It has been an up and down week for US Chess and the USCF last week. Most people at the delegate’s meeting were very much against Mr. Sloan. However, they voted to certify him anyway because they were afraid of potential frivolous lawsuits from him. He had cost the USCF a lot of money in attorney’s fees to defend his baseless lawsuits in the past. This money could have gone into promoting scholastic chess or other needed areas within the USCF.
The USCF also faced other problems. One of them is the ability to attract sponsors and advertisers. The federation tried to give away free ad space in Chess Life to lure major companies. Unfortunately, it seems that these companies did their due diligence and decided to walk away because of the reputation of this federation.
Things can only get worse with a convicted felon (with a long history of inappropriate behavior and conducts toward minors and women) serving on the Executive Board of a non-profit organization with 40,000 young members. The other problem is the USCF lost the support from a lot of current members, supporters, sponsors and partners because of politics as usual.
The good news is many supporters, promoters and organizers of scholastic chess decided to unite for the benefits of the game. I have reached an agreement with Internet Chess Club to organize many exciting upcoming scholastic and women’s chess events. There were also additional agreements made with Mon Roi and the organizers of the 2007 World Championship, etc. Dr. Alexey Root also gave me many good ideas about special OTB events across the country. I am very hopeful that many good things will come out from it. This will help the chess community OTB and online.
One thing that I noticed during my time in Oak Brook last week is there is such a BIG division between scholastic chess and adult chess. It seems that the two sides continued to drift further apart. Many parents and coaches were very angry that the welfare of their kids is jeopardized when someone with little moral, integrity and honesty was elected to represent their children and they have no voice other than walking away from the USCF, which is not what this federation wants or needs.
The problem is the people who have been involved in adult chess for so long just do not understand the needs of scholastic chess and the scholastic people do not appreciate the typical politics and bureaucracy that exist in adult chess. I feel that many parents, coaches and scholastic organizers are fed up with the status quo. They want changes ASAP. I think a split between the two components of the USCF is eminent. The election of a convicted felon on the USCF Executive Board further proves this argument.
The best thing that happened last week was the Denker and Polgar event. It was great seeing around 100 best young players from both genders representing their states for the national titles. They were there to play chess, make friends and gain the experience of a lifetime. Events like this will be one of the keys to keep young players in chess. These young players is the #1 reason why I am so passionate about promoting chess.