The Chess Cheating Epidemic Is Destroying The Game

In a post, Canadian Arbiter Caught Cheating,by kevinspraggettonchess, published September 22, 2018, The Canadian Chess Grandmaster wrote:

“Claude Lessard is a popular and well respected arbiter,

organizer and promoter in the Quebec City area chess community. Earlier in the month the Quebec Chess Federation (FQE) took the unprecedented step to ban him for 2 years following an investigation into multiple longtime allegations of cheating using a cellphone chess app during his games.

Questions of whether this cheating was just the tip of the iceberg amongst members of the popular chess club he ran and owned remain unanswered.”

THE CHEATING EPIDEMIC

“On September 7th of this year I wrote a blog article dealing with this precise topic. In this article I argued, amongst other things, to indirectly remove arbiters from FIDE’s efforts to catch cheaters. This Quebec incident proves my point: a cheating arbiter will NEVER report a cheating player because he will be afraid of himself being caught in the resulting web of investigation.

Curiously, the above announcement by the FQE of the two year suspension of Claude Lessard was removed from the FQE’s official website one day after the decision first being announced. Is the FQE trying to bury the incident?

In my blog article mentioned above, I argued for a LIFETIME ban for any individual caught cheating. Zero tolerance. We have come to the point where we have spectators, arbiters, organizers and players cheating. Something must be done about this!”

Cheating is destroying the game

“I don’t play so much these days, but in the relatively few international tournaments that I have played in during the past 5 years here in Europe, I have witnessed a significant number of examples of cheating. Even amongst 2700-plus players, not just the lowly amateur.

Some of these methods used are quite sophisticated, and implicate outside help. All require the tournament arbiters to close their eyes and look the otherway. As I wrote several times here on this blog, a good rule of thumb is that at any given time in any tournament as many as 20% of the participants are cheating in one way or the other.”
http://www.spraggettonchess.com/canadian-arbiter-caught-cheating/

I do not know where, exactly, the tipping point is for people to turn away from the game, but if Grandmaster Spraggett is correct the game is in imminent if not immediate danger of being consigned to the dustbin of history. Ask yourself this question, “If I were a parent would I want my child playing a game in which one out of every five players cheated?”

Ask yourself this question, “What percentage of cheating would be acceptable for me to participate in any game?”

There is, and has been, a small amount of cheating in most games. For example, Leo “The Lip” Durocher,

(https://sabr.org/research/1947-dodgers-suspension-leo-durocher) manager of the 1954 New York Giants, cheated by stealing signs of the opposing teams catcher so his batters would know what kind of pitches were coming, and Leo the Lip is in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. The National Football League New England Patriots cheated so often one can click on and read all about the New England Patriots Cheating History. (http://yourteamcheats.com/NE)

In the United States of America it has become fact that cheaters are winners. It has been written Dirty Tricky Dicky Nixxon

did not contest the lost 1960 election because a recount would have shown that he, too, had cheated.

We The People now have a nocuous imbecilic POTUS sitting in the oval office who not only cheated to win, but has continually cheated throughout his life.

Maybe the twenty percent GM Spraggett

quotes is too small a number…For decades FIDE, the governing body of world Chess, has been administered by cheaters and crooks who have turned a blind eye to cheating while having “zero tolerance” for a player turning up a few minutes late for the start of his or her game. I do not see things improving any time soon unless GM Nigel Short wins the soon to be election for FIDE President. One candidate, Georgios Makropoulos,

has been VP for decades and knows where the bodies, and money, is buried. He has one foot, and several toes, in the grave. Another candidate, Arkady Dvorkovich,

is yet another Putin puppet. If elected Putin’s puppet Dvorkovich will simply bring more of Putin’s poison to the world of Chess. Therefore, the only hope for change in FIDE is Grandmaster Nigel Short.

What chance does Nigel have against the rotten cheaters against whom he is running? Maybe a snowball’s chance in HELL…

There is a post on the forum at the website of the United States Chess Federation titled, Spraggett on Cheating where one finds this by the forum’s resident philosopher, Thomas Magar:

“Over the years, from the early 1970’s to now, the most frequent forms of “cheating” I have seen fit into the following categories:

1. Casual contact between players, coaches, spectators, and parents. It was common to go to big tournaments and see players conversing in aisles with compatriots. While some of it was innocuous, the frequency of the contacts was more than suspicious. It was clear that chess was a team game for some Russian speaking players, with information being passed at critical times. One could hear moves and variations being discussed during games. Other nationalities also talked to each other about games in progress. TDs who did not know the languages could not police the floors even if they tried. One player I know found his higher rated, titled foreign opponent in the book seller’s room reading a book on the opening they were playing. They guy was forfeited but was allowed to play subsequent rounds, earning a prize. Today it is common to see kids conversing animatedly with parents who are holding thin tablets with the position of their child’s games.

2. Various drugs have been used to stimulate players. Back in the ’70’s and even before that, some players experimented with different amphetamines to improve energy and focus. Many players hyped themselves up with extreme doses of caffeine through coffee and tea which may haver worked for some, but were not helpful physically. The use of drugs and caffeine supplements have effects like sleep deprivation, tremors, and frazzled nerves during critical moments. I see players guzzling “5 Hour Energy” at tournaments as well as popping pills. For short term gain, players are risking long term health damages. In the old days, players thought alcohol was a stimulant. Now it is used to come off the highs and numb the brain into sleep. Drugs and alcohol, not a good chess combination.

3. Electronic devices have become ubiquitous. When the program Tech was developed in the early ’70’s, it was not very good, but it was a precursor of what was possible using computers and good programming. By the mid-’80’s, the Hitech and Deep Thought programs were 2450-2550 strength. They required sophisticated hardware and were unwieldy to use except by their handlers. Today, one can buy powerful programs and download apps that fit into devices that are in the palm of your hand. This has opened the chance to cheat to everyone. Every tournament I attend, there are players or parents sitting on the floor analyzing positions using Fritz, Komodo, Stockfish, or other programs, either alone or in multiple configurations tied into databases. The power of these devices is enticing, even if it is used to win a mere trophy.

4. Sandbagging. Once a player rises to a certain level, he may discover that improving the chess rating is noble and ethical, it is not vey economic. Lowering the rating, throwing games in tournaments you are not doing well in, may lead to large prizes in class section of future tournaments. Maintaining a rating below a rating threshold is fairly easy to do. With the new rating changes that have increased volatility, it is possible to lose many more points in the tournaments a player decides to crash his rating in. He must be careful to toss as many as he can before and after a big event. That is not so hard as there are plenty of Game 30s to give away points in. Running out of time or hanging a piece is easy in a fast timecontrol tournament and no one notices what he is doing, unless he loses several games o players who are considerable lower rated. Having a couple of mediocre tournaments that are cheap to play in works just fine. He can work on new openings and then make a blunder. The acting crushed takes some dramatic skill, but suffering for one’s art is expected.

Is all of this killing the game? There seem to be a lot more players around even if one cannot trust them. If your goal is to attract attendance and make money, you may not want to notice what is going on. On the other hand, if you are a purist who thinks the game is an art, a noble conquest, and an elevation of man’s culture, you are not happy about the sleazy way the tournament game has degenerated into a gambler’s paradise. In any event, move over as the means to stop the cheating are few. You can punish the ones you catch, but you will have a harder time changing the new chess culture. As they say, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” It is all about the Benjamins.”

I have never played Chess because of “the Benjamins.” I played for the love of the game. I played Backgammon professionally for “the Benjamins.” If I play tournament Chess again it will, most probably, be in a Senior tournament, where the risk of encountering cheating would be minuscule, if at all. I may possibly play in a week night tournament with a time limit of fifteen minutes. Who would cheat in in such a tournament?

GM Spraggett has called for “Zero tolerance,” and “…a LIFETIME ban for any individual caught cheating.”
Although this seems rather harsh to someone brought up in a Southern Baptist environment with the prevalent idea of giving people a second chance, I must concur with GM Spraggett. The Major League Baseball rule against wagering on MLB games did not deter Pete Rose


https://nypost.com/2018/04/24/pete-rose-still-betting-and-losing-big-estranged-wife-claims/

even with the possibility of a lifetime ban, so it will not eliminate all cheating, but surely it could possibly cut the twenty percent figure considerably.


Cheating At Solitaire

Mike Ness
Album: Cheating at Solitaire

You can lie to yourself, you can lie to the world
You can lie to the one you call your girl
You can humble yourself to the hearts that you stole
Wondering who’s gonna love you when you grow old?

With a fist full of courage and a heart full of rage
I realized I’d locked myself in a cage
I’ll be the one standing there with the watery eyes
I’ll be the fool in the mirror asking you why…asking why

When I got to the end of my dirty rainbow
And I found that there was no pot of gold
Well, I learned that I was empty and not quite as strong
For I had robbed my heart and cheated my soul

Look for the one with the watery eyes
I’ll be the fool in the mirror asking you why
Cursing lovers in a warm tender embrace
Scoffing at the world and the whole human race

Chorus:
You can run, you can hide
You can feed your foolish pride
You can use and abuse
In the end you’ll always lose…at the game

Chorus:
You can run, you can hide
You can feed your foolish pride
With the hearts that you stole
And an empty pot of gold
And the lover’s warm embrace
And the whole damned human race
You can use and abuse
In the end you’ll always lose…at the game

“For I cheated myself at solitaire”

https://genius.com/Mike-ness-cheating-at-solitaire-lyrics

Advertisements

Chess in Less Than a Minute

The above can be found at the United States Chess Federation youtube page.
(https://www.youtube.com/user/USChessFederation)

It was found after reading an article at the American Go E-Journal earlier this month:

AGA YouTube channel hits 10,000 subscribers

The American Go Association’s YouTube Channel hit the 10,000 subscriber mark this week. “This is an awesome number to hit for a channel,” said the AGA’s Steve Colburn. “We are reaching almost every country on the globe,” added AGA president Andy Okun.
(http://www.usgo.org/news/2017/12/aga-youtube-channel-hits-10000-subscribers/)

The USCF proudly boasts “1,147 subscribers.”

There have been, though, 26,308 views of a video, Chess in Less Than a Minute, posted on Sep 28, 2011 by Jennifer Shahade.

Chess with Dancing Goats

Spring has sprung making an old(er) fella feel young(er). The weather has been wonderful and I took advantage of it by heading into downtown Decatur, the city of my birth. My boots were made for walking and that is just what I did, spending my day walking all around town.

“The City of Decatur, with its tree lined streets and more than 60 miles of sidewalks in 4.2 square miles, is a prime location for walking. In 2011, the non-profit WalkScore.com named the City of Decatur the most walkable city in Georgia.” (http://www.decaturga.com/index.aspx?page=412)

After a visit to the library I headed toward a restaurant that has been on my roundtoit list, Sawicki’s (http://sawickisfoods.com/). The Roasted Lamb sammy was as good as the tall young fella, Walker, behind the counter said it would be. It must have been synchronicity when Bob Dylan came over the system. I thought it was a Dylan cover but it was actually a live version with which I was not familiar. So much Bob, so little time…Naturally, we became involved in a conversation about Bob and The Band. It was lunch time and we had to keep it short. The next song was a cover of the same song by the Jerry Garcia Band. When I headed to the back for more water Walker asked me how was the sandwich and I answered, “Wonderful.” He replied, “Awesome!” Then he showed me his gizmo containing his music, which he had plugged into some kind of player. When I mentioned a CD of Bob covers containing a song that happens to be my all-time favorite he gave me a look that made me feel so last century. Maybe I should have mentioned all the Dylan cassette’s I still own…I also mentioned a cover “album” of tunes by The Band, throwing in that George Harrison said The Band was the best band in the land, or some such. “No way!” said he. I told Walker I would send him the quote and the titles if he gave me his email. He did and this is what I sent:

Walker,

“When Harrison was approached for a quote for the first U.K. edition of this book, he sent word that The Band were no less than ‘the best band in the history of the universe’-a fairly remarkable thing for an ex-Beatle to say.”
– Barney Hoskyns, from the preface to Across the Great Divide: The Band and America.

My all-time favorite Dylan cover is Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues, by Bill Kirchen, and I’ve heard MANY covers. It can be found on the disc: Hard Rain – A Tribute to Bob Dylan – Vol.1

The best cover disc of The Band (and there is a reason they were called ‘The Band’) is: Endless Highway: The Music Of The Band.

I love helping to educate Generation Z.

From Sawicki’s I headed to the Dancing Goats Coffee Bar located down the street at 419 W. Ponce De Leon (https://www.facebook.com/dancinggoatscoffeebar). After looking around I stepped up to the young fellow behind the counter and his face lit up like a proverbial Christmas tree when he noticed my chess bag. “You play chess?!” he asked excitedly. After telling him I did not play much now, but sometimes gave lessons, he pulled out his gizmo and showed me a screen with a chessboard, telling me he played at this site and that site, asking, “You ever play here or there?” He was talking so fast and my hearing is not what it used to be, so I told him playing chess online was not for me. “Have you ever heard of the United States Chess Federation? I asked. He said no, so I asked, “How about the Georgia Chess Association?” He gave me a look of wonderment before saying, “You mean Georgia has an association? A CHESS association?!” I assured him it did. By this time a line had formed behind me and the manager was scowling, so I cut it short, telling him we could talk later. He flashed a huge smile saying, “That’ll be best.” I took my cuppa java and found a chair wondering how it could be that this young man knew all about places to play chess on his gizmo but had never been made aware of the USCF?
The Dancing Goats is a fine coffee bar, one of the best I have ever seen. Unfortunately it is not the right place for Seniors to play because the few tables are not appropriate for playing chess. They are, however, fitting for all kinds of gizmos. I like the way seating is arranged at the windows. It is a really cool place. From conversation I gathered that it is always busy, far too busy in the afternoons for a group of Senior chess players. I did notice, though, far more Senior type people than expected. Finding a good location in a soft chair I pulled out the book I had just checked out of the library, The Man Who Would Not Be Washington: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War and His Decision That Changed American History, by Jonathan Horn. After only a few pages of the prologue I read, “So once more, Lee is trapped in the middle. More than a century and a half after secession forced him to chose sides, he has become a pawn in another conflict between two camps conceding no common ground.” I stopped reading, took a swig of coffee while smiling to myself, thinking, “Chess is everywhere.”
When I went back for a free refill I learned his name when telling him my intention had been to scout the place out to learn if it would be a good place to host a gathering of Senior chess players. Clint agreed it would not be the right place. He gave me his email before leaving and I could not help but think of the many times I have encountered people who play chess but have never heard of the USCF in the last four plus decades. USCF has never gotten the word out to the public. Today I sent Clint information on how to enter the alternate universe of chess.

There was one more stop to be made before heading home because Decatur CD beckoned. It was wonderful being in the small shop, surrounded by all different forms of music, including cassette’s! Check it out: http://www.recordstoreday.com/Venue/3527 or: http://www.decaturcd.com/

Georgia Chess News

The original purpose of this blog was to write mainly about chess in Georgia. I have received inquiries as to why I have not written more about local chess activities. Scholastic chess predominates and I wanted to focus on what was formerly called “chess,” but is now called “adult chess.” The only tournaments exclusively for adults are Senior events. Children proliferate at “adult” tournaments here and in the US. Yet tournaments consisting of mainly children are called “adult” tournaments. Go figure…I recently noticed an announcement in the local Decatur Dispatch for a chess club at the Tucker library on the second and fourth Tuesday evenings in which it is stated, “No children. Please.” Make of it what you will. I find it rather sad that chess has been so completely overwhelmed by children that anyone would print something like this, but such is the reality of the situation.
Dr. Cano left a comment to my post, “Booming Interest in Amateur Chess.” He also asked me the same question via email some time ago. His question is, “Where are the chess tournaments that we used to have here in Georgia?” This is a good question. Unfortunately I cannot answer it. I will, though, ask any member of the GCA board, or anyone else who can answer the question to leave a comment on this post, or send me an email I can publish. Dr. Cano, and many others who ask the same question, deserve an answer. These are the kinds of things discussed on the forum of other states, such as North Carolina. Those in control of the GCA have chosen to not have a forum. One can only wonder why the pooh-bahs refuse to allow their members to express their views.
I would like to direct anyone interested to the GCA website, http://www.georgiachess.org/open, where it has been announced that the 2014 Georgia Chess Championship will be held May 2-4 at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest, 200 Interstate North Parkway SE • Atlanta, Georgia 30339. Since it is a Marriott, I do not have to tell you this is a tremendous upgrade from an empty space at a Mall in decline. Backgammon tournaments have previously been held at this hotel. The recent unrated tournament for children was held at this very hotel. I will leave the efficacy of the GCA holding an unrated tournament for rated players to others interested in the chess of children.
I have had several chess coaches tell me recently that the real battle these days is in the middle school because by the time children reach high school they have lost interest in chess. This was confirmed by the turnout for the above mentioned tournament, where there were only fourteen players in the top section consisting of grades 6-12, but thirty-five in the K-5 section and sixty in the K-3 group. There were an additional twenty-five in the K-1 section. This tournament is a vivid illustration of what USCF President Ruth Haring has said about the mass exodus of children from organized chess around age eleven. It would appear puberty is killing chess. For those interested, the results can be found on the GCA website at: http://www.georgiachess.org/news?mode=PostView&bmi=1407698
I have chosen to eschew writing about local events in order to be kind. A tournament I mentioned in an earlier post, “10th Annual Georgia Senior Open” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/10th-annual-georgia-senior-open/), something called the “GCA Combined,” included the Senior tournament. It has been jokingly said this event was the Georgia response to the recent Carolinas Chess Festival. If I were writing for one of the so-called “fair and balanced” extremist networks I would write, “There was a huge percentage increase in the turn-out for the 2013 Georgia Senior Chess Championship.” I prefer to tell it like it is and say that only fourteen players participated this year, five more than last year. There were only five players in the Open section, barely enough for a four round tournament. Last year’s Senior champion, Alan Piper, decided to play in the one day G/45 in lieu of defending his championship. This is a scathing indictment of the tournament and of those in control of the GCA. Former Senior Champion Chris Ferrante and Van Vandivier tied for first, scoring 3 out of 4. Captain Jeff Kidd finished clear third half a point behind. Richard Jones finished clear first in the second section with 3 ½ points, followed by Stephen Yancey with 3. I have written previously the tournament should be a true Open, with only one section. Once again, the small turnout proved my point. The results could be found on the GCA website, but it appears they have been removed. If one is interested in the results of the other events held at an empty space in a Mall that has seen better days, go to the USCF website: http://www.uschess.org/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,181/
The Georgia Open took place this weekend at Emory University. A total of sixty-four players, appropriately enough, entered the event that had been limited to no more than two hundred fifty. The song by Arrowsmith, “Dream On,” just entered my brain, for some reason. GM Alonso Zapate (2575) and LM Chris Mabe (2326), from the Great State of North Carolina, drew their last round game to tie for first place along with class “A” player Jinseok Kim (1963). Mr. Kim drew his first game then ripped off four in a row, including an upset of Expert Donny Gray in the last round. Five players tied for 4-8 with four points. They were, NM Michael Corallo; Expert Reese Thompson; class “A” Nicholas Williams; class “B” Shanmukha Meruga; and class “D” Ingrid Guo. Only five of the sixty-four players participating in this tournament were from other states. That is only 8%! When Dr. Cano asks why we do not have tournaments like we used to have here in Atlanta, I believe a large part of what he means is that at one time out of state players comprised a large percentage of players at our tournaments. There is a reason they refuse to come to the capital of the South to play chess. To have tournaments like we had “back in the day,” it is imperative the GCA has tournaments in which players from other states want to participate.
The crosstable can be found at the GCA website: http://www.georgiachess.org/Resources/Documents/results/2013%20Georgia%20Open%20Cross%20Tables.pdf
The 2013 Georgia Class Championships, dedicated to Ruben Shocron, will be held at Emory beginning Friday night, November 22, a day that will live in infamy. Maybe consideration should have been given to naming it the “JFK Memorial,” for obvious reasons. Details can be found, once again, on the GCA website.
It would seem the GCA website is beginning to shed its “moribund” state. While researching IM Carlos Perdomo for an interview that never materialized I found a group of interviews on YouTube, including one with Carlos, as well as other players like LM Chris Mabe, GM John Fedorowicz, GM Julio Becerra, IM Jonathan Schroer, and others, by the President of the GCA, Fun Fong. This is the kind of thing that should be accessible on the GCA website. Check them out at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Tk1_EEJuEQ
Finally, it has been reported that Keith Sewell has left the GCA board. There have been rumors of dissension and rancor among board members for some time, with the possibility of other disillusioned members possibly leaving in the near future. I can only hope the GCA gets its act together, listens to wizened members of the community such as the esteemed former President Scott Parker, the eminence grise of Georgia chess, and otherrespected members, like Michael Mulford, and decides to give players the kind of tournaments they want, and deserve, in lieu of ramming down their throats tournaments they refuse to attend.

Senior Chess Don’t Get No Respect

The British Championships are currently underway, having started July 28, and will end August 10. There are many different tournaments being held in conjunction with the Championship of Great Britain. Eight of those are tournaments for children. The British Senior Championship has begun and the first round is history. The tournament is divided into three sections. There are 65 vying for honors in the Championships, with 19 in the U150, and another 23 in the U130, for a total of 107. One of the nice features of the tournament is the 32 games being sent into the cloud! That means there are lower rated players, along with the titled players, having their games displayed for their friends and family to see. Check it out at: http://englishchess.org.uk/BCC/
The US Senior Championship was held along with the US Junior in Tarrytown, NY, May 29 thru June 6, 2013. There were 57 players. A few days later a nice report on the Junior appeared on the USCF website. There was nothing about the Senior on the USCF website. I tried to find the crosstable on the USCF website with no luck. Some days later the idea occurred to check the US Junior where I found the Senior crosstable. Still there was no article concerning the US Senior on US Chess Online. It was like it had never happened. I emailed USCF Executive Board President Ruth Haring, a fellow Senior. Her reply was that she would, “Look into it.” Finally, on July 21, 2013, an excellent article appeared by Beatriz Marinello and Nathan Resika. Included are pictures of players like GM Alexander Ivanov, GM Sergey Kudrin, IM James Rizzitano, and FM Nathan Resika, who tied for first place, and the most prolific player of my time, IM Jay Bonin. The article contains four games, two of them well annotated. You can find it here: http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12289/698/
It is difficult to understand why Senior chess in the US is like Rodney Dangerfield, who was known for not gettting any respect. Take a look at the graph provided by Ruth Haring in the May 2013 issue of Chess Life magazine, which can be found on the Chess For All Ages, by Mark Weeks, in his post 2013 USCF Executine Board Elections. (http://chessforallages.blogspot.com/2013/06/2013-uscf-executive-board-election.html)
You will find this included with the graph, “Membership numbers start to decline at move 11.” That is putting is nicely. Seeing the graph made me wonder why the word “precipitously” was not included after “decline.” By age 18 the number of members has dropped to below 1000 to what looks like maybe 750. The next group to reach that number is those over 50, the first year of eligibility for the US Senior. The numbers are slightly below 1000 for each year until a decline after 65, which is understandable. Death takes a toll. I do not have exact numbers, but it would seem by quick calculation to be over 10,000 members, most of whom pay considerably more than the subsidized children. Seniors do not get a break until the numbers begin to drop at 65. I cannot help but wonder how many more Senior members there would be if the USCF decided to subsidize them? Considering the economic downturn since being Bushwhacked by the Banksters near the end of the last decade, this would be an appropriate time to consider cutting Seniors some slack.
The fact is that there are two “bubbles” in the graph brought to us by Ruth Haring. The largest consists of preteens, most of whom are concentrated in only six or seven years. Contrast that with the Senior bubble, which contains fifteen, or more, birth years. It is time for the USCF to put some resources into Senior chess while there are still enough older players alive to enjoy Senior tournaments, because there are so few players in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s, there may not be enough members to hold a US Senior in the future.

The Scholastic Chess Divide

When the new website of the GCA came online one of the headers was “Non Scholastic.” It was obvious chess in my home state had been divided into Scholastic chess and anything other than Scholastic chess. I sent an email to the lady in charge, Katie Hartley, questioning the division. The website was soon changed with the “Non” eliminated. http://www.georgiachess.org
While researching state organizations I found what looked to be two completely separate organizations in Mississippi. Upon sending an email to the President of the Mississippi Chess Association, Ralph McNaughton replied with this:
They are two separate organizations. Below is their contact information.
Ralph McNaughton
I found this on the MSCA website (http://mcachess.org):
The Mississippi Scholastic Chess Organization was formed in 1996 when a number of parents of young chess players felt a separate organization was needed. Dr. Michael LeBlanc was it’s president from then until 2003 when his youngest chess player graduated from high school. It was in the capable hands of Albert Hinson until January 2010, followed by Connie Newcomb until February 2013. Today the president of the MSCO (now renamed MSCA) is Rick Cook.
In 2003 the MSCO was changed to the Mississippi Scholastic Chess Association to help align the two groups and make things more uniform and less confusing. MCA members have been invaluable to MSCA in coaching and helping with tournaments.
Today I surfed to the website of the Wisconsin Chess Association via https://startpage.com/, “the world’s most private search engine.” This is what I found:
Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation: WSCF http://www.wisconsinscholasticchess.org – View by Ixquick Proxy – Highlight Bringing Chess to Kids in Greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Tournament Schedule – Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation http://www.wisconsinscholasticchess.org/websource/web/form/schedule.php – View by Ixquick Proxy – Highlight Here is the list of upcoming WSCF hosted tournaments and …
Wisconsin Chess Association http://www.wischess.org – View by Ixquick Proxy – Highlight Jun 9, 2013 … The official site of the Wisconsin Chess Association.
The official state organization is listed third, behind the WSCF and the tournament schedule of the Wisconsin Scholastic Federation. How widespread is the practice of dividing the chess world into separate entities? How many other states have split into two separate groups? Is this a good thing? Will this movement be followed by the United States Chess Federation? How long until the USCF officially changes its name to reflect the current reality?
To paraphrase the President of the Divided States of America, the dishonest devil Abe Lincoln, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this United States Chess Federation cannot endure, permanently, half Chess and half Scholastic Chess. I do not expect the USCF to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of scholastic chess will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”

United Scholastic Chess Federation

This past Saturday, July 20, Alex Relyea started a thread on the USCF forum when he published the following:
“As some have pointed out, it is a long time since I have attended an Oklahoma state championship, so I was curious as to how the state champion was determined. In New Hampshire it is all of the New Hampshire residents that have the highest score in the Championship section, so it is possible to have more than one state champion. I believe that it is the same way in Maine, except that the Maine state championship tournament is closed to Maine residents.
The reason I ask is because I notice that Big Chuck Unruh and Little Chuck Unruh, that is CD and CM Unruh, were tied for first this year, and I was wondering if they were co-champions or if one of them won on tiebreaks?
Thank you.”
Alex Relyea

A few hours later, Alan Priest, responded with:
“Ky holds a closed round robin to determine its state champion. The players qualify for the closed based on the top state residents placing in the Ky Open, as well as winners of other events in the year.”
Allen Priest
Delegate from Kentucky
http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=18884&sid=e3c3b054441aa27bf19656cf9c43774e

His response has absolutely nothing to do with the question posed by Mr. Relyea. Mr. Priest is a chess politician who was on the board of the USCF (and still may be). Like most politicians who do not answer questions, he provided an answer which was a non-sequitur. Two days later another chess politician, Randy Bauer, decided to get in on the act by throwing in his two cents worth with:
“Iowa has a series of qualifier events where high-finishing players earn qualifying points for the next state championship. Five players plus the defending champion then play a round robin. In the case of a tied state championship there is no automatic qualifier the following championship and the top 6 players qualify.”
Randy Bauer

Mr. Bauer has been on the USCF policy board. Although he has played tournament chess, he is now a chess politician. Either of these two chess politicians could have attempted to find an answer to the question posed by Mr. Relyea, but chose to answer a question that was not asked, just like a politician.
I have no idea who is the champion from Oklahoma. But I do know the results for the USCF policy board have been tabulated. From the USCF website: “Pending certification of the election results by the delegates at the annual meeting, Ruth Haring and Mike Atkins have been elected to three-year terms, and Randy Bauer and Charles D. Unruh have been elected to two-year terms.”
We also learn that, “A total of 2,049 ballots were received for the USCF Executive Board election, of which 2,046 were qualified.” http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12293/319/

I do not know the number of USCF members, but from the graph provided by Ruth Haring in the May 2013 issue of Chess Life magazine it is obvious the vast majority of members are not old enough to vote. It is therefore impossible to know what percentage of eligible members took the time and made the effort to vote. I urge you to go to Mark Weeks blog, CHESS FOR ALL AGES to see the graph and read what Mark has to say in response to what Ms. Haring wrote in Chess Life:
“As we look forward to the future it is important that we address membership retention. Existing scholastic programs see constant turnover and we see in our membership data, a membership decline beginning around the age of 11.
Scholastic retention is one of the most urgent and least understood puzzles facing the organization (see chart). USCF needs to focus in on this phenomenon to better understand the dynamics in play and develop strategies to convert scholastic members to lifelong members.”I cannot help but wonder how the two chess politicians who did not answer Mr. Relyea’s question would answer how they intend to “…develop strategies to convert scholastic members to lifelong members.” Since both Mr. Priest and Mr. Bauer have been on the USCF board, and were unable to answer the most important question facing organized chess during that time, maybe the new man on the board, who may or may not be the chess champion form Oklahoma, Mr. Unruh, will be able to answer a question that has had chess politicians scratching their heads for decades, ever since the pooh-bahs here in the US decided to turn the United States Chess Federation into the United Scholastic Chess Federation.