by Danny Sleator

From: Danny Sleator <sleator@chessclub.com>
To: Tim Redman <redman@utdallas.edu>
cc: George De Feis <execdir@uschess.org>,
    John McCrary <mccrary@axs2k.net>, Bob Smith <bobchess@aol.com>,
    Helen Warren <APCT@aol.com>, Joe Ippolito <ippy1@aol.com>,
    Doris Barry <pistola@worldnet.att.net>, Jim Pechac <jpechac@aol.com>,
    Laura Martz <networkmgr@uschess.org>,
    Joan DuBois <media@uschess.org>,
    John Fernandez <jfernandez@chessclub.com>,
    Marty Grund <lateknight@chessclub.com>,
    Eric Peterson <potzy@chessclub.com>
Subject: ICC would like an opportunity to talk to the USCF
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 23:27:50 -0400

To: USCF President Tim Redman

Dear Mr. Redman,

Thank you for your letter (rec.games.chess.politics post entitled
'Subject: Re: Don Schultz blasts USCL deal, Wed, 04 Apr 2001 17:06:17
-0700, and included below in full).

You assert that almost one year after the USCF acted without consultation
with ICC, you discussed the possibility of whether ICC could have provided
the USCF with exactly the same deal.  You quote me (Danny Sleator) as
saying ICC could not have; however, this is not accurate.  ICC certainly
could have done so (as ICC has the technology, the staff, and the market
leadership to do so if it chooses, and to do it more effectively than any
startup could), though it may or may not have chosen to do so; we'll never
know now, as the question was not asked of ICC at that time.

It is our understanding that USCF is now considering a new agreement with
GamesParlor, and again, there is no opportunity being afforded ICC (or
others) to offer competing bids to ensure that USCF gets the best deal
available to it.

We call on USCF to invite ICC to the negotiating table, and we are
confident that ICC can help the USCF achieve its goals to the benefit of
both organizations.  ICC is willing to discuss just about any possible
arrangement, whether exclusive or non-exclusive, and we are confident that
we can offer the USCF a valuable 'win-win' proposition if given a fair
chance to do so.

In closing, we quote the most eloquent and concise of the many comments we
have seen on this subject in rec.games.chess.politics (the closing
paragraph of his post entitled 'Subject: Re: Don Schultz blasts USCL deal,
31 Mar 2001 17:23:15 GMT):

   > I agree completely with John Fernandez that the USCF should've
   > entered into a competitive bidding arrangment (no, I am not
   > surprised that they didn't), but it seems obvious that the ICC
   > would not have matched the offer from Games Parlour.  The
   > situation would be much the same as today, except that the ICC
   > folks would've been treated more respectfully, as they certainly
   > should've been.
   > James Eade

We appreciate Mr. Eade's call for a fair and open opportunity to bid
competitively, and believe that the USCF and Mr. Eade might be pleasantly
surprised with the results if we are afforded the opportunity to do so
before any further contracts are issued with respect to online chess

Danny Sleator
President, Internet Chess Club

  Tim Redman wrote:
   > Dear Mr. Fernandez,
   >     In a private breakfasat conversation with Danny Sleator in
   > Istanbul, in which he told me of his dissatisfaction with the way
   > USCF had treated ICC, he also told me that ICC could not have
   > offered what Games Parlor did.  The USCF also had conversations with
   > the Kasparov group and Bill Church's group and concluded that
   > GamesParlor offered the best deal.
   >     No decision is ever perfect, but the decision-making process was
   > somewhat more complicated than is being portrayed, and there were
   > divisions within the Board as to the best course of action.
   > Sincerely,
   > Tim Redman

Editor's comment:  USCF had a profitable partnership with ICC, the leading online play provider.  When the inexperienced company Games Parlor made an offer, the federation apparently dumped its partner without allowing it to make a competing bid.  This was not merely impolite, but also a violation of the basic business principle that competitive bidding leads to better offers. 

Instead of over $30,000 annual income from the ICC agreement, USCF is believed to have lost at least $70,000 as a result of its Games Parlor alliance, yet the Executive Board inexplicably endorsed an extension of the Games Parlor contract at its January meeting.  The new contract with Games Parlor, however, has not yet been signed.  I hope USCF will allow ICC and others the opportunity to bid before committing to  continue an arrangement that has been financially unsuccessful.

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