Redman tricked the Board into approving his Fiddle Points Plan

In 1997, the USCF ratings Committee, led by Mark Glickmen, a Professor of Math at Boston University, developed a new rating system. This system was approved by the delegates, but it has never been implemented because the USCF office and Executive Board have been waiting for the USCF computer system to be upgraded, which has never occured.

Finally, a few months ago, a member of the Ratings Committee, Tom Doan, agreed to do the work on his home computer. This is a massive job, because it involves putting the data from all USCF rated tournaments since 1992 into a database and recalculating the ratings.

The new rating system was supposed to come into effect in October, 2000. It is described in detail in the October 2000 Chess Life.

However, President Tim Redman presented a proposal at the October 6, 2000 meeting of the Executive Board for every player to be awarded two rating points for every game played up to a limit of 2000 points.

This was approved by the Executive Board on October 6, 2000. See the transcript at

"TIM REDMAN: Okay. Can we vote on this? Okay. All in favor, please raise your hands. Five in favor. Opposed, two. Abstaining, none. Smith and McCrary opposed. This brings us to the next item on the agenda: On-line ratings. The competition has them now; we don't. Can we get them too?"

In presenting this proposal, Redman led the board members to believe that the Ratings Committee as individuals were not strongly opposed to this. Here is part of what Redman said:

"TIM REDMAN: Very good. Thank you. Anything else on LMA? Okay. That brings us into strategic planning. I have circulated to the Board some thoughts on this, and by way of e-mail and Focus Memo No. 1 and Focus Memo No. 2. Both were addressed to George. I then lost my copies, and then so I asked George John to see if he could go -- if he could dredge them up, which he did. He sent me them. Then I mailed them off in priority mail to the entire Board. And then the office hopefully remailed them to the entire Board. By now, you're probably sick of Focus Memo No. 1 and Focus Memo No. 2, but we're going to discuss its ideas. And the first recommendation that I've made is that we adopt a version of the President's Special Committee's anti-rating deflation recommendation. This committee, also known as the DDDE Committee, you will remember, was appointed by President Smith last year, chaired by Steve Doyle, who, with Leroy Dubeck, the former President, Peter Dyson, a businessman, and Jim Eade, our Zonal President, looking at the entire picture of the Federation. The DDDE anti-deflation recommendation was specified that to combat rating deflation, players would be given an activity bonus of two points per game for their regular ratings, not other ratings, for tournaments of a certain length. I have circulated this idea in the dangerous waters of chess politics, and the worthwhile responses that I have gotten from this venue, including e-mail, are here. I brought them with me. And to say the least, there was a lot of discussion on this matter which I have given a great deal of attention to. The -- I'll speak in more detail on any aspect of this that you'd like. But the motion that I have come up with is sponsored by Joe Ippolito, Tim Redman, and Helen Warren as follows: For calendar year 2001, an activity bonus of two points per game played in tournaments of three rounds or more will be added to the regular ratings of players rated under "blank." Okay. Now, the proposal that I circulated to Helen and Jim was that that "blank" be 2,000. The recommendation coming from the DDDE Committee and coming in particular from Leroy Dubeck, who is a professor of physics at Temple University and extremely knowledgable in both chess and scientific areas, was that the number be 2,400. Leroy's reasoning was that if you got beyond that, you'd start to impact on invitationals, Olympiads, and things like that. I circulated this idea for discussion. I had a very productive and good e-mail correspondence with Professor Mark Glickman, who is the Chair of the Ratings Committee. At my request, they did a simulation of it, of the 2,400 number. And they have sent around to the Board -- and I'm sure you all have and have read their recommendation -- which was, again, adopting this proposal. I've circulated to the Board Professor Dubeck's response to the Ratings Committee's response to the DDDE proposal, and I'm sure you've had a chance to read that too. Essentially we're facing serious problems in the steady decline of adult regular members of roughly a thousand a year. We are also experiencing a decline in sales, and the two are not separate items. The two are, in fact, related to each other because it is the serious over-the-board players and the serious postal players who buy books because they want to improve. I was disappointed in the response of the Ratings Committee because I did not think it was as complete as I would have wished in the number of areas. I do not wish in any way to impugn the professional credentials of Professor Glickman, who has, from a university perspective, serious credentials this area. The other members of the Ratings Committee have varying kinds of credentials, and I'm not going to say that they are not qualified to be on that committee. We appointed them, so we obviously thought they were. But from a rigorous perspective of a university, to my knowledge, only Professor Glickman has professional credentials in this area. The Ratings Committee has, in fact, come up with a proposal to curb deflation, and I'm using those words very precisely because that is all that Professor Glickman ever told me it would do. It would curb deflation. He didn't say it would swing it the other way. Okay. The Ratings Committee is quite convinced that we have had serious deflation over the last X years. Now, at that point, when you talk to -- and I have engaged in correspondence with individual members of the Ratings Committee to get their individual views. You'll find that there is kind of a range of opinion about when serious deflation started. There is a range of opinion about how inflation occurred beforehand. There has been some very illuminating work and discussion done on the history of this problem and everything else. I'd be happy to share it all with you if you promise me you'll read every word. But the key point here is that they agreed that deflation has occurred for about ten years, roughly. Their particular way of measuring this was of great interest because essentially there are only a few ways of determining scientifically how deflation occurs, if it occurs."

From reading the above, one would imagine that Professor Mark Glickman and the Ratings Committee were not strongly against the Redman two rating points per game played proposal. In fact, however, they were strongly and vehemently against it. They voted 13-0 against it, as you can see from the letter they wrote which was published in the December Chess Life, page 6 column 2. This letter is also on the web at

Nevertheless, Redman is determined to go forward with his two points per game plan. The most recent development is that Redman is now talking of halting the attempted implementation of the Glickman system but is still demanding full implementation of his two points per game activity points system.

Sam Sloan

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