Breaking Developments in US Chess

Most chess players rightly avoid any discussion of chess politics. They feel that politics do not belong in chess. They believe that the winner of any chess competition should be decided over the chess board and not by some behind-the-scenes political maneuver. Some feel that all chess politicians are corrupt, that they all steal and so what else is new. Most say that they don't care. As long as their magazine comes on time and as long as the ratings are done accurately and promptly, why should they care who says what about whom.

Yet, suddenly there is an explosion of interest in chess politics. The news group is filled with a dozen to 20 new postings every day, whereas, back in September, the group was so moribund that there were suggestions that it might have to be discontinued.

I hope that readers will take a close look at what is happening over there because there are entirely new and breaking developments going on over there which potentially affect every chess player in the world. There are breaking new developments every day and sometimes every hour.

Here are some of the issues:

United States Chess Federation Treasurer Tom Dorsch reports essentially that $235,000 owed for Chess Informants in Yugoslavia has been misappropriated and the money has simply disappeared. The facts appear to be that during the War in Yugoslavia and the time of the UN imposed sanctions, the USCF was faced with a loss of its biggest selling and most profitable item: Chess Informants from Yugoslavia. Therefore, a deal was worked out with Grandmaster Aleksandar Matanovic. Chess Informants would continue to be shipped, but the money owed for the books would be placed in an escrow account to be released to the Serbs when the war was over.

In April, with the war over and the UN sanctions lifted, the attorney for the USCF advised that the money, which was by then $235,000, could be released. As a result, the money was taken out of the escrow account. However, it was not sent to Grandmaster Matanovic. The money simply disappeared. Dorsch has been trying to find out what happened to it.

Jim Eade, another policy board member, has posted on that there are two other major financial issues which have not been disclosed outside of the policy board which could sink the USCF. There is no way to know what these two issues are except to say that they appear to be separate from the issue about the Chess Informants. Jim Eade is still a loyal member of the Don Schultz team and has been sworn to secrecy, or at least he was a member of that team until about a week ago.

According to a "President's Letter" issued by Don Schultz on December 29, he told Tom Dorsch, the USCF Treasurer, not to go to the USCF Headquarters in New Windsor. Dorsch says that he has been banned from the office.

Another undisclosed fact which is now coming to light (although I learned something about it while I was running for president) concerns the Interplay contract. Interplay is a software development company. Apparently, in return for sponsoring the US Championship, the USCF agreed not to allow any other computer company to sponsor any USCF chess event. This means that Intel, the sponsor of the PCA and the Kasparov - Anand match, could not sponsor any USCF event. It means that IBM, which sponsored the Kasparov-Deep Blue match, could not sponsor any USCF event. It means that Mindscape, the sponsor of the Pan Pacific International and numerous other large and small chess events, could not sponsor any USCF event. I am not sure where it puts the Novag Grand Prix, which still seems to be running.

For this wonderful exclusive right, Interplay paid essentially nothing, other than to put up $75,000 to sponsor the US Championship.

The contract between the USCF and Interplay said that "Interplay will develop a chess web site". Apparently, Don Schultz interpreted this to mean that the chess web site which already belonged to the USCF now belonged to Interplay. Therefore, in mid-December, 1996, just a few weeks ago, the policy board essentially fired Addie and Gary Prince and gave their web site to Interplay. The address is .

Anybody who has viewed the chess web site developed by Addie and Gary Prince will realize what a terrible development this is. There are more than 60 million pages on the World Wide Web. You will not be able to find a better and more fantastic web site than that developed by Addie and Gary Prince. The art work, the design, and everything else about that web site were just magnificent. Addie Prince has also contributed art work to other chess web sites such as the National Open web page.

Apparently, the reason that Don Schultz decided to fire Addie and Gary Prince and to give the chess web site to Interplay was the exclusive right which Interplay supposedly has to all USCF computer related activities, plus a cost cutting measure, because it was costing money to maintain the USCF web site, whereas the Interplay was willing to do it for free. (I am willing to do it for free as well, I might add, and I have 347 web pages the last I counted.)

Don Schultz also states that as a further cost cutting measure the number of pages in Chess Life will be reduced as well as the amount of color in the magazine.

In the few weeks since the USCF web site was donated to Interplay, there have been no news or updates on that web site, except that Interplay has posted the Presidential Letters of Don Schultz.

Here are the expenses for the seven members of the current Policy Board for the period July 1-September 30, 1996 as reported in the policy board newsletter mailed 12/27/96:

Don Schultz - $2777.71
Rachel Lieberman - $1707.16
Robert Ferguson - $641.65
Fan Adams - 0
Tom Dorsch - 0
Jim Eade - 0
Bill Goichberg - 0

It is not clear what Don Schultz has spent $2777.71 on.

One of the most important points to remember is that Don Schultz and Tom Dorsch were considered to be political allies during the election campaign. Immediately after the election, Don Schultz made Tom Dorsch the head of a special ad hoc committee which revised the budget in the middle of the delegate's meeting in Alexandria in August, causing great public embarrassment and humiliation to outgoing treasurer Frank Camaratta. It is being said that Don Schultz has set up several other policy board members by getting them to do various reprehensible acts which he has later denied any involvement with.

One USCF insider now calls Don Schultz "Donnie the Weasel" on internet postings. It is not known whether this name will stick or not.

It appears that the USCF has simply run out of money and is getting by simply by not paying Matanovic for his Chess Informants and by stiffing other creditors. It is now apparent that the USCF, which appeared to be financially healthy according to the balance sheet issued just before the election, is going to have to borrow from the Life Membership Fund to keep going. Steve Doyle, one of the three public guardians of the fund, has not stated clearly whether he is going to allow the Schultz group to borrow these funds or not. This issue is being debated hotly on There is around a million dollars cash in the fund.

Don Schultz has issued a series of presidential letters in which he blames all of the problems of the USCF on the following:

1. The previous policy board
2. Al Lawrence, the previous Executive Director
3. Tom Dorsch, the USCF Treasurer

In his latest letters, Don Schultz has added the name of Jim Eade to his list of enemies. Until a few weeks ago, Jim Eade was a good Boy Scout, following the orders of Don Schultz.

It is impossible for anybody on the outside of these disputes to know what is really going on. So much is kept hidden. Hardly any of the true facts can be discerned with any reasonable degree of certainty.

However, those, including myself, who really know nothing about what is going on, should be able to find that certain inferences can be drawn from what is being said. In his latest presidential letters, including one which came out last night or earlier today, Don Schultz does not address any of the issues. He says nothing about the Chess Informants or the missing $235,000. He says nothing about the Life Membership Fund or the need to borrow from it. He does not give a cogent explanation as to why the USCF Treasurer has been banned from receiving financial information about the USCF (other than information which is generally available to all). He does not say why the USCF web site was given to Interplay (although he does make complimentary remarks about Interplay).

There are a bunch of other issues which have exploded in just the past few weeks. This letter is already too long for even a summary listing of them. However, it is not an exaggeration to state that the very existence of the USCF is threatened. I hope that the members will start tuning in and will take a more active role in these discussions.

Sam Sloan
December 31, 1996

UPDATE Michael Cavallo informs me that when he took over as Executive Director of the USCF in 1997 one of the first things he did was pay off the $235,000 which the USCF owed to Chess Informant.

Here are links:

Sam Sloan's Chess Page

My Home Page

Contact address - please send e-mail to the following address: