USCF Woman's Committee questions to candidates for the USCF Executive Board

The USCF Woman's Committee has asked candidates for the USCF Executive Board to answer three questions. The answers provided by the candidates are being posted on the web site of Anjelina Belakovskaia at

Here are the questions and my answers:

Question #1: In February of 1999, postings on discussed eliminating the U.S. Championships for one year because of the USCF budget crisis. What is your position on USCF funding for the U.S. Championships?

Answer: On one point, I must agree: Don Schultz did keep one of his 1996 campaign promises, when he promised to upgrade the US Championship.

The problem is that he did such a good job of this that we cannot afford it. Back in 1996, when Schultz ran for USCF President, the US Championship cost $75,000 per year. Now it costs $125,000 per year. (I am speaking from memory. I reserve the right to change these estimates).

The sum of $125,000 per year is extravagant and needs to be cut considerably. Either we hold the event every other year or hold a smaller and less expensive tournament every year.

The fact is that few USCF members have much interest in the US Championship. If you took a poll, hardly any USCF members would even know who the current US Champion is. On the other hand, members are directly affected by the quality of Chess Life and other membership services. Our primary duty is to see that the members get their $40 dollars worth.

Another question is whether the USCF really is in a financial crisis. Goichberg and Co. claims that we are not in a financial crisis. The Dorsch group claims that we are. Thus, the question itself is loaded.

Question #2: At the U.S. Open in Hawaii, a Fan Adams Cadet Tournament for Girls was proposed. Should such an event be funded by USCF? [If your answer to the Adams funding question is "no", please answer: Should USCF allow local organizers to sponsor and host such an event as a new, official USCF title tournament?]

No. The USCF should absolutely not fund such an event. However, in the unlikely event that local organizers want to sponsor such an event as an official USCF title tournament, they should be given every encouragement to do so.

Question #3: Currently less than 4 percent of USCF members are adult women. If you are elected to the Executive Board, what steps would you take to increase that percentage?

I am probably the best known supporter of woman's chess the US has. However, my way of supporting woman's chess has been to give women equal opportunities to play. For example, when FIDE was trying to force Zsuzsa Polgar to play in woman's tournaments and when Zsuzsa Polgar was not allowed to play in the 1987 Men's Interzonal to which she had qualified, I fought to have her allowed to play. I also fought to have Zsuzsa Polgar allowed to play in the World Junior Championship, in which she was not being allowed to play because she was a woman. Even though these efforts were unsuccessful, it paved the way for Judit Polgar to be allowed to play in the 1988 World Under-12 Championship for Boys, which she won. Thus, Judit Polgar because the first girl to win a "boys" tournament.

I also opposed the 100 free rating points for every woman in the world except for Zsuzsa Polgar and I fought to have Alisa Galliamova allowed to play in the 1989 World Woman's Interzonal Tournament, again unsuccessfully, even though I had never met Alisa Galliamova and only knew that she had the talent and a good chance to become woman's world champion.

However, in answer to your actual question, my answer is "no". Women deserve to have an equal opportunity with men to play chess and to rise to the top. However, trying to recruit women through special programs or events sends out the wrong message. I would continue the US Woman's Championship of course, but I would not be in favor of any programs designed to target women as potential members.

Sam Sloan

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