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©

Friday, May 09, 2008

More specific problems addressed

In a message dated 5/9/2008 7:59:35 A.M. Central Daylight Time, Chessoffice (Bill Goichberg) writes:

Paul, I am not aware of a $30,000 offer. I do recall hearing you and/or Susan say at a board meeting that you could sponsor the Grand Prix, but never about a specific follow up. Please forward privately an email that I was copied on regarding this $30,000 offer. I have emails I sent you and Susan regarding the $1000 offer (which I did hear) and wonder why there was no response to these.

Bill Goichberg

This was Paul's response to Bill Goichberg:


With all due respect to everything you have done for the USCF, this demonstrated precisely the points Susan and I have tried to make for a long time. No one person can handle everything and gigantic mistakes will happen if things are not changed. We need to work as a team, not only this board, but with many others who are copied on this correspondence.

To give you an example of SPICE, we have a group of 7 people helping SPICE. Two (Susan and I) are full time. The other 5 are professors / employees of TTU volunteering their time to help SPICE because they believe in this institute and what SPICE aims to accomplish. When people work together instead of against each other, magic happens. Even with the unprecedented success of SPICE, we still listen to the advice of the people who have long been involved with college chess such as Dr. Redman and others. In fact, many of the advices we received have been implemented to make the institute bigger and better.

We also had 7 members (now 6) on this USCF board. Why can’t we accomplish the same thing? The big difference at SPICE is each of the seven of us handles different areas. One is a grant writing / writing expert, one is a technical expert, one is a marketing / PR expert, and so on. Each of us does our things and handles different area of needs. However, we consult each other to make sure that everything is done efficiently and properly. We all know what tasks / projects the others are embarking on. There is no ego, personal agenda, politics, or backstabbing.

This is what we wanted to create with this board and this is why we endorsed Randy B, Mikhail K., and Jim B. Each has his own area of expertise. This is also why after you insisting on having an opportunity to continue to be President, we voted unanimously to give you this chance. We felt that peace and harmony is much more important for the USCF.

Unfortunately, you continue the pattern of micro-managing and making decisions on your own without consulting the other 6 board members. This started in September 2007. In the mean time, Bill Hall is swamped with things which are clearly not a priority and things which must be done to ensure the good health of this federation have been neglected for months.

When we were in Crossville for the board meeting, Bill H. mentioned that he believes that the previous sponsor of the Grand Prix will stop the sponsorship. However, he thinks he may have another one lined up. During this meeting, Susan and I told Bill H. that the SPF would be interested in helping. He said thanks and promised to get us all the details immediately. We even agreed that even if the potential sponsor he was working with comes through, there is a possibility of a co-sponsorship to increase the prizes. We discussed both the regular and junior grand prix. We said that our budget would be up to $30,000 cash but it can be increased if needed. Three months went by and no information was given to us. We did not even receive a phone call or email. We still never did.

In the following board meeting by phone, the idea of the College Chess tournament was discussed. We immediately offered to sponsor $1,000 and possibly more.

Let me go back to the history of the problem. Joel Channing contacted the SPF last year about a co-promotional agreement with the USCF. The contract was signed and the USCF supposed to place the SPF logo on the USCF website. It was done several weeks later. When the new website was launched, the SPF logo was purposely removed. We immediately informed Bill Hall. Joel Channing also discussed this issue with Bill H. a number of times.

Nothing was done. We were given the run around that it will be done soon. Months and months went by and then Bill H. finally gave the excuse (during the board meeting by phone) that because Susan is on the board, it may be a conflict of interest of have the SPF logo up. This was the first reason given since September 2007. This board discussed and agreed that it is not a problem. Bill H. was told to take care of it immediately.

Again, a lot of time went by and nothing happened. A deadline was then given to Bill H. and the USCF by the SPF. Every single board member was copied on every correspondence. She said that unless the USCF is doing its job to honor a signed commitment by a certain date, the SPF will withdraw all sponsorships. The deadline was passed and nothing happened. You are more than welcome to check the correspondences. I am absolutely certain that all board members were copied as well as confidential binfo.

The SPF has it own board members. The SPF has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships thanks to UTD, Texas Tech, Texas A&M Kingsville, etc. Earlier this year, the SPF awarded 9 state of the art laptops at the SPNO event in Brownsville, TX earlier this year along with a total of more than $100,000 in scholarships, cash prizes, and chess prizes, etc. This is unprecedented for scholastic chess and it was a major event.

Even though it was an official qualifying event for the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls, there was not even a word about it by the USCF anywhere. Other USCF events were listed on the main page of the USCF website for months while the SPNI national event was not even listed until a week or so ago in some back pages where it is hard to find. This causes plenty of problems because this would be the first year that the SPNI is held at Texas Tech University and many players / coaches still think that it will be held in Dallas at the US Open since the USCF does not talk about this.

How should any sponsor perceive this? Was it negligence, incompetence, or was it purposely omitted for political reasons? If the USCF chooses not to or fails to promote or even cover its own major events, what does it say about this organization? Can you imagine the NBA, PGA, MLB or other major sport not promoting or covering their own events?

Susan gave Dr. Tim Redman some specific examples yesterday. I am giving many more examples today. If this is how the USCF treats its valuable partners and sponsors, what can you expect? If this sort of things takes place in a normal company, heads would roll immediately. This is one of the big reasons why the USCF is losing money, members, sponsors, and partners year after year. The right hand has no clue of what the left hand is doing and no one is there to make sure that the quality is maintained.

The 1st SPICE Cup (category 12) had more than 50 sponsors / donors last year. Regional network TVs, radios, and print media were there to cover the event. The Mayor, Commissioner, Provost, Senior Vice Provost, representatives from the Chancellor and President' office and many other departments were there to support the tournament. Susan did this in less than one month and for a city which chess was little known or supported before that. She found more sponsors for this year's SPICE Cup (category 15 which is over 2600 FIDE average) and to eventually create a similar format as the prestigious annual Wijk aan Zee Corus tournament.

How much longer will USCF insiders continue to publicly trash her name and reputation instead of reaching out and asking her to help, especially when she kept on offering over and over again? She is just one example. When will the USCF reach out and seek help from so many others who are willing, ready, and able to help instead of relying on the same old group of people who created the massive problems in the first place?

Positive and professional changes are needed and it must be done now before this organization disappears into the oblivion.

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