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

From Dr. Redman, 2-time USCF President

Dr. Redman offers his opinion:

Dear Paul,

I am sorry to say that your story is all too familiar. When the University of Texas at Dallas offered scholarships to the winners of the Denker and the Polgar in Oak Brook in 2006, I made a point of speaking to Bill Hall at length that these scholarships needed to be featured in Chess Life.

We did not give one to the winner of the Polgar because that young lady had already won one. But we did give one to the highest-finisher among juniors and below (our custom) in the Denker. The value was more than $50,000.

There was not one word about the award in Chess Life. When I learned of this, as you can imagine, I went ballistic. The result was that the University of Texas at Dallas declined to offer scholarships last year in Cherry Hill.

Under the new Director of the Chess Program, Jim Stallings, we will offer a scholarship in Dallas to the winner of the Denker (again, for our purposes, junior and below), but it is no longer automatic as it used to be. It will need to be renewed on a year-to-year basis according to whether or not the University believes that the publicity is commensurate with the value of the award.

I don't wish to dwell on the past nor engage in fingerpointing. But your general point that the Federation has been extremely negligent is valid, and we need to recognize our problems in order to fix them.

That being said, let's move forward. I appreciate all that you and Susan have done to bring resources (money, time, and energy) into chess.

And bringing a FIDE Category 15 event to Texas is a major achievement. Congratulations!

Tim Redman
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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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Specific problems addressed

Dr. Tim Redman, two-time USCF President just wrote the following:

In a message dated 5/8/2008 6:18:22 P.M. Central Daylight Time, Tim Redman writes:

I have a great deal of respect for Susan Polgar, but in my view, her responses are still at the level of vague generalities. I look forward to her providing us with more specific action items.

Here was my response to his inquiry:

Dear Tim,

1. One of the first things the USCF must do is to improve its image. As long as the endless culture of personal attacks continue (as pointed out by Dr. McCrary), the USCF will be ineffective in getting any substantial revenues in sponsorship, advertisement, or donation. There are many people who are willing, ready, and able to contribute financially to chess because they believe in the benefits of the game. For example, if you just look at the people attending the US Senior Open / CCI event this past weekend, the potential is incredible. And that is just one event.

There are countless opportunities with so many of our national events and other special events. But the USCF has done nothing to capitalize on these opportunities. Both Paul and I offered to go to these events to represent the USCF. Paul offered to conduct free classes or seminars to teach parents, coaches, organizers, and other interest parties ways to generate publicity, interest, sponsorship, and donation. We were even willing to pay our own expenses. All he asked for is a room and proper announcements and promotion by the USCF. Months and months went by and not even an inch has moved.

Paul offered to teach (also for free) CL and CLO contributors the art of photography. Pictures sell. These images represent the direction, mission, and goals of the USCF. Each picture has its own story. They represent the stories we want to sell to the chess community and the public. Paul was asked and he accepted to be “THE” official photographer for the 2008 Chess Olympiad in Dresden. His pictures have appeared in major mainstream publications worldwide. Months went by and again nothing.

2. I was asked and accepted the position of the Official Ambassador of the 2008 Chess Olympiad. This is the highest possible honor. I will also be in charge of all International media for the Olympiad. The organizer asked me to promote the Olympiad and I will have a full page daily column in the largest German newspaper in Dresden. I will also give interviews and conduct a LIVE show (for a live audience and TV) every night during the Olympiad. I was asked to promote chess (and being paid a lot of money to do so) in many places in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Hungary, Germany, etc. and my own federation refuses my help (for free) while we continue to lose money. This makes zero sense whatsoever. I hope you can understand why I am frustrated. How many qualified people has this federation lost because of the same old pattern of politics or incompetence?

Chess CAN be promoted and we have proven that again and again. There are specific steps to follow and Paul and I made these suggestions back in August / September of last year. Both of us are willing to go out and do this for the USCF. We followed the exact same suggestions we made to the USCF with SPICE / SPF and you saw the results in around 8-9 months. More than $500,000 has come in this year alone and I expect to exceed $1 million by the end of the year. If my name and reputation and Paul's expertise can generate this kind of money and publicity for one small program, the USCF can generate a lot more with the same plans.

It is like a game of chess. We created a sound plan and we went out and execute the plans. As I said earlier, each board member has special talent / skills. If we want this board to succeed, we must utilize the strength of each of us without any personal ego, agenda, or politics involved.

3. The SPF offered to sponsor the Grand Prix, college chess and other events. As for college chess, we dealt with Jim Stallings (he is great) and we gave whatever he asked for. As for the USCF, months went by again and not even a single person contacted us. Things which were promised were not delivered timely. The same story happens to other interested parties. This is why we must have a quality control system. Similar opportunities were lost because things fall through the crack for years. We offered to take the calls or inquiries and follow up to help the USCF. Again, we have the same old story. Months and months went by and nothing. I personally handle every inquiry or possible sponsorship / donation opportunity myself for SPICE / SPF.

4. Respect members and affiliates, etc. The USCF is desperate for memberships. There are many people / organizations which brought in big numbers. It is the job of the ED or an assigned person to call these people / organizations to thank them for signing up a large amount of memberships. We need to follow up to see if there are things we can do to help them succeed even on a bigger scale. I do that with my chess center, the SPF, and SPICE every time someone makes a contribution. Why not the USCF? This is PR 101.

There are many other areas we could improve on. We have people who know how to run successful businesses. Listen to them. Learn from them. Reach out to them. Let's stop this political nonsense because all it will do is bring the USCF down financially and legally.I will be honest and say that my expertise when it comes to memberships and dues structure is no where near Beatriz M., Bill G., Grant P., Mike N., and many others. All I can suggest is to simplify the structure. Many people cannot comprehend our structure and this is not good for us. I know that I (as a chess Mom, organizer, promoter, and coach, etc.) get confused myself. I hear similar complaints from other parents, coaches, and organizers.

There are many other issues which I do not have time to write down. I am not looking for an argument with Bill G. or other board members. I am not looking for personal glory or inflate my ego. I have received enough accolades in my career. The bottom line is I know what I can do. I see the problems and weaknesses of the USCF. I know how to help. I did not run for the board to play politics. I ran because I want to see the USCF succeed. I am in Pittsburgh now as a chess Mom. I will have very limited time. I have given many specifics. There are many more points but I am sure you can see the direction I would like to focus on. Fixing the dues is just a small and short term solution. To make the USCF better, we must fix the many weaknesses and problems and that was exactly what Paul and I proposed back in August / September 2007.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar
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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Stating my position

Bill G.,

I will re-state my position. The USCF has annual revenues of $3+ million. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot comfortably operate within this budget. If we do then we’re not doing our jobs. There are 2 clear solutions to resolve this problem:

1. Cut spending, expenses, and unnecessary waste, etc.
2. Raise revenues through memberships, advertisements, sponsorships, or donations, etc.

This is business 101. Here come the problems:

1. Where to cut spending and expenses without negatively effecting members’ services and the overall operation?
2. How to raise revenues?

Both Paul and I have given you a number of professional suggestions. There are a number of other people out there who are experts in many of these areas and can effectively help the USCF without costing the federation money. We have no time for destructive and petty politics. This must stop now as it will for sure destroy what’s left of the USCF.

Dr. McCrary said: “Sadly, as long as the endless culture of personal attacks continue, our public image and sponsor-relations will suffer greatly.”

Steve Doyle said: “we can't change the past--we can only go forward.”

I agree with both of them. You are the President. You must rise above all the chess politics and set positive examples.

Many of us are willing, ready, and able to support you to save the USCF but we must take a different course of action immediately. It is not too late but the fate of the USCF is in your hands.

Susan Polgar
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The same old status quo will destroy the USCF

Here is my follow up to respond to Bill Goichberg:

First of all, please do not add any name to the list of recipients above which I purposely deleted. There is a reason for this.

Secondly, I brought up (back in August 2007) a number of suggestions to improve and modernize the USCF. I clearly stated to you and to the USCF members that the status quo does not work and the USCF will fail miserably if we continue down the same path. The members clearly voted for serious changes. I also said that even though we were doing OK financially at that time, we must take steps to improve the federation. We cannot simply "react" every time we face problems.

We had room to implement many important improvements at that time but this was not the direction of the board majority. You on your own made a number of decisions shortly after that without consulting other board members. This clearly contributed to the current problems. It is not too late to fix things but being defensive about your records will not help alleviate these serious problems.

I am not interested in arguing with you. The USCF is in serious trouble and it should no longer be the Bill Goichberg show. You need to listen and take the advice from others in areas you have no expertise in. If you continue the attitude that Bill Goichberg does not lose any debate / argument, the USCF is doomed.

As I stated in my previous email, what you proposed only covers a limited area. Here are the areas which must be addressed / improved upon:

1. The structure of the dues MUST be simplified. Even with the current structure, people are complaining that it is too confusing. If the finance committee, the scholastic council, and others agree with raising / lowering dues or changing other areas, I have no problem with it. The point is we should not change the dues structure like a yo yo.

We also cannot do this and ignore other serious problems. In this case, we will always be in the same position.

2. We need to cut a lot more expenses. Both Paul and I brought this up in the last board meeting in private sessions. We are more than happy to bring it up again in the next meeting in closed sessions.

3. Yes, the USCF will face quite a bit of additional legal expenses and perhaps even serious legal liabilities. I am sorry to strongly disagree with your assessment in this issue. You are more than welcome to bring this up in a closed session in the next board meeting.

4. You still have not addressed the issues of Marketing / PR to make the USCF more attractive to gain additional revenues via sponsorships, advertisements, and donations, etc. You reject ideas from Paul and I and you have no plan in place. The same ideas which we proposed to you brought to SPICE / SPF more than $500,000 in donations, advertisements, and sponsorships in 2008 alone. I expect this amount to surpass $1,000,000 for 2008.

5. You have not addressed the issue of creating a quality control system. I created a quality control system for SPICE / SPF to make sure there is no unnecessary or wasteful spending. Quality control should not involve politics or personal agenda. It should be there to protect the USCF and to ensure that things are being run efficiently. The idea for this is to make sure that we make as little mistakes as possible. In addition, it is to ensure that when mistakes are made, they are fixed immediately before it is too late.

Board members and the ED should not be involved in this process. This would clearly be unproductive. My suggestion is to have a committee of 3 people, people with strong business / financial understandings and successful business backgrounds (Chuck Unruh, Jim Eade, Joel Channing, Frank Camaratta, Steve Doyle, Grant Perks, etc. These are just names which came off the top of my head as successful business people or people who understands financial bottom lines.) to handle this task.

6. You have not addressed the issue of funding the 2008 Olympiad teams, 2009 US and US Women's Championships, and other USCF events. I also brought this issue up in a closed session but you were determined to back another plan.

As for the LMA, IMO, it should be used to take care of the commitments to Life Members and NOT to bail out USCF mismanagement.

Susan Polgar
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Lack of understanding about promoting the USCF

This is what Paul wrote in response to Bill Goichberg's view about promoting the USCF:


It was discussed several times and you chose not to do it. You chose to do what you wanted to do. Just from what you stated in the sentence below, you obviously have no experience or understanding in this area. Sponsorship is not about writing to a couple companies or writing a few grant requests. Sometimes you get lucky and any person can get a lucky hit.

But Marketing and PR is a long term process which requires a different approach to marketing the USCF. The past system is clearly detrimental to promoting the USCF properly. In fact, it is an embarrassment.

Even if you bring in the top sponsorship person in the world, he / she can do nothing if you refuse to allow various changes to take place to give the USCF a different image. Changing the image of the USCF and the level of professionalism within this organization is the key to success and it will not happen overnight. It is like you want to go on a diet but refuse to watch your calories or exercise then say that the recommendations do not work. It is also impossible to lose 100 lbs in 1 day, 1 week, or even 1 month. It is a process of many small changes but if you stick with the plan, it will work.

This is clearly not your area of expertise but you keep on arguing every time sound ideas are being brought up. I have been in this business half of my life. Many of your decisions were clearly made without giving any thought to the reputation or image of the USCF.

I would be more than happy to share my expertise with you and the board AGAIN in the next board meeting. If you like my ideas, I will be more than happy to implement a sound system for the USCF. But then if you want me to be able to make things work for the USCF then you must not continue to interfere with the set plans. The cost to the USCF would be nothing or next to nothing.


In a message dated 5/6/2008 7:41:19 P.M. Central Daylight Time, Chessoffice (Bill Goichberg) writes: Fine, where is your proposal? We hired a sponsorship person a few years ago, but the money that came in as a result was less than what we paid in salary and benefits. If you consider this a top priority, why haven't you made a motion about it?
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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My official response to the failed status quo

This was my response:

What you are offering is a plan to save the USCF from going under and not a plan to make the USCF a strong and viable organization. It is better than nothing but I personally do not think that this will save the USCF. It seems that every time the USCF has a financial crisis, we tinker with the dues. There are missing items / weaknesses in your plan:

A: This membership plan is way TOO COMPLICATED and TOO CONFUSING! Simpler is always better and more efficient.

B. A lot more cuts are needed in other areas and we should minimize cuts in members' benefits (if any). The members should not have to pay for gross mismanagement. This must be one of the top priorities.

C. How does the USCF plan to handle the very strong possibility of accumulating massive legal fees in the next fiscal year? You are discussing saving a dollar here and there but the looming legal fees and serious legal liabilities can quickly bankrupt this federation.

D. There is absolutely no plan to improve the Marketing / PR aspect of the USCF to raise revenues via sponsorship, advertisement, and donation, etc. This is another top priority.

E. There is no plan for a quality control system to ensure that everything is being handled properly. I know first hand as a board member that a number of critical mistakes were made in the last 8-9 months which cost the USCF a lot of money and opportunities and not a thing has been done to rectify the problems. This must be another top priority to ensure that this federation does not continue to throw away any resources we have left.

F. How will the USCF handle the 2008 Olympiad teams, 2009 US and US Women's Championships, and other USCF events?

Last but not least, I believe that the USCF should not count on the LMA funds whatsoever. We should be able to run this organization for less than $3+ million annually.

Susan Polgar
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The financial crisis finally hits home

Bill Goichberg just sent the following:


USCF has struggled financially in the 2008 fiscal year, mainly due a substantial decrease in membership revenue. Adult membership, which declined on the average by about 1000 members per year in 1995-2006 (except by 3000 members in 2003 after the dues raise), has apparently relapsed to losing about 1000 members again in the fiscal year that will end May 31. We cannot continue simply hoping for things to turn around, but must take action.

Adult memberships have been contributing an average of about $24 each toward our fixed overhead, and attempts to increase this net by raising dues have failed. The various junior classes contribute only about $9 to $9.50 toward fixed overhead per member. Fortunately, we are able to increase the net towards fixed overhead from all members while at the same time lowering the fee that most of them must pay for annual memberships to play in rated tournaments.

The internet has been the root cause of our problems, hurting chess clubs and making our magazine less valuable as a news source, but we can also use the internet to help solve our problems, and we must do so.

Following are some possibilities Bill Hall and I have been discussing. Not counting fixed expenses, it currently costs us about $15 per year to print and mail 12 issues of Chess Life, and probably about $4.50 per year for 6 issues of Chess Life for Kids. The $13 per member we can save on those who choose the bulletin plus online Chess Life option is the major factor that enables this plan to turn USCF finances around. My estimate is that its effect will be to improve the Federation's net income by about $200,000 per year, though we won't see the full benefit in the first fiscal year starting 6/1/08, as much of it can't be implemented until midway through that year.

1) Originate a quarterly bulletin so we can offer a reduced dues option for several classes of membership while maintaining contact with these members. This would be a low cost publication, probably with TLAs and a few annotated games and costing USCF about $2 per year. It would be intended largely to remind members about chess and the availability of their online publication.

If we are provided with an email address we can send emails as well with links to the online magazine, but some players will just pay the cheapest rate without being online much if at all, while others may not notice the chess emails among all their spam. "Economy Adult" and "Economy Scholastic" memberships have not been successful in recent years, but with online magazines, and emails and quarterly bulletins to remind members about them, we expect more interest and a greater renewal rate than we had with the economy memberships.

2) Young Adult memberships for 25/below at expiration. Now $25 with $2 affiliate commission and receiving monthly Chess Life. Suggest replacing with two new options:Youth membership, with monthly online Chess Life and quarterly bulletin. 1 year $22, 2 years $39, 3 years $55, each with $3 commission.

Premium Youth membership, with hard copy Chess Life. 1 year $32, 2 years $59, 3 years $85, each with $3 commission.3) Youth memberships for 16/below at expiration. Now $19 with $2 affiliate commission and receiving bimonthly Chess Life. Suggest merging this class with Young Adult into the new Youth classes.

4) Scholastic memberships for 13/below at expiration. Now $17 with $2 affiliate commission and receiving bimonthly Chess Life for Kids. Suggest replacing with two new options:

Scholastic membership, with monthly Chess Life for Kids online and quarterly bulletin. 1 year $16, 2 years $27, 3 years $37, each with $3 commission.

Premium Scholastic membership, with bimonthly Chess Life for Kids. 1 year $23, 2 years $41, 3 years $58, each with $3 commission.

5) Regular memberships. Now $41 online, $49 by mail or phone with monthly Chess Life. $4 affiliate commission on mail or phone memberships, no commission for those paid online, but affiliates can sell these at clubs or tournaments for $49 and submit payment to USCF online, in effect creating an $8 commission.

As most adults and seniors (unlike juniors) come in directly rather than through affiliates, an online discount as we have now for the dues sale works better than an affiliate commission, as it allows direct marketing of the lower rate in Chess Life and renewal mailings. Suggested rates:

Regular membership, with monthly online Chess Life and quarterly bulletin: Paid online: 1 year $29, 2 years $52, 3 years $74.Paid by mail or phone: all $7 more.

Premium membership, with monthly hard copy Chess Life. Paid online, 1 year $42, 2 years $78, 3 years $113.Paid by mail or phone: all $7 more.

6) Senior memberships. Now $36 with a $2 commission and monthly Chess Life. This small but growing category has high interest in the hard copy magazine and a separate rate without it doesn't seem necessary; they can pay the $29 regular rate. Suggested rates:
Senior membership, with monthly hard copy Chess Life.Paid online, 1 year $36, 2 years $65, 3 years $93.Paid by mail or phone: all $7 more.

7) Other categories.

Raise Family type 2 from $35 to $45. Raise Prison and Blind from $12 to $18. Sustaining should be abolished. We might end the selling of new Life memberships too, and offer a 10 year membership instead for Regular $220, Premium $310, with its deferred revenue going to the LMA. The Premium 10 year membership would include a USCF option to give a proportionate refund of the balance in the event that Chess Life becomes an internet only publication.

8) Membership cards.

These cost us about 50 cents each to distribute, and many players don't carry them. We should save this money by allowing members who want a card to print one out online, and mail cards only on request (probably few will ask for them).

9) Rating service.

For a rating fee of $2 per player, maximum 6 games, we can rate scholastic tournaments for under 1000 or unrated in our quick chess system without the usual membership requirement. I don't think this would work for regular ratings as we would lose too many full members, but there is much less interest in quick chess. We would encourage (but not require) affiliates to send us player email addresses, and could send the players member and tournament info and a password to read a magazine free online, maybe for two months.

There is hardly any interest in quick ratings in the scholastic community now, so this experiment seems worth a try. It will appeal only to those running events with many non-members, as with enough members, paying the rating fee will cost less.

Such events could also be held online. Online events can currently be rated in the quick chess system without a TD present.

10) Regular rated online play.

ICC leaders told me years ago there was a big market for this; we need to announce rules and encourage not only membership required events held by ICC and other services, but also by affiliates using these services. Especially, there is potential in matches or leagues involving chess clubs or schools.

The big problem is the perception of cheating, and a lesser but significant problem is actual cheating. Our scholastic leaders are strongly opposed to allowing internet play to influence World Youth invitations and the like, but that can't be allowed to prevent adult amateurs from playing for regular ratings online with a TD present. I suggest the following requirements for regular rated online play:

A. Limited to players over age 18 rated under 2000, and under 18 rated under 1000. The USCF office has the right to approve exceptions.

B. Must be at least four players on each side (usually a team event but could be part of some sort of large individual tournament).

C. A certified TD must be present at each end, who is not part of the immediate family of any player.

D. An additional witness is also required, not part of the immediate family of any player.

E. There should be an overall Director available by phone in case of dispute, at least a Senior TD.

F. For over 1000 play, the event must be open to the public and be announced at least two weeks in advance in either or Chess Life. An online TLA would be acceptable; if the event is not suitable for a TLA because it's not seeking players, there could be a special page for online events open to spectators.

Bill Goichberg
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