Well, folks! Don’t say I did not warn you about USCF socialistic tendencies and novice operations of the body as political leverage of a few who came to dominate the United States Chess Federation to the detriment of all members and chess enthusiasts living in the USA or abroad.
I was one of the original grass roots supporters, officials, and organizers dedicated to local club activities and later on branching out into regional tournaments as conditions changed but always in a movement upwards. My discontinued active involvement I have mentioned previously but have followed the good and bad vibes for many years as a continuing Life Member.
Recent comments in Chess Life articles by the powers that formulate both short and longterm planning reflects the lack of brainstorming sessions and rescuing from those ideas and suggestions meaningful benefit to USCF policies that certainly have changed drastically over the years but whose early voices of those long gone from the scene come forth to haunt the likes of those in charge today.
Those who wield the power, the propaganda espoused by numerous folks in USCF today has cost the USCF tons of money wasted because it was easy come, easy go with little personal effort by the lack of true leadership of decades ago. The lack of foresight is amazing and developing new programs aside from just tournament rated game play and trial balloons that regardless how interesting the concept often got buried in personal whims and tastes of what USCF should be.
What interests the USCF member is a quality magazine sadly lacking for many years. Various name changes certainly did not help. USCF mishandled the whole Fischer problems wishing him out of sight for his outlandish views expressed about Jews when everyone knows the illness he suffered was the likely cause of his growing weird behavior. And somewhere I got the impression that Sammy Reshevsky too was pushed out of the picture. Obviously there are people in USCF positions who do not belong there especially those who wield such caustic progressivism whether they realize it or not. Socialism is not a cup of tea for America regardless of what many seem to favor today and spouted largely by our current President Barak H. Obama.
A bit of irony about progressivism is its shadowy position as a dictionary term. The word itself suggests “progressive movement” which could not be further from the truth. It is a reversal of what America was made from–individualism and free spirit to achieve or fail. Life has many wins and losses and that is why chess is likened to life itself. We do not win all the time and have to accept failure as a value to work harder to succeed.
Frankly I have never been discouraged about the USCF until it has acquired a hatred and distrust among leaders who deem it their right to carry the chess banner throughout their existence and so long as interest for the game clicks in their little brains.
Now, of course, we are told that regular life members no longer will receive hardcopy of the magazine and perhaps only tournament announcements in the future if I read it right. The cry is that there are other chess periodicals that can provide international chess news and perhaps as the old British Chess Magazine used to carry–tidbits of play and news from the good old USA of national tournaments. The magazine is a far-cry from days gone by when it could boast with truth of being among the best in the world.
That comes to my final thought. I wonder just what portion of the total membership get involved in entering national or large regional affairs? What portion enjoy local club activities and mainly play in events soley close to home? What is the state of military chess? and opportunities for expanding that base? What effect does the internet have on our national organization and what steps might be taken to benefit from it by having USCF and or State Team Matches perhaps carrying the flags of many of our successful corporations?If you study and think, then I guess I will have lit the spark toward ideas about the need for support and building blocks necessary for a continued prosperity of chess interest and play for all.
Donald P. Reithel, Life Member, aka KindredSpirit