Questionable decision

Dirty Chess Politics, Complete Incompetence, or Something Else?
By Paul Truong

One of the big problems in chess is there is so much corruption, incompetence, and hanky panky when it comes to the governance aspect of the game.

I recently visited the Chess Hall of Fame for the Opening of a Women’s Chess Exhibition. I was stunned to see the names of some elected to the US Chess Hall of Fame (whom I feel have no business being in the Hall of Fame or at the very best on the borderline) while some great players being omitted. Many in my generation, and whom I had the honor and pleasure to play against, should have been in and they are not. Here are just a few examples (and the argument about age is out the door because some were younger when inducted):

GM Max Dlugy

-Former World Junior Champion
-Former US Junior Champion
-Was ranked #1 in the world in blitz
-Was ranked as the top American junior
-Was a member of the US Olympiad Team
-Twice finished 3rd in US Championship and much more…

GM Patrick Wolff

-2-time US Champion
-Former US Junior Champion
-Former US High School Champion
-Was ranked as the top American junior
-2nd for Vishy Anand in the World Championship and much more…

IM Stuart Rachels

-Former US Champion
-Former US Junior Champion
-Youngest US Master at 11 yrs 10 mos, a record that lasted from 1981-1994 and much more…

GM Susan Polgar

-Former Triple Crown World Champion (1st in history to win World Blitz, Rapid, Classical Championship)
-1st woman to earn the GM title through traditional competition
-1st woman to qualify for the “Men’s” World Championship
-Ranked #1 in the world at 15 and in top 3 for nearly 25 straight years
-10 Olympiad medals (5 gold – 4 silver – 1 bronze) – Never lost in Chess Olympiad on board 1 in 56 consecutive games
-Coach the #1 ranked Men’s Division I team & winning 5 straight Division I Final Four Championships
-1st to be named Coach of the Year in the US and in the world
-Organizer of dozens of prestigious events, including the SPF National Girl’s Invitational (first ever all-girls national event approved by the USCF which launched a big surge in girl’s chess in the US), Mayor’s Cup, SPICE Cup (highest rated invitational events in US history until the Sinquefield Cup), almost 40 major scholastic events which the SPF has awarded through its partners & sponsors over $4 million in chess scholarships & prizes) and much more…

GM Ilya Gurevich

-Former World Junior Champion
-Former World Youth Champion
-Former National Scholastic Champion and much more.

Here is one more player who should have been listed: GM Bill Lombardy, one of the greatest American GMs ( He holds the record as the only World Junior Champion with a perfect 11-0 score. He won tons of Olympiad medals for the US, and he was Bobby Fischer’s trainer and second. He was selected to the HOF but he has a serious problem with the USCF and basically told them to go to hell. Because of this, his name is not listed. Bobby Fischer also told the USCF to go to hell but he is in the HOF. So what is the difference?

Here is the link to all who have been elected to the US Chess Hall of Fame (, from the most recent inductees. Many of them have never won a US Championship, US Junior Championship, World Championship, or Olympiad medal, etc. Many have strong resume while representing other countries prior to coming to the US.

So why are they there? What are the criteria? No one knows and no one can explain. The bottom is if you are liked, you are in. If you are not, you will not be or they will put you off to infinity.

The USCF also screams constantly that FIDE is corrupt. Even as Kasparov sued FIDE (which costs FIDE millions of euros), got banned for 2 years by the ethics commission for corruption, and broke off from FIDE to form PCA which disrupted the World Championship cycle for many years (I am not saying what he did was right or wrong since I am a fan of him as a player, it is for others to judge), he was elected to the World Chess Hall of Fame. So FIDE has no problem electing their biggest opposition. Why does the USCF not elect deserving people who have clearly proven themselves on the chess board?

What is the answer? Is it dirty chess politics, total incompetence, or something else? One thing for sure, no one can explain the specific criteria and why some in the past were voted in while others much more deserving are not? Why not reveal the votes and the reasoning behind them? In fact, why not compare the resume of the potential inductees vs. the ones who were elected.

Silence! Absolute silence! The dirty chess politics & total incompetence will continue as usual.

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