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Old February 12th 09, 11:01 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Statement by Bill Hall on the Blas Lugo, 2008 Miami Open Controversy

by Bill Hall on Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:05 pm #126639

As a point of information, I was contacted by an individual on behalf
of Mr. Lugo prior to the event in Miami expressing concerns about the
hurricane. As I recall, at the time Miami was not out of the woods for
landfall and the individual that we had originally contracted to cover
the event online had had travel difficulty related to the hurricane
and was unable to attend. There is a rule in the rulebook that the ED
can grant a waiver to the guaranteed prize fund in force majora
circumstances. I was aware that the hurricane was impacting
attendance; however, the degree to which is extremely difficult if not
impossible to ascertain. I passed along to Mr. Lugo, through an
intermediary, that if he planned to pay only 50% that for a favorable
ruling on my part, I would need to see every reasonable attempt made
to notify preregistered players. I was copied on an email that he sent
to players, and I believe there was an announcement made on the
website for the event. I also requested that the players receive
information on how to contact me if the players wished to appeal the
decision. At the end of the event, I requested some additional and
supporting information for consideration. I received two appeals from
players regarding the prize fund reduction. I have not ruled on these
appeals as I do not have the information I have requested yet.

We have two significant issues at stake here. It is imperative that we
provide support and assurances to our members that tournaments will
honor the advertised prize fund. However, it is also imperative that
the organizers that are trying to provide a unique and quality playing
experience be protected in extreme circumstances that are beyond their
control. Does this situation rise to that level? I am not sure.
However, I feel I can safely say that the hurricane had a significant
impact.

Originally, I mistakenly had the impression that I was to give a
ruling after the tournament, but in later rereading the rule, I
believe the ruling is intended to be made prior (if possible).
Unfortunately, the issue has yet to be resolved. In part, because I
did not speak to Mr. Lugo directly, instead we communicated through a
bilingual intermediary to try to ensure better communication and
understanding, I am afraid there may have been some miscommunication.
Now the situation is that the two individuals involved in the
tournament are running for the Board that I report to and I feel it
would be inappropriate for me to rule on any sanction or the appeal.
As such, I have decided that I will approach the TDCC for a
recommendation on the resolution of the issue.

Bill Hall
Executive Director
USCF
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Old February 12th 09, 11:59 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Statement by Bill Hall on the Blas Lugo, 2008 Miami OpenControversy

I find the above statement by USCF Executive Director Bill Hall to be
highly objectionable for several reasons. This statement is typical of
the kind of things Mr. Hall is known to write, where you cannot pin
him down to anything firm. Note the use of the terms "as I recall", "I
was contacted by an individual", "I believe there was an
announcement", "I am not sure", "I mistakenly had the impression",

The most objectionable statement in Bill Hall's posting is the last
one, where he writes, "Now the situation is that the two individuals
involved in the tournament are running for the Board that I report to
and I feel it would be inappropriate for me to rule on any sanction or
the appeal."

What Bill Hall is clearly saying that is since Blas Lugo and his
sponsor Eric Hecht are running for the board, he is unwilling to take
any action against them because they might be elected and he might
lose his job.

Meanwhile, it is now firmly established that Hurricane Ike had no
impact on the tournament or, if it had any impact at all, it was
minimal. The number of out-of-state players in the 2008 Miami Open was
almost exactly the same as the number of out-of-state players in the
2007 Miami Open. However, more than one hundred fewer local Miami
players played in 2008 as played in 2007. The local players obviously
knew that Hurricane Ike had passed and was not a threat.

Chess Life magazine featured large display ads advertising the 2008
Miami Open has having prizes of $100,000 with $70,000 guaranteed.
Guaranteed is supposed to mean guaranteed. When an organizer fails to
pay guaranteed prizes, he is supposed to go on the suspended
organizers list. There should be no ifs-ands-or buts, Instead, Mr.
Hall writes, "I feel it would be inappropriate for me to rule on any
sanction" until after the election and he knows which way the wind is
blowing.

One of the prize winners has just send me a copy of a letter he wrote
to Bill Hall. He complains that Bill Hall has ignored his letter. His
letter states:

"I have received $1,666.67 (one thousand six hundred sixty six dollars
and 67/100 cents) for 1-3 place
finish in the U2100 section (http://www.themiamichessopen.com/
standings.htm). The amount I would
receive based on 70% guaranteed prize fund is $2,333.33 (two thousand
three hundred thirty three dollars and 33/100 cents). So, essentially
I was defrauded out of $666.67 (six hundred sixty six dollars and
67/100 cents) in prize money I won by the organizers of the Miami
Open."

He complains that he lives in New York City and he cannot come to
Miami to file a lawsuit against the organizers because of the cost of
traveling to Miami and the relatively small amount of money involved.

What should he do? Should he file a suit against the USCF and thereby
join the long list of people already suing the USCF?

It is clear that Blas Lugo has to be suspended as an organizer until
he pays the money he owes. The question is: Should this suspension be
announced in Chess Life or on the USCF website? Should Blas Lugo be
allowed to run for election when he still owes money to the prize
winners?

Sam Sloan
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Old February 12th 09, 03:31 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Statement by Bill Hall on the Blas Lugo, 2008 Miami OpenControversy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevan Muradian
Sam - there's no such thing as suspending an
organizer. You can suspend the sponsoring affiliate. You can suspend a
TD. You can bar individuals, TD's, and affiliates from advertising in
Chess Life. An organizer doesn't have to be a TD or an affiliate. Of
course it's best if they are and have experience from performance of
those roles.

I personally disagree with Bill on his stance of not taking action
against the individuals just because they are running for the EB. This
would not be construed as a political attack by anyone that looks at
the situation objectively. Even more so if the individuals in question
are running for the EB, this situation is important to the voting
masses.

While Bill had a role in this by giving the seeming authorization to
reduce the prize fund, the organizer and sponsor are responsible for
the situation at the end of the day.

Sevan Muradian
Our own Mike Nolan was on the suspended list for many years. Richard
Jackson, a big organizer in Connecticut, was suspended while I was on
the board.

At least we agree that Bill Hall's "hands off" approach is wrong. The
"voting masses" should be informed of this situation somehow. It is
especially urgent that this be done when two of the people involved
are running for the board.

Perhaps the sponsoring affiliate of Blas Lugo should be suspended
until such time as the guaranteed prizes are paid.

Sam Sloan
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Old February 12th 09, 08:59 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer
Rob Rob is offline
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Default Statement by Bill Hall on the Blas Lugo, 2008 Miami OpenControversy

On Feb 12, 5:01*am, samsloan wrote:
by Bill Hall on Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:05 pm #126639

As a point of information, I was contacted by an individual on behalf
of Mr. Lugo prior to the event in Miami expressing concerns about the
hurricane. As I recall, at the time Miami was not out of the woods for
landfall and the individual that we had originally contracted to cover
the event online had had travel difficulty related to the hurricane
and was unable to attend. There is a rule in the rulebook that the ED
can grant a waiver to the guaranteed prize fund in force majora
circumstances. I was aware that the hurricane was impacting
attendance; however, the degree to which is extremely difficult if not
impossible to ascertain. I passed along to Mr. Lugo, through an
intermediary, that if he planned to pay only 50% that for a favorable
ruling on my part, I would need to see every reasonable attempt made
to notify preregistered players. I was copied on an email that he sent
to players, and I believe there was an announcement made on the
website for the event. I also requested that the players receive
information on how to contact me if the players wished to appeal the
decision. At the end of the event, I requested some additional and
supporting information for consideration. I received two appeals from
players regarding the prize fund reduction. I have not ruled on these
appeals as I do not have the information I have requested yet.

We have two significant issues at stake here. It is imperative that we
provide support and assurances to our members that tournaments will
honor the advertised prize fund. However, it is also imperative that
the organizers that are trying to provide a unique and quality playing
experience be protected in extreme circumstances that are beyond their
control. Does this situation rise to that level? I am not sure.
However, I feel I can safely say that the hurricane had a significant
impact.

Originally, I mistakenly had the impression that I was to give a
ruling after the tournament, but in later rereading the rule, I
believe the ruling is intended to be made prior (if possible).
Unfortunately, the issue has yet to be resolved. In part, because I
did not speak to Mr. Lugo directly, instead we communicated through a
bilingual intermediary to try to ensure better communication and
understanding, I am afraid there may have been some miscommunication.
Now the situation is that the two individuals involved in the
tournament are running for the Board that I report to and I feel it
would be inappropriate for me to rule on any sanction or the appeal.
As such, I have decided that I will approach the TDCC for a
recommendation on the resolution of the issue.

Bill Hall
Executive Director
USCF


Does the USCF not require event planners to carry event cancellation
insurance?
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Old February 12th 09, 09:07 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Statement by Bill Hall on the Blas Lugo, 2008 Miami OpenControversy

Quote:
Originally Posted by George
Stick to the official ruling from the USCF. And Bill
Halls decision is the official decision of the USCF. The USCF is
legally liable for the decision that Bill made on behalf of the USCF.
He is the agent of the USCF. The best way out of this legal mess is
to stand up for the decision. Bill is only hurting USCF and himself
by wavering around. He should make a decisive announcement in favor
of his decision to reduce the prizes to 50%. I see nothing wrong with
50% in this case. It was a historic hurricane. What if it had hit
Miami with the same force as the hurricane that hit New Orleans which
years later has not been fixed as yet.

George
Okay, George, I guess we finally agree on something. The USCF must
stand up to its decision. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the
USCF to pay the $20,000 extra that the players are owed.

Will you contribute to the fund created to provide the $20,000 to the
players that is owed to them? Tell you what, George, I will go halves
with you.

Sam Sloan


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Old February 12th 09, 10:27 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Statement by Bill Hall on the Blas Lugo, 2008 Miami OpenControversy



samsloan wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevan Muradian
Sam - there's no such thing as suspending an
organizer. You can suspend the sponsoring affiliate. You can suspend a
TD. You can bar individuals, TD's, and affiliates from advertising in
Chess Life. An organizer doesn't have to be a TD or an affiliate. Of
course it's best if they are and have experience from performance of
those roles.

I personally disagree with Bill on his stance of not taking action
against the individuals just because they are running for the EB. This
would not be construed as a political attack by anyone that looks at
the situation objectively. Even more so if the individuals in question
are running for the EB, this situation is important to the voting
masses.

While Bill had a role in this by giving the seeming authorization to
reduce the prize fund, the organizer and sponsor are responsible for
the situation at the end of the day.

Sevan Muradian

Our own Mike Nolan was on the suspended list for many years. Richard
Jackson, a big organizer in Connecticut, was suspended while I was on
the board.

At least we agree that Bill Hall's "hands off" approach is wrong. The
"voting masses" should be informed of this situation somehow. It is
especially urgent that this be done when two of the people involved
are running for the board.

Perhaps the sponsoring affiliate of Blas Lugo should be suspended
until such time as the guaranteed prizes are paid.

Sam Sloan


Hall didn't say that, and it wouldn't have made any sense if he did.
Lugo was certainly not running for the Board last September.
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Old February 13th 09, 01:21 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Statement by Bill Hall on the Blas Lugo, 2008 Miami Open Controversy

On Thu, 12 Feb 2009 12:59:23 -0800 (PST), Rob
wrote:


Does the USCF not require event planners to carry event cancellation
insurance?


What does that cost? What companies write such policies?

Question of the day: What's the difference between a chess tournament
and a rock concert?
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Old February 13th 09, 05:38 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Statement by Bill Hall on the Blas Lugo, 2008 Miami OpenControversy



by Bill Hall on Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:05 pm #126639

As a point of information, I was contacted by an individual on behalf
of Mr. Lugo prior to the event in Miami expressing concerns about the
hurricane. As I recall, at the time Miami was not out of the woods for
landfall and the individual that we had originally contracted to cover
the event online had had travel difficulty related to the hurricane
and was unable to attend. There is a rule in the rulebook that the ED
can grant a waiver to the guaranteed prize fund in force majora
circumstances.


With the benefit of hindsight, we may resolve that important and
approved changes in the terms and conditions of an advertised event
shall be posted in the USCF forum.

David Ames
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Old February 13th 09, 04:28 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer
Rob Rob is offline
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Default Statement by Bill Hall on the Blas Lugo, 2008 Miami OpenControversy

On Feb 12, 7:21*pm, Mike Murray wrote:
On Thu, 12 Feb 2009 12:59:23 -0800 (PST), Rob
wrote:

Does the USCF not require event planners to carry event cancellation
insurance?


What does that cost? *What companies write such policies?

Question of the day: *What's the difference between a chess tournament
and a rock concert?


It depends on the number of people attending. If no alchol is being
served, the cost would probably be between 200 and 500 dollars. But is
the event is cancelled, it will allow for cost recovery.

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Old February 13th 09, 09:20 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,alt.chess,rec.games.chess.computer
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Default Statement by Bill Hall on the Blas Lugo, 2008 Miami Open Controversy

On Fri, 13 Feb 2009 08:28:15 -0800 (PST), Rob
wrote:

On Feb 12, 7:21*pm, Mike Murray wrote:
On Thu, 12 Feb 2009 12:59:23 -0800 (PST), Rob
wrote:

Does the USCF not require event planners to carry event cancellation
insurance?


What does that cost? *What companies write such policies?

Question of the day: *What's the difference between a chess tournament
and a rock concert?


It depends on the number of people attending. If no alchol is being
served, the cost would probably be between 200 and 500 dollars. But is
the event is cancelled, it will allow for cost recovery.


Are there restrictions on *why* the event is cancelled? Like, would
apparent failure to meet the gate required to guarantee the prize be
sufficient? The organizers take out the policy and benefit from it?
Or would the USCF?

The USCF is probably out nothing on an event like this anyway. It's
the individual *members* who get screwed with worthless plane tickets,
goofed up vacation plans, etc.

So WHY would the USCF require such policies? To keep the organizers
solvent if they cancel an event?
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