GCA Spends Lavishly, Delays Payment to Workers

It is obvious that with the three recent resignations by GCA board members, Frank Johnson, Tim Payne, and Treasurer Pam Little, the GCA has been rocked, and is reeling with the feeling. Rumors are rampant and abundant emails are rife with accusations of malfeasance. There are reports that although the GCA spent lavishly for the recent 2014 Grade Level Championships, some, or maybe all, of the workers have not been paid, or are being asked to accept delayed payment because the GCA has no money to pay.

Exact information is difficult to come by because all of the players have “nutted-up.” There has still been no word from the GCA concerning why the three GCA board members resigned. This is especially troubling since one of those who resigned was the Treasurer. What does Pam Little know, and when did she know it? Taking a page out of the Woodward and Bernstein book about Watergate someone needs to “Follow the money.” This is extremely difficult when the books remain closed, but occasionally something surfaces, like furniture on the ill-fated Titanic.
The Legendary Georgia Ironman went by the 2014 GCA Grade Levels. All he could talk about was the “Big urns of coffee, and sandwiches piled high, along with a mountain of salad and huge vat of pickles.” Tim continued, excitedly saying, “It must have cost $500…maybe $1000!” I thought the Ironman was exaggerating. The following expense report shows Tim was right on the mark.

GCA Grade Levels 2014 DRAFT (Nov 9, 2014)

Income

Section # Players Entry Sub Total
Entry Fee 294 $25 $7,350
Volunteer Entry 25 $0 $0
Vendor sales (12%) ? $0
Total $7,350

Expenses

Expense Amount
Lead volunteer & TD honorariums $0
Venue – Marriott Perimeter Center $3,252.38
Prize – Stipend awards* $1400.00
Security $0
Trophies (Crown) $1,031.44
Paypal Fee (294x$.85) $249.90
Volunteer Food & Supplies** (setup/b’fast/lunch/snacks/food for HS section in lieu of trophies) $829.77
Copies (signage, result slips) $54.33
Bulb rental $50.00
Insurance $0
USCF Rating Fee $189.50
Total $7,057.32

*hotel coffee was $195 (included in venue bill)

*Final count for stipends used will come later – max amt included in draft

Income – Expenses = ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬$7,350.00 – $7,057.32 = $292.68

The total coast of food and coffee is $1024.77. Keep in mind this was the tournament in which 170 children were, at one time, on a “waiting-list,” with many more not on the list because word got around the community there was no reason to add little Spud to the list. Also, the high school players did not turnout because they do not care for the quick time limit, so one room was mostly empty. Another 80 players could have filled that room. It boggles the mind that any organization would pay over 3 grand for an inadequate venue.
What jumps out at you is that the GCA had no security and no insurance. One would think that with no insurance the GCA would NEED security. There are those in our society who would point this out as a reason to come to the tournament well-armed.

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GCA Precludes Hundreds of Children from K-12 Grade Level Championships

The Georgia Chess Association will host the 2014 Georgia K-12 Grade Level Championships beginning November 09, 2014 9:30 am, at the Marriott Atlanta Perimeter Center; 246 Perimeter Center Pkwy, NE; Atlanta, GA 30346. In addition there will also be a “2014 Grade Level High School” tournament. This seems ambiguous in that a school is either a “grade” school, or a “high school.” This can be found on the GCA website (http://www.georgiachess.org/event-1790330), along with this: “If you have already registered and paid for the Grade Level tournament, you do not need to register again for HS. This is for 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th graders only who still need to register. You will need a code – contact gradelevels@georgiachess.org to receive it.”

Also to be found on the website is this, “Waitlist for Georgia Grade Level tournament.”

“This is a waitlist for the 2014 Grade Level Tournament on 11/9 at Marriott Perimeter Center. Priority will be given to smaller sections where an additional player would benefit the group (typically 9-12th) as well as children of volunteers.”

“When you register for the waitlist you will get a confirmation email that you are registered for the wait list (not the tournament). We will contact you if a place opens up for your child to play. This wait list will close at midnight Nov. 5th (the original registration deadline).”

Questions: gradelevels@georgiachess.org”

This sounds like one of those cases when it is not what you know, but who you know. Questions? How about, “Why is there a list of those waiting?”

In previous years as many as 450 children have participated in this tournament, usually held in a school with plenty of room for all the children, and their parents. This year the GCA, in its wisdom, decided to hold the tournament at a hotel with room for only 300 children; hence the “wait list.” I have no idea how the GCA board makes a decision, but one long-time member of the community has said, “Make no mistake, this is Fun Fong’s board. He makes the decisions and has stacked the board with sycophantic women and girly men who do what he says.” Whether or not this is the case, the fact remains that, as former GCA Board member Michael Mulford wrote, “The simple fact is that while the committee approach does a good job of sharing the workload, someone must be accountable, and that someone is the President. Whether the buck stops there or not, it clearly stopped.”
(https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/seniors-mad-as-hell/)

The buck stops with POTGCA Fun Fong. He makes the decisions, which are rubber-stamped by the toadies on the GCA Board. Who in his right mind procures a limited venue in which to hold a tournament knowing in advance half-again as many children will be precluded from playing?

The Legendary Georgia Ironman reports, “Some parents are livid, and these are mild-mannered types of people. When asked what can be done, all we can tell them is to join the GCA and go to the election in order to vote the ‘Know Nothings’ out!”

The GCA website shows this: “Spaces left 0.” Some children have “made the cut,” while others will be turned away at the door. It breaks my heart that possibly hundreds of children who wish to participate in this event will not be able to do so due to the incompetence of the GCA Board. This hit home when the Ironman mentioned that Sasha Creighton, a young boy who obviously loves chess, and a potential future star, will not be playing because there is no room. I simply cannot imagine the disappointment Sasha, and all the other children must feel at this revolting turn of events. As is always the case, the children will surfer due to the lunacy of certain adults.

There has still been no comment from Fun and the girls as to why two members of the GCA Board, Tim Payne and Frank Johnson, resigned. Rumors are rampant about the possibility of malfeasance on the part of the GCA Board with regard to the money taken in at scholastic tournaments. One informed source says the GCA has, “Built a war-chest of over $70,000 with little, if any, accountability.” This GCA Board is not the most transparent in recent memory. As a matter of fact, this is probably the least transparent GCA Board in the history of the GCA. Many are calling for an audit of the GCA finances, asking “What has the GCA got to hide?” What, indeed. There has been talk of impeaching the whole GCA Board. I have no idea if such is possible, but am certain former GCA Board members will send an email and/or leave a comment, providing the answer.

Most of the people on the current GCA Board are there for one reason, and that is because they come from the “scholastic side.” It would seem that for this reason alone the “Know Nothings” could be expected to get it at least half-right, would it not? Maybe the parents on the board who have a child playing in the tournament should consider telling their little Spud he cannot play in the event in order to allow one of the myriad children who will be excluded to take his place. After little Spud stops crying, and asks why he will not be allowed to play, the parent may possibly understand the disappointment felt by those other children who will not be playing.

Melanie Safka – Look What They’ve Done To My Song (Game) Ma

New GCA Board Members

The GCA announced the names of the two new members of the GCA Board on its Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/georgiachess?fref=photo).

“We had a productive Executive Board meeting tonight. The Board appointed WIM Carolina Blanco as 2nd-Member-at-Large and Nick Thompson, former President of the Emory Chess Club, as Secretary.”

The new members replace Tim Payne and Frank Johnson, who resigned. The GCA has yet to publish any word as to why the former members left the GCA Board.

This is dated Oct. 22, 2014, the night of the Board meeting. A few hours before the meeting I was asked the location of the meeting. Not knowing, I went to the GCA website and found it was “TBD.” This is now being called the “stealth” GCA Board meeting.

The Know Nothing party has added at least one member who knows something. A player does not earn a title, even a lesser title, without knowing something about chess. I know nothing about Mr. Thompson, and was unable to find a Nick Thompson from Georgia on the USCF website.

There are now four women on the Board, only one of whom plays chess, and they outnumber the men 4-3. The number of appointed GCA Board members also outnumber those elected by a 4-3 margin.

A nice picture of new GCA Board member WIM Carolina Blanco can be found on The Chess Drum website in the article,
“Reflections of the Millionaire Chess Open.” (http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/10/22/reflections-of-the-millionaire-chess-open/)

Chambiz on the GCA Board

I devote this post to my friend the Discman, aka NM Chris Chambers. As will become obvious, this is a reply to my last post.

“Good stuff Bacon, but it’s not a crisis.

The ship has broken apart and sunk. The pieces are beginning to settle on the bottom.

A crisis implies that something could still be done to fix the problems if those in charge acted quickly and appropriately.

In reality the leaders are long gone and the janitor, assistant cook and a couple of rats have assumed the leadership roles (in name only).

Rex brings up an important point as it relates to tournament chess – the concept of Critical Mass.

You need more than a handful of players to have a meaningful tournament, for the following reasons:

1) To make it an interesting competition.
2) To generate enough entry fees to be able to give meaningful prizes
3) To generate enough money to be able to take out a little bit for tournament administrative expenses associated with putting on a tournament

To do this you need at least 32 players in a Swiss tournament, in my estimation.

In addition to computers, the class tournament structure has also KILLED tournament chess.

If there are fewer than 32 players in a section, sections should be combined until there are at least 32 in the top section.

The idea of having a tournament with 5 different sections with 8-10 players in each section makes absolutely no sense.

I remember when people began structuring tournaments in this format and I knew then that it was a bad idea.

At most you should have 2 sections, an Open section with everybody half-way decent and better (say >1599) and a Novice section for those still learning the game.

You can have an open section and give class prizes, but if you split everybody into classes with less than 32 players per section you are fragmenting the field for no good reason.”

chambiz

Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (’79)