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I've heard from the missing links in the USCF / women's Olympiad / training squad and after giving their rebuttals here I'm staying out of this until the relevant parties can work things out amongst themselves, or not!

Elena Donaldson writes in to say that in the Bled 2002 Olympiad team captain Ilya Gurevich didn't want her to play because, according to him, her style of play wasn't aggressive enough. In rounds 10 and 11 she was sick and could not play. She went on to say that the attempt to label her as "uncooperative" is likely a smear to keep her off the next team.

Her fellow 2002 team member Kamile Baginskaite informs us that she never received an invitation to the training squad meeting and only found out about it after it had ended. Something about a changed e-mail address is going around, but I don't think it would have too hard to reach her and she has reason to be miffed.

This is quickly getting personal, if it wasn't before, and it is clearer than ever that transparent rules need to be laid down. The training squad is a great idea that deserves support, but unconditional support is not what an organization like the USCF should be about.

As Donaldson puts it, "I am sure USCF will invite players to the next Olympiad based on official criteria such as residency and rating. If I do not qualify by USCF criteria, hopefully announced in advance, it is fine with me." Exactly. If the USCF wants to remove a player it must be done following published guidelines, and there should be something like an appeals committee for such strong actions. I have yet to see in print the exact qualification guidelines for the Olympiad teams. They must exist, right?

As for the training squad, is it part of the USCF or an independent project? Obviously they can choose whomever they want in the latter case. They could put me on the squad if they wished. The only conflict is if the USCF auspices the program, in which case they have some responsibility to protect the interests of their members. To me this means qualification by rating, seeding the US champions, and making sure in advance that all the players are eligible to play for the US under FIDE's rules.

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Could somebody out there provide Kamile Baginskaite with my e-address (piersons@sunyocc.edu).

She is a friend of my wife, Rita Indriulaityete, who would like to reach her.

Steve Pierson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
Onondaga Community College
Syracuse, NY

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 1, 2003 9:33 AM.

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