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Old October 27th 04, 08:41 PM
The Masked Bishop
 
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Default Why am I always so negative

Some posters have rightly pointed out in this group that I am consistently
negative about the USCF. They wonder why I don't point out the good things
the USCF has accomplished, but instead resort to hyperbole and invective to
constantly criticize the USCF, its leadership, and its services.

Well, there is a reason for that. I believe that what the USCF provides its
adult members is so meager that fair and equivocal analysis is just not
going keep the needed fires burning. I don't post on this board to provide
strokes to USCF board members for fudging the books. I post because my chess
organization is not giving me value for my dollar.

As an adult member of long standing, I can hardly think otherwise. My USCF
services, the amenities I pay $50 a year for, have traditionally consisted
of three things. Naturally, I want these three things to be the best that
they can be. They a

1) An OTB ratings service.
2) A monthly magazine.
3) Discounts on chess books and equipment.

That's it. I have never asked for or expected anything else. The lack of
sponsored tournaments, the crummy website, or the revolving door in the
boardroom may bother some people, but for a dues-paying woodpusher like me,
it's all dross.

So let's ask the fair question: what's the status of those three simple
things, those three basic, fundamental services that the USCF has always
promised to provide better than anyone else?

OTB ratings: you know the drill. How long does it take to get your ratings
adjusted? How responsive is the office for ratings questions or disputes?
What about the formula itself, is it current, is it appropriate, should it
be evaluated? Is the Internet interface acceptable? What's the process for
tournament directors; have their lives been made as easy as possible
concerning ratings reportage?

Monthly magazine: Read back issues of Chess Life 3, 5, or 10 years old to
know what's happened here. Currently the magazine is at an all-time low in
editorial competence, article quality, and layout. It's an embarrassment on
the newsstands, when it actually is on one.

Discounts on equipment: Sure, Amazon is the 900-pound gorilla. But Amazon
doesn't discount chess books. Nor does Chess Cafe. The point was not to be
the *only* supplier of chess books and equipment, it was to be the
*most-discounted* supplier of chess books and equipment. That was a key perk
of USCF membership. Any losses from discounting should have been
counter-balanced by dues. It's not happening.

So I go negative. $50 worth of negativity a year, to be exact. Because in
the end, it doesn't matter to me or any other adult member whether or not
the USCF moves its offices to Crossville, or if the USCF stays in FIDE or
leaves FIDE, or if the LMA are solvent or not, or if Beatriz Marinello is
better or worse than Al Lawrence, or if Sam Sloan is running for the Board
yet again.

We, the adult chess members of the USCF, want a fast, modernized,
Internet-based ratings system, a well-written, fun-to-get magazine, and
decent discounts on chess books and supplies. Do we have any of these
things? No.

Until we do, you, the Board Members and the Executive Staff of the USCF, are
failing us. So I'll stay negative, to keep reminding everyone of that very
simple fact.

The Masked Bishop


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Old October 28th 04, 06:49 AM
NoMoreChess
 
Posts: n/a
Default

..
Sure, Amazon is the 900-pound gorilla. But Amazon
doesn't discount chess books.



Nothing could be further from the truth.



Nitpicker. What anout the real issues he raised? What about the quality of
Chess Life magazine, for instance? What about the clunky ratings process?
The purported benefit of a member discount on books and equipment?

Nevermind that part of the reason TMB is always in such a negative mood is
because he loses so many games against other patzers -- the fact remains that
he made some very good points, and why shouldn't a typical, paying, adult
member of the USCF be dissatisfied with the level of service?

IMO, the most effective way to send those who are running things a clear
message would be to not renew, to withdraw from rated play -- but how many are
willing to do that?



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Old October 28th 04, 04:48 PM
ChipsChap
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Nitpicker. What anout the real issues he raised? What about the quality of
Chess Life magazine, for instance? What about the clunky ratings process?
The purported benefit of a member discount on books and equipment?


From what I have seen, book and equipment prices through USCF are high,
not low, compared with, for instance Cajun Chess. Someone please
correct this if I am mistaken.

As to the magazine, well, I'd rather spend my money on a book of my
choosing.
  #5   Report Post  
Old October 28th 04, 05:55 PM
Ray Gordon
 
Posts: n/a
Default


IMO, the most effective way to send those who are running things a clear
message would be to not renew, to withdraw from rated play -- but how many
are
willing to do that?


Me and about 20,000 other Americans on ICC, I'd venture to guess.

I recall a few people here saying that USCF was doing fine without me, so
why should I care about them?





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Old October 29th 04, 12:56 AM
The BOBSFan
 
Posts: n/a
Default

TMB's attempt to cut through the crap and give his real viewpoint on the USCF is, for the most part, an excellent post. He lets a
few things slip in that he probably didn't intend when he started it, but I have a feeling his words sum up the attitude of the
majority of the silent majority.

Pretty close to mine, anyway.

TBF

"The Masked Bishop" wrote in message news
Some posters have rightly pointed out in this group that I am consistently
negative about the USCF. They wonder why I don't point out the good things
the USCF has accomplished, but instead resort to hyperbole and invective to
constantly criticize the USCF, its leadership, and its services.

Well, there is a reason for that. I believe that what the USCF provides its
adult members is so meager that fair and equivocal analysis is just not
going keep the needed fires burning. I don't post on this board to provide
strokes to USCF board members for fudging the books. I post because my chess
organization is not giving me value for my dollar.

As an adult member of long standing, I can hardly think otherwise. My USCF
services, the amenities I pay $50 a year for, have traditionally consisted
of three things. Naturally, I want these three things to be the best that
they can be. They a

1) An OTB ratings service.
2) A monthly magazine.
3) Discounts on chess books and equipment.

That's it. I have never asked for or expected anything else. The lack of
sponsored tournaments, the crummy website, or the revolving door in the
boardroom may bother some people, but for a dues-paying woodpusher like me,
it's all dross.

So let's ask the fair question: what's the status of those three simple
things, those three basic, fundamental services that the USCF has always
promised to provide better than anyone else?

OTB ratings: you know the drill. How long does it take to get your ratings
adjusted? How responsive is the office for ratings questions or disputes?
What about the formula itself, is it current, is it appropriate, should it
be evaluated? Is the Internet interface acceptable? What's the process for
tournament directors; have their lives been made as easy as possible
concerning ratings reportage?

Monthly magazine: Read back issues of Chess Life 3, 5, or 10 years old to
know what's happened here. Currently the magazine is at an all-time low in
editorial competence, article quality, and layout. It's an embarrassment on
the newsstands, when it actually is on one.

Discounts on equipment: Sure, Amazon is the 900-pound gorilla. But Amazon
doesn't discount chess books. Nor does Chess Cafe. The point was not to be
the *only* supplier of chess books and equipment, it was to be the
*most-discounted* supplier of chess books and equipment. That was a key perk
of USCF membership. Any losses from discounting should have been
counter-balanced by dues. It's not happening.

So I go negative. $50 worth of negativity a year, to be exact. Because in
the end, it doesn't matter to me or any other adult member whether or not
the USCF moves its offices to Crossville, or if the USCF stays in FIDE or
leaves FIDE, or if the LMA are solvent or not, or if Beatriz Marinello is
better or worse than Al Lawrence, or if Sam Sloan is running for the Board
yet again.

We, the adult chess members of the USCF, want a fast, modernized,
Internet-based ratings system, a well-written, fun-to-get magazine, and
decent discounts on chess books and supplies. Do we have any of these
things? No.

Until we do, you, the Board Members and the Executive Staff of the USCF, are
failing us. So I'll stay negative, to keep reminding everyone of that very
simple fact.

The Masked Bishop




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Old October 29th 04, 07:02 AM
NoMoreChess
 
Posts: n/a
Default

..
IMO, the most effective way to send those who are running things a clear
message would be to not renew, to withdraw from rated play -- but how many
are willing to do that?



Me and about 20,000 other Americans on ICC, I'd venture to guess.

I recall a few people here saying that USCF was doing fine without me, so
why should I care about them?



Oh, sure -- you can live without an OTB rating and OTB rated tornaments,
'cause you've got all those HOT BABES to keep you busy! But what about the
rest of us, what about those who don't have *any* HOT BABES? :-)


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Old October 29th 04, 04:17 PM
johnnyvegas
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Some good points have been made. But I think there are a couple of
points that need correcting.

TMB stated flat out that: "But Amazon doesn't discount chess books.
Nor does Chess Cafe."

This is not correct. A quick browse throught both the USCF online
catalog and the most recent printed catalog bound into the October
issue of Chess Life would show that non-members pay suggested retail
and that members get a discount on virtually every item. Almost no
exceptions. Perhaps you think the discounts should be greater; perhaps
you simply don't like the USCF. But the discounts are definitely
there.

Then ChipChaps said:

"From what I have seen, book and equipment prices through USCF are
high, not low, compared with, for instance Cajun Chess. Someone
please correct this if I am mistaken."

I don't think you are comparing "apples with apples". I can only share
my personal experience about Cajun Chess. We ordered three dozen of
the basic unweighted sets for a scholastic tournament from them. It
took two days just to make contact! When the sets were received,
approximately 20% had either broken pieces or missing pieces. This
time when we left a message about replacement, and otherwise tried to
contact them, we got no help or return calls at all. In this
particular instance we went to USCF Sales, called the 800 number and
everything was taken care of quickly and correctly. So as far as Cajun
Chess goes, sorry, not for me.

The book selection offered at Cajun Chess is a joke. At my quick
count, they offered a TOTAL of about 200 books. Perhaps someone might
take the time to make a quick count of the USCF book selection. I
don't have the time, but it would not surprise me to have it in the
1,000-1,200 range.

Furthermore, I did not see a single current title at Cajun Chess. (And
it seems that they are almost all from Everyman Chess, or its
predecessor Cadogan. That is peculiar.) And most of them cannot be
ordered online. Why? When I asked, it turns out that they are not
mint, new books! They are "remaindered", and marked by the distributor
so they cannot be sold as new.

So, while I think some of this criticism is justified, some of it is
not.

JV
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Old October 29th 04, 04:27 PM
The Masked Bishop
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Perhaps you think the discounts should be greater; perhaps
you simply don't like the USCF. But the discounts are definitely
there.

I should have been clearer. Certainly Amazon "discounts" all their books.
Chess Cafe offers a USCF-member discount that usually amounts to about 4%.

A serious discount for membership should be 10-15%. USCF has never offered
this. Having ChessCafe knock a buck off a book is not a real member
discount.

TMB


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Old October 29th 04, 06:31 PM
ASCACHESS
 
Posts: n/a
Default

This is not correct. A quick browse throught both the USCF online
catalog and the most recent printed catalog bound into the October
issue of Chess Life would show that non-members pay suggested retail
and that members get a discount on virtually every item. Almost no
exceptions. Perhaps you think the discounts should be greater


Can you name any book chain that doesn't offer discounts from "retail"?

Think this through.
We lost millions on B+E, but Chess Cafe can "afford" to discount about 5% plus
pay USCF 15%, but USCF itself could only lose millions.
No management is that bad.
There has to be another answer.

Sheesh
Rp
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