EXECUTIVE BOARD CANDIDATES 2009
by Bill Goichberg
MIKE ATKINS: An experienced organizer and TD, has run events including norm tournaments, the US Armed Forces Championship, and many blitz tournaments. Received USCF Tournament Director of the Year award in 2007. A mental health professional, seems to get along well with almost everyone. Feels strongly about policing cheating in tournaments and has filed successful ethics complaints. For four years was President of the Virginia Chess Federation. Manages tournament clearinghouse for Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. Opposes those who sue USCF being on the Executive Board.
JIM BERRY: Another very experienced organizer and TD, active player. He and brother Frank are great lovers of chess, legendary for their hospitality and tireless work sponsoring and running Oklahoma events. Jim is a banker and has been a solid board member, who had the courage to do what was right and refused to support whitewashing unethical conduct by Polgar and Truong, even though he was friendly with Polgar and had directed for her.
BILL GOICHBERG: See my campaign statement here. See my May 29 letter to voters here.
RUTH HARING: Woman's International Master from California, active player, represented the US at five Olympiads. Excellent business credentials with 20 years experience in management and consulting at eBay, IBM, Lockheed, and TRW, including major projects such as managing the launch of eBay in Germany. Her internet experience, and personal connections to some top executives, could be very helpful to USCF. Has stated that board members who sue the federation should resign.
ERIC HECHT: Initial comment, April 30: Has not been involved in USCF governance and is known mainly as the sponsor of the Miami Open, an event which began promisingly in 2007 but failed to pay its guaranteed prize fund in 2008 (see Blas Lugo). Polgar is pushing his candidacy on her blog and forum, along with that of Korenman and Lugo, largely through "anonymous posts" that I suspect are largely written by Truong or Polgar. On these sites, postings contrary to the Polgar party line appear to be quickly removed or not allowed. Having sued the USCF, perhaps Polgar realizes that open support for her candidates could backfire. Update, May 29: It's now official- Polgar has endorsed Hecht as well as Korenman and Lugo.
MIKHAIL KORENMAN: While in Kansas, had success obtaining grants and started the Karpov Chess School. As a result, I supported USCF hiring him to seek sponsors and grants in the summer of 2006, but this was a mistake as the $10,000 he was paid produced little benefit for the federation and no sponsorship or grants. In 2007, he ran on the Polgar slate and was its only member to lose. Then in August 2008 he showed his true colors, posting the following on Polgar's forum: "Dear Susan, I just returned home with my family from a week of vacation. I could not believe the shocking development with US chess at the 2008 USCF Delegates meeting." And was this shocking development Polgar suing USCF? No, according to Korenman, it is that "The situation with USCF governance is completely out of control" and he proceeds to attack me, Bauer and Berry! Polgar suing the organization she has a duty to protect apparently didn't bother him at all! Korenman is likely to be a rubber stamp for Polgar if elected, and his election along with another Polgar candidate would place the federation in great peril.
BRIAN LAFFERTY: A lawyer and relative newcomer to USCF who has been a leader in the fight against the improper conduct of Polgar and Truong. While I am in substantial agreement with him on that major issue, he is not well known, or experienced regarding other USCF matters. LAFFERTY WITHDREW HIS CANDIDACY on May 23 and endorsed Goichberg, Haring, Atkins and Berry.
BLAS LUGO: An IM who has done some good work promoting chess in Miami. However, he is clearly allied with Polgar and Truong and has approvingly quoted the false statement on Polgar's blog saying that USCF lost $420,000. It's also interesting that his May campaign statement says, "I will work hard to develop a strong support system for adult, scholastic, collegiate, correspondence, internet and military chess." Compare this to Polgar's June 2007 campaign statement: "Develop strong cooperation and support for adult, scholastic, collegiate, correspondence, military and internet chess." Does it sound like both were written by the same person? Lugo was also the organizer of the 2008 Miami Open, which guaranteed $70,000 in prizes but paid out only $50,000, using a hurricane as the reason which never actually hit Florida. While the threat of the hurricane no doubt did cost some entries, I would never consider reducing guaranteed prizes due to only a threat, and have always paid my full prizes even under actual bad weather conditions, including winter storms which at times caused severe reductions in entries.
BRIAN MOTTERSHEAD: Another relative newcomer to USCF who has helped to combat the unethical activities of Polgar and Truong, mainly as a whistle blower who compiled the Mottershead Report alleging that Truong authored the defamatory fake Sloan posts. This report has been commended by the various internet experts who have reviewed it, and its conclusion appears correct. However, Mottershead is inexperienced regarding other issues, and I strongly disagree with some of his positions, for instance he wants to end requiring USCF membership to play in rated tournaments, an idea which has been tried before and has always failed miserably.
MIKE NIETMAN: Initial comment, April 30: An experienced organizer, especially of scholastic tournaments, and as co-chair of the Scholastic Council he has been fine to work with. However, I am concerned that he has made no public statement, as far as I am aware, saying that a board member who sues USCF for personal gain should resign or be removed from the Executive Board. I don't believe that Polgar was behind him becoming a candidate, but I am concerned that he might tolerate her activities rather than fighting to protect the USCF against them. Update, May 29: Nietman's June Chess Life statement surprisingly includes, "In my opinion at this time settling would be a mistake." Perhaps he means settling under unfavorable terms; I would be willing to settle now based on Polgar and Truong resigning from the Executive Board and both sides withdrawing their legal actions, and I believe others on USCF's Legal Subcommittee would be as well.
SAM SLOAN: Initial comment, April 30: Sam has run in every Executive Board election since 1996, usually faring poorly, but in 2006, he placed second out of five candidates and obtained a year on the board. As a board member, he made continual internet posts containing inane accusations, such as charging that virtually all USCF financial documents have been destroyed, that tournaments were rerated for political reasons, that board candidates failed to pay filing fees, etc. He was justifiably censured several times by his fellow board members, and placed 9th out of 10 candidates when running for re-election in 2007. He filed a $20 million federal lawsuit against USCF in 2007 after the election (the second time he has sued USCF), a suit that was dismissed in 2008. His appeal of this dismissal was rejected in May 2009, but he has filed for reconsideration of that appeal, and indicated that if necessary he intends to refile the suit in state court in California. One point in Sloan's favor is that if elected, he will not ally with Polgar; however there are far better candidates who will also not do that. Update, June 16: Sloan has mailed a large yellow postcard to some voters which includes, as is usual for him, a large number of misstatements and misleading claims.
SUMMARY: I am voting for JIM BERRY, RUTH HARING, and MIKE ATKINS as well as myself, BILL GOICHBERG. If for any reason you don't wish to vote for one of these candidates, my next choice would be Mike Nietman. Brian Lafferty has withdrawn his candidacy.