BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Someone once quipped that if Russian and American chess officials changed places, nobody would notice the difference. Have you ever wondered about how policy is made or what goes on behind closed doors of the United States Chess Federation?
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. Is what he had to say in 1989 after completing a three-year stint on a dysfunctional policy board still pertinent today?
INTERVIEW WITH GM LEV ALBURT
EVANS: You are the first grandmaster ever elected, yet on most major issues you were outvoted 6-1. How would you sum up the experience?
ALBURT: Disappointing. At the Delegates meeting I said I was leaving without any great sense of accomplishment but with a great sense of relief. This sentiment was probably shared by most of my colleagues on the board who joined in the general laughter.
EVANS: What were some of your objectives when you ran for office?
ALBURT: I wanted to reverse our FIDE policy and condemn such extravaganzas as the Soviet blacklist that our leadership accepted in the hope of launching a USA-USSR Summit Match in 1986. But my main goal was to work with the board to pursue what I thought was our common interest: to promote chess in this country, to help our federation grow towards the 100,000 mark. This certainly shouldn’t be a big task since all polls indicate that tens of millions of Americans know how to play chess.
Excerpt from THIS CRAzy WORLD OF CHESS by GM Larry Evans
Original post by former Chess Life Editor Larry Parr