December 5, 1995

by Sam Sloan

It is being reported in various media that the Karpov-Kamsky Match for the World Chess Championship will take place in Montreal in June, 1996 and that this gala event is being organized by Shiloh Quinn. This fact played a role in the reorganization of FIDE which took place in Paris recently.

The date of June, 1996 will make it almost exactly ten years since I last had dealings with Shiloh Quinn. I sincerely hope that this match in Montreal comes off and is a great success. However, I strongly doubt that this will happen, because Shiloh Quinn is a notorious con man and swindler, who has frequently been investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and who, I strongly suspect, had been convicted and spent time in prison for his various con jobs in the past.

I had several telephone conversations with Shiloh Quinn in mid-1986. In the first of these conversations, he told me about the various "deals" he had done in the past. For one, he claimed that he personally had organized the jump by Evil Knevil over the Snake River Canyon in 1974. (For those too young to remember, there was so much hoopla over that event that President Gerald Ford announced his highly controversial pardon of former President Richard Nixon at the very point that Evil Knevil was in mid-air in the middle of his jump, in the hope that the public would not notice Ford's pardon of Nixon.)

In addition to the famous jump by Evil Knevil, Shiloh Quinn listed six of the biggest promotions ever to take place in the history of modern America, and stated that he personally had organized all of them. I quickly realized that anybody who had done all of the things which Shiloh Quinn claimed that he had done would be both one of the richest men in America and one of the most famous men in America.

But that was not all. Shiloh Quinn told me that his biggest promotion yet was just about to begin. He told me that he had arraigned for Nancy Reagan, the wife of President Ronald Reagan, to appear on his behalf on nationwide television in front of the Washington Monument that very evening. He told me to go home, turn on my TV and, at 7:00 PM sharp, I would see Nancy Reagan there.

So, I did as I was told. I went home and looked through my TV Guide. I did not see any mention of Nancy Reagan appearing on television that evening. I scanned all the channels. Still, no sign of Nancy Reagan. Then, 7:00 PM came, and, with no prior announcement, suddenly there was Nancy Reagan, in front of the Washington Monument, with thousands of well-wishers, simultaneously, on all television channels.
Now, that was impressive. The only problem was that I did not see Shiloh Quinn there. He was nowhere in the picture.

In reality, Nancy Reagan was launching her "Just Say No" campaign, in which teenagers were encouraged to "Just Say No" to drugs and alcohol.

The reason that I was speaking to Shiloh Quinn on the telephone was that he had just gotten involved with the Polgar family. The eerie thing about these conversations was that I felt certain that I recognized his voice and that I knew this man from somewhere, but under a different name. I must explain that I worked in Wall Street in New York in the stock brokerage industry for 18 years from 1968 until 1986 (with a few gaps along the way). For five years, from 1970 until 1975, I had my own stock brokerage firm of Samuel H. Sloan & Co. During those five years in particular, almost every con man and swindler in the entire brokerage industry approached me with some kind of deal that he wanted me to do. Fortunately, I was good at detecting which were reliable people that I could do business with and which were not. My ability to do this was the main reason why I was able to stay in business during a period when most of the firms in Wall Street went belly up, usually because of a stock deal that went bad.

I feel certain that Shiloh Quinn was somebody whom I had spoken to on the telephone during that period and that he had been involved with a stock brokerage firm which had failed or gone into receivership.

The reason that I was speaking to Shiloh Quinn on the telephone at this time was that I had been given his number by the Polgar family. Frankly, the details of the Polgar affair are so disgusting that I do not wish to reveal them. I have advised the Polgar family to do likewise. What I will say is that after I had spoken to Shiloh Quinn, I called Hungary and reported back to the Polgars that he was obviously a con man, a concept which was difficult for me to explain to a speaker of Hungarian. They completely disbelieved me, and I feel that one reason why they came to trust me later on was that subsequent events proved that I was right.

Without going into too much detail, let me say this. At the conclusion of the New York Open in 1986, Shiloh Quinn, whose wife or girlfriend was Hungarian (an important factor) was able to convince the Polgars to fly up to Montreal. At that time, Harold Bogner had arraigned a simultaneous exhibition for the Polgars to give in California. However, Shiloh Quinn told them that it would be foolish for them to fly to California. He said that he would arrange a series of events at which they would make millions of dollars. In addition, he told them that he was going to have Korchnoi flown in from Switzerland to teach the Polgars how to play chess.

This was either the first or the second time that Laszlo Polgar had ever been out of Eastern Europe. Laszlo Polgar had heard stories about the millions of dollars readily available in the West. Laszlo Polgar did not appreciate that fact that the average American worker was being paid $3.35 per hour. He was all too ready to believe that all he had to do was whatever Shiloh Quinn told him to do, and millions of dollars would materialize.

An additional factor that Shiloh Quinn had all the trappings of an extremely wealthy man. He lived in a luxurious cooperative apartment in Montreal and had a beautiful Hungarian wife.

Laszlo Polgar was so taken in by Shiloh Quinn that he had Zsuzsa call Harold Bogner in California and cancel the trip and the simultaneous exhibition and all of the events which Bogner had scheduled for the Polgars in California.

That is only the beginning of the story. I will not tell the middle of the story. But, the end of the story is this: Shiloh Quinn gave the Polgars a bunch of credit card numbers for them to use. Later on, in Budapest, all the credit card numbers went bad. Suddenly, all the bills which had been charged to these credit card numbers had to be paid by the Polgars. In addition, all of the telephone numbers of Shiloh Quinn had been disconnected. The Polgars could not reach him on the phone. The luxurious cooperative apartment which Shiloh Quinn had in Montreal was apparently vacated. Shiloh Quinn was nowhere to be found. This was at a time when the Polgars had very little money and were just barely getting along (and, by the way, I gave them a computer and paid some money out of my own pocket to help them survive this difficult period).

In addition, none of the chess events which Shiloh Quinn said that he was going to organize ever materialized. Korchnoi did not fly over from Switzerland to give chess lessons to the Polgars. The Polgars did not give any simultaneous exhibitions, not for millions of dollars, and, indeed, not for any money at all. In fact, the Polgars did not even play one game of chess in Montreal. Several major chess events took place in Montreal during this period. The organizers did not even know that the Polgars were there.

It was my understanding that Shiloh Quinn was arrested at about this time or shortly thereafter. According to the father of Jeff Sarwer, a seven-year-old "child prodigy" from Canada who disappeared from chess a few years later, one of the things that Shiloh Quinn did was set himself up as the "Montreal Branch" of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign. Shiloh Quinn solicited donations and led contributors to believe that the money they donated was going to Nancy Reagan, when in reality the money was going to Shiloh Quinn. It was my understanding that Shiloh Quinn was convicted and sent to prison for this. This may explain why not much has been heard from Shiloh Quinn in the past nine years.

One report states that "all they have confirmed is a free site (yet to be determined) by the city of Montreal. Quinn says he has interest from some major people but he has told them to wait until he is prepared to see them."

I can guarantee that if Shiloh Quinn says that he has some major financial backers in the background ready to put up a million dollars or more for the Kamsky-Karpov match,
these people do not exist. Anybody who would be interested in sponsoring such a match would want their own name known. Their only benefit to such a match would be to gain publicity for themselves. Moreover, nobody with money would use a known con man like Shiloh Quinn as a front. They would find somebody respectable to conduct their negotiations.

The Polgars told me that Shiloh Quinn himself said that Shiloh Quinn is a made-up name. He told them that he had picked that name because Shiloh is a Jewish name and Quinn is an Irish name, and he wanted to portray himself as an Irish Jew.

I am convinced that Shiloh Quinn under some other name is barred from the securities industry. I would like to know what his original name was so that I can check him out.

I sincerely hope that the World Chess Championship match does take place in Montreal in June, 1996. However, I believe that if Shiloh Quinn is involved, no such match will occur.

December 5, 1995

Sam Sloan

The above events were the subject of an Internet posting in 2002 by Peter Wilson, the delegate to FIDE from the island of Guernsey. Here is what Peter Wilson wrote:

At 05:46 PM 9/7/2002 +0100, Peter Wilson wrote:

There are some of us who were at FIDE's Paris 1995 Congress when, and do correct me if I am wrong ... the USA and Canada proposed and seconded the approval for a consortium led by Mr. Franklin Minsberg (correct me if the spelling is wrong) ... with a Mr. Quinn .. (again spelling may be wrong) ... to have the option to organise the (hoped-for) Karpov Match ... Mr. Minsberg stated that he was confident of a $1 Million prize fund but hope for $1.6-$1.7 million ... my Delegate and I asked Phil Haley (immediately after that session) how long he had known Mr. Minsberg - and received the reply that he, Phil, had only met him a few minutes before the proposition was made !!! This gave us some great concerns ... especially when Mr. Minsberg invited our delegate and myself for drinks (then left us to pick up the tab !!) ... I personally witnessed him ask other delegates to dinner (and left them to pick up the tab) ... I personally heard him asking if anyone could give him a lift to the airport as he didn't have the cab-fare ... and I was advised by another delegate (or commission member) that Minsberg had borrowed the 'Option Fee' from him as he didn't have the cash to put down ... the last I heard was that it had not been repaid. Hardly the actions of someone about to organsie a $1 Million plus chess event !!! Nothing further happened .. and then as the 'Option' ran out Minsberg asked for an extension which was refused by FIDE. Peter Wilson

(Writing from my home in Guernsey)

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