Computerization and the Internet - Another Viewpoint
by Don Schultz
Led by influential Executive Board leaders and without consulting with their online chess partner the Internet Chess Club (ICC), the USCF has made major changes in their online chess policy.
These changes were addressed in USCF Secretary Doris Barry's April 2001 Chess Life editorial and presented as a positive development. Here are the facts regarding those changes.
In 1997, Mike Cavallo set up for the USCF a mutually beneficial arrangement with the Internet Chess Club (ICC). The USCF received $25,000 per year. It also netted over $15,000 in new membership commissions from ICC. Then in February 2000, the USCF without consulting with the ICC voted to replace this financially lucrative business arrangement with another company that would give USCF its own online playing site.
Considering the lost revenue from ICC, this new venture costs the USCF about $100,000 each year. Not only does USCF suffer the annual $100,000 financial loss from the change of direction but it now competes head-to-head with other online chess providers.
Promoters of online chess should be encouraged by USCF not competed against! I for one would prefer to see the USCF stay out of direct online chess, gain the $100,000 per year working with ICC in a non- exclusive partnership and handle Internet chess the same way it handles over-the-board chess -- sanctioning competitions, doing ratings, awarding titles, etc.