My Platform as a Candidate for USCF Executive Board

My name is Sam Sloan and I am a candidate for USCF Executive Board.

A new broom sweeps clean. If you like the way things are going at the USCF and you would prefer for things to continue pretty much the same way as they are now, you should vote for some of the other guys. They deserve your vote.

On the other hand, if you would like to see big changes made in the USCF and the old fogies thrown out and gotten rid of, I am your candidate. Here are some of the changes I would make:

Financial Reporting

When I ran for election in 1996, I complained that USCF financial statements were not being prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Many members were shocked to hear this. Many more did not believe it. I got few votes.

Since then, the situation has become much worse. Although the annual report for the fiscal year ending May, 2000 was supposed to come out in July 2000, it did not come out until April, 2001, nine months late.

This will not happen again if I am elected, because I will scream so loudly if they try a trick like that again that everybody will be able to hear it.

The USCF should adhere to the same standards of disclosure that are required by the SEC of publicly traded companies of comparable size.

Book and Equipment Business

A shocking development is the movement by the current Executive Board to greatly reduce the books and equipment business. Sales of books and equipment have been the mainstay of the USCF for as long as it has existed. Simply stated, without the books and equipment business, there would be no USCF at all.

More than 50% of all USCF revenues have always come from the sale of books and equipment. In year 2000, sales were $3,000,787, down from $3,427,575 in fiscal 1999.

Now, the Executive Board wants to further cut sales by reducing the line of books to less than 50 books. I know something about the book business because I am the president of a book publishing company, The Ishi Press, and it is essential to the success of a book business to have a long line of books. The more books the better. Have you ever seen a successful bookstore with a limited selection of books? In addition, it is essential that new titles be added all the time.

One reason why the USCF is less successful now than it has been in the past is that no staff member currently employed by the USCF has any prior experience in a small mail-order business. The solution to the current financial problems is to hire someone who knows how to do this kind of business, not to close down the business altogether.

Committee System

In the last several election periods, several candidates have complained that there are too many committees and the committee system should be downgraded. Recent events have shown how wrong they are. The two most tragic blunders the USCF has made in the past year have been the result of ignoring the relevant committees. The "fiddle points" or activity points system was adopted over the vehement objections of the USCF Ratings Committee. Similarly, US ChessLive was created without ever asking the opinion of the Internet Committee.

Committee members are in general dedicated volunteers who are experts in their respective fields. If I am elected, I will insist that no major changes of any kind be made without consulting the relevant committee first.

US ChessLive

Since at least 1995, I have been one of the strongest advocates of the USCF getting involved in Online Chess. Unfortunately, what has happened has been a disaster. First, the board in office during 1996-1999 was opposed to entering the field of Online Chess. Later, the current board adopted a proposal to create online chess by a recently formed company with no experience or background in the field. US ChessLive had been released while infected with spyware and without any disclosure to the members of the existence of this spyware.

The question is: What to do now?

I say that the USCF should take over US ChessLive and run it ourselves. No doubt there will be resistance from the present operators and we may have to resort to litigation, but under no circumstances can Joel Berez or the present Games Parlor personnel have anything to do with the USCF chess server. Also, we should not pay them a penny.

Tournament Life Announcements

The price to advertise tournaments in Chess Life has risen so high that only the biggest organizers can afford it now. There needs to be a great reduction in the cost of TLAs. I am not prepared to state whether the old fee structure should be reinstated or there should be a new fee structure. This subject needs to be studied by experts in this area.

Affiliate Commissions

One of the most foolish and incomprehensible acts in the entire recorded history of humanity was the decision made last year to eliminate the traditional $5 commission paid to affiliates for each $40 member they signed up. I was not at the meeting where this happened and I cannot imagine what they were thinking. The affiliate commission or discount needs to be reinstated immediately.

One Member One Vote

I am a long time advocate of democracy in chess. There will never be much improvement in the USCF unless the members are allowed to vote. I will continue to push for One Member One Vote.


I was present at the FIDE General Assembly meetings in Istanbul. I was disappointed when the US delegate voted in favor of the FIDE Commerce Deal. Also, the US was silent when Xie Jun, the Woman's World Champion, was kicked out of the FIDE World Championship to which she had been invited. I will seek to have the US delegation replaced by persons more knowledgeable in FIDE affairs. I believe the US should take a stronger and more active role in FIDE. I will demand that George Makropoulos never be allowed to be the chairman of another FIDE General Assembly meeting. Otherwise, we walk. Makropoulos repeatedly shouts, bullies and makes abusive and insulting remarks to the representatives in FIDE of sovereign nations. He needs to be removed from his positions in FIDE.

Drug Testing of Chess Players

Among the most ridiculous acts of the current USCF administration are the decision to apply to join the US Olympic Committee and to do along with their plans for drug testing of chess players. If I am elected, there will be no drug testing of chess players. We should instruct our delegates that under no circumstances will the USCF ever negotiate or become involved in the sports Olympics if they continue to insist that our tournament players submit to expensive random drug teats.

Ratings Reform

Another of my long time interests has been ratings reform. I have written several papers and proposals on this subject. We all need to thank Tom Doan and the USCF Ratings Committee for the fantastic job they have done for doing some of the things that I have wanted done for a long time. No thanks however are due to the five executive board members who voted in favor of the ridiculous and disastrous fiddle points or activity points plan.

More work should be done in this area. The database of tournament results should be expanded to include historical events. Tests should be run before any further changes are made in the rating system. A web site should be established whereby tournament organizers can post tournament results to the web. All tournament results and rating reports should be made available on the USCF website.

School Mates

Among the many atrocities committed was the reduction of School Mates magazine from six times per year to four times per year, without consulting the delegates. School Mates must be restored to six times per year.

Scholastic Dues

Nobody likes to talk about a dues increase, but the current scholastic dues of $13 per year is unreasonably low. I favor increasing the scholastic dues to $15 per year, with a $2 (only) affiliate discount. At the same time, I am completely opposed to raising adult dues above the already high level of $40 per year.

Personnel Matters

The next Executive Board may be faced with the decision of hiring a new Executive Director. In the past, Executive Director has been a political appointee, with somebody's friend getting the job. Next time, we should consider hiring an executive search firm. We should look for someone qualified and experienced in running a small mail order business, because the primary business of the USCF is selling chess books and equipment. We should definitely not consider outsourcing the books and equipment business or the correspondence chess business. The USCF should be run like a business for a change.

Long Range Plans

I have two dreams which compel my continued interest in this area. One is to bring a World Chess Olympiad to America. This could definitely be done, if only someone would try. I would advocate setting up a committee to explore the possibility of holding a World Chess Olympiad in Las Vegas.

I have attended several Olympiads. They are the greatest events in the world of chess, vastly more important than the world championship in my opinion. In connection with the recent Olympiad in Istanbul, I learned that many famous grandmasters are not able to obtain visas permitting them to play in chess tournaments in America. Holding an Olympiad in the USA would virtually force US consulates around the world to grant visas to chess grandmasters.

My other dream is to bring a well known chess player named Bobby back into chess. I believe that I have a real chance of being able to do this if I am elected. If I am successful in accomplishing this, we will all get rich.

Sam Sloan

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