Very contrasting view - Status quo vs Reform
Comments by Mr. Don Schultz:
My problem is that the USCF is not the terrible organization that you apparently are depicting it. Prophecies such as advanced by critics become self-fullfilling and none of us want that. We have good employees, dedicated Board members and thousands of helpful volunteers.
I consider the USCF the best national chess federation in the world. Unlike other countries we receive no government subsidies. Chess federations in many other countries are pawns of their governments. But back to reform/status quo point. How do you propose to bring about change. look at soccer, despite its worldwide popularity that great sport is moving forward at a snail's pace in the U.S.
How do I intend to cause change? I simply don't know, but am being pro-active in searching for the right answer. For example, FIDE, as you know, has just had a major reorganization with the esttablishment of FIDE Global headed up by Bessel Kok.
Bessel is a smart leader who has had enormous success in the business world. Therefore I have asked him to meet with our Board. We set September as the time frame which is good since the new Board will be installed then. My objective is for the USCF Board to learn the value of FIDE's organization change and investigate if there are there any parts of it that the USCF can benefit by adopting. This could lead to major changes in the USCF organization structure. Good organizations must evolve with a changing marketplace or perish. And USCF will evolve.
So what specific changes will you make if your team wins the election?
This is the response by FM Paul Truong
Don, Your response is precisely what I am talking about. You are great in what you do and I am extremely successful in what I do. It is always better if we focus on what we know best.
I did not say that the USCF is a terrible organization. I said that the USCF has many flaws in its structure and it is an inefficient organization. Any competent systems analyst can tell you this. I stand by my analysis.
You said: "How do I intend to cause change? I simply don't know, but am being pro-active in searching for the right answer. For example, FIDE, as you know, has just had a major reorganization with the establishment of FIDE Global headed up by Bessel Kok.
Bessel is a smart leader who has had enormous success in the business world. Therefore I have asked him to meet with our Board. We set September as the time frame which is good since the new Board will be installed then. My objective is for the USCF Board to learn the value of FIDE's organization change and investigate if there are there any parts of it that the USCF can benefit by adopting. "
You just admitted that you do not have the solutions. I do. You want to bring in FIDE. Why? Mr. Kok is a legend. He knows how to stage grand things. But that is not what the USCF needs. The USCF DOES NOT have the money or budget. We need to do things the grassroots way. We need to involve our local affiliates, volunteers and supporters. We need to stop gambling our money. We need to learn to take baby steps toward a sufficient, efficient and sound USCF instead. We cannot pay someone $1 million to play a match against the computer. But we can afford to utilize our existing resources more efficiently.
We need to focus on helping our teachers, coaches and volunteers so they can help our kids. We have tons of people who want to help but do not know how. We need to make sure that our kids do not drop out of chess after an event or two. We need to support and do more for college chess because this is the bridge between scholastic and adult chess. We need to do more for our military chess. We need to do more for correspondence chess. We need to partner up with ICC, WCN, FICS, etc. with Internet Chess. We can do all of this without costing us anything. We can do more with what we have by utilizing our website, CL and CL4K a lot more.
The next point you made is you invited Mr. Kok to meet the next board. This is the next problem. You do not know who will be elected to the board. Why would you set up something for the next board? I totally disagree with this. The next board should set their own course. It is up to the next board to set up the meeting with Mr. Kok if they choose to. It should not be up to you or this board. This is the long time problem with the USCF. The new board always has to undo things from the previous board. This is the status quo.
Again, I am not questioning the credentials of Mr. Kok. He is great. But his success has little relations to the USCF. It is apples and oranges. He has his event in a castle. We do our things in a Holidays Inn ball room or local YMCA. He deals with multimillion dollar projects for FIDE, an organization which pays millions for a chess match while our players play in weekend Swiss or Quads.
GM Polgar and I traveled to over 150 events in the US in the past 5+ years, from NY City to towns with 3,000 people or less. We spoke to tens and thousands of average chess players and supporters and not chess politicians. Do you think Mr. Kok would know what our local affiliates, supporters or volunteers would need more than people who are out there day in day out interacting with the actual members? FIDE and the USCF members look at chess from two different planets. I would ask GM Polgar to tell you about what she learns from all her appearances before I would ask Mr. Kok of how to save the USCF.
What would I change? For starter, the mentality of this federation! Don, there are tens and thousands of people out there who are willing, able and ready to help chess and the USCF and they are doing things on the local level. We need to do a lot more to ignite our base. We have not done anywhere close to the level that we should.
Next, I would sit down and go over each of our annual major chess events and activities to find out what we are doing wrong. I constantly hear that we do not know where the money goes. This is not acceptable. With the proper data, we can pinpoint the exact problem of each event in less than 15 minutes. How can we improve if we keep on making the same mistakes year after year?
Next, I would sit down to evaluate the spending efficiency. We have more than enough revenues with what we are doing right now. The problem is we are wasting our valuable resources. Please correct me if I am wrong since I do not know the full behind the scene numbers. But from what that has been made public, the USCF spent around $100,000 last year to revamp Chess Life, the website and add a CLO editor as well as a get together in Palm Beach.
As I asked earlier, was there any open bidding for the CL and website redesign and for the position of CLO editor? Can you please show me where were the ads placed? Were they in CL or other publications? Were they on the website? How could we spend this much money without reaching out to seek the absolute best candidate?
Efficiency! Mike Nolan is fantastic in what he does. He has made the USCF so much better in so many ways. But as an analyst, the first thing I would question is are we using Mike the most efficient way? I am afraid not. This is just one of the countless things that should be reviewed. The USCF has been ruled by chess lovers with good intentions but poor executions. This has been our demise. We lost money in 9 of the past 11 years. This federation almost went under just a few short years ago. We are in the red again this year and we have no solutions in site. If I have to sum up everything in one word, it would be INEFFICIENCY!
I do not blame the employees or staff. They are not the ones who are responsible for the USCF losing money in 9 of the last 11 years and again this year. Let’s not point fingers at innocent people to deflect the real problems.
As I said, if I am elected and I cannot help the USCF become a stronger, sounder and more successful, I will never run again. Isn’t time for all of our leaders to take responsibilities for their records? Isn’t time we do the right things for the USCF instead of politics as usual?
A board member needs to understand and deal with all membership categories and not just adult or scholastic. We are quite different in how we view things and I am glad that the members will have a chance to choose. This is healthy for the USCF.