Greengard's ChessNinja.com

USCF Elections

| Permalink | 42 comments

Everybody keeps writing me about the recently held elections for the board of the United States Chess Federation. Fewer than 10% of eligible voters cast their ballots. The four spots were easily won by the hard-campaigning ticket composed of Goichberg, Tanner, Channing, and Greg Shahade (apparently not really part of the ticket, but endorsed by them). Several are friends, and good luck to all.

After near-bankruptcy and various brushes with chaos in the past few years (some mentioned here and found by searching for USCF), it looks like yet another house-cleaning. Or, depending on how things go, out with the old dirt, in with the new. All the good intentions, experience, and expertise don't guarantee success when it comes to running a sprawling endeavor like a chess federation.

Setting priorities and establishing strategies to achieve them is something you would think would come naturally to chess people. It's that first part that causes the most trouble. You must balance professionals and scholastics, bring in new members while pleasing current ones, and run a magazine that, for years, has fulfilled the curse satisfying no one while trying to satisfy everyone.

A few items to start the discussion: 1) Make it easy to find and organize clubs and tournaments. People playing chess is what it's all about. A club with a TD on every corner and two pawns in every pot. 2) Find more ways to involve chess professionals and others with resources that can help the organization. There are countless people who would love to help in many ways if they knew how. 3) Engage professional sponsorship directly and also indirectly with groups like the AF4C. 4) Put as much content, interactivity, and PR as possible on the web. Not just magazine stuff. The USCF site has some useful material but has become a sprawling mess.

On a more Dirt front, things to look out for when the new administration takes over in a few weeks: 1) Staying in Tennessee or not? This still isn't signed, sealed and delivered, and the USCF office could end up elsewhere. 2) The contract for the catalog and online shop has been under scrutiny for a long time.


Greg Shahade has already mentioned that he was not part of a ticket. The three members of the "ticket" endorsed Greg Shahade (since four spots were open) but Greg already disassociated himself with any other candidate.

I am glad Greg won, as well as the others, although one member one vote is idiotic. Maybe the new board can do away with it and the USCF can get rid of another useless expense.

... although one member one vote is idiotic.

What else is there?

"depending on how things go, out with the old dirt, in with the new."

More like "in with the old dirt". The USCF is now back in the hands of Schultz and Goichberg, whose leadership in the 1990's was instrumental in pushing it to the brink of bankruptcy. Now they get to finish the job.

The only question is whether they'll pick one of the obvious suicide options (like moving the office again or bringing the B&E business back in-house), or whether they'll find some new and interesting fatal blunder.

Either way, it's time to start planning for the post-USCF era.

Hello Mr. Gaillard,
I agree with you. How do you propose we prepare for the post-USCF world?

Ed Yetman, III

... although one member one vote is idiotic.

>>>What else is there?<<<

Prior to "one-member-one-vote" the USCF used the delegate system in such elections. The thinking there was that people more immersed with chess issues would be better informed to make these decisions. Some think that the "one-member-one-vote" format has allowed important decisions to be swayed by candidates who can afford the marketing expenditures to get their message out and essentially avoid direct debate between different views.

These issues all go back decades and it is hard for the average member to know what to believe with all the different stories coming from the various factions.

It may not be a popular notion, but the American system allows for the freedom to NOT vote.

That is, if a voter feels that none of the candidates represents their own position, or if they don't believe there will be a great deal of difference in outcome (not philosophy, but outcome), or if they don't believe their vote will matter because it will not be a close race, they have the right to not vote.

African American voters in the South, for example, turned out in low numbers to vote for a choice between two Dixiecrats during the 1960s. That did not mean that it had been a mistake to give the vote to African Americans.

A low voter turnout doesn't necessarily mean the system is broken. It may mean that the election did not attract the electorate for any of the reasons above.


p.s. While we're dealing with details, we might note that the Executive Board of the USCF uses staggered terms, like the US Senate, so that only half the board is up for election at any one time.

4 new members were elected, but there are a total of 7 on the board. Hanke, Marinello, and Schultz have continuing terms. Channing, Goichberg, G. Shahade, and Tanner are newly elected.

FWIW ... both my teenage daughter and I voted this election and we voted for the so-called Goichberg slate. The reason I voted for the Goichberg slate was twofold. One, I knew Robert Tanner (and highly respected him), and two, Goichberg's four page letter which he sent out appeared persuasive. If there was a cogent other side to Goichberg's opinion, the other side didn't make it known to me. As for cost, one could keep down the cost by posting one's opinions and rebuttals on a web-site, then one would only need to advertise one's web-address (something which could be done in Chess Life). I like the one-person-one-vote system. At the very least, it forced one person (namely Goichberg) to write a four page essay as to why people should vote for him. I learned more about USCF policy than I would have with the previous delegate system.

Give Bill G and his team a chance before slating them. The USCF has many problems and I hope they all get sorted out soon !!!!

Uh, Mig, I just noticed your comment about revisiting the bookstore contract?! Whassup wi dat? A million over three years wasn't enough!!?

I am as a devoted fan of chess as anyone could be. I dream of chess. My whole life my one passion has been chess, and always will be.

However, I've never joined the USCF. Never felt compelled to. I don't like the expense involved, or the rating system. For me to play in a "rated" tournament, I would have to join the USCF, join the TCA (Tennessee Chess Association), plus pay the entry fees.

I can't be the only one like this, or else there would be more than 20 people showing up for a tournament in a city with a population of a half million.

I spoke to a young player at the big scholastic event in April, and his reason he could not enter the Global Chess Challenge was that he was "overrated." I saw plenty of kids having their self-esteem crushed over losing a game, and they were feeling all of the pressure from their parents.

I'm not sure exactly what needs to be done to promote chess in a positive way. Locally I am working to organize chess teams in the elementary schools, hoping eventually they can choose chess as an alternative to art.

I am also looking to host an open event, where no membership is required, with it being funded by local sponsors.

If there is a better way, (i.e. walk hand in hand with the USCF), someone please enlighten me.


I know Goichberg has made a living from chess (only chess?) for many years now. He has a vested interest in the USCF thriving. I am not sure what he did in the 90s but I would be surprised if this new group isn't an improvement over the previous one.

Zookid, we live in a capitalist society. I have no problem with paying for the things I like/want. That doesn't mean I want to spend exorbitant amounts on chess memberships but I do find the idea of having them entirely acceptable.

As far as kids go, having your self-esteem crushed is part of life and not at all necessarily a bad thing. One of the biggest problems in our society is that we care more about our children's self-esteem then we do about their education. However, that is another story.

I'm very confused by this current trend in chess which Goichberg seems to be trying to continue. As far as I've heard from reliable sources (who I am specificically avoiding mentioning since I have not discussed it with them), the HB Global Tournament LOST money. In response to this expensive tournament trend, Goichberg has raised the entry fee and prize fund to the North American Open this winter and I've heard he has plans to do the same with the World Open next year? Are the HB Foundation and the CCA competing to see who can lose more money in a single tournament? I've heard the World Open will have over a $500,000 prize fund next year, this is the first time I can remember (which isn't very far for chess, since I only started playing 3 years ago) that the prize fund for the North American Open will not be guaranteed. I wonder if the World Open prize fund will also not be guaranteed. This all seems quite strange, it would be different if HB Global CC made money, but that is not the case at hand.

HB definitely lost money. And I am pretty sure that attendance at the Chicago Open and World Open, two of Goichberg's biggest events (The WO is the biggest), was down this year. Is there any doubt the HB at least partially caused this?

As I wrote above, Goichberg does this for a living. If he is raising entry fees, I assume he has thought it through.

Personally, I prefer the big tournaments. However, I think the small or smallish weekend Swiss is more important for the health of otb chess in the US. If you were to compare the tournament listing section in Chess Life today with the same section from a CL 20 years ago, I think you would see that there has been a significant decline in what is available for one to play in.

Well, I think these big tournaments hurt local chess scenes. They often occur on long weekends that would otherwise be perfect for local chess tournaments, but I even heard our local director speculate that he might not hold a tournament around July 4th this year as attendance was so low as it stood and with bigger prize fund in philadelphia he's unlikely to get anybody to play, especially few that will stay at the site and help curb the cost for the playing site.

How many tournaments are there in a year in the US that draw more then 500 players? Five? Certainly less then ten. I don't think we can blame the handful of big tournaments out there for the decline of the small weekend Swiss. There are plenty of other weekends available besides the 4th of July or Memorial Day.

Wake up and smell the coffee folks. Chess in the US will never acheive it's potential as long as it's sole proponent organziation is non-profit. Non-profit? In the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?! Non-profit orgs. are havens for small-minded folks who have failed to amount to anything in business.


Small-minded people? No... non-profits are big-minded people who think about things besides money, or the bottom line. Improving quality of life for world citizenry is important. Do you agree?

I'm not sure how much you know about business, but non-profit does not imply any sense of inferiority unless you only look at the finance issue. American has very powerful non-profit organizations that lobby on many important issues. These institutions are very well-run and effective in delivering all types of services that corporations would not have the knowledge to deliver (nor the interest). However, businesses have community relations personnel who work with the non-profits to be a good "corporate citizen."

The other thing... business executives often miss the larger picture, especially when it comes to taking business abroad. They go over committing all types of social injustices in other countries and reduce factor endowments (land, labor, capital) to dollar amounts. Do you believe they think about the 12 year-old child working 14 hours sewing soccer balls? They could learn something about the value of social goods from non-profits.

It's ironic that many corporations have been emulating the discipline and focus of non-profits. No dot.com 'not-for-profit' jokes! (smile) I have worked for both type of organizations and of course, non-profits do not have the resources (and the pay is horrible), but the resources that are provided by these organizations are extremely valuable... and they are a good write-off for the big for-profit companies! That's the other part of being benevolent and altruistic. (smile)

Despite what we think of the USCF, we do derive some benefit from the mere fact that there is a structure from which will can organize an activity that we love dearly. We can improve that structure... and/or the magazine!

"Big money" tournaments like the HB Challenge DO hurt chess. If anyone has any doubts, they should ask Goichberg about the devastating impact the NY Open had on the local scene in New York City. If effectively drove Goichberg out of the state, killed all small tournaments and a couple of clubs (the most notable example the club on 14 St - 2Fl).

What happens is that the promise of a big payday awakens the cheater in 95% of chess players: they start "protecting" their rating (also known as "controlled" sandbagging), they will not play in any other tournament for months in order to save for the big one, they go into hiding to "prepare" for the big one, etc.

Sadly, the average chess player is very vulnerable to this type of exploitation. It takes a while for them to understand that people like the HB "Foundation" are NOT there to do anything for chess. They are out to make a buck, like everyone else. The proof? As soon as they lose some money, there's panic and talk of not repeating the experience. If they really wanted to help and develop chess, they would organize many other chess-related activities that don't involve organized gambling and that don't exploit our poor chessplayers.

Now, I'm not against people organizing tournaments for profit: Goichberg is the best example. However, I don't criticize him because he has never lied about his true intentions (but I won't play his World Open - ever).


The PGA Tour is a non-profit org. and it seems to be doing well...


About the PGA TOUR

The PGA TOUR is a tax-exempt membership organization of professional golfers. Its primary purpose is to provide competitive earnings opportunities for past, current and future members of the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour; to protect the integrity of the game; and to help the reach of the game in the U.S. and around the world.

Nearly 110 events will be contested during the three Tours in 2005, for approximately $320 million in prize money. In addition to providing competitive opportunities for its membership, TOUR events also generate significant sums of money for charity. TOUR events have raised more than $960 million for charity since 1938, the first year such records were kept. The PGA TOUR website is www.pgatour.com.

Well part of the problem with those big national tournaments is that they're not particularly instrumental in developing talent. In the soviet union when chess was prospering, people were very poor and chess was what they could afford to do so they produced many great chess players, in the US chess can be quite expensive, especially if you want to play at a tournament where GMs are playing (I imagine it's even worse if you're from one of the weak chess states where the state champions are experts or low masters). I once heard Jack Peters complain about these large event on chess.fm I believe. His claim was that he's teaching young students who are improving and they see a chance to win some money, their parents front the cash and they lose one game early and have a bad experience, a lot don't come back to chess after events like these when they "lose" so much money. I seem to agree with this standpoint. These events are good chances for top players to make a living, I'm not sure where the balance needs to be, but I think $350 for an entry fee is just too much hands down.

Dalai Lamer,

Excellent example!

Almost all of the leagues or administrative bodies in professional sports are themselves "private associations" or nonprofits, because their purpose is to provide the framework in which the for-profit teams or individuals can compete fairly against each other.

The participating competitors would probably be very worried that if the fairness administration were itself a for-profit, it would start favoring activities or competitors that brought it more money.

So the NBA, the NFL, the LPGA, the WTA (women's tennis), Major League Baseball, etc all work as service organizations rather than for-profit companies.

The individual teams in team sports and competitors in individual sports are often seeking profit, yes.

But the USCF equivalents are not generally organized on that basis.


p.s. There are exceptions. NASCAR was set up by a single family and continues to be owned by them. And the WWE is a for-profit entertainment corporation which owns all rights to its broadcasts and activities, rather than a service organization certifying independent events or operating a league for independent competitors. But I think the PGA is likely to be a more successful model for the USCF than the WWE.

Dalai Lamer:

The real difference between the PGA and the USCF is that the PGA is working with a MARKETABLE product. Golf has a much, much greater following than chess has ever had, so it's much, much easier to find sponsor/advertiser money.

Any dialogue dealing with money/marketing in chess must start by determining if chess is marketable. If the answer is yes, then the next question is to what extent can chess be marketed (read: how much money can be reasonably expected).

Until then, comparisons with successful entities in major sports are just exercises in futility..

On developing talent...

I think the problem is the motive behind why people play. If a scholastic player is playing for the sake of money (jegutman), then he/she is already on the wrong track to begin with. I know you're just reporting the facts, so I'm not attacking you.

The parents are misguiding their children if they allow this mentality. I warn young players NOT to play for the sake of money... and NOT to play blitz for money!!! They lose focus on chess and it gets too contentious. I've seen fist-fights, childish arguments and friendships dissolve over what... a dollar.

Of course we can go to a park, beach or barbershop and play chess, but there are many reasons people go to tournaments. The organized structure and the assemblage of strong playes is one of them. I'm not sure the top motivation is money... for some (i.e., professionals), it may be.

My belief is that tourneys like the HB Global HELP chess, but the foundation is not in the business of chess and we can't expect them to do OUR job in making our sport marketable. Companies simply won't go around organizing a lot of 'chess-related' activities. They seek positive publicity... a quid pro quo. Do you think (L. Bacan) that Intel was in the business of organizing more events after the World Championship? No... they got their mileage from the event and moved on. Their name will forever be associated with that match.


I never said or believed any of the things you imply. Of course, Intel was not in the business of promoting chess. But it's also true that Intel never claimed to be doing anything for chess, which is very different from the HB Foundation. The HB Foundation PRETENDS to be doing good things for chess, when in reality, it's just some guy trying to make a buck. As simple as that, as time will prove.

As far as promoting chess, I personally believe chess has gone as far as it can. After all, there's a little money moving around, all in accordance with the little attention chess gets from society at large.

Yes, some people can make claims about chess doing this and doing that for children's intellect or whatever fancy/misleading language the scammers choose. The reality is very different: chess skill, like music, is a special talent that different people have in different degrees. If chess improved people's reasoning/intellect/decision making process, the bulk of chess players (1600-1800) would improve over time. We know that's not the case - most patzers remain patzers for life in spite of their efforts, and in spite of many of them being very intelligent and successful people in other areas. That's the best evidence that chess is nothing but one of the most beautiful, complex games ever created (I love it!). Nothing more, nothing less.

For class players, I'd agree that there is nothing special about the World Open and it may even hurt the scene. Of course, in terms of developing players, where else can a 22 or 2300 trying to improve find a decent opponent, much less 9 very strong ones ? If you take away these big tournaments, I feel like it runs contrary to the goal of developing strong players. The pros get a chance to make a living But the class players get their cake, where else can a class player make more than a pro?

Interesting comment, DP, with one major oversight: the typical big-money swiss (like the World Open you mention) doesn't offer developing players a REAL opportunity of meeting 9 strong one over 9 rounds. Why? Because, as soon as you play your rating, you are back in the pack with 2300-rated (or lower) players like you. That's the nature of swiss tournaments. So, even though I agree that the open section of the World Open is a good place to play a few strong players, I still believe that opportunities for serious achievement in this tournament are non-existent (by serious achievement I mean a norm, some big money or 9 games against IM or GM opponents). Overall, in my opinion, not good business to supprot this type of tournament, but I agree with you that many developing masters will play them simply because there are no alternatives in the USA. A real pity.

L Bacan,

If it is so "simple" that the HB foundation are a bunch of exploiters out to make money and don't care about chess, why can't you "prove" it now and not wait for "time" to pass?

What exactly is the point of making charges that appear to be quite cynical and bitter?

In all honesty, I would have to admit to some bitterness myself over the current state of chess.

I do agree with Daaim Shabazz. I think tournaments like the HB are good for chess or at least they aren't bad for it. I understand the silly idea of "protecting your rating." I have probably done it myself. But we can't blame the decline of otb chess on a very small number of tournaments.

I have played in a number of Goichberg tournaments (including the World Open) and hope to play in more. I encourage others to do so but if they don't want to spend the money, I hope they will play in the many smaller events that are still around or consider starting one themselves.


As soon as they lost of money, the talk is that there might not be another one. As simple as that.

Contrast that with REAL sponsorship like the AF4C and the US Championship and you'll understand what I mean. Let the HB foundation organize a similar tournament with a similar prize structure/entry fee ration and I'll be the first to recognize their achievement. Until then, they are just one more guy trying to make a buck at chessplayers' expense.

L Bacan,

My understanding is that they lost A LOT of money. If so, their not rushing into running another HB w/o first giving it some major thought, is entirely understandable. I think Daaim Shabazz has quoted M. Ashley as saying there is a good chance there will be another one. And Ashley was really more the driving force behind the event then the HB foundation was.

I have not read much about the HB foundation but here is some of what they claim to do for chess:

Whenever I play a big tournament and I don't perform that well, I usually play 1/2 < my rating and 1/2 IM or GM. When I am doing well I can play 6 or 7 really good opponents which is not bad at all. Ironically, it is from the 1/2-1/2 ones that I learn alot because I am not doing it exactly right in these tournaments. And besides, when you are doing badly, you need the fish to cheer you up so you can go back to facing the wolves:} Overall, I think a serious 2300 gets his moneys worth in opposition. The one thing I noticed was that there were alot of low rated guys in the Open section of the World Open. I feel like one thing they could do is take out players less than 2100 or at least 2000 from the open section. In general, I feel that they could really make nice tournaments by preventing people from playing up more than 1 class. I was playing a few opens when I was 1950 to see how the big boys played and I feel like it helped(although I got kicked around like a soccerball and I probably would have been better off in U2200) I can't be too strong about it. Actually, I feel like the people who get screwed out of all of this are still the average level IMs who play or two guys much stronger than them, lose and then have to play garbage the rest of the tournament. IM Larry Kaufman once told me that with the current system, he almost never faces anyone within 100 points of his rating(when it was in the mid 2400's, he has since slipped a bit probably due to being tired of the system). He almost always used to beat everyone he was "supposed to" and lose to everyone he was "supposed to", which meant like 3 really tough games and the rest simple for a 6-3 performance and no prize money. Is it really worth the expense.

The main issue is that they put all of this money on the line and in the end the turn out was nothing like what they had hoped for(despite being massive) The problem was one of unrealistic expectations. A number probably just tossed out as a selling point that stuck. I think they could really get many more players the next time around but this too is just a guess. I think they'll do it again. There are a few issues in terms of turnout for the main section. One issue is the Olympiad in Italy. The other according to one foreign grandmaster that I know well was the prizes. They were made really top heavy to encourage fighting, and of course one guy nearly died with joy. But alot of GMs went away disgruntled. The thirty move rule is not such a problem for most normal guys like myself, but I don't know about for the GMs.

i personally dont think there is anything wrong with a big corp sposoring an event just to make a buck. HB put up all the money and took all the risk with the guaranteed prizes before a single chess player registered. the chess players made a choice based on facts, not hopes (other than their own hopes of playing well, but only you can account for your own performance). as far as i know, most players enjoyed themselves win or lose. i dont care if a sponsor has honorable intentions for putting up an event. if they do it and i want to play i will. if i dont want to play i wont. i dont blame a company for not doing it again if the first time lost them a ton of money. if theres someone who does have good intentions and is willing to hold a tourney even if 1st time lost money, then thats great. these tournaments give us a choice. i'd rather have a choice than not.
which club is suffering. those in minnesota, illinois, etc are still there. they may not have players for a week or two while the big tourneys are held, but there are 52 weeks in a year. if the club goes under its not because of one big tourney a year took your players for one week.

If a business or corporation wanted real value for the money, it should sponsor a chess club or a league of clubs. The cost is considerably less, and the impact more enduring. With a tournament once it is over the impact is gone. With a club or league it persists day in and day out all year long.

Ed Yetman, III

Mr. Yetman,

I mentioned something earlier... sponsoring companies will be affiliated with particular events for a very long (Intel, HB, etc). Remember the powerful Church's Chicken tournament in 1972? The impact is steady. So the HB Foundation will go on record as having sponsored the world's most lucrutive open tournament.

People will have these same discussions 20 years from now (about sponsorship) and HB will still be getting mileage from that piece of history whenever their name is mentioned. People will continue to go to their website as a result.

I see your point about chess clubs, but they are very labor-intensive to maintain and you have to do quite a bit of marketing to pull people off the ICC and into the club. I'm not sure corporations will get much mileage from those projects.

I'd love to see corporate sponsorship for Shahade's chess league which could lead to the players getting paid to play. That would be really cool.

Hello Mr. Shabazz,
I see your point also, but I disagree. You've heard the American expression "what have you done for me lately" I'm sure. That's how I view this. Two years from now the HB Challenge will not be foremost in anyone's mind. Compare the cost of that with a sponsor (especially a local one) supporting a group of chess clubs. For considerably less money the club would bring in more publicity.

I'm not thinking of the sponsor running the club, rather that the sponsor provides something useful: a meeting room, maybe a few dollars. The club would need to be run by the local enthusiasts.

Here in Tucson there is a microbrewery, Nimbus Brewing. A small donation from them would set up a club for a year or more. With their logo prominently displayed in the meeting room they would get a fair deal for their money.

It's a cost-benefit analysis thing for each idea. I just threw it out to broaden the conversation. It seems to me that these sponsorship discussions always turn to big money and big tournaments, whereas grassroots efforts get ignored. I'm guilty of that myself.

Ed Yetman, III

Mr. Yetman,

I like your idea of grassroots efforts and as I said, I like chess clubs and have visited a few in my travels. It always feels good to get a competitive game when out of town.

You're right... the HB will not always be on the FOREMOST of everyone's mind, but it is a benchmark that people will discuss for many, many years. As long as that tournament is discussed and debated, HB is getting mileage just as Intel still gets mileage and IBM gets mileage (from "Deep Blue").

Chess clubs may be more durable, but they are difficult to manage (even if a company pays someone) and they do not bring a level of excitement as a huge tournament. No tournament brought the "HB level of excitement" in a long time. Many people who hadn't played in 10-20 years came out to play and registered early for $250 or $275. Of course, the tournament had it issues, but it was an attempt to bring attention to chess. Listen to audio comments before the last round.


In your example, I doubt if many people (except the locals) will see Nimbus microbrewery logo. They would no doubt have to have some major activities to be a blip on the chess radar. Of course, thousands (perhaps millions) saw the HB logo and learned that such an organization existed. Most read literature about the organization in deciding whether or not it was real.

Their name will also continue to come up in search engines around the world. Nimbus would be hard-pressed to get the "marketing impressions" that HB receive and will continue to receive (from around the world) as long as people like us on this board continue to utter the words, "HB Global" and ad more pages in the search engine index.

One small point...

There seems to be a bit of confusion as to what the HB Foundation is.

It's not a profit making company. It's a charitable foundation. It has been operating for several years in Minnesota, and is a local charity there.

One project has been to offer small college scholarships to students graduating from Minnesota public high schools who have a USCF rating of at least 1800.

Its primary work has been to fund "chess in the schools" type projects in Minnesota by donating equipment to local schools and paying chess teachers to work with local school programs.

It has been a very generous and positive supporter of scholastic chess in Minnesota.

The decision to help fund a huge tournament for adults was a dramatic shift, and came after discussions with GM Ashley.

If the foundation loses money on the event, then that takes away from money that could be spent on its other charitable programs.

If the foundation loses money on the event but gains a ton of publicity, it's still not at all clear that that would benefit it in the way that a profit-making company can benefit from publicity.

So I don't think we can judge the foundation's "return on investment" in the same way that one would for a profit making company.

This was in many ways a unique event. I would guess that much of the decision about whether to repeat it will have to do with the impact on the local Minnesota chess community, and will not be able to be judged until a few months into the next school year.

Were local kids excited NOT by the prospect of large prizes but by the opportunity to see the top players that the large prizes brought into the state? Were the side events such as GM analysis sessions successful in reaching local players? Were local media made more interested in chess, and consequently more willing to mention the chess activities at local schools?

A profit making company can usually judge the success or failure of a project quite easily, through its impact on the balance sheet. A nonprofit such as the HB Foundation is weighing more complex factors in its decision on where to use resources.


Well "spoken" Duif...preach on :-)


You're absolutely right about the HB Global Foundation. Of course, we know that corporations also played a role in getting the seed capital for the event. HB Global Foundation had to market their idea to a number of investors. However, you're right in pointing out the contrast between profit and non-profit entities; however, HB Global Foundation would still get mileage from the publicity it gets from holding such a tournament. It's more complicated though.

Let's re-analyze taking your additions...

In HB Global case... of course, they would be marketing their program to investors, corporate sponsors and educational agencies for future events instead of future sales to consumers. Companies will donate to non-profits (like HB Global) to be affiliated with successful service-oriented programs and to be seen as a good "corporate citizen." Hopefully, this will translate into more sales of goods and services.


I'm not sure of the negotiations, but the tournament is a quite an entry to have on the HB Global resume and as mentioned, they will be able to get mileage from the event long after it is over. Different twist (given your addition), but the theory still holds.

Despite the loss... the tournament was a rousing success and from my observation and reporting, it delivered the social goods that it was intending to deliver. That's the benefit. Did it make money? No, but perhaps what they lost was offset by the value of services rendered. Hypothetically, if they lost $50,000, was the value of services rendered worth that amount? I would like to believe so. Could they have put on a charitable event for $50,000 and get the same impact? Probably not. Of course, it's not my checkbook and it doesn't matter whether I believe the services were worth the loss, but of course these are valid questions.

On the other hand, companies don't always measure success by the bottom line. Some company will bleed money to gain market share, build the brand image and loyalty, then increase revenue. Companies may value the improvement of the "brand image" they get by affiliating with the HB Global Foundation. If such an organization can make an impact, then perhaps a company could examine the cost-benefit factors and decide whether or not it is worth the investment.

Let's hope they thought so.


Let it go on record that the proper name of the organization is the "HB Foundation," not the "HB Global Foundation." Old habit I've picked up. (smile)

Thanks for mentioning this to me Duif!

Hello Mr. Shabazz,
Your point is well-taken. We are talking about two different types of sponsorship. The big kind most people can't do anything about, but the local kind can be pursued by just about anyone. The best kind of local sponsorship is to get a small club started, then build it up a bit to say 50-60 players, then go to a business for which 50-60 players repesents a nice market niche. Nimbus will not get national exposure sponsoring some chess clubs in Tucson, but if it generated 50 new customers for Nimbus they might think it worth it.

I can't see any individuals getting sponsorship, but a club..that's a different story.

Ed Yetman, III

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 24, 2005 9:13 PM.

    Chess on TV Online was the previous entry in this blog.

    World Youth 05 is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.