Archive for the ‘United States Chess Federation’ Category

Will the Chess Madness Ever End?

January 23, 2008

In his day, Bobby Fischer was involved in some messy disputes in the chess world, but none as strange and sordid as the current spamming scandal that is soiling the United States Chess Federation. From Monday’s New York Post, under the headline VULGAR CHESS MESS:

“In a classic example of brainy people behaving badly, a bizarre, epithet-filled dispute is rocking the staid world of chess.

“On one side of the fight is Samuel Sloan, 63, of The Bronx, a former securities trader, ex-con, former cabdriver and would-be Republican congressional candidate from Brooklyn.

“He served a year as a member of the executive board of the United States Chess Federation, the nation’s leading such group.

“In a $20 million suit filed in Manhattan federal court in October, Sloan claims he wasn’t re-elected because Paul Truong and wife Susan Polgar, who were elected to the board in July, posted more than 2,000 scurrilous remarks under his name on chess bulletin boards.

“One of the potty-mouthed postings was, ‘I will convert that bull dyke [name withheld] with my 41/4-inch power tool.’ Another accused Sloan of performing oral sex on a 12-year-old girl and being a purveyor of kiddie porn. A woman who answered the phone at the Truong-Polgar home had no comment.”

The New York Times has also covered aspects of the controversy in both the paper and in Gambit, its chess blog.

Susan Polgar and Paul Truong have denied the allegations in Sloan’s suit; see, for example, Susan Polgar’s Chess Discussion Forums.

Girls in Chess

November 6, 2007

I devoted a chapter of King’s Gambit called “Female Counterplay” to women in chess, and I quoted the statistic that 10 percent of U.S. tournament chess players are female.

Now Susan Polgar, former women’s world champion and current chairman of the United States Chess Federation, reports female participation by age in her blog. The statistics confirm the oft-made observation that girls starts off strong in scholastic chess but quit the game as they get older:

Ages 12 and below: 5,491 of 29,791, or 18.4%
Ages 13-15, 1121 of 9,031, or 12.4%
Ages 16-19, 629 of 6,771, or 9.3%
Ages 20-24, 129 of 2,208, or 5.8%
Ages 25-64, 1,085 of 28,932, or 3.8%
Ages 65 and up, 23 of 2,172, or 1.1%

Overall: 8,592 of 84,572, or 10.2%

Economic Fallout from Chess Scandal

October 10, 2007

Dylan McClain reports today in his chess blog for The New York Times that there are already repercussions from the lawsuit between a former board member of the United States Chess Federation and two current members. One sponsor is so disgusted with the infighting among chess politicians that he has withdrawn his support: “Dr. Eric Moskow, a Florida doctor specializing in internal medicine, who had pledged to contribute up to $1 million over the next few years to sponsor tournaments, has decided that he does not want to put money into chess in the United States at this time.”

It is sad that the royal game is once again falling victim to the sliminess of chess politics.

Part of my unwelcome maturation as a tournament chess player, which I wrote about in King’s Gambit, was my realization that this noble abstract game was a magnet—particularly at the organizational level—for deceptive, small-minded people.


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