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The Last Train to Crossville

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(With apologies to the Monkees.) Speaking of monkeys and trains, the United States Chess Federation has been doing their best impression of a train wreck this month. Little of this will come as a surprise to anyone who has watched them in action over the past, oh, forever, but what they thought was going to be a small profit for the last fiscal year turned into an audited loss of $365,000. A tidy thou per day.

Oops! Now wait, just a sec, where did I put that three hundred thousand dollars? Gosh. Maybe it fell into the sofa cushions. The USCF now begins a struggle to avoid bankruptcy, having lost money for the last seven years in a row despite its captive audience. (You can't play a rated game in the US without signing up for $50/year, which may now increase.)

This mess has led to a massive shake-up, as well it should. My friend Beatriz Marinello, who was only just elected to the Board, has hastily been made the new President of the USCF and a new VP Finance and Secretary have also been named. Executive Director Frank Niro (insert "fiddled ... burned" joke here) has resigned for those time-honored health reasons and a replacement is being sought. Maybe if Schwarzenegger doesn't win the governorship of California...

From my limited knowledge beyond the excellent Ms. Marinello (with whom I had the pleasure of working at KasparovChess where she consulted and helped with our world school chess championship) this seems like a competent group. They've been dealt a very bad hand, however, and cleaning house isn't just a case of tossing out the rascals. The official magazine (Chess Life) needs a lot of work and new ideas if it's going to drive membership and not drive it away. Meanwhile, here in Ninja land we've been profitable since we opened the doors...

This happens just as the USCF plans its move from New York to the tiny town of Crossville, Tennessee. But they're excited down there, let me tell you. This article proclaims Crossville the new "Chess Capital of the World" now that they'll host the USCF. (Notify Moscow.) The locals also seem amused in this column on the "mixing of cultures." Reserve your ad today!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 12, 2003 3:32 AM.

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