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©

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holding back the growth of chess

by GM Larry Evans (page 129)

Lev Alburt was the first grandmaster elected to the seven member USCF board of directors and soon became the odd man out. In this exclusive interview he pierces the veil of secrecy and begins naming names.

After defecting from the USSR in 1979 he settled in Manhattan, married, and quickly became a fixture in American chess. After capturing our nation’s highest title three times, he retired from tournaments to write books and give lessons.


EVANS: Lev, it’s hard to believe that people who are supposed to promote chess in America are actually holding back its growth.

ALBURT: I couldn’t believe it myself. But I learned that everyone in the business office and above all members of the board were interested primarily in doing almost nothing. Nothing real. Nothing to promote chess. When I get together with Allen Kaufman or Jimmy Sherwin of the American Chess Foundation we usually discuss ways to promote growth and emulate the success of England, which sprang from nowhere to one of the top nations.

EVANS: Didn’t the board discuss these things?

ALBURT: No. I was extremely surprised that such topics were never addressed. Never, ever.

EVANS: What was their goal?

ALBURT: Let me continue. Even when we went to a restaurant I always expected them to bring up the subject of what can be done to make chess grow. But always the topics during our sessions was who should run for the board next year, who should be awarded national tournaments, or how to avoid being attacked by critics.

EVANS: Well, what did they get out of serving on the board?

ALBURT: Perks, of course. Free trips, and so forth. Some old timers look upon the federation as their toy, their plaything. They hang around people they chummed with for years. They love to give each other awards. When I left they offered me a Certificate of Service, but I said I wasn’t interested in such things.

EVANS: The board voted to ban tape recorders from open sessions but had to back down when Friends of the USCF blasted them in its newsletter. Isn’t the board spending more and more time in closed session anyway?

ALBURT: They discuss a lot of things in private which to my mind don’t belong in closed session. They often use these sessions as an excuse to say nasty things they would not dare to repeat in public. Sometimes they knock people I respect and I challenge them to produce evidence or shut up.

EVANS: So didn’t they become more careful around you?

ALBURT: To some extent I think I spoiled the good feeling they shared together—the feeling that the less anyone outside knows, the better. When someone new was elected to the board, they immediately closed ranks and developed a bond. Even reform candidates wanted to become one of the boys as soon as they were elected.

Additional comments by Paul Truong, current USCF Board Member

This is exactly how things work today. It has not changed much since GM Alburt was on the board. And it will never change as long as the same people and their political allies are on the board. Many of the votes will go straight party line regardless of the merit of the motion. Is it a coincidence that the same Bill Goichberg, Randy Hough and Jerry Hanken launched a baseless political investigation against GM Larry Evans some years back using members’ money? You decide.

We asked Bill Goichberg point blank if he was aware of bribe offers (hotel room, airline tickets, free entry fees, etc.) by his friends to bring various people to Dallas to be certified as delegates to skew the votes. He flat out said no when he WAS copied on many of these correspondences. He and Randy Hough also certified these individuals as delegates from their perspective states. In one correspondence, it was stressed specifically that they MUST sign up this non-USCF member before August. Otherwise this person could not become a delegate.

Instead of focusing on how to sustain the membership or how to make chess so much larger with new members, benefits and revenues, the board majority abuses members' fund for their own political motive. It is especially irresponsible in this economy. They will do everything in their power, legal or not, to oust their political opponents. The same board members are using members’ money to defend the wrong doing of non-board members.

I believe the USCF is losing more than $330,000 this year so far. This number will escalate dramatically by the time this fiscal year ends. The same people are doing everything they can to hide the facts from the members. The USCF just received $400,000 bequests. How much of it will be left by the time they are done playing politics?

Susan and I have repeatedly offered to open up all confidential BINFO and closed session recordings. We requested to have our experts examine the USCF database. The same board majority rejected these ideas. They also purposely hide critical evidence from everyone, including the court.

A lot of the facts will come out shortly in the proper venue. I do not believe they can continue withholding information.
Posted by Picasa

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home