USCF Executive Director George De Feis recently announced that two of the four annual U.S. Amateur Team tournaments, the Midwest and South, would no longer be held.  This decision has now come under fire, largely from supporters of the South event. 

There have been four Amateur Team events since 1986 followed by a playoff, the other two being the East and the West.  The policy announced by De Feis would mean a return to 1984 and 1985, when only the East and West events were held.  Prior to 1984, only one Amateur Team was held, usually in New Jersey.

Subj: Am Team South???
Date: 09/07/2001 6:27:02 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Chessdon
To: APCT,,, FCamaratta,,,, BobChess
CC: Recmate,,

Dear EB:

I just returned from the Florida State Championship in St. Petersburg, Florida. The tournament was the most successful Florida Championship ever -- 217 players! The previous record was about 170.

However, there was a great deal of unhappiness over the cancellation of the Amateur Team South. Do any of you know why this happened? Is there any chance to have it reinstated? The Orlando Florida group may go ahead and organize an unofficial Amateur if there is none officially.

Don Schultz
Subj: RE: Am Team South???
Date: 09/07/2001 6:44:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (George De Feis)
To: ('')

Hi Don:
This was a staff decision and part of our negotiations with the New Jersey State Chess Federation, whereby next year we will have only two events -- U.S. Team East and U.S. Team West.  The other two -- the south and the midwest -- really didn't have much pull and part of the thinking is that since the other 2 have more appeal, they will attract those from the other areas of the country.
Subj: Re: Am Team South???
Date: 09/07/2001 6:57:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (Larry Storch)
To:, (George De Feis)
CC: (Walter Shannon), (Nick Schoonmaker), (Michael Leavitt), (Harvey N Lerman), (George Ringel), (Chuck Hall), (Jon Lee), (Paul Leggett),,,,,,,,,

Larry Storch here, president of the Central Florida Chess Club.  Many of us here in Florida are saddened by the elimination of the Amateur Team South.  I know that we didn't generate anywhere near the attendance of the East or West, but the event was a beloved one here.  The chances of a Florida team attending New Jersey's event are remote.  Is there any chance of recinding the (premature) decision?
L. Storch
Subj: Re: Am Team South???
Date: 09/07/2001 7:00:09 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Chessdon
CC: Recmate,,, APCT,,, FCamaratta,,, BobChess

Dear Guys:

I am getting confused. I could have had a terrific bid for the 2002 US Open but because of staff changes the fact that I was in the bidding process was overlooked and it was given to Dubeck and the New Jersey Chess Federation.

Now I find out a successful "Southern" tournament was canceled after discussion with the New Jersey Chess Federation.

What the hell is going on?
Subj: RE: Am Team South???
Date: 09/07/2001 8:49:38 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (Charles Hall)
To: ('Larry Storch'),, ('George De Feis')
CC: ('Walter Shannon'), ('Nick Schoonmaker'), ('Michael Leavitt'), ('Harvey N Lerman'), ('George Ringel'), ('Jon Lee'), ('Paul Leggett'),,,,,,,,,



I would like to add my own disappointment as a longtime (over 20 years) member, organizer, Senior level TD, club volunteer, and occasional coach.


The US Amateur Team South isnít about making money.  Conversely, I cannot see how it could incur anything greater than insignificant losses.  I never organized any of these, so I cannot give any numbers to support these statements.  However, I am certain the USCF gained quite a few Junior memberships from this event Ė especially when it was being held in Gainesville .  The USATS is also a starting point for adult players who otherwise could not afford to invest large amounts of money into cash tournaments.


I can tell you that the cancellation is being taken very seriously by players in Florida and other Southeastern states, and does severely harm the integrity of the eventual playoffs in our eyes.  I would expect the organizers and players in the Midwest area feel likewise.


Please take into account the USCF membersí strong wishes in this situation and reconsider this very unpopular decision.


If you wish, you have my permission to publish this letter in the US Chess magazine.


Thank you,

Charles S. Hall



Subj: Re: Am Team South???
Date: 09/07/2001 9:10:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Chessdon
CC:, MojoEnt95,,,,, Doctormate, BobChess,,, FCamaratta,,, APCT,, Recmate,

Dear George:

Regarding the Am Team South and the Am Team Midwest, the question has come up whether the office has the authority to cancel such a national tournament.

I also feel that it was inappropriate to cancel these tournaments based on discussions with the New Jersey Chess Federation and in at least the case of the Am Team South in the absence of discussion with those most effected by the cancellation.

By copy of this email to the EB I ask them to review the decision and/or whether or not this is a staff decision to make.

Don Schultz
Subj: Re: Am Team South???
Date: 09/07/2001 10:13:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: FCamaratta
To:, Chessdon
CC: Recmate,,, APCT,,,,, BobChess

Hi George:

I don't think your reasoning is correct.  Having events in four rather than two regions maximizes total attendance. The South and Midwest events, though much smaller, do serve the purpose of exposing those areas to more tournament chess - which is good for US Chess in the long-term.

I would only cancel these events if there were no takers to run them.


Subj: Re: Am Team South???
Date: 09/07/2001 11:09:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Recmate
To: Chessdon,,,
CC:, MojoEnt95,,,,, Doctormate, BobChess,,, FCamaratta,,, APCT,,

To the EB and others:

USCF policy regarding national tournaments has long been that the Executive Board decides which tournaments shall be held (general policy), and the ED decides which bids for these events shall be accepted (implementation).  For staff to abolish a national tournament without consulting the Board appears unprecedented and unwise.  

It is especially bizarre that the cancellation of the Amateur Teams Midwest and South was "part of our negotiation with" the organizer of the Amateur Team East and was intended to help entries in that event.  Why were the Midwest and South not represented in these negotiations?  Why the assumption that the interests of these areas matter less than the pursuit of a little extra USCF profit in the East and West?  

When the Amateur Team was expanded from one to four locations many years ago, Denis Barry explained that the new events would promote chess in their areas, cost New Jersey hardly any entries due to the great distances involved, and set up an exciting playoff.  He was right.    

I hope George or the EB will soon reverse this unwise decision.

Bill Goichberg homepage