TO OUR READERS
There has been no shortage of significant news in recent months. For example:
The world's leading players and FIDE have reached agreement on a plan to create a unified World Chess Champion. GM Yasser Seirawan deserves much credit for helping to bring about what promises to be a very significant plus for chess promotion in the world.
The French Chess Federation has publicly denounced the leadership of FIDE under Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and is trying to recruit a slate to challenge the Ilyumzhinov team at the coming FIDE elections.
The USCF Executive Board has promoted interm ED Frank Niro to Executive Director, subject to his passing a physical exam. USCF finances under Niro continue to improve.
Several USCF dues increase proposals, supported by the EB, are on the Cherry Hill agenda. Their key features are an increase in adult dues from $40 to $50, and in scholastic dues from $13 to $18. I believe that adult dues must increase, but $50 seems too drastic and may discourage some affiliates; I would rather see $45 with a $3 affiliate commission, or perhaps $48 with a $5 commission. Also, I think that scholastic dues must increase by a larger percentage than adult. School Mates has been a bust and should be replaced for Scholastic Members by a bimonthly Chess Life which would include some beginner/scholastic content only in those issues. Rather than $18, I suggest $20 with a $2 affiliate commission for Scholastic Memberships.
Five candidates for the USCF Executive Board have waged a relatively noncontroversial election campaign, during which none supported the discredited policies of the previous President (Redman) or Executive Director (De Feis), and USCF political activists who had backed those policies appeared to have no candidate.
The same activists referred to above instead are focusing their efforts on an attempt to pass a motion at the Cherry Hill annual meeting to have the Delegates reappoint USCF's FIDE representatives. The Executive Board has always made these appointments in the past, but it is believed that the current EB plans to replace Zonal President Jim Eade, an ally of the Redman group.
There has been continued controversy regarding the drug testing issue. The Delegates passed a motion at last year's meeting calling on USCF's FIDE representatives to actively campaign against drug testing in chess at every FIDE meeting, but it is not clear that they have done this. Eade especially has made public statements supporting the acceptance of drug testing. There may be even less support for drug testing at Cherry Hill than there was at Framingham 2001, as the main argument for it has been that it is necessary for chess to become an Olympic sport, and the rejection of chess by the U.S. Olympic Committee has made American chess participation in a future Olympics seem even less likely than it was before.
This website has not reported on such news as it would have in the past, mainly because the editor has simply not had the time. I also have not received much material from others during this period. The spring and summer have long been busy periods for me, and this year in addition, my mother has been ill (hospitalized twice), resulting in my making frequent trips to Westchester County.
I hope to increase news and commentary on this site in the future, but its previous level of activity may not reappear for some time.