The Cat is Out of the Bag

Bruce Draney, who, for reasons best known to himself, disguised himself as his son Heath for the purposes of his post, fired the first public volley in the central issue in the race for USCF Executive Board, when he posted the following on the newsgroup :

On 12 Apr 1999 19:54:05 -0500, Heath Draney

>I thought since the hot topic is Policy Board, I would voice my
>opinion of a top five most likely future candidates who are most likely
>to win.
>1.Tom Dorsch
>2.Helen Warren
>3.Bob Holliman
>4.Steve Doyle
>5.Doris Barry
> All of them are well, known and have good political standing.
> Heath,

I wonder if Mr. Draney realized what he was doing when he made this post. What he has done here is post the names only of the members of the "Dorsch Slate". The "Dorsch Slate" consists of candidates who have pledged to each other to elect Tom Dorsch as the next USCF President if they are elected to Executive Board.

As can readily be seen from examination of the above list, the Dorsch Slate consists of members who have nothing in common with each other, except for their mutual hatred of Bill Goichberg. The clear objective of the Dorsch Slate is, if elected, to force Bill Goichberg out of organized chess.

Of course, they will probably never publicly acknowledge this. However, looking at the postings by Tom Dorsch on the chess newsgroups, the presentation made by Tom Dorsch to the USCF delegates in Hawaii, the proposals which Tom Dorsch has made as a member of the Policy Board and so on, it is clear that the ultimate objective of Tom Dorsch is the complete retirement from chess organizing of Bill Goichberg. Goichberg is presently the leading chess organizer in the world.

For example, Tom Dorsch wants to charge Bill Goichberg commercial advertising rates for his announcements of events in Chess Life, giving no recognition to the fact that Goichberg tournaments bring thousands of new members into the USCF along with thousands of dollars in revenue from those members. In one proposal to the Policy Board (which was voted down 5-2) Dorsch moved that Glenn Petersen, the Chess Life Editor, be prohibited from giving any publicity either before the tournament or after the tournament to the World Open and all other major Goichberg tournaments. Had this proposal passed, the premier annual chess tournament in America would have gone unmentioned in Chess Life.

In addition, the Tom Dorsch slate has left no doubt that, if elected, it intends to fire Mike Cavallo as USCF Executive Director, because Cavallo is perceived by Dorsch as being pro-Goichberg. The Dorsch proposal has been that Cavallo will be replaced by Steve Doyle.

This is only the beginning of a long list of things, much of which Tom Dorsch has been trying for at least the last 15 years to do or to have done to Bill Goichberg.

If all the Tom Dorsch proposals were implemented, as they almost certainly will be if the Dorsch slate is elected, there is little doubt that Goichberg would be virtually forced either to leave chess organizing altogether, or will be required to run his organization as a direct competitor to the USCF.

The question arises: Would this be a good thing?

This question is not easy to answer. If Goichberg were forced out of chess, then Tom Dorsch could make some money out of his own "Universe Open" which he runs in California in competition with Goichberg's World Open, on the same weekend. It has also been argued that if Goichberg were forced out of chess, then a lot of small time chess organizers, little mom-and-pop chess groups, would spring up, once relieved of having to compete with the heavy hand of Bill Goichberg.

On the other hand, it is clear to me that Goichberg, who has been America's leading chess organizer since 1965, will not just fold up his tent and steal away in the night. If I were him (and of course I am not speaking for him at all) I would then set up my own organization with ratings, a magazine and everything else the USCF has.

What is often forgotten is that it was actually Bill Goichberg who implemented the so-called "Elo Rating System" for the USCF. Goichberg made so many modifications on Elo's theoretical algorithm that I feel that it should more accurately be called the Elo-Goichberg System. Goichberg would clearly be capable of establishing his own rating system. Also, putting out a magazine in competition with Chess Life would be a snap, especially since Glenn Petersen, the Chess Life editor, is restricted in what he can publish. Much of Chess Life is filled with material which present or former policy boards have required to be published in Chess Life, for political reasons.

Goichberg invented scholastic chess in the mid-1960s. Later, other chess organizers realized that scholastic chess was highly profitable, because they can charge the little kid's parents big entry fees while at the same time they would not want to corrupt the tikes by paying them cash prizes. Goichberg was forced out of scholastic chess when the USCF took over his events and started awarding the National Elementary School Championship and other Goichberg tournaments to other bidders.

If Goichberg were forced out of the USCF, I would imagine that he would go back into scholastic chess, which is the most profitable area of chess organization.

In addition, if Goichberg is forced out of the USCF, a lot of satellite groups who are in various ways involved with Goichberg events will undoubtedly follow, including the Chess Center and possibly even the Marshall Chess Club, not to mention other groups which have long been dissatisfied with the USCF for various reasons.

Finally, from the point of view of Goichberg, this might not even be a bad thing because, according to no less an authority than Tom Dorsch, the USCF right now is on the verge of bankruptcy. If Goichberg is no longer organizing chess events within the structure of the USCF, the revenue from the tens of thousands of USCF members who have joined only so that they can play in Goichberg tournaments will be lost. The USCF itself might not survive and might go into bankruptcy. Goichberg will have no competition.

I want to make it clear that Bill Goichberg has never in any way indicated to me that, if forced out of the USCF, he will go into competition with it. On the other hand, the South never said that it would succeed from the Union if Lincoln was elected. To me, it is logically obvious that this is what is going to happen.

Sam Sloan


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