More about the Interplay Productions contract

I am happy to see that now Bill Goichberg has developed the capability of posting his own newsgroup messages. I have been urging upon Bill the importance of doing this since at least February, 1996. He has felt that he was too busy and had other things to do.

The problem is that when Tom Dorsch posts things and Schultz replies that Dorsch has been censured for his postings, without Schultz ever responding to the factual issues raised, everyone is going to cry "foul", especially since Schultz has a long history of doing things like that. For example, Schultz had Richard Calvo declared persona non-grata by FIDE solely for an article Calvo wrote which was critical of Schultz's friend and mentor Campomanes. (I have posted the Calvo article on the World Wide Web. The address is: . I challenge anyone to explain what was wrong with this article or why Calvo deserved to be censured by Schultz and his gang because of it.)

Turning to the substance of what Goichberg says, I believe that he misses the point: Goichberg states:

"Interplay is an established sponsor of great value to USCF. ... To refer to the latter situation as a 'giveaway' is unwarranted; if events proceed as planned the only thing we will be 'giving away' is the privilege of paying a lot of money to maintain and improve our site. [Interplay] seems determined to develop an outstanding website which would mean substantial revenue for Interplay as well as USCF."

"Yes, the site is not too good yet (the news is very old), and our catalog was not on line in time for Christmas- but it is now; we are moving in the right direction. Could Dorsch be right that we should have continued paying for our own website rather than going with Interplay? Of course this is always possible; no one can foresee the future. But if Interplay comes through, the eventual savings to USCF could be hundreds of thousands of dollars."

With all due respect to my friend Bill Goichberg, I believe that this misses several points. In the first place, why wasn't the on-line catalog up in time for Christmas? Although the Interplay contract is a top secret document which even the delegates are not allowed to see, I understand that the contract was made in early 1996. Interplay Productions had nearly a year to get up a web site. Why didn't they do it on time? The only reason it got up at all was that the work product of Addie and Gary Prince was given to them in mid-December.

I keep mentioning that I have 364 web sites. The number goes up every day. I do it all myself. It just ain't that big a deal. I got over 5,000 hits yesterday, probably more than the USCF gets in a week, but down from the 9,120 I got a few days ago.

Putting up an on line catalogue is no big deal. My own company has one. We did it ourselves, at essentially no cost. I did not write the code. We had a Japanese lady over in Tokyo do it. She charged us 30,000 yen. (About $300 US). It works just fine, better than the Interplay web site. The address is

Please look us up and order some books, by the way.

The real problems with the Interplay contract are:

1. Secrecy
2. Competency

Everything about the Interplay contract has been done in top secrecy. When I was a candidate for President, I was barely able to find out that there was an Interplay contract. I was never able to find out what the contract said. Bob Holliman, a candidate for USCF Vice-President, obviously did not even know that there was such a contract, because he proposed a motion which would have violated the terms of the contract. Whenever the Interplay contract was discussed by the policy board, it was done in closed session. The members and delegates were not supposed to know about this.

Only certain specific types of items are supposed to be discussed in closed session. These are personnel matters and pending litigation. The Interplay contract is neither of these. Contract bidding is the very sort of item which should be absolutely open. Companies should be invited to submit bids to provide the services offered by Interplay. Dozens of companies would submit very competitive bids. What you have done is grant an exclusive monopoly to a company without anybody outside of the board knowing about it. How do we know that Don Schultz was not paid off a bunch of cash dollars by Interplay?

This affects every USCF member. When Eric Schiller bid to hold the 1998 U. S Open Chess Championship in Hawaii, he submitted his bid based upon the assumption that Mindscape, which had sponsored other tournaments organized by Schiller, would sponsor this one too. It was only after Schiller's bid was accepted that he was told that Mindscape would be prohibited from sponsoring the US Open because Interplay had been granted a secret monopoly to sponsor all national events. Schiller would have every right to sue you over this. In that case, you could go into closed session then.

The other issue is competency. There are four members of the policy board who know nothing about computers. These are Adams, Schultz, Goichberg, and to a lesser extent Ferguson. Guess who is in favor of the Interplay contract? Adams, Schultz, Goichberg, and Ferguson. There are three policy board members who know something about computers: Eade, Dorsch and Lieberman. Guess which three policy board members are not in favor of the Interplay contract.

Jim Eade is a computer expert. In addition, Eade's wife is Senior Vice-President and Chief Information Officer for Novell Computers. She earns well over six figures. I realize that Bill Goichberg has never heard of Novell Computers and I am deeply sympathetic to his unfortunate plight, but Novell Computers is probably the leading computer networking company in the world. That is the reason that Jim Eade lives in Sunnyvale, California, the computer capital of the world.

So, do you ask Jim Eade, a policy board member, what he thinks of the Interplay contract? Of course not. You ask Schultz, who knows zip about computers.

Chess is fortunate in that many of the world's leading experts in computers are also chess players. Bill Gates, who Goichberg has probably never heard of either, is a chess player. It is because so many computer experts are also chess players that Intel Corporation sponsored the Professional Chessplayers Association (the "PCA") to the turn of several million dollars. The USCF has a computer/internet committee. Was this committee ever consulted on the Interplay contract? Of course not. Otherwise, Schiller, a member and former chairman of that committee, would have known about that contract before he bid for the US Open. (Actually Schiller says that he did know about the Interplay contract, but only from a secret source. The committee was never informed. It was Schiller who first broke the news that there was such a contract.)

People are complaining about my letters being too long, so I rest my case.

I hope you all go to jail.

Sam Sloan

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