Rusudan Goletiani has not been treated fairly

Thank you for your letters and your expressions of concern. The fact is, however, that Rusudan Goletiani has not been fairly treated.

On May 26, 2000, when she was 19 years old and just one week after she first arrived in America, I brought Rusudan Goletiani to the USCF Executive Board meeting in New Windsor, where she stated that she was intending to reside permanently in America and she wanted to play in the US Championship. Among her reasons for deciding to stay in America was that she is from Sukhumi, Abkhazia, Georgia, where a civil war has been going on for the past ten years. Her mother was killed in that war. Rusudan has lacked a permanent home in Georgia but has been a refugee in her own country. In spite of this, she won the World Chess Championship three times in her age categories, having won the World Championship for Girls under-14, then the World Championship for Girls under-16 and then the World Championship for Girls under-18.
Rusudan Goletiani
Rusudan Goletiani

She stated at the May 2000 Executive Board meeting that she wished to become a USA player. She asked if she should do that now or wait.

Since then, there has never been any communication by the USCF office with her. It was only three weeks ago that Tom Brownscombe finally got around to sending her the form to register as a US player. He had promised to do that during the 2001 US Open in Framingham, but never did. Although Rusudan Golitiani is rated higher on the World FIDE Rating list than any woman invited to the US Championship on the basis of rating, she was never invited or even informed of the existence of the tournament.

Just to clarify this point, Rusudan Goletiani is rated 2324 by FIDE. Elena Donaldson-Akhmilovskaya would have had a higher FIDE rating, but she has not played in a FIDE rated tournament since 1998 and therefore is not on the FIDE rating list. Irina Krush is rated higher by FIDE, but she has declined to play in the US Championship due to a previous commitment to play in Hastings. Jennifer Shahade is rated ten points higher than Rusudan on the USCF rating list, but is rated much lower than Rusudan on the FIDE list. Camilla Baginskaite is also rated lower than Rusudan on the FIDE rating list.

What should have happened is that Rusudan should have been contacted, in view of clearly being one of the highest rated players on the USCF list, and asked if she was qualified to play in the US Championship. Had that been done back in late July when the invitations went out, we would not be faced with the situation that the tournament is scheduled to start less than two weeks from now and Rusudan still has not been contacted.

What I believe is that the Executive Board simply forgot about Rusudan. I think that the new reason being given, that she was not a "full time student" when she was 19, is just an excuse to cover up the fact that she was forgotten.

It also appears to me that Tom Brownscombe for reasons best known to him does not want Rusudan in the tournament. It is clear that if Rusudan is allowed to play, she will win one of the top prizes. There are only three female players in the tournament with any chance at all to beat her. The others are much weaker than she is. It seems likely that jealousy is a reason for keeping her out.

Yasser Seirawan, who is sponsoring this tournament, agreed to allow Rusudan to be first alternate. In other words, if any one of the 56 players does not show up or cancels at the last minute, Rusudan would take his or her place. Rusudan has agreed to this. I thought that John McCrary, USCF president, had agreed as well, but then Tom Brownscombe came out strongly against it.

I told Rusudan that I was willing to file a lawsuit in her behalf, which I feel would prevail because I feel that discrimination against her is illegal, since she has resided in the US for one and a half years and is now a legal permanent resident of the USA. However, Rusudan says that she wants to be friends, not enemies, with the USCF and does not want to file a court case. However, I need to point out that the statute of limitations in New York State is six years. Thus, if Rusudan is not allowed to play in the US Championship starting two weeks from now, she could change her mind any time within the next six years and decide to file suit for money damages. I do not think that either the USCF or the Seattle Chess Foundation wants this sort of potential liability hanging over their heads, especially when this matter can be resolved quite easily now.

The reason that I have been quiet about this matter for the past two weeks is that I was told that a member of the Executive Board was going to bring this up in a telephone conference call scheduled for last week. However, yesterday that board member told me that he was not given an opportunity to bring this up, because it was not on the agenda. My understanding is that the board as a whole is still not aware of this issue or of their potential liability.

Tom Brownscombe has indicated that this should be no big deal because Rusudan will be allowed to play in the US Championship two years from now. However, Rusudan is a rapidly improving young player who has the potential to become Woman's World Chess Champion. I want to give two examples from the historical past.

I played in the 1958 US Junior Championship in Homestead, Florida. The winner was to earn the right to play in the US Closed Championship. Raymond Weinstein and Larry Remlinger tied for first. Remlinger was ahead on tie-breaking points going into the last round. It happened that Weinstein had played two rated Class-B players and Remlinger had played two rated experts. By coincidence, the two B players were paired against the two experts in the last round. One of the B players was Max Burkett, who drew the expert, Steve Sholomson. The other B-player was James Bennett who defeated his expert rated opponent. The result was that Raymond Weinstein won the US Junior Championship by half a tie-breaking point.

Remlinger, who was 16 years old, quit chess, although ten years later he returned to chess and now is an international master. He would without doubt have become a grandmaster had he been allowed to play in the 1958-1959 US Championship. Weinstein played in the US Championship and went to the insane asylum, but that is another story.

Next year, in 1959, the US Junior Championship was in Omaha. This time, Gilbert Ramirez tied with Robin Ault. Ramirez won on normal tie-breaking points, but The Reverend Howard Ohman, the organizer, decreed that the winner of their individual game would play in the US Championship. Ault had defeated Ramirez in their individual game and therefore played in the US Championship. Ault lost all his games, scoring 0-11. As a result, the program of allowing the US Junior Champion to play in the US Championship was abolished and was not reinstated until 1979. Gilbert Ramirez joined the US Marines, was stationed in Spain where he played in a few international chess tournaments, but then quit chess and is now a professional bridge player.

Thus, a few tie-breaking points changed the lives and careers of four young players. The point I am trying to make is that telling a young and rapidly improving player such as Rusudan Goletiani that she cannot play in the US Championship until two years from now, whereas she is qualified to play now, can have a devastating effect on the career any young player.

Had Rusudan been informed at the 2000 Executive Board meeting when she was 19 years old that she had to become a "full time student" in order to play in the US Championship, you can be sure that she would immediately have enrolled. However, she was not told this until two weeks ago and I feel that this was fundamentally unfair.

Finally, there has been a big problem concerning the fact that George DeFeis is not a chess player and therefore does not understand these issues. I am sure that if Cavallo, Dullea or Lawrence had been executive director, this problem would not have arisen.

We are hoping that you can resolve this matter in the short time remaining.

Very Truly Yours,

Sam Sloan

FIDE Rating List Top USA Women Total found: 61
No. Last Name, First Name Title Fed Rating Birthday Sex Flag1
1 Krush, Irina m USA 2411 24.12.83 F
2 Levitina, Irina S wg USA 2405 08.06.54 F i
3 Donaldson-A., Elena wg USA 2393 11.03.57 F i
4 Baginskaite, Camilla wm USA 2336 24.04.67 F
5 Akhsharumova, Anna M wg USA 2310 09.01.57 F i
6 Shahade, Jennifer wm USA 2295 31.12.80 F
7 Grinfeld, Alla B wg USA 2270 16.04.53 F i
8 Belakovskaia, Anjelina wg USA 2270 17.05.69 F
9 Savereide, Diane wm USA 2250 25.11.54 F i
10 Battsetseg, Tsagaan wm USA 2250 30.01.72 F
11 Hahn, Anna wm USA 2231 21.06.76 F
12 Marinello, Beatriz M wm USA 2221 14.05.64 F
13 Levitan, Yuliya wm USA 2220 12.06.73 F i
14 Tverskaya, Julia wm USA 2195 19.09.59 F i
15 Eynullaeva, Roza wf USA 2191 10.09.87 F
16 Tsodikova, Natalia USA 2190 F i
17 Epstein, Esther wm USA 2185 10.05.54 F
18 Koren, Inna wm USA 2180 30.03.64 F i
19 Herstein, Ruth USA 2170 F i
20 Tarasova, Oksana USA 2170 18.05.75 F i
21 Aronoff, Irene wf USA 2165 21.01.61 F i
22 Pelech, Leslie wf USA 2145 F i
23 Teasley, Dolly O wm USA 2142 19.09.41 F
24 Crotto, Rachel wm USA 2135 25.12.58 F i
25 Karff, Mona M wm USA 2135 F i
26 Sagalchik, Olga wf USA 2131 03.04.67 F
27 Kibrik, Tatyana USA 2130 04.07.71 F i
28 Gorlin, Yelena USA 2120 14.04.84 F
29 Haring, Ruth I wm USA 2120 23.01.55 F i
30 Sanchez, Gina USA 2120 09.04.73 F i
31 Groberman, Elina USA 2103 16.02.83 F
32 Kuhner, Mary USA 2100 06.07.63 F i
33 Eynullaeva, Elnara USA 2097 11.08.86 F
34 Rosas, Ann Marie USA 2090 13.06.81 F
35 Neely, Elizabeth wm USA 2090 25.04.68 F i
36 Gresser, Gisela Kahn wm USA 2090 08.02.06 F i
37 Ambats, Jessica USA 2090 10.05.73 F i
38 Simmons, Marulin wm USA 2085 F i
39 Finegold, Gina L wm USA 2085 F i
40 Burtman, Sharon wm USA 2082 16.06.68 F
41 Jezierska, Ivona wf USA 2076 02.06.58 F i
42 Frenkel, Vera wf USA 2070 29.09.40 F i
43 Airapetian, SH USA 2068 F
44 Waxman, Marian USA 2066 F
45 Woods, Dana USA 2065 F
46 Street, Karen M USA 2065 F i
47 Dodson, Catherine S USA 2065 F i
48 Dimitrijevic, Vesna wm USA 2060 07.03.52 F i
49 Gasser, Katherine USA 2060 F i
50 Aronson, Eva wm USA 2050 F i
51 Olsson, Greta USA 2045 F i
52 Ruggiero, Pamela USA 2044 24.11.52 F
53 Root, Alexey wm USA 2043 24.07.65 F i
54 Lanni, Diana USA 2040 22.10.55 F i
55 Donnelly, Ruth A USA 2030 19.01.20 F i
56 Kennedy, Shernaz wm USA 2030 24.04.54 F i
57 Durham, Diana G USA 2015 F
58 Wieckiewicz, Krystina USA 2015 14.06.64 F i
59 Mahan, Linda USA 2010 F i
60 Bert, Alison USA 2005 F i
61 Sterngold, Susan USA 2005 F I

1 1. i - inactive - less than 4 games in 2 years n - no service - player's federation did not pay its FIDE membership

FIDE Rating List Top Georgian Women Total found: 62
No. Last Name, First Name Title Fed Rating Birthday Sex Flag1
1 Chiburdanidze, Maia (GM) wg GEO 2513 17.01.61 F
2 Ioseliani, Nana (IM) wg GEO 2497 12.02.62 F
3 Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan (IM) wg GEO 2437 19.07.68 F
4 Khurtsidze, Nino (IM) wg GEO 2425 28.09.75 F
5 Lomineishvili, Maia wg GEO 2373 11.11.77 F
6 Dzagnidze, Nana wm GEO 2372 01.01.87 F
7 Gaprindashvili, Nona (GM) wg GEO 2349 03.05.41 F
8 Gurieli, Nino (IM) wg GEO 2343 07.12.61 F
9 Matnadze, Ana wm GEO 2342 20.02.83 F
10 Javakhishvili, Lela wm GEO 2340 23.04.84 F
11 Alexandria, Nana wg GEO 2336 13.10.49 F
12 Khukhashvili, Sopiko wm GEO 2333 04.01.85 F
13 Darchia, Diana wg GEO 2329 18.10.77 F
14 Goletiani, Rusudan wg GEO 2324 08.09.80 F
15 Charkhalashvili, Inga wf GEO 2319 23.04.83 F
16 Tsadzikidze, Natia wm GEO 2308 27.04.83 F
17 Edzgveradze, Natalia wg GEO 2307 23.07.75 F
18 Khurtsilava, Inga wm GEO 2265 17.04.75 F
19 Gvetadze, Sopio m GEO 2252 15.11.83 F
20 Tereladze, Sopiko wm GEO 2250 06.09.72 F
21 Janjgava, Natia wm GEO 2248 16.12.72 F
22 Odisharia, Teona GEO 2242 03.02.86 F
23 Tkeshelashvili, Sopio wg GEO 2238 23.10.79 F
24 Tammert-Tvauri, Iamze GEO 2231 04.01.71 F
25 Nikoladze, Sopio wm GEO 2231 02.12.73 F
26 Chkhaidze, Nana GEO 2215 31.08.59 F i
27 Vakhania, Alexandra GEO 2206 01.12.86 F
28 Khmiadashvili, Tamar wg GEO 2199 27.11.44 F
29 Purtseladze, Maka GEO 2195 18.02.88 F
30 Pkhakadze, Natia GEO 2192 13.03.84 F
31 Tsereteli, Tamar GEO 2191 30.01.85 F
32 Maisuradze, Nino wm GEO 2190 13.06.82 F
33 Tsereteli, Mzia GEO 2190 17.10.57 F i
34 Khorava, Miranda wm GEO 2188 19.11.77 F
35 Kakhabrishvili, Tsitsino GEO 2185 14.11.46 F i
36 Meskhi, Tamila GEO 2175 24.03.63 F i
37 Melia, Salome GEO 2175 14.04.87 F
38 Epitashvili, Ketevan GEO 2173 07.12.84 F
39 Datuashvili, Nona wm GEO 2172 11.01.86 F
40 Japaridze, Marika GEO 2172 20.01.80 F
41 Javakhishvili, Eka GEO 2170 28.03.78 F i
42 Apkhaidze, Natia wf GEO 2160 19.08.78 F
43 Esebua, Megi GEO 2158 F
44 Kimberg, Lia GEO 2151 16.03.64 F
45 Mkheidze, Tamar GEO 2150 25.01.87 F
46 Pachulia, Tamar GEO 2148 08.05.76 F i
47 Melashvili, Ketevan GEO 2142 29.08.60 F
48 Tsalugelashvili, Lile wf GEO 2135 28.09.79 F
49 Kasoshvili, Tsiala wm GEO 2135 01.09.63 F
50 Tsurtsumia, Natia GEO 2134 02.02.82 F
51 Khotenashvili, Bela GEO 2127 F
52 Tsikarishvili, Nana GEO 2123 15.06.84 F
53 Melashvili, Nino GEO 2123 04.10.61 F
54 Mkheidze, Nino GEO 2121 14.01.85 F
55 Kveliashvili, Tinatin GEO 2114 19.05.81 F
56 Balkhamishvili, Tamar GEO 2108 14.11.82 F
57 Gavasheli, Ana GEO 2103 06.03.87 F
58 Chalabashvili, Tamar GEO 2101 30.05.84 F
59 Tandashvili, Margalita GEO 2097 19.11.58 F
60 Kobaidze, Tsiuri GEO 2095 01.01.50 F i
61 Kurtskhalia, Iveta GEO 2070 21.07.68 F i
62 Tsitaishvili, Nino GEO 2050 04.02.80 F

UPDATE: Rusudan Goletiani makes the US Chess Federation news

Here are links:
Sam Sloan's Chess Page

My Home Page

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