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 12, 2009

Interview with GM Lev Alburt

Tune-in for Chess Talk with IM John Watson on ICC Chess.FM. John's weekly 60+ minute show will feature an interview with leading chess personalities. All shows run on demand for members after airing.

This week (Tue., May 12), making a welcome return to join IM John Watson on Chess Talk is three-time US champion, GM Lev Alburt.

Lev, born in 1945 in Orenburg, Russia, was a product of the famed Soviet school of chess. He lived for many years in Odessa, Ukraine, and won the highly competitive Ukraine championship three-times, from 1972-1974.

In 1979, whilst playing in a tournament in West Germany, he opted to defect and turned to the US where he has since forged an impressive career as player, coach and author of a series of highly praised and best selling chess books.

Here is GM Lev Alburt's take on the USCF when he served on the Executive Board:

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.
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  • At Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Lafferty, Mottershead, Jim Berry, Ruth Haring and Mike Atkins are a bunch of hypocrites. They support these legal battles and further drain USCF resources. But why aren't they demanding an investigation of bribery charges against Goichberg, Hough and Hanken when the facts are 200% clear. Goichberg, Hough and Goichberg were involved in a bribe for votes scheme in July 2008. They're caught red handed. Goichberg is even on the record LYING about it. Why aren't they contacting the authority and report this illegal conduct? This clearly proves their political agenda and they're not running to fix the USCF or make this federation better.

  • At Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bill Goichberg, Jim Berry, Randy Bauer, Randy Hough and Bill Hall have gone off the deep end. It's not enough that they've wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars for their stupid political games. Now they're going after USCF volunteers, delegates, and members. What does Donna Alarie have to do with these stupid cases? Because she doesn't condone the stupid things some of these guys said? After big bucks down the drain, they found NOTHING! But they'll continue down this path while pissing off everybody.

    They're actually going after Fred Gruenberg, the guy who sponsored the National Open for the past 25 years? Un-Freaking-Believable! Are these guys nuts?

    Did they investigate Goichberg and Hough's bribery scandal after they're caught red handed? The last time I checked, bribery is illegal. Of course not! Did they investigate Bill Hall's violation of the exclusive contract with ChessCafe? Of course not! Who cares that the USCF lost over $500,000 under these guys. It's not their money so why should they care. And people wonder why so many people walked away from this stupid stinking federation.

    Goichberg continues to push to have "his people" in the next election so this kind if dictatorship and corruption can continue. Ruth Haring and Mike Atkins have gone on the record supporting the lawsuits. When will this BS end? Goichberg wants to bring on Haring and Atkins to help his agenda. The USCF sucks big time under Goichberg and Berry! I'm sick and tired of people supporting and making excuses for them.

    Time to throw all the freaking bums out the door. If they're reelected and the USCF goes under, you have no one to blame.

  • At Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm sick and tired of the USCF corruption. Goichberg has no business being on the board. It's a gross conflict of interest for him to run CCA and be on the USCF EB. There's no way that Haring, Atkins or Berry should be on the board so they can blindly vote for Goichberg. I can no longer trust Berry. I took his word about his past conduct in Oklahoma. Now it seems that it's his normal pattern. All of them should go and Bill Hall should be fired on the spot for his incompetent handling of the Miami Open and ChessCafe.

  • At Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I get so discouraged that the members do not know what is really happening.

    The January 2009 issue of Chess Life talks about all the early attempts to establish a good chess organization in USA beginning with the first in about 1857. All the failures. Will the USCF simply become another failure in that long list?

  • At Monday, May 25, 2009 10:04:00 AM, Anonymous Chiakkos said…

    small examples. Go do your own research for the rest:

    Example 1: (Hanken to Goichberg)

    Come on Bill, I will go half on the airfare. There are so many good reasons to do this. Give it some thought. Just think what going half means to me and what it means to you. If we lose a critical vote, you will think of this. All the money you have given the USFCF will be in the toilet if we ultimately lose this fight.

    Example 2: (Hanken to the person who they bribed)

    If Bill says "yes", you wouldn't owe anything to him. I asked for a sponsorship gift, not a loan. At the Open, you could still spend lots of time with ... Also you may have some pay for the blog you will do for Jennifer.

    ...Notice that I am willing to provide some food for you and .... I will have a fridge which will help. As to changeing, aren't you on Southwest? They .don't charge to change or cancel a trip.

    Example 3: (Hanken to the persons who they bribed)

    Dear .... and ....,
    If .... is willing to serve as a Delegate, it is important that you go on line today (when it is still July) and purchase a six month membership in USCF. It is $25 and I will personally reimburse you this money. I hope to talk with you later today, ....

    Note that both persons were certified by S. CA and NY (by Goichbrg himself), states of Hough, Hanken, and Goichberg!!! And look up when one person became a USCF member, days before the vote. There are plenty more. It can also be backed up with phone records among all parties. You can do your own research for the rest.

    Bribery is illegal. This one involved the USCF President Bill Goichberg, USCF Secretary Randy Hough and Chess Journalist of America President Jerry Hanken. USCF VP of Finance Randy Bauer, USCF VP Jim Berry and USCF ED Bill Hall are hiding this very serious illegal conduct from ALL USCF members. When will honest Randy Bauer, Jim Berry and Bill Hall launch an investigation against Goichberg, Hough and Hanken? Hmmm? When will you demand for Goichberg, Hough, Bauer, Hall and Berry to resign? How come I don't hear the bogus moral outrage scream from Harry Payne, Ruth Haring, Mike Atkins, Brian Lafferty, Brian Mottershead, and the rest of the gang? Where's the phone call from Lafferty to the authority to report this illegal conduct? How pathetic!


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