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Old February 26th 06, 08:04 PM posted to,,alt.chess
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Default EB meeting and stuff (very long)

On 19 Feb 2006 23:28:06 -0800, "Eric" wrote:

With nowhere else to go I wandered into the EB meeting at the
Parsippany Hilton Sunday afternoon. I had seen the meeting listed on
the USCF Web site and thought it might be fun to attend the member's
forum at 4. I had never been to an EB meeting, though I sat through
part of the Delegates meeting at Cherry Hill 2002, the Finance workshop
at USATE 1999 and the coming-out party for the doomed Dubeck slate at
the crack of dawn last year in Parsippany.

The forum was delayed for more than an hour as an open-session EB
meeting broke out to discuss a proposal from Susan Polgar. The board
endorsed Polgar's idea, as she requested, but getting there was like a
Knight's Tour with no rules.

Before getting into that, a few items of interest. (This will be a long
post; please break up replies as needed.)

There will soon be a separate publication for juniors again; aimed at
12 and under. The name has not yet been decided. It's not clear (to me)
how if at all that will affect the dues structure

The minimum prize to qualify for a money-based rating floor has been
doubled from $1,000 to $2,000. Goichberg said this happened "about two
weeks ago," which I assume means a conference call. A thousand bucks is
noit as impressive as it was when dollar-floors were implemented, Bill

The EB also took action on rating floors related to rating regualtions
for matches, though it was not clear to me exactly what they did. This
took place at the Friday-Saturday EB meeting at the Hilton. Perhaps a
board member of someone who was there can share.

Also it seems that Robert Tanner---a very nice man I played in round 4
following the meeting, when my team was paired with the Board+ Bill
Hall team---recently became the latest USCF board member/employee to
have his rating floor raised. (This did not come up at the meeting. I
noticed it when I checked online at MSA after our game. For all I know
it's totally legit and the timing was a coincidence. Bob was a
gentleman at the board meeting and at the chessboard.)

Once the members forum finally started, Sam Sloan sounded off about the
ChessCafe quagmire, telling the board members they did a horrible,
terrible thing by forgiving Mr. Russell's unpaid debt and
re-structuring and extending the deal. Sam said they should have sued.

"Don't blame us," replied Joel Channing, who said if anything the
current board erred in not re-doing the deal sooner. The gist of the
argument, according to Channing and Goichberg, is that

A. The $350K figure was unrealistic, based in part on bad information
supplied by USCF to Russell. (USCF over-stated its sales totals,

B. The original deal did not name Russell personally, but rather his
company; thus it would require huge amounts of money and time to
recover the money through the courts. That might not work anyway and in
the meantime the Fed would take a huge hit in lost sales, especially at
holiday time.

C. The new/restructured deal names Russell personally, so if he does
not meet the revised guarantee of about $150K the Fed can go after his
personal assets---which, we are told, are sufficient to cover any
future shortage.

Also, Goichberg said---in response to a comment from Sam Sloan---that
Jennifer Shahade will not be paid $75,000 per year, as has been
reported on the Internet. (Her salary will be much less than that, he
said.) Tanner quickly started to interject that the board could not
reveal her salary because it was a personnel matter, but before he got
that far Sam had moved on to something else.

Now for the Polgar matter.

Susan Polgar sent an email to the usual suspects Saturday asking the
board to support her efforts to create an all-girl All-America team,
with the team members given the chance to spend a week in intense
training with Polgar and other top master/coaches. She said she would
supply jackets to the team members and her foundation would "sponsor"
the week-long training sessions.

The board's endorsement would help her line up sponsorship for the
plan, according to Don Schultz, who moved to endorse the Polgar
project. I wish I had brought a notebook and pen with me to write down
the exact wording of the Schultz motion, as well as the numerous
parliamentary contortions it inspired.

Beatriz Marinello opposed the motion on the grounds that we should not
dumb-down chess for girls and women. She made it clear she feels
strongly about that and will not support female-only events or teams
which some girls might find insulting. She mentioned how she would have
gone farther in chess had she set her sights on "open" chess rather
than women's chess when she was growing up.

Beatriz also raised the issues of liability and the ownership of the
"All-America" name.

Goichberg did not like using ratings to determine the All-America girls
team, especially since the Polgar plan as Bill G. described it would
use the All-America qualification formula but with 100 points
subtracted. (More "dumbing-down" which some could find insulting.)

The proposed ratings formula came in an attachment to Polgar's email
message, apparently. Things started to really get weird when the debate
turned to whether the Schultz motion pertained only to the text of the
email or if it also included the attachment with the ratings formula
and other suggestions.

Goichberg did not want to endorse the plan as long as it incuded
ratings. He offered an alternate motion to endorse the plan "in
principle" and refer it to the Scholastic Council, the Women's Chess
Committee and I believe one other body.

Schultz said he would not budge or change the wording of his motion,
because, he said, he "made a commitment to Susan." He repeated that
several times. Schultz and Channing noted that Polgar would be offended
if the board's support was watered down that much. That seemed to
baffle Goichberg.

Schultz called the question on his motion. Then the board voted whether
to object to the calling of the question. And so on. And on. Board
members asked more than once whether what they were doing was
procedurally correct; there was no one on hand to give them a clear
answer. I thought for sure someone was going to call Mike Nolan on the
spot. (One thing that might help future board meetings is a refresher
course in Robert's Rules.)

The key to wrapping up the debate was Myron Lieberman's suggestion that
the text of Polgar's email message be noted for the record and attached
to the minutes. (The Liebermans were there to take the minutes and to
record the meeting.) He also noted that the issue of women's chess is
so controversial that no matter what the board did it would offend
someone, so that should not be a factor in their vote.

As I understand it, the Schultz motion that passed pertains only to the
main text of Polgar's email, in re endorsing the concept of an
all-girls national chess team, and NOT to the supporting material,
including the rating formula, contained in the attachment. I would not
bet big bucks on it, though.

Before the board voted on the Schultz motion, however, they first voted
on an amendment to the motion sponsored by Channing. Yep, that's right.
The vote on the amendment came before the vote on the main motion.
Schultz called it "splitting the motions," but by then I was biting my

Channing's amendment concerned confidentiality. He moved that once
Executive Director Bill Hall begins to negotiate with the Polgar
Foundation over the specifics of the girls' chess team plan, both sides
must vow to remain mum untl the deal is done. It's how things are done
in his business, he said.

Channing was the only board member who strongly supported the Schultz
motion at first....and about one hour later---after Goichberg and
Tanner had been grudgingly won over---Channing told Schultz he would
not vote for his (Schultz's) motion unless it included the
confidentiality amendment. Schultz still would not budge, so the board
first voted on the Channing amendment and then on the Schultz motion.

Both passed. I believe it was 4-1 in favor of the Schultz motion, with
Marinello the lone "no" vote, and 3-2 in favor of the Channing
amendment, with Marinello and Schultz opposed.

I asked Joel Channing at what point in the meeting did he suddenly
realize the motion needed a confidentiality amendment so badly that he
went from a strong supporter of the motion to saying he would not
support it if his amendment did not pass. I forget how he replied.

I also told Don Schultz that I cover municipal and county-level
meetings as part of my job, and had an elected official at one of those
meetings repeatedly stated he would not budge on a proposed motion on a
controversial topic because he "made a commitment" to a controversial
local figure that official would never hear the end of it. He did not
seem impressed.

This thing has the potential to be a major mess, but I hope that does
not happen. Despite the strange doings, there was a good feeling in the
meeting room on Sunday. Bill Hall seems like a pleasant guy and a good
choice for ED---though I really don't want to lay that label on him,
considering recent history.

It was an interesting variation of Sunday afternoon chess, anyway.

Eric M

I want to thank Eric Mark (who, in real life, works as a journalist
for a real newspaper) for reporting on this.

For those of you with short memories, Eric Mark has been named as one
of only four members of this group who really care about chess.

I wish to add that I was mildly (although not seriously) annoyed by
the attitude of Bill Goichberg. First, he refused to recognize me
although I was the only person in the room who wanted to speak. In
fact, he declared the meeting to be over only a few minutes after h=it
had started until Don Schultz pointed out that I was waiting to speak.

Then, Bill adminished me to eep it short, saying that I often speak
too long. (I do not think this is true. I believe that my comments are
usually extremely brief and to the point. I have not heard anyone else
make this complaint.)

Then, finally, when I was allowed to say something, Bill Goichberg cut
me short or shouted me down before I had even gotten to my main point.

By the way, while I was cut short, everybody else, except for Eric
Mark, spoke many times and at great length.

Sam Sloan
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EB meeting and stuff (very long) Eric (Chess Politics) 63 February 26th 06 11:28 PM
EB meeting and stuff (very long) Sam Sloan (Chess General) 0 February 26th 06 08:04 PM

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