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©

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The GM Denker I knew

That's me presenting the Polgar medal to GM Arnold Denker at the first annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls

GM Denker was one of the kindest individuals that I have ever met. He was one of the few people who made his voice loudly known in support of the 2004 US Women's Olympiad Training program that I started. When I discussed with him about following his and Dewain Barber's idea to sponsor the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls, he was in full support. He said it was about time things are done to help the girls.

When I faced a lot of political road blocks just to even get the Polgar event off the ground with my own personal money, he once again made his voice loudly known in support of the USCF sanctioning this event the same way as the Denker event. He did not back down to anyone who attacked the idea of giving opportunities to girls.

He was honest, thoughtful and the best interests of the children were always his #1 priority. He was amazed to see so many girls showing up for the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls in the first year while doubters said that no more than 10 girls will show up. We more than triple that number and we were on equal pace with the Denker in only our second year.

GM Denker did complain to me and Mr. Dewain Barber two things about the Denker and Polgar event. He complained about the scheduling of the events at the same time as the US Open. The US Open usually begins too late in August and many kids had to miss the beginning of school or they could not to attend. The other thing he complained about was there was no discount or free entry for the Denker and Polgar players who want to play in the US Open as well.

On behalf of the Susan Polgar Foundation and all the Polgar players to date, I would like to thank GM Denker and his family for supporting these events, two that changed the lives of so many young chess players.

Without his kindness, vision and actions, many of the young players would not be able to attend college today. He will always have a special place in my heart and I am eternally grateful for him being my friend and mentor.
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The battle line has been drawn

Even though I have no choice but to discuss about the upcoming critical USCF Executive Board election, the most important USCF election in a long time, I will try to post as little as possible on the main Susan Polgar blog.

The new twist is some of the USCF EB members want to stop the momentum of scholastic chess by taking away the opportunities for young players to earn hundreds of thousands worth of college scholarships.

This has been advertised by the USCF:

Annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls
7/29 - 8/3 2007
Crowne Plaza Philadelphia-Cherry Hill
2349 West Marlton Pike
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
1-800-227-6963 - $114 chess rate
Polgar Details & Rules

This is a USCF sanctioned national event which my foundation, the Susan Polgar Foundation, and I funded for the past 3 years as well as this year. We have awarded more than $200,000 in college scholarships (UTD), cash scholarships and many other chess prizes. This is an event that motivates girls from across the country to play and stay in chess. Thousands of girls compete in regional, state and national events to qualify for this prestigious event.

I had to fight tooth and nail just to get this event off the ground in the first place. Some people did not want to see all-girls events exist. But it did and it became the most successful all-girls tournament.

After I made a decision to save each parents at least $1,000 in lodging and meal starting from next year, some of the Executive Board member decided to retaliate. This is a motion that was made by one of the board members with no objection by the other board members:

"Accordingly, I make the following motion: Resolved that the "Polgar" tournament is no longer a USCF National event and that the Polgar Committee is hereby disbanded."

The level of destruction is simply incredible. Instead of helping the scholastic and college chess community, they want to hurt it. They are asking you to vote for them so they would have another 4 years of destruction.

It is up to you to decide if you want to grant these people 4 more years of the same direction or if you want to drastic positive and professional changes. If you are sick and tired of the same old pattern of destruction from the USCF chess politicians, I ask you to vote for the team of Mikhail Korenman, Paul Truong, Randy Bauer and me. We will work hard to build a better, stronger and sound USCF.

Thank you for your support.
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The cold hard truth behind the chess destruction

In the past 5+ years, I have given 150% of myself to positively promote chess in the United States. My goal and mission is to bring chess to a different level by raising the awareness of chess in the media, getting more colleges and universities to give chess scholarships, getting more schools to have chess as part of the curriculum or after school programs, train more teachers so they can properly teach chess, improve women’s chess, and retain more of our players (especially young players), etc.

Here of some of the most well known projects that my foundation (the Susan Polgar Foundation) and I created:

- The US Women’s Olympiad Training Program which helped the 2004 US Women’s Olympiad Team capture the first ever Olympiad medal which is team Silver in addition to 2 additional individual Gold medals and 1 additional Silver medal

- The annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls, the most prestigious all-girls event in the United States. Today, thousands of girls have competed in regional and state competitions to qualify for this annual event. Girl’s chess is booming and many more of them stay in chess longer.

- The annual Susan Polgar National Open Championship for Girls and the annual Susan Polgar National Chess Challenge for Boys.

- The annual Susan Polgar World Open Championship for Girls and the annual Susan Polgar World Chess Challenge for Boys.

In the past 3 years, the Susan Polgar Foundation has awarded more than $400,000 in scholarships, stipends, Dell laptop computers, digital cameras and chess prizes on behalf of UTD, UTB, Texas A&M, Texas Tech University and other sponsors.

We also organized and sponsored countless other projects and events for college chess, military chess, internet chess, and scholastic chess, etc.

Unfortunately, some members of the USCF Executive Board are not happy. Instead of helping partners like the AF4C, SPF and others to excel who in turn will bring in more memberships and revenues for the USCF, they want to chase everyone away.

The following has happened within the past 5 months:

- Earlier this year, the AF4C walked away from the USCF. They decided not to sponsor the USCF championship. This is an organization which has invested more than $1,000,000 in the USCF. The cause was directly contributed by USCF board members.

- UTD declined to sponsor the Denker and Polgar event, citing that the USCF did not properly recognize UTD as a sponsor. UTD also cited that the SPF did its job in promoting and recognizing UTD.

- Because of what happened, the Denker committee chair approached the Polgar committee chair to ask for help in obtaining new scholarships for these events. In addition, the Denker chair also asked if there is any university willing to also sponsor the playing venue, lodging and meals for the players. This would save each Polgar and Denker player approximately $1,000 or more in expenses. In addition, one of the reasons cited for seeking a new location is the schedule of the US Open is not friendly to the scholastic players since many states start schools early and some of the players would have to miss the beginning of school.

- The Denker committee is interested in finding a 5-10 year deal so that the event would be secured. It is not easy to go out and find new scholarships each and every single year. The sponsors of the Denker and Polgar event both agreed to this idea since it would save their players around $100,000 a year plus $60,000+ in scholarships each year. If you take this number and multiply it by a 10-year deal, which would be over $1,500,000 in savings and scholarships.

- A university was found and before the Denker committee and the sponsor can even visit the campus to inspect the site, members of the current board decided to falsify the information to purposely mislead the USCF members, especially the parents of these players. In addition, they insulted and demeaned the potential sponsor. Why? For political reason.

- Back to the US Championship, there was another potential sponsor who was interested to invest a substantial amount of money, a million dollars or perhaps more. After negotiating with some members of this USCF Executive Board, the potential sponsor was so angry at the horrible and disrespectful treatment that he received, he walked away and that is to describe it mildly.

So in the past 5 months alone, our chess politicians destroyed 3 multimillion dollar potential deals. There is zero concept of professionalism, respect or courtesy toward our volunteers, supporters, members and sponsors. Some of our board members contributed in personal attacks, insults, and legal threats. Instead of asking for help since they can't close these deals, they decided to attack the people who can successfully do it.

The latest thing now is an attempt by board members not to allow the Susan Polgar Foundation and me to organize the Susan Polgar National Open Championship for Girls, the Susan Polgar World Open Championship for Girls and the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls. These events do not receive a penny of funding by the USCF and they bring in revenues for the USCF by getting more kids to play and stay in chess.

They rather see the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships, big drop in retaining memberships and no growth in chess. They also attacked and demeaned the Susan Polgar All-Star Girls Chess Team program designed to recognize our most talented girls and give them additional world-class training. They want to take away these opportunities for our young players. Why? Again, chess politics. They simply do not put the best interests of the members first.

As I said many times, the federation has been run by basically the same group of people over the last 20-30-40 years. They do not want to change the way how this federation operates. They want to maintain the status quo. They have no new ideas or direction for this federation. When the US Women’s Olympiad Team came home in 2004 with the first ever medal in US history, we did not receive a single congratulatory letter from any board member. However, what we got was a letter of notification that the US Women’s Olympiad Training Program was officially cancelled. This is what they called progress.

This country barely produces homegrown grandmasters in the past decade. The USCF could not produce a single elite round robin or invitational event with super Grandmasters. The round robin with the highest average rating was the NYC Mayor’s Cup last which was organized by the Susan Polgar Foundation. There is virtually no support for our top players. The USCF has done virtually a minimum in acquiring chess scholarships for our young players. This federation has a horrible record in finding corporate sponsors and it has an even worse reputation in retaining them.

But the same people will fight using every dirty trick in the book to keep their power. And what are their ideas? What do they want to do? How do they plan to improve the USCF or US Chess? Nothing! Dead silence when real issues are brought up. But the daily lies, insults and attacks are very loud.

What do I want to do? What are some of my goals for the USCF if my team and I are elected?

- Restore respectability, integrity, credibility and professionalism to the USCF.
- Reestablish a sound and balanced budget and create strong a strong foundation to substantially increase revenues and sponsorships.
- Develop strong cooperation and support for adult, scholastic, collegiate, correspondence and military chess.
- Establish a strong professional marketing and PR system.
- End the petty and destructive politics.

I want to bring in more scholarships for our young players. I want to help more teachers learn how to teach chess properly. I would like to see chess being promoted in the right way.

The line between the candidates is quite clear. It is stunning for me to see some of the candidates being endorsed by the same people who endorsed and voted for Sam Sloan, a person with a long history with legal problems, the person who caused serious corporations to walk away from the USCF. Some things just do not change. If you are content with the current state of the USCF, vote for them.

I have fought as hard as I could to change things for the better and our chess politicians have fought just as hard to make sure no progress is made. They rather see our players lose out because of chess politics instead of doing the right things. I cannot do this alone. I need your help. I need the most qualified team to help me. Without a board majority, all my efforts will be stopped at the door and nothing will get accomplished.

That is why I also highly recommend these 3 highly qualified candidates:

- Dr. Mikhail Korenman: He is a force behind scholastic, college, adult and professional chess. This is a critical component for the USCF and no other candidate can offer this expertise. He’s also a member of the USCF Scholastic Council. He is well respected by many people, including former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, 7-time World Champion Anatoly Karpov, and many others.

- Paul Truong: He is by far the most successful person in chess marketing, promotion, public relations and management. He is also the best negotiator which will be very helpful for the USCF when it comes to dealing with sponsors and supporters. He can bring many things to this federation that no one could in the past. He is an ultimate professional in every sense. He will also help fix many current weaknesses of the USCF and end the destructive chess politics.

- Randy Bauer: He has had tremendous success as the budget director of the state of Iowa, dealing with a multibillion dollar budget. We need his financial and budgeting expertise to help end massive losses. We need to stabilize our finances. Losing money in 9 of the last 11 years is not a direction we can afford to continue.

Please make sure to vote. You will receive your ballots in the June 2007 Chess Life. Your decision can change the course of the USCF for decades to come.

Thank you for your support!
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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dr. Korenman's big chess success

That is Dr. Korenman , founder of Chess for Peace project. In the picture is former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Chess for Peace was one of the most spectacular events in chess history and Dr. Mikhail Korenman made it happen. This was just one of the countless incredible projects he has done for the American chess scene which got national and international media attention. He will make an incredible board member for the USCF.

Gorbachev Presides Over Chess for Peace
By Irwin W. Fisk

October 29, 2005 will long be remembered as the day one of the world’s greatest leaders of the 21st Century came to Lindsborg to participate in the Chess for Peace initiative, chaired by former Senator Nancy Kassebaum.

It was not only the day that Gorbachev came, it was the day that former World Chess Champions Susan Polgar and Anatoly Karpov came. Lt. Governor John Moore, former governor John Carlin and former lieutenant governor Sheila Frahm and other elected officials came.

Two vice presidents of the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF), Don Schultz and Joel Channing, came along with a host of other USCF executives. And, Grandmaster Yury Shulman, a teacher at the Karpov School of Chess and someone who considers Lindsborg as his second home.

The Chess for Peace weekend occurred not only in Lindsborg; it occurred around the world as millions of chess players turned their attention to the match between five-time Women’s World Champion Susan Polgar and seven-time World Champion Anatoly Karpov.

Players watched it live as a computer technician from the U.S. Chess Federation fed Karpov and Polgar’s moves onto three major worldwide chess Internet sites.

Chess players and those interested in world events crowded into Bethany College’s Presser Hall Saturday afternoon to see former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev make the opening move in the match between World Chess Champions Polgar and Karpov. Karpov and Polgar opened the match by taking questions from the audience.

Most were serious questions about chess, but one young girl asked Susan, “How old are you?” The audience laughed when Susan replied, “Older than you.” Susan later told the girl, “No, I’m 35.”

Gorbachev, a chess player himself, apparently decided to play with Karpov’s mind by deliberately making the astonishingly bad opening move of g4. With a big smile, he reminded Karpov that one doesn’t take back moves in chess. Although Gorbachev was scheduled to make the opening move and leave, he stood over them and watched Polgar exploit the poor opening move, but Susan Polgar’s advantage wasn’t to last long.

Gorbachev, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, world figure and former President of the Soviet Union, acted the gracious host by opening a bottle of water and serving it to Polgar and Karpov. Afterward, Polgar laughed. “When the president got the water and poured it for us, I completely lost my concentration,” said Polgar.

Gorbachev stood and watched the entire first game between the two champions. The six-game match ended in a 3-3 tie.

Earlier in the day, 75 reporters and photographers crowded into Burnett Center to attend the news conference for Gorbachev, Karpov, Polgar, and Mikhail Korenman. Korenman is director of the Karpov School of Chess and the Chess for Peace initiative.

The first question of the conference was: “Mr. President, is it realistic to think that chess can make a difference in the pursuit of world peace?”"It's quite realistic to speak of this possibility," Gorbachev said, "but this does not involve just chess." Gorbachev then said that the pursuit of peace may involve "100 or 1,000 other initiatives ... when you want to change policy dramatically, you may see elections, demonstrations, and many different kinds of people's initiatives."

The demonstrations at the World Trade Organization Conference in Seattle, he said, were one example. "Other people began to join this movement," he said, "and this was a result of people protesting.”"And now we have an example of bringing in the Internet, and this idea of Anatoly Karpov, that through chess we can seek peace, and that a great deal more can be achieved. This is a peaceful pursuit of peace in the world, in my view, and it's why I am here (in Lindsborg)."

The Karpov-Polgar match was preceded that morning with the Chess for Peace parade down the main street to City Hall where Gorbachev, Karpov, Polgar, and organizer Mikhail Korenman addressed other dignitaries and the assembled crowd, including 165 student players who came to participate in the scholastic tournament, march in the parade, and see the Karpov-Polgar match. Each student in the scholastic tournament received a special Chess for Peace medal. The winners received free scholarships, valued at $695, to the Chess for Peace Festival which will be held in Lindsborg in June 2006.

Afterward, Karpov escorted Gorbachev to the Karpov School of Chess, where they toured the facility with Mikhail Korenman and Susan Polgar. The school was established two years earlier with the help of a grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Later in the evening, a packed audience watched as Gorbachev and Alan Murray, assistant managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, played chess and discussed world affairs on the stage of Presser Hall at Bethany College. Both Murray and Gorbachev drew analogies to chess and politics throughout their hour-long exchange.

Among other things, Gorbachev told of the plot by hardliners to overthrow the government in August of 1991. The plot failed when Boris Yeltsin led a revolt against the leaders of the coup, which led to the release of Gorbachev and his family.

The Chess for Peace events of October 29 were preceded two weeks earlier when Alexander Bah, executive director of the Russian Chess Federation, and nine students from Karpov’s chess school in Poikovsky, Siberia visited Lindsborg. Bill Hall, executive director of the USCF spent a couple of days with Bah discussing matters of mutual interest to the two federations.

The Siberian students, who stayed with host families in Lindsborg, sampled the American lifestyle, played chess and interacted with students throughout Kansas.

“This is what Chess for Peace is all about,” said Mikhail Korenman, director of the initiative. “It’s all about students from different cultures developing friendships through chess.”
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Dr. Korenman and UMBC

Dr. Mikhail Korenman visited Baltimore on Friday (May 25, 2007) to receive a $10,000 grant from the MD Department of Education. He also received a grant of around $250,000 a few years back for chess in Kansas.

International Educational and Cultural Services, Inc. formed a partnership with the University of Maryland - Baltimore County (UMBC) Chess Program and the Amburus Middle School to pilot-test a year-long program for middle school students in Baltimore County.

Dr. Alan Sherman, Director of the UMBC Chess Program, GM Marcin Kaminsky, Assistant Director and UMBC graduate student, GM Alexander Onischuk a graduate from the UMBC last week, and Dr. Korenman meet with the MD Department of Education staff and a Principal of the Amburus Middle school to discuss the program.

They are going to offer weekly lessons to the middle school student that would be delivered by the UMBC Chess Program participants. They are also going to do a number of educational research tests to measure students progress in general education and find out the role of chess instructions in this process.

The UMBC President sent his congratulatory message to Dr. Sherman and Dr. Korenman on receiving the grant.

This is why I ask you to vote for Dr. Korenman. He is a force behind scholastic, college, adult and professional chess. This is a critical component for the USCF and no other candidate can offer this expertise.

Congratulations to Dr. Korenman and UMBC!
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Oklahoma conflict resolved

I am very pleased to report that Jim Berry, President of the Oklahoma Chess Foundation (OCF), and Chuck Unruh, President of the Oklahoma Chess Association (OCA), have reached an agreement to end the conflict that has existed in Oklahoma Chess since 2003.

The agreement was reached after a meeting in Stillwater Thursday night which included 20 members of both OCF and OCA, and subsequent discussions over the weekend between the two Presidents, and includes the following:

AGREEMENT Approved by the OCF and OCA Policy Boards Jim Berry, OCF President will:

(a) Welcome all USCF players to OCF tournaments, with equal treatment regardless of any and all affiliations with other USCF organizations in good standing.
(b) Acknowledge and affirm the OCA as the rightful State Chapter Affiliate and their duties and responsibilities.
(c) If elected to the USCF Executive Board, recuse myself from any USCF EB vote, action or discussion whatsoever that would adversely impact the OCA.
(d) Remove hostile wording in the OCQ.

Charles Unruh, OCA President will:

(a) Introduce and support a USCF ADM that strongly encourages all state chapter affiliates to have a minimum voting age of at least 16, the requirement used in USCF elections.
(b) Remove speculation regarding post-USCF election activity by Jim Berry on OCA website.
(c) Encourage OCF to bid for the 2008 State Championship and collect OCA dues.

Both parties will work for the following:
(a) OCF and OCA State Champions will be dual listed on both websites.

Agreed to on this 23rd of May in the year 2007.

Bill Goichberg
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Friday, May 18, 2007

Election discussion

You already know a lot about me and the next 3 candidates:

FM Paul Truong: He is by far the most successful person in chess marketing, promotion, public relations and management. He is also the best negotiator which will be very helpful for the USCF when it comes to dealing with sponsors and supporters. He can bring many things to this federation that no one could in the past. He is an ultimate professional in every sense. He will also help fix many current weaknesses of the USCF and end the destructive chess politics.

Dr. Mikhail Korenman: He has a strong record in promoting and organizing major chess events. He’s a member of the USCF Scholastic Council. He is well respected by many people, including former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, 7-time World Champion Anatoly Karpov, and many others. He can help unite the USCF. This is very important. We need someone who understand scholastic, college and adult chess and can help bridge these areas to stop the losing trend of memberships.

NM Randy Bauer: He has had tremendous success as the budget director of the state of Iowa, dealing with a multibillion dollar budget. We need his financial and budgeting expertise to help end massive losses. We need to stabilize our finances. Losing money in 9 of the last 11 years is not a direction we can afford to continue.

Now, I will introduce the other candidates:

Jim Berry: An incredible chess enthusiast, a generous chess sponsor and organizer. These are his own words: "I am a banker. I will bring a real life understanding of money: its production, its uses, and its very nature. I sit on the board of directors of a 2 billion dollar bank NASDAQ: OKSB. Income from dues needs to be spent wisely and judiciously. That’s what bankers do. I will insist that we set a USCF budget with care and then I promise not to allow that budget to be compromised."

Don Schultz: A current board member. He has a long history with the USCF. His wife Theresa is a wonderful lady. Here is his description of his wife: "Teresa and I will be celebrating our fiftieth wedding anniversary. We have three daughters and nine grandchildren. Teresa has always been supportive of my chess work. In fact, in 2004 she won the award, “chess mate of the year”. While no official records are kept, I am quite certain, Teresa has cooked more meals for chess people than anyone!" I certainly agree with this.

Mike Goodall: These are his own words: "I have had many jobs: From postal clerk to Scientific Data Analyst at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory; from taxi driver to PBS Television executive; from retail clerk to Benefit Authorizer for the Social Security Administration." Mike also stated that Mr. Sam Sloan, who violated countless code of conducts and was censured by the USCF numerous times, is a good board member and they are friends.

FM Stephen Jones: These are his words: "I have been an attorney for over 30 years. I am a former professor of mathematics and an FM. I do not make money teaching, organizing, or directing chess. I have never had any financial dealings with the USCF. In short, I view chess as an ordinary player, like the vast majority of all USCF members. It's only a game."

Joe Lux: These are his words: "I taught three summer chess camps with David MacEnulty in the South Bronx. One of the fifth grade students whom I taught, Steadroy Lloyd, now attends St. John's University on scholarship. Every other boy from that class is now in prison."

Sam Sloan: This is the description of Mr. Sloan according to the USCF President Bill Goichberg: "Sloan violated a court order by removing his daughter from New York in 1982, then did the same with Virginia in 1986, was jailed for the latter in Virginia in 1990, and then attempted to abduct his daughter during a supervised visit in Virginia in 1991. The court order awarding custody to the "kidnappers" stated in part, "Mr. and Mrs. Charles Roberts have raised the child in a stable normal middle class lifestyle and the child is thriving well in school. They have developed a close relationship... and she views them as her parents. Shamema indicated to the court her desire to live with Mr. and Mrs. Roberts and that she did not wish to see Mr. Sloan." Also, "On September 5, 1991 while Shamema was visiting Mr. Sloan under the supervision of Mr. Rick Groff of the Amherst County Department of Social Services, Mr. Sloan tried to leave with her running to a rental car which he had parked near her home. In his posession were airplane tickets to Japan and the child's passport. The child ran from him to Mr. Groff's vehicle and locked herself in the vehicle. Mr. Sloan was arrested and charged with abduction in the City of Lynchburg."

Please feel free to discuss the pros and cons of each candidate. Please stick to the facts and no personal attacks.
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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Election Q&A

Q: Will you work with Bill Goichberg, Randy Hough and Joel Channing if you’re elected?

Yes, absolutely. They have done a lot for chess and I respect them. Unfortunately, some politicians tried to divide the leadership of the USCF by spreading false rumors. I have criticized the USCF as a whole, for its inefficient structure, less than desirable results, and petty politics. These problems have gone back for decades. This election is about new direction, new vision and helping the USCF. This election is not about us versus them.

Q: Why haven’t you responded to the countless unfair and vicious attacks against you in the USCF forums and on various news groups?

Well, I can’t say that many of the comments are not hurtful or even harmful. However, for the sake of the USCF, I will bite my tongue and not respond to any of them. Otherwise, we would be back to the same problems of the USCF that I vowed to change. If I respond, they will counter with something else and we will just be going back and forth without an end result. This is how hatred and animosity started with many chess politicians in the past. I want to unite everyone and therefore, I must make that sacrifice. I will lead by strong positive examples. I just hope that the voters will understand the truth from the lies.

Q: Some people have tried to use your recent marriage against you. Why did you decide to announce it in Texas?

This is the unfortunate part about chess politics. Some chess politicians will say whatever they want without regards to the truth. What can I do about it? Some of these people should be ashamed of themselves for behaving this way.

First of all, the media in Lubbock, Texas announced my marriage a few months ago when I was there to discuss with Texas Tech officials about SPICE. Our families and probably hundreds of friends knew about it.

Secondly, I consider this my personal affair and it is none of their business. I really do not care if they feel differently. Do they even think about what they are doing to my sons who are 6 and 8 years old? Is this the price we have to pay to do good things for chess?

I married my long time best friend. My children love him. I hope that everyone could experience true love. I am very happy with my life right now and I am looking forward to doing even more for chess in the future. And these chess politicians want to politicize this? Shame on them!

Q: What do you think about the candidates in this election?

I believe there are 7 candidates with strong credentials. It is unfortunate that there is no debate or discussion about the experience and accomplishments of these candidates. I am sure many voters would like to know what each of the candidates has done for chess in the last 12, 24 or 36 months. It is easy for people to make false promises when it comes to election time. The truth lies in their real accomplishments.

Out of the 10 candidates, I see only 5-6 candidates doing many positive things for the USCF in the past 3-5 years. It is up to the voters to decide if they want to vote for people who have made a difference or the people who promise they will make a difference.

Q: Some of your opponents stated that you, Mr. Truong or Mr. Korenman do not have to be elected to help the USCF raise money or find sponsorships. What is your thought about that?

Again, people can twist things anyway they want. Their analysis is completely flawed and this is a perfect example to illustrate the reason why the USCF has very little success in this area. Imagine if someone comes to you and tell you that a Knight is worth more than a Queen. What would you think about this comment? I sometimes wonder about their motives for wanting to retain the status quo.

The bottom line is we have repeatedly offered to help. Our phones never rang once. No one from the Executive Board called us for help. We have no authority to do anything without the consent of the USCF and we do not have that consent. In fact, some board members even purposely tried to create a hostile environment for sponsors and supporters.

In addition, why would any sponsor want to deal with the USCF when we have chess politicians including board members insulting, attacking and demeaning our sponsors, supporters and members? This is precisely the reason we kept losing one sponsor after another. This is also precisely the reason why the USCF ED Bill Hall stated in the delegates’ meeting last year that the USCF was having a hard time giving away free ad space in Chess Life to corporations. Many companies do not want to associate themselves with this federation.

Let me be as blunt as possible. The USCF has a serious problem with its image and reputation. This is why I am running. I want to change this image. I want to restore the respectability, integrity, credibility and professionalism to the USCF. Without this, I cannot work miracles. No one can. The bottom line is the USCF needs a new makeover and a new direction. Without the proper professional people, nothing will change.

Each week, I will continue to publish 5 questions and answers about election issues. If there are questions you would like to ask, please feel free to post them. I will choose the 5 most relevant questions each week to respond.
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The basic expectation for chess leaders

The USCF is the National Chess Federation of the United States. We claim that we are the largest and one of the most prestigious chess federations in the world. We supposed to lead the chess world by good examples. Unfortunately, too many of our Executive Board members / chess leaders behave atrociously instead of professionally.

My experience as a chess sponsor, organizer and promoter started around 2001. Prior to that, I was mainly a professional chess player and advocate. At that time, even though not all of the board members / chess leaders that I met agreed with all of my ideas, they were polite, respectful and behave in professional manners. That is my basic expectation of our chess leaders.

Toward the end of 2003, things started to sink and it got a lot worse since. Some board members / chess leaders started to attack, insult and demean our USCF members, supporters, sponsors, organizers and even volunteers. They see nothing wrong with calling each other names and they do the same to the memberships, supporters, sponsors and volunteers. This has now become a sick pattern. This is absolutely unacceptable! Because of this inexcusable behavior, the USCF started to lose one member, supporter and sponsor after another.

Many people asked me why I decided to put myself through hell to run in this upcoming USCF Executive Board election if this is just a volunteer position. The reason for that is simple. I am a professional chess player. I am a chess enthusiast. I am a chess supporter. I am a chess promoter. I am a chess organizer. I am a chess sponsor. I am a chess ambassador. And most important of all, I am a chess Mom. I do not like what I see and I want to positively change things.

Every time I see things that are not right, I fight to change it for the better. I fought throughout my entire life to end discrimination against gender, religion, race and age, etc. But fighting against the establishments has never been easy. But if I do not stand up and fight for what is right and what I believe in, I cannot look at myself in the mirror knowing that I did not give my all to our sport.

Unfortunately, there is a price to pay when you fight against the power from the top. Every single day, various chess leaders and their front men insult, demean, attack and lie about me and my family. They made threats to physically harm me and my family if I do not drop out of this election. I even received letters from their lawyers with vile legal threats. They will use every single trick to try to stop my promise to clean up the USCF and this is the price I have to pay to fix the status quo.

Let me tell you what happened. I was asked by a number of people from both sides of the political aisles to join them and their groups. They told me that I would receive “protection” and “immunity” if I join them. They informed me that if I choose not to join, they cannot guarantee my name and reputation.

I politely refused. I do not want to join any chess political party. I decided to run in this election to clean things up and not to make things worse. Even though I like and respect many people from both sides and I will work with them in the future, I will not join their political games. After my refusal, their promises came true. That was when vicious attacks came in from all sides.

This federation has no chance to grow and it will sink if things do not change. I am sick of it. So do thousands of others. Many of us joined this federation to play chess or to support our children. We do not join the USCF for the nasty, dirty and destructive politics. There are a lot more chess players who are not members of the USCF. Many of them refuse to join or rejoin because of the behavior of our chess leaders and the direction this federation is going.

I am fighting the system. I promised to run a clean campaign and I have. I have not attacked any individual. I attacked the system, the bureaucracy, the inefficiency, the failed system, the failed structure, the unprofessionalism and the negative attitude. However, some of my opponents and people who stand to gain the most if my team and I do not win this election do not play by the same rule. They go out of their ways to be vindictive, vicious and malicious.

I am not going to change. I will not attack my opponents. I will take the high roads and continue to focus on the problems. I will continue to promote chess positively and give my all to chess. The ballots should arrive to the members in about 3 weeks or so. I can only hope that the USCF members will do the right things for this federation when it comes times to cast their votes. This election will set the course of the USCF for decades to come.

I am not a chess politician and I do not plan to continue running term after term. I am willing, ready and able to serve and help the USCF. But I would be useless just as many good board members before me if I have no power to make changes. We need a team of successful professional people to lead the USCF into a different direction.

What are some of my goals for the USCF if my team and I are elected?

- Restore respectability, integrity, credibility and professionalism to the USCF.
- Reestablish a sound and balanced budget and create strong a strong foundation to substantially increase revenues and sponsorships.
- Develop strong cooperation and support for adult, scholastic, collegiate, correspondence and military chess.
- Establish a strong professional marketing and PR system.
- End the petty and destructive politics.

And this is why I highly recommend these three other candidates and here are my reasons:

FM Paul Truong: He is by far the most successful person in chess marketing, promotion, public relations and management. He can bring something to this federation that no one could in the past. He is an ultimate professional in every sense. He will also help fix many current weaknesses of the USCF and end the destructive chess politics.

Dr. Mikhail Korenman: He has a strong record in promoting and organizing major chess events. He’s a member of the USCF Scholastic Council. He is well respected by many people, including former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, 7-time World Champion Anatoly Karpov, and many others. He can help unite the USCF. This is very important.

NM Randy Bauer: He has had tremendous success as the budget director of the state of Iowa, dealing with a multibillion dollar budget. We need his financial and budgeting expertise to help end massive losses. We need to stabilize our finances.

As promised by some of my teammates, I will make the same promise. If Paul, Mikhail, Randy and I are elected and we cannot fix what we set out to do, I will never run for the USCF office again. I do not want to be a life long chess politician. I am 150% confident that things can and will be changed if we are given a chance.

I will leave you with one last thing to think about before you cast your votes. Candidates often make wild promises to get elected. We have 7 candidates with strong backgrounds. I have nothing personal against any of them. But besides Paul, Mikhail, Randy, Mr. Berry and me, what positive things have some of the other candidates do for chess in the past 12, 24 or even 36 months?

Thank you for your support and the well wishes. Please help me fix our beloved federation.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Texas Tech Press Release

Texas Tech Hires Chess World Champion, Establishes Excellence Institute
Life News (Education)
Released: Sat 12-May-2007, 14:00 ET

Texas Tech University announced Saturday (May 12) that it will establish the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) and hire chess powerhouses Susan Polgar and Paul Truong to head the program.

Newswise — Texas Tech University, known athletically as the home of Bobby Knight and the Air Raid football offense, could soon be equally feared for its wicked endgame.

The university announced Saturday (May 12) that it will establish the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) and hire chess powerhouses Susan Polgar and Paul Truong to head the program.

Polgar, four-time women’s world chess champion and five-time Olympic chess champion, has been hired as director of SPICE and coach of the Knight Raiders chess team. Truong, 11-time national champion, is the institute’s business manager and assistant coach.

“We are obviously very excited about SPICE and the opportunities it will provide,” said Polgar. “We plan to build one of the world’s premier centers for chess research and outreach while solidifying Texas Tech as a national chess contender.”

The institute will include academic and outreach components and provide an almost unprecedented forum for academic research on the game.

Situated under the Office of the Provost, SPICE will allow researchers across disciplines to study chess from angles as diverse as artificial intelligence, cognition, and women’s studies. Research could probe the influence of chess on learning, for example, or tap the university’s High Performance Computing Center to create sophisticated computer programs.

Institute developers also intend to use SPICE as a way to promote and support collegiate-level competitive chess and to promote chess outreach to players of all ages.

Recruiting chess champions will benefit the university academically, said Jim Brink, senior vice provost for academic affairs, noting that chess requires a combination of intellect, spatial thinking and other skills that often translate into classroom success.

“Smart people play chess,” he said. “There is a very close correlation between chess excellence and academic capability.”

Texas Tech has established itself as an emerging chess presence in just a few short years. The Knight Raiders club, established in 2003, now claims more than 100 members. This includes an international slate of star talent wooed to checkmate for Texas Tech. In 2006, the university was named Chess College of the Year by the United States Chess Federation – the U.S. governing body – for its scholarship program and emphasis on female recruitment.

Creating an institute devoted to chess and hiring two of the game’s top personalities will increase Tech’s profile in the chess scene, said Haraldur Karlsson, the current team coach and mentor who helped found the Knight Raiders and was a key player in building Texas Tech’s relationship with Polgar and Truong.

“This is a seismic event in the chess world,” Karlsson said. “This institute is a unique opportunity to apply the resources of a major research university to promoting and understanding chess.”

Polgar has visited Lubbock in the past to meet with Texas Tech officials and the Ramirez Charter School Rooks chess team, an outreach program of the Knight Raiders. She spoke at Texas Tech’s undergraduate commencement ceremonies Saturday, where the institute was announced.

Polgar has a lengthy list of credentials, including being the only person – male or female – to win chess’ Triple Crown, comprised of Rapid, Blitz and Classical world championships. She currently is the top-ranked woman player in the United States and, at the age of 21, was the first woman to earn the Grandmaster title. Truong is an eleven-time national champion in Vietnam and was the captain and business manager of the 2004 U.S. Women's Olympiad Team.
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More problems with the USCF

Yesterday, I was copied on an email from a MAJOR potential sponsor for the USCF to the USCF President and another member of the USCF Executive Board. Here are some excerpts:

- Please do not have USCF ambassadors call me as I am not interested now, ever, any time after h freezes over talking to you people.
- Do not have Mr. (Joe) Lux call me again.

This is not the first time a potential major sponsor is unhappy or outright angry with the USCF and the USCF EB members for lack of professionalism and business experience. As I continuously said this over and over, why are we sending amateurs to do a professional job? Haven't we learned a lesson with the AF4C debacle? We just lost a sponsor in AF4C which had contributed more than $1 million to organize the US Championship.

This potential sponsor clearly stated in numerous emails to the USCF that he is only interested in negotiating with professional people and he specifically mentioned Paul Truong. He also wanted to sit down and discuss many issues with me, including plans on sponsoring events. He couldn't have made it less clear. All you have to do is read the chess news to see that Paul is successfully obtaining one big deal after another for chess while the USCF is continuing to go the other way.

Knowing this, the USCF is willing to lose a major sponsor instead of asking Paul or me to fly down to Florida to meet this individual. So what was the result? Just as expected: TOTAL FAILURE as you can see from the above excerpts.

Today, I was copied on another email by the reigning US Women's Champion. Here are some parts of this important email:

"At the moment there is no official information from USChess Federation, although, according to some other sources, the female US Championship could start as early as mid-July. As far as I understood, this event is going to be held 16-20th of July, which means we would have to play two rounds a day.

I believe these dates to be unacceptable from every point of view: firstly it is an important event and WCh. Qualification, and secondly, this tough schedule would make my own participation almost impossible (for reasons you are well aware of). Furthermore, it is made clear, that this schedule was partly created to fit into plans of a certain player and exact days were never discussed with other participants.

Another major point I would like to mention is that the idea to give places in World Women Championship from US Men Championship sounds to me both absurd and incorrect; absurd because women have to qualify having played other women; and incorrect, because nothing ofthe kind was initially mentioned in the contracts.

Furthermore, some players would thus get two chances to qualify and others only one. I think it is in everybody’s interests that USCF makes an official statement clarifying all this, so that all the people involved could discuss the situation. I don’t believe that decisions, taken at the last moment, or even, as it happened in 2004 with WCh. Qualifications, after the events, help us to develop chess in USA."

Best regards,
Anna Zatonskih
US Women’s Champion

Instead of doing the job they were elected to do, our chess politicians decided that it is more important to dig into my personal life or viciously attacking other candidates. Instead of doing positive things for US Chess and the USCF, the status quo continues. Instead of asking the most qualified people to help, they endorsed the people in the upcoming election who will help them preserve the status quo. Instead of putting the best interest of US Chess and the USCF first, they play dirty and destructive politics to keep their power.

All you have to do is compare all the candidates to see what each has done for chess in the past 3-5 years or even the past 12 months to know who to vote for. But of course the chess politicians do not want to discuss this real issue. Why? Because their records are not something to brag about. Some even have zero experience in business, management, finance or any other areas to help this federation.

This election is quite clear. If you think that the USCF is in great shape and you are happy with the status quo, vote for the same type of people who dragged this federation down year after year. If you want positive changes, I strongly recommend three other candidates: Mikhail Korenman, Paul Truong and Randy Bauer.

Thank you for your support!
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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Jim Berry Candidate Statement

JIM BERRY 2007 Candidate Statement

FKB 2007 US CHAMPIONSHIP Tournament Director/Organizier

The Executive Board has had members who are lawyers, doctors, accountants, educators, and businessmen, but we have never had a member who is a banker. I am a banker. I will bring a real life understanding of money: its production, its uses, and its very nature. I sit on the board of directors of a 2 billion dollar bank NASDAQ: OKSB.

Income from dues needs to be spent wisely and judiciously. That’s what bankers do. I will insist that we set a USCF budget with care and then I promise not to allow that budget to be compromised. Some emergency monies will be part of that budget and there will be no surprises. I don’t like surprises. You don’t deserve surprises. All financial moves should be calculated…like in a chess game. My goal is to end each fiscal year with at least a slight surplus, to help our affiliates provide more activity for our members, to encourage the formation of affiliates in areas now lacking them, and to continue the recent increases in USCF membership.

Expenses incurred while serving on the Executive Board by Jim Berry will be paid out of my own pocket. I will accept no reimbursement for transportation, food, per diem……nothing……..nada.

Chess is my passion. The USCF needs both financial expertise and professionalism as well as an abiding love of chess, which it will get if you elect me. I am a US Military veteran (army), married 38 years (same gal), an active tournament player (227 events since 1991), active director (72 events since 1991) and I play golf four times a week. I support junior chess by coaching four recent Denker representatives from Oklahoma.

Below is a list of endorsees/supporters for my campaign. “In June my 41 cent stamp will be used to vote for Jim Berry.” US Champion GM Alexander Onischuk. “

Electing my friend Jim Berry will help all USCF members, not just the professional players.” US Open Champion GM Yury Shulman

“Jim Berry is the only candidate that I am campaigning for across the country.” IM John Donaldson

“Jim Berry will bring to the USCF Executive Board an unusual combination of qualifications: business experience, active player, director/organizer of many enjoyable and prestigious events.” Bill Goichberg

“Jim and Frank Berry are great lovers of chess, who have become legendary for the generosity and gracious hospitality enjoyed by those in their tournaments.” Jerry Hanken

US Womens Champion WGM Anna Zatonskih GM Gata Kamsky, WGM Rusa Goletiani, GM Sergy Kudrin, GM Alexander Stripunsky, GM Alexander Shabalov, IM Irina Krush, Bob Holliman, IM Ron Burnett, Joe Wagner, Tom Braunlich, Carl Haessler, Larry Cohen, Bill Orton, Ron Pasik, Tim Steiner, Tim McEntee, B. G. Dennison (B G has played tournament chess in 49 states. He wants me to go with him to Wyoming for his 50th because I played in his 1st tnmt (OK) 35 years ago.), Pieta Garrett (Denker 2004 Champ), Trevor Jackson (Denker 2005 Champ), Nelson Lopez (Denker 2006 Champ), Stephanie Pitcher (Polgar 2004).

I humbly ask for your vote. CHECKMATE! we all win. _________________ Jim Berry
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Q&A with Randy Bauer

Q&A with Randy Bauer. The questions were asked by Mr. Wayne Praeder on the USCF forums.

1. What is your senior management experience and qualifications to be a member of an Executive Board for a multimillion-dollar not-for-profit corporation? What is your current occupation and how does that relate to your qualifications? Describe your most successful business ventures and projects. In your view what are the most important qualifications needed to serve on this corporate board? Consistent with DM01-72 and DM06-18 will you disclose here any competing interests and felony convictions? Will you sign the following board member agreement if you are elected as well as observe the associated principles during this election? [ ]

I served for nearly seven years as budget director for the State of Iowa. In that capacity, I was Governor Thomas Vilsack's chief adviser on a $12 billion all funds budget as well as a senior adviser on public finance and revenue issues. I also supervised a 20-30 person professional staff. While I was budget director, the State won numerous awards for innovation, and I am proud to have been a part of those efforts. We revised our budget process to be more open and market-driven and created a budget module that measured performance, not just outputs.

Through my term, Iowa balanced its budget each year without raising taxes and maintained its AA+ credit rating and stable outlook while many of our neighboring states were downgraded or put on negative outlook. In my current position, I recently worked with the City of Baltimore Finance Department to develop a strategic plan for upgrades to its mainframe computer systems – a project that involved multiple bureau chiefs, front line staff and stakeholders with differing needs. Through a staged process, we were able to identify the key issues that needed to be addressed and developed a consensus-driven approach for upgrades that they are now executing.

I am currently employed by Public Financial Management, Inc., the nation's largest independent financial adviser to governments and non-profit institutions, as co-director of its state strategic consulting practice. In that capacity, I work with organizations on strategic planning, assessment of management and organization structures, revenue and expenditure planning, etc. I think that Board members have to show a demonstrated ability to work with others, have an understanding of the USCF's culture and governance structure, be responsible and respectful of the need to at all times be a spokesperson and role model for the USCF, and committed to maintaining the integrity -- financial and otherwise -- of the organization. It also helps to understand political processes and how to make decisions in that environment -- a trait I learned from 20 years working in government. I have no competing interests, no felony convictions, will disclose either should they arise, and will sign the statement in question.

2. According to the Bylaws of the US Chess Federation the purpose of the Federation shall be educational and instructional, to broaden and develop chess as art and recreation, as a significant element of culture in America. In this regard, has the organization been successful? Why or why not? How should the organization measure success? If we succeed at our purpose, how should we look to the public? What indicators and processes should we use to find out whether our board is doing its job?

The USCF has encountered successes and failures in furthering its mission. On the positive side, the interest in scholastic chess, both as a recreational and educational activity, continues its ascendancy. Chess continues to be generally portrayed in a positive light in and by the media, and there have been at least occasional successes in securing grants and other outside sources of funding for events and programs that would assist with building a chess culture in this country. However, with the exception of scholastic chess (which has a broader foundation and support network), most of the efforts described above have not been institutionalized and rely more on the efforts of specific individuals for achieving success.

I believe that providing the organizational backbone or infrastructure is a critical need for the USCF and for the local and state efforts that support and largely sustain it. There are a variety of measures that can be used to track success; perhaps the most logical proxy is membership levels in major categories. To remain healthy, the USCF should be working to develop goals and strategies that foster growth across each of the key membership categories. As for measures of success for the Executive Board, I believe that these should be developed in partnership with the Delegates, discussed and voted on at the Annual Meeting. This will help to clarify roles and expectations and allow discussion of positive and negative outcomes in succeeding years.

3. To achieve our mission, how must we look to our members? What needs to be learned from current and potential members in order to better align the organization with their needs and wishes? How can we help the membership better understand the value of their contributions? What would be your approach to help engage and grow the regular USCF membership?

The USCF should appear to be (and actually be) responsive to member needs, professional, financially stable, and willing to adapt to changing methods relating to member communication and interaction. Ultimately, the membership will grow if the members believe they are getting good service and support and that the USCF actively seeks out and listens to their feedback. The Forums are a good start, and they need to be more actively marketed to the membership. Changes to the look and content on the website is another good start, and it can be expanded to allow more direct member interaction – entering their own games for analysis and discussion, self-service methods of reporting on local and regional events are a couple of examples.

The rating system, which is one of our core competencies and services, has greatly improved its timeliness, and there are opportunities to expand its reach into other areas, including online chess. Many organizations use an approach known as a balanced scorecard for assessing performance and planning for the future. One aspect of these scorecards is generally how the organization is perceived by its shareholders (in the USCF’s case, its members). I think we have generally inadequate information at this time to form those assessments. While survey tools and other feedback mechanisms may be seen as costly by some, I believe there is much of value to be gained from increasing their use and analysis of the results. Not only will the USCF gain valuable information, it will help reassure the membership at large that the organization cares about and values their opinion.

4. What in your view are the core values of this organization? How should these values be expressed in how we function? How would you suggest the USCF demonstrate these values to provide appropriate leadership in the chess world?

I think the values embodied in chess itself should guide or organization. Chess has a rich heritage and culture that literally spans the globe; our organization should respect cultural and other forms of diversity. Chess is an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages; our organization should reflect that as well. Chess is played with a set of rules that are largely self-policing; we should foster fair play and reasonable standards of conduct. Finally, chess is a learning activity; our organization should value growth and improvement. To the extent that the USCF can demonstrate its achievements in these key areas, it should be able to maintain a leadership role in international chess as well.

5. What should be most different about the board or how we govern in five years? To be accountable to our members, how should we govern the corporation?

I believe membership involvement needs to become more broad-based among the voting membership. There need to be more frequent and interactive methods of communication between the Board and the membership. Representation (and, in my opinion, accountability) will improve as communication (in both directions) improves.
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Changes are needed!

This was recently posted by Dr. and NM Eric Moskow, a long time patron to chess, sponsor of the Gausdal event with GM Magnus Carlsen and IM Irina Krush.

Dr. Eric Moskow said...

I have no relationship to Susan or Paul in fact we met only once 15 years ago. I can state if she is involved I will provide at least 20,000 for at least the next few years to support chess and tournaments for developing prodigies, I would prefer the events in the Florida area but it’s not that important. Also I strongly suggest having an independent board member from the business sector call it a monitor so to speak. I am a political and feel after reading the blogs, and being frustrated having had the uscf turn down in excess of 200000 for us championship support from me in the past that a competent board that can act together without personal gain is called for. Best of luck to Susan.

Dr. Moskow is not the only one who has said this. This has been the trend of the USCF for a long time. It has been run inefficiently and in incompetent manner. This is why the USCF lost money in 9 of the last 11 years and nearly went bankrupt in 2003. This is also why we keep on losing one sponsor and supporter after another. But if anyone points out the chilling truth and offer to change, we are being accused of being negative.

The USCF has lost a lot of its energy, enthusiasm and momentum. Too much time and effort are being wasted on gossips and political tricks instead of doing positive things. A former long time employee of the USCF has tried to collect her pension for the past few years. The USCF finally issued her a partial payment of $24,000 and the check bounced twice! I have not even read one single public apology from any of our board members. What I have seen is plenty of excuses.

One of the current board members was directly named as "the" cause for losing AF4C, the biggest sponsor for the USCF. This is an organization that has invested over $1 million in US Chess. But he was not the sole reason. The real reason is that sponsor was very dissatisfied with the lack of respect, appreciation and support from the USCF for a while now. My foundation and I face the same problem with the USCF as a sponsor and supporter. University of Texas in Dallas (UTD) pulled their scholarship support to two of our most prestigious scholastic events for similar reasons. The list is long.

Instead of public apologies, more vicious attacks and insults were made against many sponsors. Mr. Frank K. Berry, a new generous sponsor who stepped in and donated $50,000 to save this year's US Championship. He was vilified as well. But they will fight and use every dirty trick in the book to maintain the status quo. They could not care less about the facts that this federation desperately needs help.

I have an impeccable reputation throughout my entire 34 years in chess. I have devoted my entire life to our game. I have given 150% of myself to help promote and enhance US Chess and the USCF. So are my running mates. Instead of helping us and providing us with opportunities to do more, lies, vicious attacks and vile threats were issued to me, my family, my running mates and their families.

Welcome to the current state of USCF politics. They have done the same to other GMs who have tried to help such as GM Max Dlugy, GM Lev Alburt, GM Seirawan, etc. They have done to countless people who tried to help.

This destructive trend will not end unless our leaders want to stop it. I have worked with and have wonderful friendships with many chess politicians from all sides. But I do not want to join any group. I do not care for chess politics. What I care about is chess and I will do everything in my power to protect the integrity of this federation. But I cannot do it alone.

That is why I asked some of the most experienced, talented, passionate and competent people to run with me so we can work together to fix this federation. Here are my reasons for recommending them:

FM Paul Truong: He is by far the most successful person in chess marketing, promotion, public relations and management. He can bring something to this federation that no one could in the past. He will also help fix many current weaknesses of the USCF and end the destructive chess politics. He can help the USCF in so many ways!

Dr. Mikhail Korenman: He has a strong record in promoting and organizing major chess events. He’s a member of the USCF Scholastic Council. He is well respected by many people, including former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, 7-time World Champion Anatoly Karpov, and many others. He can help unite the USCF!

NM Randy Bauer: He has had tremendous success as the budget director of the state of Iowa, dealing with a multibillion dollar budget. We need his financial and budgeting expertise to help end massive losses!

Please feel free to download and distribute this flyer. Please get the words out. This is our chance to take back control of this federation and guide it to the right direction.

No more destructive politics! No more inefficiency! No more unprofessionalism! The time for changes is now!The ballots for the election will be in your June Chess Life issue. Please be sure to vote!

Thank You for Your Support! I am looking forward to the next 4 best ever years for the USCF!
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Friday, May 04, 2007

Transforming the USCF into a strong organization

The 2007 USCF Executive Board Election

Introducing the team of four that will transform the USCF into a strong and viable organization!

Chess is my life! This is why it is so important to me to help chess. Unfortunately, the USCF has had many serious problems in recent years. I would like to help turn this federation around.

Here are some of the past major problems that need to be corrected in order for the USCF to prosper:

- Too many bad financial and business decisions.
- Too many decisions made for political reasons instead of the best interests of US chess and the USCF.
- Too much micromanaging of staff by the Executive Board.
- Too much frivolous spending without long-term vision.
- Too little effort to raise much-needed revenues to ensure the good health of this federation.
- Too little focus on positive chess promotion in the United States.
- Too little focus on many membership categories such as adult, collegiate, correspondence, and military chess.
- Too little effort to retain our memberships, especially the scholastic members.
- Too little integrity, honesty, credibility and professionalism by some board members.
- Too little accountability of our board members.
- Too little respect for our members, partners, supporters and sponsors.
- Too little willingness to keep the USCF up with the times.

The current state of our federation is not healthy! We are losing money year after year while other chess organizations thrive. Sponsors don’t want to deal with us. Supporters are tired of our internal political destruction. Some board members have repeatedly violated the USCF code of ethics as well as the members' trust.

There is no end to this destruction in sight unless we demand positive changes by putting the most capable people in place.

Here are some of my areas of focus for the USCF:

- Restore respectability, integrity, credibility and professionalism to the USCF.
- Reestablish a sound and balanced budget.
- Develop strong cooperation and support for adult, scholastic, collegiate, correspondence and military chess.
- Establish a strong professional marketing and PR system.
- End the petty and destructive politics.

Please join me in this mission to reform the USCF. The future of the USCF is in our own hands. We cannot continue to status quo. It’s not working. It is sinking this federation. In the upcoming months, I will discuss many important issues in detail at &

I highly recommend three other candidates.

Here are my reasons:

FM Paul Truong: He is by far the most successful person in chess marketing, promotion, public relations and management. He can bring something to this federation that no one could in the past. He will also help fix many current weaknesses of the USCF and end the destructive chess politics.

Dr. Mikhail Korenman: He has a strong record in promoting and organizing major chess events. He’s a member of the USCF Scholastic Council. He is well respected by many people, including former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, 7-time World Champion Anatoly Karpov, and many others. He can help unite the USCF.

NM Randy Bauer: He has had tremendous success as the budget director of the state of Iowa, dealing with a multibillion dollar budget. We need his financial and budgeting expertise to help end massive losses.

Please feel free to download and distribute this flyer. Thank You for Your Support! Please Vote!
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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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Very important issues for the USCF

kbachler wrote:

I recently outlined a vision for USCF, including some high-level discussion of how to implement the vision. I'd like to see the EB candidates address this. (It may be helpful to first read the thread #1 Role for USCF: An Infrastructure for Volunteers)

Paul Truong: Kevin, Please let me address another issue which is a part of my vision. This is not an issue for debate and I do not want to go back and forth with a hundred posts. This is just my personal take as a retired business professional. I completely disagree with the assessment of some of the people about the state of the USCF.

In my opinion, the bottom line is NOT about if we are making, losing or breaking even this year. This is a short term thing. The bigger picture is to make sure that we will never go back to 2003. How did we get to 2003? Years of mismanagement and lack of proper direction! The only way to change this is to increase revenues while making sure that every dollar is spent efficiently. We are not doing this enough and it bothers me.

Is the USCF better off today than a few years ago? Yes. Is it enough to say that the state of this federation is healthy? No, not by a long shot! Healthier does not mean healthy! To be content with where we are today is totally irresponsible. It is great that things have improved but we must continue this trend every year. There is nothing to brag about when we are losing money in 9 of the last 11 years. We should not react only when our finances are bad. Unfortunately, this has been the mentality for a long time.

The same goes with big league sports. Teams replace their managers / leaders because positive changes are needed. Otherwise, things will get stale. We have people in the leadership positions afraid to make decisions because every move they make are second guessed by other chess politicians. All you have to do is look at the behavior in this forum. You cannot run a successful organization without deep vision and strong leadership. We need to run this federation like a professional and profitable corporation. Our leaders should be held accountable for the annual bottom line and not for every single decision. Otherwise, things would become a cumbersome bureaucratic system which will lead to failure.

We need to be a lot stronger financially and there is absolutely no reason why this can’t be done. We need to rebuild our LMA and have plenty of reserves. Imagine what we would do if Frank Berry did not step up to sponsor the US Championship or the KCF with the Olympiad? Has anyone taken a look at the operation in Crossville? Can it be run more efficiently? I bet it can. Can we save money with our current payroll so we can increase staff power for the same money? While some of us are fighting over a dollar or two with the memberships, we are wasting thousands and thousands of dollars elsewhere.

I also mentioned before about national scholastic events. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot increase the profit in these events by increasing sponsorship and advertisement revenues.

We cannot afford to hire consultants and pay tens and thousands of dollars to assess the situation and come up with sound solutions. I know because I got paid the big bucks to do just this in my career. But why not utilize in house talent who are willing, ready and able to volunteer? We do it for finances. Why not in this area?

There are so many people who are willing, ready and able to volunteer. We are not doing enough to utilize their talents. There are also countless people who are so willing, ready and able to help on the state and local level. All they want is to do good things for this game for an occasional thank you.

I just had lunch in Queens with a major chess business owner from the midwest an hour ago. He asked to meet GM Polgar and me. He would like to know how he and his company can help the SPF. I did not solicite him. He called me. I asked him why the SPF? Why not the USCF? He said he tried for many years but he did not like the way how he was treated. This is not the first time I have heard this. This is a man who loves chess and wants nothing more than to help and he walked away from this federation. I don't think he and his company have ever been recognized by the USCF.

The biggest problem we have is not finding players, sponsors or even promoting the game properly. The biggest problem is within us and our mentality. As I said before, how do you expect different results if we keep on repeating the same mistakes? I have many items on my list but this is a big one. If elected and I cannot help this federation improve, I will never run again. That is the promise that I have made over and over.

There is no reason why the USCF cannot have plenty of money in reserve if we run the operation properly. I want to bring everyone back and bring in new ones. I don't want to lose a single sponsor, supporter or volunteer. I want to thank every company and every person. I want to treat our partners, volunteers, sponsors and supporters like gold. Isn't time for us to do the right and logical things that can help the USCF?

Best regards,
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

April 30, 1979 - April 30, 2007

On April 30, 1979, Paul and his father escaped from Vietnam as boat people. This was on the 4th anniversary of the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. They arrived in the United States on December 1, 1979 without two empty hands.

He survived the tragic ordeal and built a successful life in this country for himself and his family. I am very thankful that he has done so much to help me, the Susan Polgar Foundation, the USCF and US Chess. Now, he is now committed to help US Chess even more by running in the upcoming USCF Executive Board Election.

If elected, I am 100% confident that he will be able to help the USCF:

* 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.

You can read more about Paul and his incredible journey in 3 segments here and here and here.
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