Protest against the Policies of Frank Maximus, Moderator of the Chess List

For the past two months, Frank Maximus has had me on moderated status, which means that any submission by me to the chess list must be reviewed by him before being distributed to the members.

I do not know why he put me on moderated status, because every submission I have made pertains to chess and I am sure would be of interest to many (although not all) members of the list.

However, the developments of the past few days require that I demand that Maximus remove me from moderated status, failing which I will stop posting to this list.

The current situation is that this past weekend the US Amateur Team Championship was held in New Jersey. Almost every chess political figure in the USA was there, plus Emmanuel Omuku, Executive Director of FIDE, who flew over from Switzerland for the event.

Omuku was here to lobby for the adoption of a radical proposal made by FIDE President Kirsan Ilymuzhinov late last week, under which commercial control over all chess tournaments in the world involving players averaging more than 2500 will go to FIDE Commerce PLC, an organization reputedly headed by a figure in the Russian Mafia.

Most importantly, this proposal will, according to Omuku, be approved at a meeting of the FIDE Presidential Board to be held in Morocco this week. The FIDE Presidential Board consists of persons essentially appointed by Ilyumzhinov. This proposal will not wait until the next FIDE Congress, where it would never pass.

This creates an emergency situation, which profoundly affects every chess player in the world, especially professional chess players, since under the proposal, local organizers will not be able to make deals with sponsors. Only FIDE Commerce PLC will control the commercial rights to every major chess tournament in the world. Organizers who try to organize events outside of FIDE approval will be banned from chess.

I spent more than an hour talking to Omuku about the new proposal this past weekend. I have since submitted several postings to this chess list about this, but the moderator, Frank Maximus, has not allowed them to be distributed. Finally, the first of them came out when I received the following letter:

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 22:54:08 +0100 Subject: Message ("Your message dated Tue, 22 Feb 2000 18:19:26...")

Your message dated Tue, 22 Feb 2000 18:19:26 -0500 with subject "Four Scandals Emerge During US Amateur Team Championship" has been successfully distributed to the CHESS-L list (458 recipients).

What this means is that it took more than 28 hours from 22 Feb at 18:19 until 23 Feb at 22:54 for Frank Maximus to decide to allow my posting to go to your list.

This delay of 28 hours is critical, because the meeting in Morocco will be held just a few days from now.

More than that, I have submitted three other postings about this, one from the German Chess Federation , one from the Canadian Representative and one from FIDE itself. Maximus has not allowed any of these communiqués to go to this list.

Incidentally, the German Federation says that it will not comply with the FIDE directives and it expects that Germany will be expelled from FIDE. It is clear that Canada will also leave. Meanwhile, Argentina has already been expelled from FIDE.

But that is not all: In the two months that Frank Maximus has had me on moderated status, he has rejected about six of my postings. As a result, I no longer have any way of knowing whether my postings will go out or not. This situation is unacceptable.

I am aware that my postings are controversial. Everybody seemed to appreciate my obituary of Koltanowski, for example, but many do not care to hear about financial or political problems pertaining to chess.

However, you cannot pick and chose which part of me you like and which you don't like. Either I am a member of this group or I am not.

Therefore, I am laying down an ultimatum. If Maximus does not immediately and forthwith distribute all the postings which he has held up, which I believe come to nearly 10 in number, I will stop posting to this list and I will create my own list.

I am aware that many members of this list do not like my postings. At the same time, I know of members who are on this list only because of me. So, it is a mixed bag.

Probably some members of this list will leave to join mine, assuming that I really create one. I will also have different rules. For example, I will allow postings about chess related commercial products, as long as the products are new. I feel that list members want to know about the latest and newest chess databases and computer programs and books, for example. Postings about commercial products are presently banned from the Maximus list.

So, you will now have to decide whether you want me to stay or want me to leave.

Probably, most members of this list do not have any way of knowing that I am on moderated status and that about ten of my postings have been rejected. Therefore, I may send this letter privately to list members.

I have been a member of this chess list since 1995 and it is with great reluctance that I take this step. At the same time, this used to be a star studded list with many famous chess personalities on it. All of them have since left.

I welcome your views.

Sam Sloan

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