USCF Board Member Supports Exclusion

One of the chess tournaments held in conjunction with the World Open was something named the “Senior Amateur.” There were two sections of this tournament, one for players rated over 2210 and one for those rated under 1810. The best Senior players were once again excluded from the tournament. There was only one NM entered in the top section, Phillip M. Collier of Maryland. The “winner” was Harry Cohen, rated 1989, also of Maryland. There were a total of 24 players in the top section, with 28 in the lower section, for a total of 52 Seniors. Included in the top section was USCF board member Michael Atkins, another player from Maryland.
As has been the case for several years the highest rated Senior players were excluded from the tournament. The fact that the best Senior players have been systematically excluded from participating is reprehensible. Michael Atkins is a USCF board member and supported the tournament by his participation, thus showing the USCF supports exclusion. The motto of FIDE is Gens una sumus, which means, “We are one people.” All, that is, except for a Senior who happens to be rated over 2210.
What is the definition of “professional” as it relates to chess? In this case the owner of the CCA, Bill Goichberg, is the arbiter. He decides and he decided a “professional” is anyone rated over 2210. As to how Mr. Goichberg came to that conclusion, your guess is as good as mine.
What if an organizer decided to hold an event open to everyone except class “C” players? Suppose he was asked why and answered, “I do not like “C” class players because they are not good enough to have reached the “B” class, the demarcation line between a player who has stopped dropping pieces, but are better than the “D” class players and would most probably win the money in an under 1600 section, so I excluded them.”
What if I decided to hold a Southern Senior Amateur open to all except “yankees” rated over 2210? I would then have to decide who is, or is not, a “yankee”. As the ultimate arbiter, a “yankee” would be whomever I decided was a “yankee.” Most of you are probably thinking, “This is preposterous.”
What if a group of Neo-Nazis in Idaho decided to host an event, the Northwest Senior, in which they advertised it would be for all players except for “Jews” rated over 2210? There would be an outcry from the media heard all over the world, and rightly so, I might add.
Substitute the word “Senior” for “yankee” or “Jew” in the above scenarios. Any way you cut it a member of the chess community is being excluded. What makes it so egregious is those players being excluded by the CCA are the very players who have worked hard all their life to reach the top and in their declining years are being told they are not welcome. So much for “Gens una sumus.”
Former Georgia Chess Champion, and my friend, Bob Joiner, related a story concerning a state championship in the late 1960’s in which the organizers had decided to exclude Mr. William Scott, a gentleman whom I respected and also considered a friend. The organizers, the arbiters of all things chess in Georgia “back in the day,” decided Mr. Scott, publisher of “The Atlanta Daily World,” one of the most respected “Black” newspapers in the United States, would not be allowed to play in the same room as the “White” players. In one of, if not the most, the finest moments in the history of chess in Georgia, Mr. Robert Joiner, and others, refused to accept the “wisdom” of the “pooh-bahs.” Bob and the group just said “No” long before Nancy Reagan. They told the “pooh-bahs” that if Mr. Scott was not allowed to play then neither would they, and there were enough of them to carry the day. Mr. Scott was allowed to play in the same room as the other players.
I, and other Senior players, feel strongly that if a Senior tournament is held anywhere, at any time, under the auspices of the USCF, every Senior alive should be allowed to participate.

ARBITER
I’ve a duty as the referee
At the start of the match
On behalf of all our sponsors
I must welcome you
Which I do — there’s a catch
I don’t care if you’re a champion
No one messes with me
I am ruthless in upholding
What I know is right
Black or white, as you’ll see

I’m on the case
Can’t be fooled
Any objection is overruled
Yes, I’m the Arbiter and I know best

CHORUS
He’s impartial
Don’t push him
He’s unimpressed

ARBITER
You’ve got your tricks
Good for you
But there’s no gambit
I don’t see through
Oh, I’m the Arbiter, I know the score
From square one I’ll be watching all 64

CHORUS
From square one he’ll be watching all 64

ARBITER
If you’re thinking of the kind of thing
That we’ve seen in the past
Chanting gurus, walkie-talkies
Walkouts, hypnotists
Tempers, fists
Not so fast
This is not the start of World War Three
No political ploys
I think both your constitutions are terrific
So now you know — be good boys

I’m on the case
Can’t be fooled
Any objection is overruled
Yes, I’m the Arbiter and I know best

CHORUS
He’s impartial
Don’t push him
He’s unimpressed
ARBITER
You’ve got your tricks
Good for you
But there’s no gambit
I don’t see through
Oh, I’m the Arbiter, I know the score
From square one I’ll be watching all 64
CHORUS
From square one he’ll be watching all 64
ARBITER
I’m on the case
Can’t be fooled
You got your tricks
Good for you
I’m on the case
Can’t be fooled
Any objection is overruled
Yes, I’m the Arbiter and I know best
CHORUS
He’s impartial
Don’t push him
He’s unimpressed
ARBITER
You’ve got your tricks
Good for you
But there’s no gambit
I don’t see through
Oh, I’m the Arbiter, I know the score
From square one I’ll be watching all 64
CHORUS
From square one he’ll be watching all 64
ARBITER
Yes, I’m the Arbiter, I know the score
From square one I’ll be watching all 64
CHORUS
From square one he’ll be watching all 64

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2 thoughts on “USCF Board Member Supports Exclusion

  1. Mulfish says:

    Your headline is incorrect. Bill Goichberg is not on the USCF Board currently. His term expired a year ago and he was not eligible to run again.

    • Mulfish says:

      OK, I didn’t read that accurately – It was Mike Atkins, by playing, who is the target. You may delete my comment.

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