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, December 06, 2009

Lev Alburt


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?


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
Posted by Picasa

Labels: , , ,


  • At Wednesday, January 06, 2010 12:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why NOT let it die?!? Short of total destruction and rebuilding it from the ground up, what has happened in in the past, and is happening today, is likely to continue indefinitely into the future. USCF is ancient that it believes itself, like the pope, infallible. Whatever the USCF declares, is law. USCF has NOT kept up with the times. The reality is that ANY reputable ONLINE chess service could replace the USCF almost overnight, provide a better and more meaningful rating service, and provide better online content than the USCF currently does at a far cheaper price, if not totally FREE. I suspect that ONLINE chess sounds a lot better to many people that are sick of paying USCF $42/Yr. for a "Premium" Adult membership that provides the member with the following:

    1) An "Official" USCF rating
    2) The right to play in USCF sponsored OTB tournaments
    3) A hard copy of Chess Life.

    Not much given that instead of providing the membership with real value for their money, most of a member's money is spent on chess politics and fighting frivolous lawsuits such as the one filed initially by Sam Sloan who cried he was cheated out of a board position by the posting of those nasty horrible FSS messages -- not that he actually LOST because many people find him to be repugnant and morally bankrupt. Even the NY judge pitched Sam out on his @$$ and commented it was a frivolous lawsuit. Maybe *that* judge actually had a CLUE about who Sam Sloan is. I would enjoy having people FIX the USCF so that it works for EVERYBODY, but I sincerely doubt that will happen, and no matter how hard you try, no matter how much polish you use to shine and dress up a turd, at the end of the day you still have a turd.

    The current leadership is CLUELESS. You could hit Bill Goichberg up side the head with a Cluebat, and he still would not get it. Unless there is RADICAL change I suspect that by 2015 the USCF will be DEAD. Bill Goichberg and the entire board need to go; we need to have Term Limits for anyone who serves on the USCF board, we need to make USCF more responsive to ALL members, we need to adapt to the Internet, and we need to become a more flexible organization that members can configure to their lifestyles. In short the EXACT opposite of what USCF is today. I don't see ANY of those things happening now or any time in the near future. Indeed many view that USCF died a long time ago and swallowed up by the CCA, which so happens to be run by none other than Bill Goichberg.

  • At Monday, January 18, 2010 7:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I want USCF Executive Director Bill Hall to sue me. Hall is in charge of an orgaization that molests children.

    Law enforcement Tennessee has been informed.

    I accuse Hall of violations of the Mann act.

    The chess federation is an organization of child molesters. This will be sent to every
    school in America

    Marcus Roberts
    former USCF Vice President

  • At Monday, January 18, 2010 7:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

  • At Sunday, January 24, 2010 5:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Money talks, all the BS spins walk. USCF / their insurance carrier paid Polgar / Truong $39,000 + the USCF spent $750,000 + their insurance carrier spent $$$$$. The USCF lost. No spin will ever change this. Goichberg should be held accountable for the scandal he created.


    --What weasel told you it was a half of a million bucks? If true we should kick them all out. They have engaged in an awful mismanagement of the Federation's scarce resources. This is the biggest scandal since Hankin dropped his drawers in an executive session. They deserve no better than to be censored, branded, screwed blue, and tattooed. I'm with Larry: Let's crucify the weasels. Of course that is assuming it was anywhere near $500,000.> -- Stan Booz ("none")

    "Bill Hall, the organization’s executive director, said the federation, which has annual revenues of about $3 million, had spent nearly $750,000 in legal fees on the cases."

    If the USCF has won a "complete victory" then what could be more healthy for the Federation? Why, more complete victories. At about $600,000 a crack. We need to begin a discussion about how to secure more of these complete victories.

    Any ideas? Certainly, there must be questions for a class action lawsuit over Board members making legal decisions to protect themselves.

    Anti-USCF? Not at all. For complete victories, if such they are, can only strengthen the Federation.

    Or, perhaps, there was no complete victory at all. That: it was a bloody disaste, as a result of the egotistical stubbornness of, first and foremost, Bill Goichberg.

    There need to be new EB elections following the resignation of the Board.

    Certainly, the USCF must research the possibility of seeking legal damages from Board members who okayed expenditure of funds and who were also protecting themselves.

    I believe some members will pursue further legal action. Every Board conversation and decision needs to be explained in full in the broad daylight of sunshine and publicity. We need to see the correspondence of Board members when attending to any and all Federation business, their emails among themselves when discussing any Federation related business of any kind and satisfy ourselves that these people were not participants in criminal activities using USCF resources and funds to promote said activities.

    We know that the board will not cooperate. Therefore, it is vital to begin discussions about how to secure that cooperation.

    Yours, Larry Parr

  • At Tuesday, February 02, 2010 1:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    With the expiration of my membership, I no longer have to be associated with the loonies that are the USCF.

    I can play chess if I wish, even play tournaments and never have to give another nickle to you wannabe organizers.

    No more to the US Confederation of Fuckups.

    I'd have to be careful about the door hitting me on the way out, if you didn't have to hock the door to pay for your litigation.


    I never started this negative. Nope I was a happy pie eyed new member.

    And you can blame me and *US* all you want. I never drove you guys to this. I travelled have the country so that my son could go to a national. I gave, money, time and effort. With no real high expectation. But um, no the organization didn't just take. They kill the game. They steal the money. They sap the will.

    It is absolutely crap like this, absolute ZERO understanding of my capitulation, and the cautionary tell it might bring. This is the downfall.

    The good news I can still play chess, get rated, and never give a dime to the current yahoos, the yahoos that run, and the yahoos that populate this place and apparently any other website.

    The good news, I am actually very active locally, and up till now tried to keep a good face about the USCF. Now, I will hardly recommend other outlets for the time money and effort of my friends! Chessplayers, and soon not to be USCF members! Wee haw!

    What a bunch off douchebags you all are. Blaming the customers! LOL.


  • At Wednesday, March 17, 2010 12:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Inside Interview by GM Larry Evans

    On January 15, 1988, Editor Larry Parr of the in-house mouthpiece for the United States Chess Federation (USCF), Chess Life, completed his final of thirty-nine issues. The USCF Policy Board had fired him on October 10, 1987. In agreeing not to sue the USCF for wrongful termination, Parr received $20,000 in severance pay at a time when the USCF lost over $130,000 for the first two fiscal quarters of 1987/1988.

    Larry Evans: If only to set in perspective the story of your rise and fall at the USCF, what fact of your experience at the federation left the strongest impression?

    Larry Parr: There's a real temptation to personalize such an answer and to speak of corrupt politicians and about some astonishingly unpleasant personalities. Moreover, I think that one could justifiably stand on a soapbox, shake one's fist, and bellow like a wounded bull moose about members of the USCF political class.

    Yet, there are issues that transcend the rights and wrongs done to myself. The one which fairly leaps to the tongue is how unchanged the USCF is from the time of my arrival in September, 1984. When I walked out of my office for the final time on January 15, 1988, I left a building with an operation virtually identical to that which existed even before I arrived.

    To be sure, there are some computer terminals in parts of the building that did not exist in 1984, and there are altered membership categories and scholastic programs. The biggest change, though, must be active chess.

    Still, when one remembers that the USCF is a national organization with resources in the seven figures, one stands in awe at the company. Under the current management, there is a great experiment occurring: Is it possible to stop growing, to eschew every initiative for change, and somehow survive in capitalist America?

    We know that the quest for permanence fails in nature where the rule is to adapt or perish. But what about in American business? My view is that the USCF missed a historic opportunity these last five years. For some sixty months, economic indicators rose uninterruptedly — the longest such period since World War II.

    Did the USCF make use of this godsend? Not in the least. There is simply no managerial capacity for change, and we now face a period of belt-tightening thanks to the October stock crash. The politicos are cutting programs rather than undertaking new promotional ideas. If Harold Winston does not act to rejuvenate our management, I predict a long period of slow decline at New Windsor.

    Really, I remain astonished. Before coming to the USCF, I would have said that no company could remain as stagnant as has the USCF this past half decade.

  • At Monday, March 29, 2010 6:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I believe the best route is to let USCF die off and start all over once again.

  • At Monday, April 19, 2010 10:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would like to know how that happened, especially when we hear from Goichberg himself that "major supporters" such as Rex Sinquefield and Kasparov were brought into the deliberations, as well as Karpov's representative, GM Henley. "Major supporters" means money men, and that makes it look like these endorsements were paid for somehow, that there was a financial quid pro quo.

    It is absurd to say that it was a "closed" executive session to consider a "personnel issue" when there were all these other people involved.
    What role did all these people play? Whose decision was it to let them into the deliberations? What pressures were applied to the EB members to change their initial view, considering that the initial view was not to play politics with the endorsement of Americans for FIDE VP on both slates. What entitled all these other people to a seat at the table when regular USCF members were not even informed that a decision was being
    made? Were the EB members simply badgered into going along with
    Goichberg because he brought pressure to bear, and insisted that the teleconferences continue until he got his way? None of this represents an auspicious start to a Karpov campaign founded on Karpov being the anti-corruption candidate. Why did USCF President Jim Berry permit a tainted "process" like that to happen?

    Brian Mottershead
    MACA Board of Directors

  • At Tuesday, May 11, 2010 1:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    halo susan
    another wayout to release energy will be to meditate, forget about USCF and start active playing with an objective of taking FIDE your FIDE rating to 2900 by end of 2012.
    please consider.


Post a Comment

<< Home