January 07, 2004
Following is my application for the position of USCF Executive Director.
I have enjoyed the challenging work of being Office Manager for the past seven weeks. Among the issues addressed during this time were Games Parlor, the mess with the Trust, a new affiliate program, the building, Edge TV, relations with Excalibur and Saitek, a new credit card processor, newsstand sales, hiring extra help for the holiday season, non-member letters, software and hardware upgrades, collections, sponsorship, the Patron Program, Chess Life policies, and the US Class.
Nothing I did produced as much favorable member reaction as paying the long owed prizes from the US Senior, even though we were not legally obligated to do this. And the next Chess Life will have numerous new informational boxes intended to clear up confusion about how tournaments work, and what affiliates need to do to have their events rated without driving our rating department crazy.
When I offered to be in charge of the office I was not 100% certain I would like the job, but now I look forward to hopefully still being here past August, when I am confident the Delegates will notice a major USCF move in the right direction. My basic philosophy is that USCF's structure remains fundamentally sound, and all we need is common sense management that doesn't give away money, pushes for sponsors and donations, helps and encourages affiliates, and keeps members interested and informed.
I first joined USCF in 1961, when I was 18 years old. Before entering my first tournament I had read every chess book in the Mount Vernon Library from cover to cover, including playing over every column in MCO-9. My first rating was 1940, and it went over 2200 three years later. From 1964 to 1967 I worked in USCF's New York City office as Rating Statistician. I also ran my first tournament in 1964, the New York City Junior. The same year, I was the third most active player in the country.
In 1966 I held the first ever USCF-rated scholastic tournament, a surprising success that produced 134 USCF memberships. The following school year, the same event brought in 400 memberships and was more than twice as large as any USCF-rated tournament ever held.
By 1967, I was running many tournaments in New York City, and left the Federation when it moved to Newburgh rather than give them up. 24 years later, the NYC tournaments having been wiped out by high hotel rent and replaced with others around the country, I did move to the Newburgh area, but not to work for USCF, until recently.
In 1969 I created the National High School Championship, an immediate success which drew players from as far as Hawaii to New York its first year. Subsequently I created the National JHS (1973) and National Elementary (1976) Championships. About 1983, USCF wanted control of all national tournaments and I sold them these three for a total of $8000. In 1991 I created the National K-12 Scholastic Grade Championships, holding it that year and announcing I was giving it to USCF to put up for bids after that.
I started the World Open in 1973, and have held numerous International Title Norm tournaments. I also like bringing activity to dead areas, such as Vermont which had no rated tournaments at all in the 1980s, and has had many events since CCA's Vermont Resort Open was held there in 1990.
I am a FIDE Master, and my proudest chess achievements, other than organizing, were making a plus score at Lone Pine 1974, winning a round robin Futurity ahead of two IMs, winning the Toronto Open and Montreal Open, missing the IM norm by a half point in Gausdal, Norway, and being captain of the 1976 gold medal winning US Olympiad Team.
Despite the latter success, it was my only time as a captain; I don't like long plane trips and have not left North America since 1978. As Executive Director, I would like to concentrate on the office and travel as little as possible. I certainly don't wish to attend any FIDE meetings, and would rather not visit faraway national tournaments. I do plan to keep travelling to run the larger CCA tournaments, though, as I'm not paid by USCF and need some income.
I am willing to continue working without pay for at least the remainder of 2004. I would ask that at the August meeting, if USCF finances are better than now, the Board consider whether I can be paid about one quarter of the usual ED salary.
I originally told Beatriz that I didn't think I could spare more than three days a week for USCF in 2004. But I am finding ways to economize my other work, plan to have others run some CCA tournaments I was going to do, have USCF run a few of them, and now think I can do the job virtually full time. I need a 10 day break for the World Open, a few days for Chicago, Foxwoods, and the International in Vermont, and hope to spend late December to early February in California, but will do USCF work while at these places, as I did in Las Vegas.
Thanks for your consideration,
Report to the Members Vote for Channing, Tanner and Shahade