All candidates have strengths and weaknesses. I would like to start by expressing my opinion about the strengths and weaknesses of the various candidates (including myself).
John is an old friend of mine, whom I have known since 1962. In 1964, we traveled the country together, coming from California to play in the US Junior Championship in Towsen, Maryland and the US Open Championship in Boston. John was the most active player in the US that year. I was the second most active. (You can look it up in old issues of Chess Life.) The sole difference between us was that he played in the California Closed Championship, an event for which I failed to qualify. We played in almost every other event together.
However, John dropped out of chess shortly thereafter. The last time I remember him playing was in the 1967 American Open in Los Angeles, where I lost to Blackstone after defeating Walter Browne in an earlier round. John did not play again until about 1995, when I encountered him at the Capps Memorial in San Francisco. He moved to Las Vegas shortly thereafter.
John's candidate's statement as published in the Special Summer Issue of Chess Life, page 9, states that he has been inactive "during the last several years". This is a considerable understatement. He was actually out of chess for nearly 30 years. Not a bad decision, since he chose to make money and raise a family during the intervening period.
This also explains why John used his limited space in Chess Life to say that he knew Major Ed Edmundson. Edmundson lived in Sacramento, California in 1964. Blackstone also says that he knows "several of the current" policy board members. All of the other candidates, including myself, know all of the current policy board members. Blackstone knows Tom Dorsch and Bill Goichberg from 30 years ago when both he and they were active players.
John is a nice guy. He would probably make a good policy board member. In spite of his lack of knowledge about the latest developments, he could probably get up to speed quickly. However, John is unelectable for one reason: He is the front man for Stan Vaughan, who has filed numerous lawsuits against the USCF and individual officials of the USCF, including most of the members of the Nevada chess establishment. This is why the campaign material you receive from Blackstone for Policy Board is filled with literature about Stan Vaughan's lawsuit. These mailings even contain requests for financial contributions for his suit against the USCF.
The Blackstone mailings claim that he is a sure-fire thing to win and he has 160 votes already.
Why does being the front man for Stan Vaughan make Blackstone unelectable?
Chess Players tend to have strong personalities. Let's face it: We are all egomaniacs. We get our thrills from beating up normal people at chess. However, most of us we recognize that we are all part of the same relatively small chess community. We need each other. We try to confine our conflicts to the chess board.
Stan Vaughan goes around filing lawsuits against just about everybody who comes in contact with him in chess. I do not know how many suits he has filed, but the number is considerable. The USCF has spent more than $30,000 defending these suits or prospective suits, and will likely spend considerably more.
What does Stan Vaughan hope to accomplish by this? One can only surmise that he wants to put the USCF out of business. He has formed his own American Chess Association and apparently his own "World Chess Federation."
I am one of the first to agree that there are serious problems with the USCF. I also feel that competition is good. Stan Vaughan was free to form his own organization. Indeed, I want to encourage him to try to improve chess and to create more opportunities to play through his organization.
However, his ridiculous pronouncements, for example banning Jerry Weikel from membership in the Nevada State Chess Association, when Jerry Weikel is in fact the President of the Nevada State Chess Association, are just silly and absurd.
To those of you who do not know Jerry Weikel, he is one of the most active and energetic chess organizers in the US. He organizes and runs the tournaments in Reno. His tournaments are always a pleasure to play in. Jerry Weikel has been awarded the 1999 US Open Chess Championship and I hope that many of you will play there.
Blackstone's first campaign mailing was concerned primarily with Vaughan's campaign to have Carol Jarecki stripped of her tournament director's certification, when Carol Jarecki is probably the most active and popular tournament director the USCF has. So far, none of Blackstone/Vaughan's numerous campaign mailings have addressed the important and serious issues facing the USCF. Instead, they are devoted mostly to attacking various chess personalities who are disliked by Vaughan.
Stan Vaughan is an active and energetic chess organizer. If he would just stick to that and not continuously attack other chess personalities and adopt more of a "live and let live" attitude, everybody would appreciate him. However, I doubt if Stan Vaughan is going to change. Therefore, I feel that it would be disruptive for his front man, John Blackstone, to be elected.
Nowadays, well designed web sites are common place. Almost any high school kid can design one. However, back in 1995, when the Prince's came out with their web site, the technology was not that well known.
And what show of appreciation did Addie and Gary Prince receive for their wonderful mostly volunteer contribution to chess though their web site?
As many of you know, they got slandered and viciously attacked by the morons and imbeciles who were in control of US Chess, including our "Acting Executive Director" plus certain Policy Board members, many of whom probably never saw the web site and never went on line. Finally, Addie and Gary Prince were fired in December, 1996.
Gary Prince says that he will not make an election issue out of this, so I will. We elect as President a man who is retired from IBM but who obviously knows nothing about computers. (I have been trying for years to find out what job he did or what position he held at IBM, but have never been able to obtain an answer to this question.) Our Policy Board is so pug ass stupid, that when the Deep Blue - Kasparov match took place in May and the USCF Web Site received nearly one million hits, our web designers failed to provide on the web site any link which told the viewers how to join the USCF and how to order chess books and equipment. As a result, from one million hits, the USCF did not receive one dime of revenue.
Did they forget about it? Was this an oversight? Well, if they did, it was because they had not been reading their e-mail, because I and many others had been bombarding them with literature on this subject for months before the Deep Blue match. I have also had my own web sites up since January complaining about their failure to accomplish the relatively simple task which I or any competent web page designer could have completed in a good afternoon of developing an on line catalog. The addresses are http://www.samsloan.com/giveaway.htm and http://www.samsloan.com/interpla.htm . That last is the web site which concludes "I hope you all go to jail."
Unfortunately, most USCF voting members are not members of the chess politics news group. (That is another subject about which I will be diplomatic, since I need your votes). However, those of you who are members will know that this subject was extensively debated on the Internet starting in December, 1996 when our treasurer spilled the beans that Gary Prince had been fired. Our treasurer got censured for revealing this and other important information which our president did not want to be let out. The USCF had five months to develop a web site with a simple link on how to join the USCF, and never did so. Of course, when Gary Prince was fired, the web links he had developed became obsolete.
But isn't that what we get when we elect a vindictive moron as our president? Note I use the word "we". What about the 85,000 dues paying members at that time of the USCF who never voted for the guy? (The membership has dropped considerably since then. I wonder why.)
I would support Gary Prince for election, were I not running myself. He is clearly the best choice among the other three candidates.
Having said that, however, I will note that he has one disadvantage that I know of. He is not liked in his home state of New Jersey. I have spoken to several New Jersey chess personalities, and they are not going to vote for Gary Prince. They are emphatic on this point.
I am not saying that this is a bad thing. To the contrary, it might be a badge of honor. However, with only 464 voting members, every vote counts, and having virtually no support from his home state plus not being well known in the rest of the country has got to be a serious problem for Gary Prince.
"Who is Garrett Scott?", you ask.
Why, he is the front runner, the darling of the chess political establishment, and a nice, normal guy to boot!!
Garrett Scott is supported by such chess luminaries as Don Schultz, Bill Goichberg and Harold Winston.
I personally greatly fear an election of Garrett Scott. I am very worried that he might win. I believe that this would be disastrous for US Chess.
Is this because there is something terribly wrong with Garrett Scott? No, not at all! Rather, it is because there is nothing wrong with the guy. He is perfectly normal.
The USCF is now in desperate condition. US Chess does not need another nullity on the Policy Board. What US Chess needs is someone interested in that long neglected group on the Chess Politics scene: The members. Remember them, those guys who just pay their dues every year and can't vote, as opposed to the life voting members who were awarded a lifetime vote and never had to pay anything. (There I go again, alienating the very people whose votes I need.)
This is not to say that Garrett Scott is a Don Schultz sycophant, and indeed he is not. Garrett Scott has strong opinions on exactly one issue, and on that one issue he is definitely in disagreement with Don Schultz.
That issue is scholastic chess. And what is wrong with that? Isn't scholastic chess a good thing? Don't we all support scholastic chess?
The problem is that Garrett Scott is or at least has been regarded as the leader of the succession movement in scholastic chess. There are only about a dozen hard core scholastic chess organizers in the USCF, and they regard Garrett Scott as their leader. The problem with this is that they have wanted Garrett Scott to lead them out of the USCF. They now realize, however, that in spite of their deep frustrations with the USCF, which has long neglected scholastic chess, they need us, but for one reason only: The rating system. They need the rating system because that is the only way they can reward their kids when they improve at chess. They can show the kids that, as they win chess games and improve, their rating will go up. Chess without a rating system is like a school without grades.
We are the only ball game in town. There are other rating systems, but what do they mean, when nobody recognizes them. Only certified official USCF rating points count for anything in the real world of chess. Since they need us, they want to control us from within.
At the 1996 USCF delegates meeting in Alexandria, Garrett Scott introduced three resolutions. They all said different forms of the same thing. They all called for control over scholastic chess to be given to the "scholastic coalition" of which Garrett Scott is the chairman. One proposal was that the USCF office no longer award bits for scholastic tournaments and that all bids be awarded exclusively by the scholastic committee.
All three of these proposals failed miserably. Nobody other than Garrett Scott and a few close supporters supported them. Support was so non-existent that they were not even put up for a vote.
By coincidence, I happened to sit next to Garrett Scott at the USCF Delegates meeting, and Tom Dorsch and Jim Eade were right behind us. I had never heard of Garrett Scott before and did not know who he was. He looked like a truck driver. I imagined that he must have wandered into the wrong meeting. Perhaps he was there for the model railroad convention, I thought.
I was thus surprised when I saw Garrett Scott circulating a petition to be nominated for election as USCF Police Board member-at-large. Several delegates came by and signed his petition during the delegates meeting.
I do not believe that his proposals have any chance of ever passing, even if he is elected. I feel that the USCF should re-double and re-triple its efforts in the area of scholastic chess. Giving control over scholastic chess to the scholastic coalition would be the worst possible thing to do. Suppose some new energetic scholastic organizer wants to organize a big scholastic event. Would the scholastic coalition allow him to do so? Or, would the coalition designate one of their own established members to run the event?
Garrett Scott has never expressed an opinion on any subject other than scholastic chess. We already have one policy board member who seems to have no opinion on any subject. We do not need another one.
The other problem I have with Garrett Scott is that his campaign literature says nothing about this. He recounts his accomplishments in the field of scholastic chess and on the Normal Town Council. But he never says what he actually favors. I consider this to be not entirely honest. I sincerely hope that he does not get elected and I am deeply afraid that he will be.
One of my strengths is that, on a world wide basis at least, I am by far the best known candidate. Just about every serious chess player in the world knows me or at least has heard of me. However, in this sort of election, where a closed group of just 464 selected people get to vote, name recognition doesn't count for much.
My weak point seems to be that I am perceived as a person who would not work smoothly with other policy board members and in particular that I would not get along with Don Schultz.
Actually, on a personal basis, I get along with everybody. Just because I think that in chess there are a bunch of big crooks who belong in jail does not mean that I do not get along with them or that I cannot work with them. I have been playing tournament chess for the last more than 40 years and I have never had a serious dispute with anybody.
I have become somewhat infamous for my frequent run-ins with establishment authorities. Chief Justice William Rehnquist once wrote: "[Sam Sloan] has, to put it mildly, a history of sailing close to the wind." I admit to having once been a Berkeley student revolutionary, but I have mellowed and I am not like that any more.
The reason people keep saying that I am not a team player and would not get along with the other policy board members is because of my published remarks similar to those I have already written in this letter. However, I am careful to say such things only when I am on line in cyberspace hiding safely behind my computer and nobody knows where I am, such as right now for example. When I meet the people in person, I manage to keep my opinions to myself. I am sure that FIDE President Kirsan Iljumzhinov does not like me calling him a dictator in the pages of Chess Life, as I did recently, but when and if I meet him in person I will forget about that and just stand in line with the others to collect the bribes he pays to keep himself in office.
Still, people keep saying that I cannot get along and would not be a good member of the policy board "team".
Actually, I never thought that when one ran for elective office, one was running to join a team. If we are running to join Don Schultz's team, then why run at all? Why don't we just let him decide everything?
That is the biggest problem I seem to have in this election. Most people seem to agree with the positions I have taken over the years on specific issues. Still, they feel that I would not fit in with the team. I would not work well with Don Schultz, they say.
For example, Burt Hochberg, former Chess Life editor and a life voting member, says that he likes to read the literature I send out, primarily over the Internet, because I always say where I stand on any issue. Unlike most others, I have a clear opinion which I don't mind expressing. Still, says Burt, he will not vote for me because he feels that I would not "fit in" with the other policy board members. Burt has known me well since at least 1966, so I cannot say that he doesn't know me. He has never seen me get into a fight or argument with anybody, but still he seems to think that I can't get along.
Anyway, that is my problem, so I will just have to live with it. This is the cross I will have to bear.
In the last two years, I have become best known because of my presence on the Internet. I have at the moment 508 pages on the World Wide Web and the number increases almost every day. My web pages average more than 5,000 hits per day.
However, I am not a recent arrival. I have always been around. I have known Bobby Fischer since we were kids. This is why I was able to publish the rules and the name of "Fischer Random Chess" one month before Fischer announced them. I have four published books in print, all of which were written before the Internet became available. The company of which I am now president, Ishi Press, has published a hundred books on a variety of subjects.
The thing the Internet has done for me is that it has made it possible for views such as mine to become known even though those views are not in accord with the establishment. I have long been one of the most popular writers on chess, and yet even now almost nothing I write is published in the mainstream chess media. Many if not most voting members had never even heard of me before I became a candidate.
The reason is that my views are too controversial. Not that people disagree with them. Indeed, most agree. However, the major publications are afraid to publish them.
I am best known as a muckraker: Someone who informs the public of things which the insiders don't want known. They know that I will continue to do this if elected. That is why Don Schultz and the others so greatly fear a Sam Sloan election. It is not that I cannot get along. It is just that I have this irrepressible urge to tell everybody everything I know. Once I know a secret, it is not a secret any more.
I have been doing this for a long time. Here are a few examples.
I published the fact that in the 1985 US Open Computer Chess Championship, a Fidelity Computer had openly thrown a game to another Fidelity computer so that a Fidelity computer, rather than a Novag computer, would win the tournament. Where did I publish this? In the December, 1985 issue of the International Computer Chess Association Journal (The "ICCA Journal"), of course.
Why didn't you hear about this before now? Because you don't read that journal. Instead, you read Chess Life, the publication which published all those ads about why you should buy a Fidelity Computer because it had won the 1985 US Open Computer Chess Championship.
I repeatedly raised this issue with the hierarchy of the USCF. I kept saying that when a human player throws a game, he is barred from the competition. Then, why was a Fidelity computer allowed to win the title?
They finally admitted the answer. Fidelity was a big advertiser in Chess Life. The USCF got a lot of money both from Fidelity itself and from selling Fidelity computers. The official policy of the USCF was to promote Fidelity computers. The minor detail that Fidelity had an inferior product and had cheated to get the title and that the USCF membership was being misinformed about the strength of these computers was just something which should be overlooked.
About two years later, in an unrelated incident, Larry Kaufman was fired as Chairman of the USCF Computer Chess Committee because he had said good things about a Mephisto Computer, when it was official USCF policy to say good things only about Fidelity computers. Many of you didn't know about that either, and Kaufman is an insider, not an outsider like me.
What really made me internationally famous as a chess journalist was the 1986 World Chess Olympiad in Dubai. There I got the chess column in the Gulf News and had the virtually unlimited opportunity to expound on the latest scandals in chess every day. This got me nearly arrested and deported several times, but the authorities finally decided that they couldn't touch me because my column was so popular.
The main thing for which I am remembered was exposing the deal to give every woman chess player in the world, except for Zsuzsa Polgar, 100 free rating points. This was a despicable deal which Don Schultz made with Campomanes and Krogius to keep Maya Chiburdanidze as the number one rated woman chess player in the world and to get Campomanes re-elected, even though Polgar was a far stronger chess player than Chiburdanidze. Eventually, my story was published in Chess Life in Larry Evans' column. (It would never have been published any where else in Chess Life.) It was also published in New in Chess magazine. Otherwise, to this day, only a handful of chess politicos would know about it. Don Schultz still says he did the right thing.
More recently, I was the person who exposed the fact that the November, 1995 bid to hold the World Chess Championship match between Kamsky and Karpov in Montreal was a hoax. I published this on the Internet, in December, 1995. See http://www.samsloan.com/shiloh.htm . I knew this because I knew the man who made the bid to be a professional con man and swindler. It was three months before the rest of the world who did not read my article found out that the "match" was not going to be a match. Even today, everyone is so afraid of libel suits that they do not want to say anything about this incident.
I have just cited four examples of things which I have publicly revealed which otherwise would probably never have become widely known. There are dozens of examples of this. I am known for this.
This is one reason why you should vote for me. The closets of the USCF are filled with secrets which I am hoping to find out about and plan to reveal, if elected. I really do not understand why the USCF Policy Board has always been obsessed with secrecy. This is not only true of the current Policy Board. Did you know that one outgoing USCF treasurer was once paid $10,000 for the "legal services" he performed while supposedly acting in a volunteer capacity on the USCF Policy Board? Do you think that the USCF would have hired him as a lawyer if he had not been the treasurer?
More recently, what about the $10,000 which Don Schultz billed as expense money to the USCF for his hotel bills and rental car, plus meals at $35 per day (the man is a hearty eater) because, according to him, he was "required to conform" to a policy board resolution by hanging out for a month in the USCF office. This was the resolution which he himself had rammed through over the protests of myself and numerous others. My web site on that subject is still up. See http://www.samsloan.com/control.htm .
What about the $235,000 which the USCF owes to Yugoslavia for Chess Informants purchased during the War in Bosnia in violation of UN Sanctions, a fact which was concealed in the 1996 USCF balance sheet and annual report?
What about the excessive amounts the USCF keeps paying its departing executives?
So, you see, the problem is not that I cannot get along. Indeed, I can get along. The problem is that they steal. With Sam Sloan around, it will be harder for them to do that.