave in to the political pressure by various chess politicians, here is a motion that was / will be presented by one of the current board members:
I have made the following motion:
Resolved the name of the Girls Tournament Held at the US Open is hereby changed to the "Irina Krush Tournament of Champions".
My reasons are as follows:
Susan Polgar states that she wants to hold the tournament in her name at Texas Tech University. At the same time, the USCF is unwilling to give up a successful tournament that we have developed over the last several years. Thus, it is inevitable that we will have to change the name of the tournament.
Accordingly, I am moving that we change the name to the Irina Krush Tournament of Champions.
My reasons are as follows:
Irina Krush is the highest rated ACTIVE woman player in the United States. In addition, she is rapidly improving. She has gained rating points in each of her last six tournaments, including her great result in the US Championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma last week. She is now rated 2497.
Irina is only 23 years old, which makes her much younger than most of her immediate rivals. It is unlikely that anybody will be able to catch her or pass her for at least the next several years.
Her name is easy to pronounce and remember. Frankly, most of the other top woman players have unpronounceable or unspellable names. At least, I cannot remember how to spell them and have to look them up every time.
She has a good name for chess. Imagine being Krushed by Bonecrusher Krush.
Irina has an attractive and charming personality. She is well liked by all who know her. She has never been involved in a dispute or a controversy of any kind. She has stayed clear of politics or of any sort of political involvement.
It does not hurt at all that Irina Krush is an astoundingly beautiful and attractive woman.
In short, Irina Krush is the perfect role model for our youth, for the type of person we want to bring into chess. A beautiful young girl is obviously a more attractive role model than a divorced, middle-aged woman.
As to the timing of this decision, I believe that now is the right time. If we wait it will be more controversial and politically contentious. I have considered waiting until the August meetings as Bill suggests, but that will be after the election and I believe it will have adverse political ramifications if done then.
Since Susan Polgar states that she no longer wishes to have a tournament in her name held in connection with the Annual US Open, and since the tournament in this format has been increasingly successful, we should simply change the name of the tournament.
Accordingly, I propose that we change the name of the tournament to Irina Krush Tournament of Champions and the name of the committee to the Krush Committee.
I hope that this motion can be passed quickly so that an announcement of the new name can appear in Chess Life magazine in the July issue before the tournament is held in Cherry Hill NJ in August.
USCF Board Member
This came up in spite of the fact that I have a legal contract until at least 2009 and that this tournament was created by me. This is in spite of the fact that I fought tooth and nail just to get this event off the ground over the objections from the chess politicians who do not want to support girl's chess. This is in spite of the fact that the USCF has no sponsor for the event this year or subsequent years without Texas Tech.
As I said many times before, if some of these people are willing to go out of their ways to legally threaten me, physically threaten my children and my family, and insult, demean, attack and lie about me just about every single day in the past 5 months, what would they do to others who do not have a voice?
This reminds me of the time when I was told by the chess authority that I cannot compete in the Men's World Championship because I am a woman or when they just decided to give every woman 100 points except me just to make sure I would not be #1 in the world.
They do not want me to stand up and fight back for the rights of all the players and trying to make chess and this federation better. There was even a post on my blog yesterday that I belong in the kitchen and not running for the Executive Board of the USCF. For my own good, drop out.
This is the kind of things that chess has to deal with for decades. There is no new ideas. It has been the same process of failed ideas being recycled year after year. This is the same group of people who blew off 3 potential sponsors with at least a million dollar deal each in the past 5-6 months alone! But they do not want professionalism and improvement.
By wanting to save the parents of the Polgar girls $50,000 of expenses per year in addition to getting at least 1 full college scholarship of around $30,000 and potentially many more each year, this motion came up. This is the state of the USCF.
Instead of doing the right things to help chess and the USCF, they chase away one member, volunteer, supporter and sponsor after another.
I cannot change this unless I have the power to do so. There are 7 board members and unless there is a majority of professional, experienced and sensible people, nothing can be done. That is why I made my recommendation of 3 others: Dr. M. Korenman, Paul Truong and Randy Bauer. These are the people who are most qualified and are able to help fix the USCF.
If you want the same vicious and malicious politics to continue then please vote for the others. I do not want to be a part of this destruction. I want changes. I want to reform chess and make the USCF a much more professional, viable and respected organization.
I am very sad about the state of the USCF. I hope that I will have a chance to fix things for the better.
I was asked what is the problem with this.
a) I have a legal contract and the board is violating it. Even discussing it is unethical and harmful to the event.
b) This is an event that I founded, funded and built from the ground up. This is an event that many USCF chess politicians fought hard not to allow and they said would doom anyway. They could not do a thing to help girls in chess. I did and they want to destroy it.
c) Irina is great! I hope one day she would be more active than me in promoting chess. However, these people are not interest in Irina. They are trying to divide, cause conflict and this harms our sport. They tried the same trick with the 2004 US Women's Olympiad Team. I have no doubt that Irina was not even asked about this.
d) USCF board members should put the best interest of the USCF and chess first. This shows you why the USCF is the way it is now. Destructive politics have always overshadowed the progess of chess in this country.
There are more but these are just some of the problems. As I stated, if you want this to continue, vote for them. If you want this destruction once in forever, Dr. M. Korenman, P. Truong, R. Bauer and I will work very hard to change many things for the better for US Chess and the USCF. But all four of us need to be elected to have a majority to stop the destruction.