Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Reti Opening

Get ready to play in a chess tournament this weekend.

Here's a little video to help you get your engine started. (-or to just learn a little more about the game.)

Flexible, versatile - okay, got it. B to g2. Got that, too. And possible c-4 for White. Too, bad he didn't show Reti's very odd looking Na3 and the long term plans that result from that.

This is the opening I used for both White and Black when I started tournament play years ago. It is still good. With this kind of opening set up, it is very hard for superior players to wipe you out in the first few moves. - Though I've seen beginners try it but forget to castle and get wiped out, anyway. Be sure to castle and also watch out for those rook pawn advances.

Chess events in your area . . . and visit jrobi who created these wonderful videos.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

USCF Cancels Girls Championship

The USCF announced today that they have, in effect, ended the national girls champtionship. This event had been founded and organized by Susan Polgar. At their Executive Board Meeting, they chose to not renew the contract with Polgar. They have not announced a replacement event or the intent to put one out for bid.

Susan Polgar is allowed to hold a girls championship on her own, and the players will have their games rated by the USCF, but the event will no longer be recognized by the USCF as a national event.


In a related story, this brings to a climax a long controversy between myself and various figures within the USCF regarding how USCF politics ought to be reported to the outside world. I first broke this story last month when I stated that the USCF "may" not renew the Polgar contract. People took issue with this statement, saying that without any official announcement, such speculation was unwarranted. My position was (and is) that chess politics ought to be reported like regular politics: all factors ought to be taken into account when deciding on the merits of the story, not just whether or not officials have made a statement.

In any case, my story turned out to be true.


And in yet another story related to this, a plethora of challenges were raised to my after-the-fact questioning of the USCF Board's official actions. USCF folks didn't want this story to come out before the event and they opposed the story coming out after the event, too.

Footnote: The announcement.

The contract between USCF and Susan Polgar to recognize the Polgar Invitational as a national event expired with the 2009 tournament. This has been a fine event, has an outstanding sponsor in Texas Tech, and we hope that it will continue. Even though it is no longer a national, Susan Polgar has the right to organize it, as well as other tournaments, as USCF-rated events.

Bill Goichberg

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lamer than lame

Ms. Polgar's attorneys filed their response to some of the summary judgment motions today. In yesterday's filing, there is a claim regarding the alleged defamation by the CCA that boggles the mind. The brief filed by Ms. Polgar's attorneys states:

10. Defendant Continental Chess, in two postcards, accused Plaintiff of violating fiduciary duties to the USCF and working for the destruction of the same. See Exhibit D, Appx. pp. 15-16. Each of these statements constitutes a purported statement of fact about Plaintiff, which is false and defamatory. Further, each statement is defamatory per se, in that it imputes a crime, injures Plaintiff in her occupation as a chess personality and USCF member and Board member, and impeaches her honesty, integrity, virtue, and reputation. Thus, injury to Plaintiff’s Reputation is presumed.

What did the postcards actually say:

USCF has been sued for $10 million by a member of its executive board, and $20 million by a board candidate. Executive Board members have a fiduciary duty to work for the interests of their organization, not for its destruction, and I find these lawsuits outrageous.

First of all, the statement is a response to the lawsuit. Suing someone for defamation and then basing the claim on statements made only after the lawsuit was filed is dirty pool.

Secondly, there is nothing even remotely defamatory about the statements.

Finally, and most importantly, the statements are true.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Once More into the Breach . . .

I suppose that it is time for yet another update of the USCF litigation follies. There have been some . . . interesting developments, so let's get started.

After a flurry of repetitive, tiresome briefing, Judge Patel had a hearing on Polgar's motion to disqualify Kronenberger. As predicted, it was denied. Judge Patel, then, after chewing out both attorneys, sua sponte, ordered the matter transferred to Texas.

If I were Judge Cummings, in Texas, I'd be sorely tempted to send the case back to her with a box of chocolates; however, it is probably for the best that the matters be consolidated. The interaction of the discovery in the two actions was cumbersome and awkward at best. Both sides should be able to realize a substantial savings in attorney's fees.

Meanwhile, in Texas, in the course of some discovery fighting, Ms. Polgar's deposition entered the public domain. Despite a an amusing, but worthless snit by Whitney Leigh, it remains so. Despite several attempts, I have been unable to wade through the entire deposition, but I didn't see anything in it that has much effect on my opinion of the value, or lack thereof, of her claims. The deposition was also taken of a Mr. Williams who had written a letter implying that the publicity about the cases lead to the cancellation of a business venture with Polgar. At his deposition, Williams admitted, in essence, that his letter was complete bullshit. There was no prior agreement. There was no agreed upon renumeration. There was no company in business to pay the money, and Williams wasn't even really authorized to act for the company anyway. Other than that . . . it was a great letter.

Truong was also deposed, finally. No information about that deposition has made it into the public domain as yet.

The deadline for the disclosure of experts has come and gone. USCF designated Mottershead and Dr. Frederick Cohen. I discussed Cohen's findings in an earlier post.

Meanwhile, a cavalcade of summary judgment motions has begun. Jim Berry's was the first, followed quickly by several of the other defendants. Plaintiff has responded only to Berry's at this point, and I found the response to be shockingly lame.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Another Example of How to Promote Chess

The sound track speaks for itself. Too bad the still photographer stepped in front of the video camera.*

As for the general idea of recognizing top chess players, this is the kind of thing that ought to be done at universities throughout the country.


* Footnote: Susan should have had an assistant on the field to properly manage the still and video photography. Paul, where were you?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mediation with a hint of Spice

One thing bothers me about this whole PT is to busy with the SPICE tournament to give a deposition in Lubbock discussion.

If he doesn't have time to give a deposition in Lubbock, how are we supposed to believe that he and his wife ever intended to, in the middle of the SPICE tournament, fly to California and participate in a mediation?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What is Forum Moderation Bias?

Bias is defined as a particular tendency or inclination, esp. one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question. Such bias can cause partiality (positive or negative) towards a particular person. Such a preference or an inclination can inhibit impartial judgment.

We see this displayed in forum moderation through the closing or pulling of threads for no stated or obvious reason. Posts can also be deleted for no stated or obvious reason. This can be against a person or an idea. In the worst case sanctions can be applied to certain individuals in an arbitrary or inconsistent manner. We rarely see traditional bias demonstrated against race, disability, or affiliation but it is often demonstrated through the provision of much greater scrutiny of the posts of those we dislike while allowing the benefit of the doubt for those in their own group or in positions of authority. This type of inconsistency is what we most often refer to as moderator bias.

When I was on the USCF FOC other than regulating SPAM, moderation bias was of great concern and in my opinion regularly permitted. I took great pains to not post on the forums while also on the FOC to preclude the appearance of bias in that I was debating issues with those I had the power to suggest sanctions against. In reviewing the forum archives one could see the generation of this bias from the earliest days of the forum where the team saw something they did not like an then parsed the AUG to try to find a reason to remove the post or sanction the involved individual. Sanctions were often stacked up or parts of the same posts were used as a justification to pile on certain individuals. Topics on the issue of moderation practices were particularly scrutinized as there appeared to be too much concern that members might defy the FOC’s authority (which the FOC considered disrespectful of themselves) rather than making efforts to improve respectful speech between individual members.

Below is a current example of an ongoing struggle against inconsistent USCF Forum moderation practices. I will leave it up to the readers to determine if any bias is involved with this endeavor.

please explain #2

Sent at: Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:25 am
From: hmb
To: Ron Suarez WPraeder tsawmiller Brian Mottershead BrianLafferty rharing Moderator Committee

Tim - As you were kind enough to answer my previous question about Ron's offer, perhaps you could explain what was inappropriate about Ron's post, which follows. Suggested changes to bring it into conformance with the law of the AUG in your opinion would be appreciated, too.

Thank you.

----[Start Ron Suarez post]

First off, I need to remind the moderators that this forum is part of the USCF and its operation is certainly an USCF Issue.

Secondly, I need to remind the moderators that I am not writing anything in this post about any one particular person or groups of persons. Therefore, I am not attacking, disparaging, etc. anyone or any group of people.

Therefore you must allow this post and thread to remain, by the law of the AUG.

OK, so I am writing to all of the forum members that feel they have either personally been wronged or know of anyone that has been wronged by the system that administers and moderates this forum.

Please do not post your complaints of the system on the forum as you will then be exposed to the moderative wrath of this forum.

I repeat, do not post your complaints here.

What you need to do is send me a PM with your complaint and any and all details of the complaint you can provide.

I am now compiling a file that I will present to Bill Hall at a future time. My presentation will show problems and of course solutions to those problems. Understand that when I speak of problems I am talking of structural and strategic problems. By improving the structure of this forum operation, we can and will have a better discussion forum for the USCF and all its matters.

Thank you all.[End Ron Suarez post]
Please note: Although I am a partner in Chess Magnet School and perform consulting for USCF and others, nothing I post here represents the opinions of my clients or partners unless stated otherwise.

SPICE Craziness at USCF

Will somebody please explain to those poor opinionators at the USCF that more goes on behind the scenes at a FIDE tournament than just playing and directing? They're saying that since the tournament has started, Paul has nothing to do, since he's only the organizer so he should be working on the lawsuits instead.

What do organizers do behind the scenes (non-TD work) while an international chess tournament is in progress? Will someone help list some of these things to those folks at the USCF?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Lord of the King

Rush to your nearest chess tournament and experience the adventure!

Spice Cup 2009

Just for perspective, note that the SPICE Cup Tournament is now in progress. Section A is FIDE Category 16, while Section B is FIDE Category 11.

(SPICE = Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence.)

To compare, how many other international tournaments have been held in the USA in 2008 or 2009 and what was their FIDE strengths?

For more info:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

USCF Expert Report

I mentioned at one point, USCF should get it's own expert to independently confirm Mottershead's report. Thankfully, they did so. (I'm sure they didn't need me to come up with the idea.) The expert went well beyond Mottershead's work. Brian Lafferty just posted the Executive Summary portion of the expert's report. Of particular interest, is the following passage:

At least 100 unauthorized access attempts to Mr. Hough's email account, some or all of which were apparently successful, including those related to the two specific emails identified above, came from IP addresses that:

(1) were used in comparable time frames to post to the USCF online forum under Alexander's user name, and/or
(2) were used in comparable time frames to post to the usenet forums under Alexander's identity, and/or
(3) were used from an Anonymizer account that identified Alexander as the account holder and that was used from IP addresses (a) assigned to Alexander by Comcast, (b) used to make postings to the USCF online forum from Alexander's USCF account, and/or (c) used to make newsgroup postings under Alexander's identity.

Ouch. That's going to leave a mark!

The report also gives opinions that many of the FSS postings can be linked to Truong:

*I found that the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses recorded as the sources of identified FSS postings were used at the times of those postings by a user logged in as "", whose registration data indicated Truong and whose account was paid for over the period in question by Polgar. The terms of service indicate that Truong is responsible, and the same IP addresses and account were used for other business purposes by Polgar and Truong, including a posting to RGCP by Truong under his own name and from his user account at America Online.

*Within 64 out of the more than 200,000 postings to RGCP and RGCM, I found sequences regularly and contemporaneously recorded by servers not in the control or custody of parties to this case that normally record characteristics of computers used to make postings. These sequences were common only to one posting made by Truong from his AOL account and 63 postings identified as part of the FSS postings. This header is consistent with a computer using a Mozilla version 4.0 Web browser on a computer with a Windows NT 6.0 operating system, using AOL 9.0, Microsoft Internet Explorer version 7.0, and with several other specific versions of specific software packages present, and that were only recorded for Truong's posting and FSS postings. This same information was indicated in 80 records of postings made by Truong's identity at the
USCF online forum.

*I found that the same IP addresses recorded as the sources for FSS postings contemporaneously and independently by Web servers not under the control or in the possession of parties to this case, were also recorded in the USCF records, indicating that those same IP addresses were used in postings to the USCF internal forums under the identity used by Truong.

*I found that 9 different "posting account" identifiers were used in the postings identified with FSS. These identifiers are apparently used to indicate a particular login credential, and are recorded by systems not under the control or in the possession of parties to this action. All except one of these posting accounts were used exclusively for postings identified as FSS postings, the same IP addresses used for posting under three of these accounts was also used by Truong for postings from his AOL account, and they were all used from IP addresses also used by Truong's identity at the USCF site contemporaneously.

Finally, the expert gives the opinion that GM Polgar had possession of several of the stolen emails before they were published on the net, which is consistent with Bill Hall's remarks at the end of the litigation forum this August.

*After the time at which the emails in question existed, and before they were otherwise publicly released, Alexander, who worked for Polgar on a voluntary basis and operated her Web site, appears to have accessed an email account containing those emails.

*Those emails or portions quoted therefrom were subsequently released to parties not authorized to have them, via emails sent from Susan Polgar's email account, and she has not disputed having sent those emails.

Lafferty reports that the full report will be available for download. No word on what experts, if any, were designated by Ms. Polgar

Update: The full report can be downloaded here. Polgar did miss her deadline to disclose experts in the Texas action. Since her primary claim in the Texas action was that the Mottershead report defamed her, she will be completely unable to prove that allegation. (Although given that the Mottershead report barely mentioned GM Polgar, that dog wasn't going to hunt anyway.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Susan's Girls Tournament

I see in the USCF's Forums that they may stop supporting Susan's annual tournament for girls. Since this is the 5th. year of a 5 year contract, they may not want to renew it.

If so, then this leaves 2 options for the USCF: 1) they run one on their own or 2) they drop the tournament entirely.

Susan has the same 2 options.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

About Susan Polgar's Chess Discussion Forum

While I’ve lost interest in chess temporarily, I am still the Moderator at Susan Polgar’s Chess Discussion Blog (along with Paul Truong and Susan herself), so I think I ought to draw attention to this exchange.


I really can't comment on your own experiences with forum moderations. I will say that my experience with chess-discussion-moderators-not-named-Jack has occasionally been frustrating. See

Unfortunately, Chess Discussion has turned into Alt.rants.Zarathustra.silly, so I haven't had much cause to post there recently.

- From the USCF Politics Blog

Wick, I believe that you describe a problem that is all to frequent in discussion forums throughout the internet, not just chess forums, either. One, or a small group of very frequent individuals post lots of posts and give the impression that they “own” the site. Because of the frequency and ubiquitiousness of their posts, everybody else ends up dancing to their tune.

A specific problem is that you may begin a new topic on something and the next thing you know, they’ve posted a response. Due to the provocative nature of their response, you feel you must response to their response and then you’re off.

So, what is the rest of the public to do?

One solution is to abandon the field. The trouble is that the quality of discussion is lowered overall and the bad elements take over choice pieces of internet real-estate.

Another solution is to continue to post on topics that interest you and ignore them. I believe this to be a better solution to the problem.

As for moderator problems: Yes, the lawsuits have poisoned everything – and not just at Susan’s sites, either. For example, the USCF’s Moderators and their amen corner continually congratulate themselves on the great job they’re doing. I could offer stories that are every bit as bad as the one you offer above.

Unfortunately, I don’t see much improvement in this area – either at Susan’s site, the USCF’s site, or some of the rest. I have two suggestions:

  1. For USCF politics, how about people looking more towards Wick’s Blog? Also, contact Chessvine, too.

  2. There’s more to chess that USCF politics. The main thrust of Susan’s site as well as her main interest is pure chess: things like tournament news, strategy, tactics, openings – things like that. The source of problems and complaints have been near 100% on the USCF Politics section. How about people using Susan’s site more for those other things.

Finally, don’t forget the Chess Discussion Viewer – easily the best tool for chess discussion on the internet today. You can input games, positions, puzzles, together with variations and comments thereon and have that all visible from within the site. All that is needed for people to see the moves is to click the mouse – much as they maneuver through positions in ChessBase or Chess Assistant. They can then comment on it on the forum just like they can comment on politics. - Chess over politics – what a heresy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Note to Mark Weeks

I sent this message to Mark Weeks on Facebook tonight and I thought I would share it here.

Mark, thanks for connecting to me. I really like your blog. You should put a link to it here. I am just sick about what happened at the USCF Delegate's meeting last month. I don't think that Paul and Susan were treated right at all. I ...especially dislike not being able to talk about it. - And poor Gregory Alexander! I just don't know what to think about that! I bet when the facts come out - and someday they will - history will take a dim view about what happened.

Even though I've become active in blogging again, is difficult for me to think of chess. It will take time for me to get over this.
Of course, Mark has nothing to do with the events I'm complaining about. I'm sharing this venting, because it summarizes my feelings and may help explain why I'm not so active in chess as before.

Mark is one of the premier chess bloggers out there. You should check out his blog, Chess for All Ages. Tell him Jack sent you!

P.S. Yes, that's the guy who is pictured under followers to the right.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Q & A & A

Susan Polgar posted some comments under her blog in a Q & A format. I can't resist posting my own answers to the questions:

Jackson (Denver, CO): I read on the USCF website about the revocation of your USCF memberships. Is it true and why?

PT: It is true. The Executive Board’s action is deplorable. Instead of doing what is best for chess and the USCF, these people appear to put their personal and political interests first. They are doing everything they can to hide their misconduct from the USCF members and delegates, even if this costs jobs for USCF employees and perhaps even cause the collapse of the entire federation. They used Chess Life and Chess Life Online to spread false information to hide the truth. But the facts will come out eventually.

Wick's Answer:

The irony of a (now ex) board member suing the federation for millions of dollars and then whining that others are putting their personal and professional interests first is readily apparent.

Again the allegations that false statements were made in Chess Life. At risk of being repetitive myself, can anyone quote a specific statement in Chess Life that was false? In response to this allegation, I have repeatedly requested here and at Chess Discussion that anyone point to a specific statement of fact that is false. The silence has been deafening.

JS (Los Angeles, CA): I have read only the USCF side of the story. Could you please summarize the cause of these lawsuits?

PT: Our position is that the USCF Executive Board and the USCF Executive Director continuously violated the USCF bylaws. I believe they abused their authority and used USCF members’ money for their own political agenda. I believe the legal cost so far exceeds $1 million for both sides, not counting what the USCF insurance has paid separately on behalf of the USCF. These people claim that the USCF has no money to support scholastic chess, college chess, women’s chess, professional chess, or chess promotion, etc. But they have no problem spending over $600,000 of members’ money for their own political agenda. It is inconceivable that these people are doing this in the middle of the worst economy in decades, and where countless USCF members have lost their jobs. These people could not care less about the welfare of chess or the USCF. They tried to blame this on us, while this has been their pattern of conduct for years.

These individuals can try to hide the facts, but the truth will come out in court. We have received tremendous support from countless USCF members encouraging us to stand tall and fight against these corrupt chess politicians.

The USCF has to cut their operating schedule to a four-day work week. The position of USCF Scholastic Director and FIDE Director had to be cut because of a serious financial meltdown. We offered to drop the lawsuit against the USCF for $1. The Executive Board rejected the offer because if the lawsuit against the USCF is dropped, they can not longer hide behind our federation to conceal their misconduct.

It also appears that they are also hiding from USCF members that Susan’s lawsuit against the USCF and its board members is covered by the insurance company. Mr. Jeff Jones is representing the USCF, and individual members of the Executive Board. These same people spent over $500,000 of members’ money to file frivolous lawsuits and to defend the misconduct of their political supporters from the lawsuit. They simply conveniently forgot to tell the USCF members this.

Wick's Answer:

Well, I would certainly agree that the money spent on legal fees in this matter could have been better spent on chess; however, the implication that this is solely the board's political agenda is, pardon my French, bullshit.

This is a complicated situation, and a lot of people made a lot of decisions that gave rise to the situation. To claim that the whole matter is a political witch hunt is asking the reader to believe that the Mottershead report was a frame job. Not content with that frame job, the conspirators then came up with a second frame job to implicate Ms. Polgar's webmaster for stealing Randy Hough's emails. This second frame was so nefariously convincing that the U.S. Attorney was actually suckered into indicting Mr. Alexander. Furthermore, despite the fact that these frames were intended to discredit Ms. Polgar, the conspirators did not frame Ms. Polgar, but rather her husband and her webmaster.

I'm sorry, but I find this conspiracy theory less convincing than the Illuminatus Trilogy.

Furthermore, it is pretty obvious from even a casual observation that Polgar's legal strategy has not been designed to simplify the litigation or lower USCF's legal expenses.

Also, the fact that some defendants have been defended by USCF's insurance company in the Texas action is anything but a secret.

Chess Mom (Detroit, MI): Is it legal for the Executive Board to revoke
your USCF Life Memberships and Executive Board status?

PT: We don’t think so. But it is up to the court to decide. But we do believe their actions directly violated the USCF bylaws.

Wick's Answer:

I'm not sure what what the claim of a violation of the by-laws is refering to.

As far as expelled from the board, it's not as if they were like, showing up or participating in the meetings or anything like that.

Albert (Henderson, NV): What is your future plan with chess?

SP: We will continue to promote chess in multiple aspects. Nothing has changed. The SPICE Cup is the next big event on our calendar. You can follow our activities by checking out

Wick's Answer:

More power to you. I would gently suggest that these activities to promote chess are much more productive than the litigation.

Jim (Des Moines, IA): Can you still compete in chess tournaments?

SP: No. The Executive Board revoked our USCF memberships. They claimed that we can still play. But there is no such thing as being able to play rated chess and not being a member. They are just making things up as they go along and this is clearly against the USCF rules. In addition, I cannot play in world championships or Olympiads unless I am a member of a national federation. So basically what the Executive Board did is to destroy what is left of my playing career.

Wick's Answer:

(Rolls eyes.)

First of all, the expulsion specifically states that they can still play chess. Secondly, GM Polgar has played a grand total of one rated game since 2006. FM Truong played one rated game in 2009. He played 8 rated games in 2008.

RR: Paul, a few newspapers published some articles about problems with the chess federation. Can you explain? What does this mean? There are people out there writing things in papers and online that don’t do your good work justice.

PT: As the saying goes, you can either lead, follow, or get out of the way. We’re trying to lead, and they’re trying to make us get out of the way. Susan has worked very hard to get to where she is, and when you’re at the top of the game there will always be people who are jealous. The U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) is very political and extremely ineffective.

The bad PR we’ve received, yes, has been very unfortunate, and it came from people who want to see Susan and SPICE fail. It is a concerted effort on their part to try to stop our success. This is hurting our entire sport. Unfortunately, there is little we can do when people are not telling the truth. Things people claim are highly misleading and even slanderous. But, we’re doing good work, and it shows.

Wick's comment:

SSDD. See above on the "This is all a conspiracy because everyone is jealous of GM Polgar.

The simple fact of the matter is that the Mottershead report put USCF in a perilous legal situation. They took steps to minimize that exposure, but every step has resulted in actions from GM Polgar and FM Truong that escalated the situation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CD and USCF's Forum Moderation

I've spent wa-ay too much time on the USCF's Forums in the past few months. I had a reason: the campaign against Paul Truong and Susan Polgar. But that's over now. The USCF has expelled them entirely. So now the attacks become ever more petty and the gimmicks to purnish Polgar supporters (me) ever more arbitrary. They won; we lost. And they've made it clear that there will be no olive branch to the loosers.

I can go into the latest problem but why bother? (It was another attack on Susan's Chess Discussion Forum of which I am a Moderator.)

The USCF's forum still has useful information that comes up from time to time so I recommend that you still go there if you can. But I can't recommend becoming too involved in it. Most of the time, they're just going round in circles in meaningless discussions on lawsuits. The central questions surrounding the Delegate's verdict are all hush hush. So, forget trying to find them out.

As for much else, well. It's all so sad, really. On a more positive note, there are several really good chess sites - much the much maligned Susan Polgar's Chess Discussion. And Chessvine, too.

(Yes, I am a contributor to both.) Which brings me to my main point of this: I really need to start spending more of my time on those places (and here, too!) than on the USCF's Forums.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Eye Roll

Polgar's attorney on the expulsion as quoted by the New York Times:

“We are disappointed but by no means surprised in the outcome because it was run by a majority of the executive board who were determined to disregard the U.S.C.F.’s bylaws and to do everything they could to prevent the delegates from hearing the facts.”

Dude. Seriously. You were given 1 1/4 hours to present the "facts" to the delegates. You had a format where you were not bound by the rules of evidence and were free to present any "facts" you wanted. If you couldn't present the "facts" in that time, it's on you.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Breaking News

Susan Polgar and Paul Truong have just been expelled from the US Chess Federation. The Executive Board started the process last month; a final hearing was held last night; and the Delegates rejected the final appeal this afternoon. Susan and Paul appeared with their lawyer shortly after 2 p.m. Eastern Time. The meeting lasted until after 6:30.

The preliminary numbers we have to uphold the EB action was:

Paul Truong: 58 for, 18 against, 5 abstaining
Susan Polgar: 55 for, 21 against, 5 abstaining

Bill Hall, the USCF Executive Director has banned any discussion of the meeting from the USCF's Forums. This does not prevent this blog or any other independent news organization from reporting the news about events they deem the public has a right to know.

Polgar and Truong Expelled

Last night the executive board voted to expel Truong and Polgar. They
appealed to the delegates. After 3 hours in executive session, the
delegates voted to uphold the expulsions.

Delegate vote totals for sustaining the EB action:

Paul Truong: 58 for, 18 against, 5 abstaining
Susan Polgar: 55 for, 21 against, 5 abstaining

No further public comment will be forthcoming, in theory anyway.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I watched the video of the USCF legal issues workshop posted here. Thanks to Terry Vibbert for recording and posting the meeting.

I didn't learn all that much, but, at the end of the USCF litigation workshop, Bill Hall disclosed some new information on the hacked emails. USCF can document several instances where Susan Polgar quoted verbatim from hacked emails shortly after the hacking, and before the hacked emails appeared elsewhere on the net.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Litigation Update -- In which the parties start using live ammo.

It had been some time since my last update on the pending litigation, so I might as well bring us up to date:

The Illinois litigation:

The federal court, as predicted, held that there was no federal question and remanded the case to state court. Now that the matter is back in state court, I suspect the information about it will be less generally available as state court dockets are much less web accessible, in most jurisdictions.

Texas Litigation:

USCF's attempt to add Truong as a third-party defendant, was shot down in flames. It was a bad idea strategically and procedurally, and the Court struck it down on procedural grounds.

There has also been an extensive amount of discovery jousting. The issues under dispute include whether USCF would need to produce documents regarding their communications with law enforcement and the allegedly stolen emails. The court reviewed the documents in camera, and then ruled that the documents should not be produced. There has been a great deal of briefing about the allegedly stolen emails and the appropriateness, or lack thereof, of using the crystaltech dvd obtained through discovery. (Polgar's counsel is apparently taking the position that merely opening the case of the crystal tech dvd will lead to dire consequences, including criminal penalties, civil liability, and the bubonic plague.)

Kronenberger and his firm have moved for summary judgment as to the allegations against it. Having reviewed the briefing, I think that the Motion has an excellent chance of being granted. I initially found the allegations against the law firm to be laughable, and I don't see anything in the briefing to change my opinion. One interesting note in the entire fight is that Polgar is attempting to use the allegedly stolen emails in an attempt to defeat the motion. (Needless to say, USCF's attorney has a problem with this.)

Kronenberger has been deposed. Other than some sock puppet on Chess Discussion talking about Kronenberger's lack of experience, nothing has emerged as to the deposition. It has also been alleged that Truong was trying to surreptitously record the deposition with his laptop. If so, that's a remarkably bad idea. Polgar was also deposed. Amusingly, posts appeared on her blog during the deposition, which led to her admitting that Truong was authorized to post on her blog in her name.

In San Francisco:

Mediation was held in July. It was at a lunch break in the mediation that the Secret Service appeared to arrest Gregory Alexander, which, no doubt, did little to put the parties in a conciliatory mood.

Polgar has filed Motions to Disqualify Kronenberger and a Motion for Summary Judgment based on the corporate authorization issue. Both have been briefed, but the hearings have been delayed to allow for mediation. I don't see either motion as being likely to succeed. The motion to disqualify in particular, just looks like a transparent attempt to heap mud on opposing counsel.

Meanwhile, the board has begun proceeding to revoke the membership of Truong and Polgar. This motion has been timed so as to allow an immediate appeal to the delegates at the annual meeting. Frankly, this looks like creating more issues than it will solve, but we'll have to see how it plays out.

The Preliminary Results were not misleading

Here are the final totals, detailed totals by region will be available on the USCF home page later today:

1. Jim Berry 3030
2. Bill Goichberg 3014
3. Ruth Haring 2953
4. Mike Atkins 2672
5. Mikhail Korenman 822
6. Mike Nietman 732
7. Eric Hecht 717
8. Blas Lugo 657
9. Sam Sloan 588
10. Brian Lafferty 576
11. Brian Mottershead 435

Congratulations and good luck to the "winners." Hopefully they won't be regretting their victory too much.

The impish part of me wants to start on a pool to guess the date when Atkins and Haring become defendants in a lawsuit. My best guess is August 20. I hope I'm wrong, but . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Preliminary votes make it look like a landslide

Per Mike Nolan, with just over half the state counted:

Jim Berry 1829
Bill Goichberg 1826
Ruth Haring 1802
Mike Atkins 1569
Mikhael Korenman 483
Eric Hecht 420
Mike Nietman 400
Sam Sloan 360
Blas Lugo 358
Brian Lafferty 348
Brian Mottershead 252
Various Write-ins 75

Looks like a landslide in the making for the Candidates endorsed by Goichberg. The worst of them still has 3 times the votes of his nearest rival.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Feds Step In

Gregory Alexander has been indicted. He is charged with 35 felony counts of for allegedly breaking into Randy Hough's email. Brian Lafferty has posted a copy of the indictment here. A Press Release by the US Attorney is here.

I have to confess that I often view the world of chess politics and chess politics litigation with a sense of bemusement at the comic opera quality of the whole dispute.

The comedy is over folks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flores Finale

I had planned on posting a response to Mr. Flores sooner, but then I took my own advice and got a bit more of a life and got out some.

If Mr. Flores choses not to come back, that is his privilege; however, he is still authorized to post here whenever or if ever the mood strikes him.

While I am always pleased to be called intelligent, articulate and clever, I was somewhat vexed by his claim that I ignored his questions or the facts. Given the length to which I went to address his various points, I am hard pressed to see what I ignored. I did decline to repeat responses to repetitious argument, but that hardly seems to fit his description. Oh well.

Mr. Flores leaves the floor because neither of us was likely to be swayed by further discussion. True enough, I suppose, but that ignores the other readers who may actually have been following the discussion. I have had the modest hope that the discussion on this blog would be helpful to lurkers in formulating their opinions.

I am somewhat puzzled by Mr. Flores assertion that there are at least seven lawsuits. I know of six, all of which were discussed by Bill Hall in the litigation update. If Mr. Flores (or anyone else) could advise me of the seventh, I would appreciate it.

Mr. Flores complains that the USCF updates do not include references to the "doctored" evidence, or the alleged bribery. Leaving aside that the allegations are, to put it kindly, overstated (as I have discussed repeatedly), USCF, as a party to the litigation, can hardly be expected to act as an advocate for a person who is suing it. Further, the summary is, just that, a summary and can not be expected to be exhaustive.

Speaking of exhausive, I am currently exhausted and will now call it an evening.

Good night.

Please don't forget to vote for the candidate of your choice.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

USCF Litigation Dialog

First, it should be noted I may have been a fool to accept Mr. Deer's invitation to be a contributor on this blog. I give him props for he is intelligent, articulate and clever. That said, how can one expect to win a fair debate when the host simply ignores the question and/or the facts? Nonetheless, I do appreciate your invitation and generous offer - thank you!

It appears Mr. Deer is willing to dedicate more time to trivial matters and discount the more pressing issues. Thus, the reason for my non-responsiveness to his June 1st post. Furthermore, because it seems we are unable to sway or be swayed, there is little incentive to continue this dialog. Accordingly, I hope to make this my final post here and return to the important projects I have neglected, i.e., chess camp, etc.)

With respect to your June 1, 2009 post, I admit to inadvertently naming Goichberg when I should have referred to Hall, at least, as it relates to the updates. That said, it is clear to me they both want Polgar out; possibly for smiliar and/or different reasons. Accordingly, it does not matter who you associate with the carefully worded updates; whether it is Hall, Goichberg or both. They have both done it, if not in Chess Life and USCF website, then in mail-outs and by other means.

Furthermore, I recognize and admit there are multiple parties involved (I refer to my use of the terms "gang" and "et. al."). My reference to "Goichberg" does not infer he is acting alone, but instead, refers to his role as leader (if not in plotting, at the very least, as head of the organization). Whether they are all on good or speaking terms with one another is irrelevant. Similarly, to portray them all as adversarial to each other or political opponents is misleading (I introduce Lafferty's withdrawn candidacy and subsequent endorsement of Goichberg as proof.). Anyone with an objective mind can clearly see they are all working to oust Polgar and Troung.

Regarding the updates, I submit the sum of some parts do not equate to the sum of the whole. Even those cases where we are receiving updates, they fail to provide critical information, thus, failing to meet the lower standard of the sum of some parts. I have always asserted they were "measured" but that does not mean they are complete nor accurate. Regarding the question of who filed first, we can continue to debate the merits of both sides, or not (I prefer the latter). The fact remains, June comes before August in the calendar and all the debate in the world will not change that. Shall we consider this point a draw and defer to the three different courts where this issue is now being considered?

In my view, Chess Life and the USCF website updates are incomplete and inaccurate because they fail to list all of the lawsuits (I understand there are at least seven suits), and if they are all listed, fail to provide critical information which members have a right to know. For example, they fail to mention the authority by which the two suits (CA and IL) were filed. They fail to mention Polgar and Truong's request and denial for indemnification, its abuse of process and violation of USCF Bylaws in said denial. The updates fail to inform of the alleged doctoring of evidence introduced in filed pleadings and the alleged bribery which may have been presented to the courts.

If, for no other reason, it is inaccurate because it misleads members into believing the four-day week was brought about by the Polgar suit. That is unfair, untrue and propaganda in its truest form. You asked about propaganda so let us begin with Merriam-Webster's definition:
Spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person; ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause.
Accordingly, the overt and covert actions by Goichberg, et. al., to harm, slander and portray her as the villian is inaccurate, unjust and in fact propaganda. I have received multiple mail-outs by Goichberg, the latest of which contained three full and double-sided pages of propaganda. Due to the length of this post I will only address two points from said mail-out.

  1. The second sentence of the fourth paragraph from Goichberg's letter reads, "Polgar has long insisted that the USCF investigation of misconduct by Troung be dropped and threatened a lawsuit should this not happen, and finally carried out her threat." Yet Goichberg's public statement issued Nov. 17, 2008 claims, "Ms. Polgar gave no advance warning of the lawsuit."
  2. The second point is derived from a full page with the following heading, "Statement by Randy Bauer". The fifth paragraph reads, "There have been a lot of misrepresentations about the state of the USCF. Susan Polgar's website has been the source of claims about the USCF financial condition that are at best only a partial truth. The USCF has, like many not-for-profit organizations, seen a decline in membership during this very difficult economy - families across the country do not have a as much mony to spend on recreational activities. That said, the USCF has run remarkably close to budget all year long on the revenue side and has held normal expenses in check as well. The single biggest financial issue the USCF has faced - and will continue to face - are lawsuits where the USCF and Susan Polgar are adverse parties."
Why is Bauer's statement important? It is carefully worded so as not to be caught in a lie and thus, his concession, "...are at best only a partial truth." Goichberg and Hall would have you believe all of Polgar's statements and deeds are false and evil. Secondly, he points to the failing economy as a contributing factor to the USCF's financial woes. Finally, and more importantly, Bauer concedes the "single biggest financial issue" are the lawsuits (plural) where "the USCF and Susan Polgar are adverse parties". Polgar's suit is sandwiched by the first and third suits filed by the USCF.

Now let me check the math; the USCF files two suits, Polgar one, and yet she is blamed for the financial woes? That is fuzzy math and logic. The organization's insurance indemnifies the USCF and board against the Polgar suit so the financial woes must have skyrocketed by the hundreds of thousands paid to the USCF's attorney for the suits (plural) they initiated.

As closure to the financial woes issue I submit two USCF forums posts; one made by "Artichoke" and the other by Goichberg:
"artichoke wrote:
Mike, as I said in another thread, we must not show weakness. At this time, to fail to develop a potential winning line of attack because of additional legal expense is penny wise and pound foolish in my opinion. If we can remove this cancerous presence on our EB, a member who is suing the USCF, we should have the operation even if it's more expensive than pain pills.

"chessoffice wrote:
Our lawsuit in Illinois appear a more promising way to remove both Polgar and Truong. A speciall meeting might fail to have a quorum, might fail to pass the desired motion even if there is quorum, and even if the motion passed there would likely be a legal challenge. Also, the suggested motion would not remove Truong. -- Bill Goichberg
I decline the bonus points, indeed all debate points, in exchange for you and others to open your eyes to what is happening. Lest I be accused of the same, I submit I do not agree with everything Polgar says or does. That is NOT reason enough, however, to defame, slander, intimidate, harass and goat her into a lawsuit. That was idiotic. Worst yet, filing the third lawsuit (second by the USCF) really takes the cake. Oh what the heck, the members will buy the BS and pay.

Plogar's courage, grit and determination should be applauded because she truly does have the best interest of the USCF at heart. As a regular member, tournament director and chess organizer, that is important to me and thus, the reason I have weighed in on this tragedy caused by the rogue board.

This post is lengthy enough I will not cover the other points as they are prima facie issues.

For those that truly wish to salvage what is left of the USCF, I challenge you to vote your conscious and be ready to withstand the intimidation and parliamentary maneuvers that will surely follow.

I have not yet received my ballot even though my neighbor received it last week. A coincidence? Possibly.

This political mess has permeated the USCF long before Polgar arrived on the scene and will continue if we allow it. The heavy lifting has been done but Polgar can not do it alone.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Thank you for your indulgence and for taking action!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Continuing the Flores Dialog


Mr. Flores made the claim that USCF sued Polgar before Polgar sued USCF. I responded with a chronology showing who was made a party to the lawsuit when. I further propounded the proposition that who sued who first was the important issue, compared to the relative merits of the claims.

Mr. Flores simply dismisses my comments as "semantics and legalese." If I had moved my e pawn two squares on its first move, one wonders if he would accuse me of being a rules lawyer. Seriously, I have no idea what he is talking about. This ain't rocket science.

Mr. Flores completely ignores my comment about the dispute being of minimal importance. (Hi there boys and girls, can you say "Red Herring?" Sure you can.)

Mr. Flores goes into a lengthy anti-Goichberg diatribe, that really doesn't have a ton of relevance to the issue at hand. I like a good anti-Goichberg diatribe as well as the next man: I supported Tom Dorsch. However, I am not going to let personalities overcome the evidence. I would also point out that Mr. Flores is trying to pretend that Goichberg is the only actor here. (Not so much.)

1. For his first paragraph, Mr. Flores quotes a portion of the USCF's complaint in December of 2008, and tries to infer that it has some relevance to what USCF knew in July of 2008. I have to admit that the logic escapes me.

2. For his second point, Mr. Flores points out that he doesn't believe Mr. Goichberg's claimed surprise at the August 08 lawsuit was real, given the cease and desist letter from Polgar's attorney. Perhaps he shouldn't have been surprised, but people get surprised all the time by things that seem obvious in retrospect. Furthermore, even if Goichberg was being disingenuous on that point, that doesn't mean that other acts done by the USCF were undertaken in bad faith.

3. Flores then quotes a pleading from Gregory Alexander regarding the investigation of the Fake Sam Sloan matter by Mottershead. Although Flores's post leaves the impression that the words were spoken by Alexander, the quote was actually from Brian Mottershead. The quote indicates that Hall and Goichberg were aware of, and encouraged, Mottershead's investigation.

So what?

A USCF volunteer discovers that a USCF EB member may be behind anonymous posts on the internet which could cause USCF serious legal trouble. The volunteer isn't supposed to tell the ED and the President? The ED and President are supposed to ignore the information? Mr. Flores completely fails to appreciate the astronomical potential liabilities that could arise if the a board member was posting the kind of defamatory, offensive, and otherwise repulsive screed that the FSS was posting on a regular basis. Had Hall and Goichberg stuck their heads in the sand, the resulting legal nightmare would have dwarfed the current litigation. To ignore Mottershead's findings would have been the height of irresponsibility. To criticize Goichberg and Hall for acting on the information presented to them is like criticizing a fireman for damaging a burning building while fighting a fire.

4. Mr. Flores's point 4 is that he doesn't trust Goichberg. Mr. Flores seems to be under the delusion that Goichberg completely controls the EB. Again, he is pretending that all the actors who have opposed Polgar are mere puppets on Goichberg's strings. Not so much. If Goichberg really controlled the USCF, the organization would never have moved to Tennessee. Goichberg fought very hard against the move, and publicly criticized the decision after it had been made. The remaining board members (which included Randy Bauer) won that fight.

Next Point: Polgar's $1 settlement offer is illusory.

I pointed out that Ms. Polgar's $1 settlement offer to USCF is illusory because it does not include the officers and directors. (It's like offering to settle with me, but continuing to sue my wife -- my house is at risk either way.)

Mr. Flores's response to this is as follows:

The offer of the settlement is public record and I believe remains on the table still today. The fact he is hiding behind his fiduciary duty to the members is crap - the members he has failed and whose privacy he allegedly violated?!

In response:

a. The fact that the offer is public record does not make it any less illusory. In fact, the fact that offer was made publicly is consistent with my point that the "offer" is worthless grandstanding.

b. A corporate officer's right to indemnification has nothing to do with his fiduciary duties. You are confusing your concepts here.

c. Goichberg's alleged invasions of privacy (and I'd have to guess what you are talking about here) don't have anything to do with the issue under discussion -- whether the settlement offer is illusory.

Next Point: The redacted document does not exonerate Polgar or Alexander.

In my post, I explained in some detail why the redacted document doesn't prove what Mr. Flores and others claim it proves. Mr. Flores's response is to repeat his original statement, which is the debating equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and loudly proclaiming LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA.

If you have a critique of my points -- fine, but I am not going to bother to further rebut regurgitated statements that completely ignore the points I made.

Last point addressing my original posts: In order for their to be a bribe, there needs to be a quid pro quo -- which there wasn't.

In addressing the allegations of bribery, I was pointed out the lack of quid pro quo. Mr. Flores goes into the definition of bribery, which includes the requirement of a quid pro quo. See the repeated phrase "as a consideration for". I pointed out that evidence of a quid pro quo was lacking. Indeed, the quoted emails stated that "You wouldn't owe Bill anything." Mr. Flores ignored my point.

Mr. Flores brings up a number of additional subjects.

Much has been made about the fiduciary duty of Polgar and Truong - what about the fiduciary duty of the remaining board members?

All EB members have fiduciary duties. What's your point?

With declining numbers and already busted budgets can we afford settlements of $25 million, one million or attorney's fees of half or three-quarters of million? Putting aside the California and Texas cases, was the Illinois case wise and necessary? I submit it is beneficial to the attorneys but not the membership for whom the entire executive board has an obligation to uphold.

We can't afford the legal fees. Then again, what is the price of inaction. If Paul Truong is, in fact, the FSS, and he continues to spew his garbage while a board member, then the USCF faced massive potential liabilities. Having lawyers is very expensive. Not having lawyers when you need them is very, very, very expensive.

Actually, in a previous post, I gave an evaluation of the relative wisdom of the various actions here.

What about violations of the open meetings act? Most states have procedures governing the conduct of public meetings and consider it a violation of those laws if two or more members meet (and it does not have to be in person) to discuss official business. How may violations of the this law were there?

Open meetings acts apply only to governmental entities. USCF is not a governmental entity, it is a not-for-profit corporation. Those laws have no application to USCF.

Is the intimidation and threat of lawsuits against delegates in their upcoming meeting an exercise or violation of their fiduciary duties?

First of all, I thought the claim that that particular forum post was a threat of litigation was exaggerated and silly. Also, the person who made the post has no official office with USCF whatsoever.

Was the "meeting" to discuss the creation of the Chairmanship for Polgar a violation? I submit it was all a charade to get Polgar and Truong to go along for the good of the USCF while they were "developing" a scheme for her demise long before she took office.

Violaton of what? Open meetings laws? They don't apply? The remainder of this paragraph is, in my opinion, wild conjecture.

Would the demise of the USCF benefit or damage the Continental Chess Association?
USCF's demise would probably hurt the CCA. If Bill Goichberg were really wanting to destroy the USCF, he could easily have done so early in this decade. USCF was completely broke, and the only reason they didn't have to declare bankruptcy was that Bill Goichberg prepaid for a bunch of advertising, which gave USCF the cash to keep the doors open.

Apologies to all readers for the unwieldy length of this post. Mr. Flores, if you have additional points you wish to make, I would welcome further commentary. For that matter, anyone is welcome to chip in.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Welcome Mr. Flores

First of all, I would like to welcome John Flores (aka MorfeoKnight) as a poster to the blog. He was kind enough to post a response to my critique of his litigation webpage.

He makes numerous points that merit further discussion.  I will start with this post, but will continue with the rest at a later date.  There are two reasons for this:

The discussion is getting sufficiently lengthy that a full discussion would be unwieldy and, perhaps more importantly, I've had a long day and want to get to bed at a decent hour.

My first point was as to the statements in chess life, and by Mr. Goichberg on his own website.  Mr. Flores had the following comments:

Point 1. Goichberg has no choice but to be measured and appear to be fair and forthcoming. However, the record reflects that he has been anything but the opposite and disparaged the opposition to diverge attention from his failure and shortcomings.

Point 2. I do not question Goichberg's posting on his site but rather object to the inappropriate and incompleteness of the updates in Chess Life and the USCF website. I do admit to being called into action after seeing the post on the Chicago Open site. Yes I was aware that he own CCA and he has a right to post on it what he wishes - he receives no opposition from me for having done so. I do, however, passionately object to his use of Chess Life and the USCF website for propaganda.

First of all, I would note that, in his Point 1, Mr. Flores changes the subject from Mr. Hall's statements (links here and here) to Mr. Goichberg. Despite complaints by Mr. Flores and the Fine Folks at, no one has ever pointed out any specific language in Mr. Hall's Chess Life statements that was unfair. The floor is still open, but the silence, both here and at chess discussion, has been deafening.

Secondly, Mr. Flores, throughout his response, treats all the entities on the opposite side of the litigation from GM Polgar as if they were Bill Goichberg. That just isn't appropriate. There is a wide cast of characters in this litigation, many of whom are not allies of Bill Goichberg. Lafferty and Mottershead are running against Goichberg for the EB.

Finally, for this evening anyway, Mr. Flores makes the claim that the USCF website and Chess Life have printed propaganda for Mr. Goichberg. I would be greatly obliged if Mr. Flores (or anyone else for that matter) can point to anything on the website (other than the forums) or in Chess Life that is "propaganda." Bonus points if you explain why you believe it to be propaganda.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reply to Wick's Response Re: My USCf Litigation Page

Quoting MorfeoKnight
I am sick and tired of seeing Chess Life and the USCF website being used to portray a one-sided and inaccurate account of the lawsuits. Accordingly, I am dedicating space on my server to enlighten the members of all the facts - you may view it at USCF Legal Issues.
Quoting Wick

I read your website with interest. I had some comments on your analysis, which I posted on my blog. Comments are welcome.
A summary of Wick's response posted at this blog:
  1. Feels Hall's summaries have been measured while providing accurate and fair updates;
  2. Points out Goichberg can post what he wishes on his site;
  3. Refers to semantics and legalese in response to who sued first;
  4. With respect to the settlement offer made by Polgar, concedes it is accurate and yet misleading. He concedes she does not want to bankrupt the USCF and yet delves into personal opinions and analysis to disprove his concession;
  5. Regarding Alexander's pleading, Wick discounts it as sloppy and points out the redacted material only proves Polgar did not have an anonymizer account fails to exonerate Alexander; and
  6. With respect to the failed attempt to remove Truong and the alleged bribery, he asserts it fails to deliver the quid pro quo.
As previously mentioned, it was not my intent to cover all the intricacies of any one case or the sum of cases. Rather, my objective is to briefly raise some issues that are conveniently being omitted from updates, reports and mail-outs to the membership.

Point 1. Goichberg has no choice but to be measured and appear to be fair and forthcoming. However, the record reflects that he has been anything but the opposite and disparaged the opposition to diverge attention from his failure and shortcomings.

Point 2. I do not question Goichberg's posting on his site but rather object to the inappropriate and incompleteness of the updates in Chess Life and the USCF website. I do admit to being called into action after seeing the post on the Chicago Open site. Yes I was aware that he own CCA and he has a right to post on it what he wishes - he receives no opposition from me for having done so. I do, however, passionately object to his use of Chess Life and the USCF website for propaganda.

Point 3. The fact is the June 25, 2008 suit was filed 43 days before the August 7, 2009 suit. I believe, as does Polgar, they intended to harass, intimidate and rid themselves of her, by hook or crook. I do not expect Goichberg, et. al, to confess as to their intent and scheme. Instead, their approach has and continues to be measured, calculating and deceitful. The basis for my argument are:

  1. USCF's Illinois Complaint filed on December 29, 2009, reads; "Between November 26, 2007 and June 24, 2008, with full knowledge that Polgar and her husband were under investigation by the USCF, Polgar and an accomplice unlawfully accessed the e-mail account of Excutive Board member Randall Hough (hereinafter "Hough") at least 111 times." They claim they did not know the identities at the time of the initial filing but I am not buying it.
  2. On November 17, 2008, Goichberg issued the following statement: "Susan Polgar has sued the United States Chess Federation in a lawsuit styled Susan Polgar v. United States of America Chess Federation, Inc., et al.; cause no. 5:08-cv-00169-C; in the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division. Ms. Polgar filed the lawsuit and served many of the volunteer USCF board members while they attended the USCF annual convention in Dallas, Texas in August 2008. Notwithstanding the fact that they were attending the USCF meeting as part of their official duties, four Executive Board members, another delegate, and the Executive Director were individually named and served while they were in Texas. Consequently, Ms. Polgar caused the initial lawsuit to be filed against the USCF and these other defendants. Ms. Polgar gave no advance warning of the lawsuit..." It is well documented Polgar has come short of begging for the Goichberg gang to cease and desist in the interest of the USCF, all the way leading up to the delegates meeting and since.
  3. Alexander's Pleading filed January 12, 2009, reads; "Actually, I spoke to Bill Hall before I switched on the IP addresses. Goichberg has also been involved in discussions. The discussion was not about my switching on the IP addresses; I decided to do that on my o[w]n after speaking to Hall. The information I had prior to doing that was already quite persuasive, and both Hall and Goichberg are quite eager to have the FRG/FSS character out of the USCF. Hall encouraged me to develop more information to strengthen the case, and to file an Ethics complaint. I am encouraged by this..." 'Develop more information'!? Messrs Goichberg, Hall and Kroenenberger have been 'developing' information from 2007 and this practise continues today in order to eliminate Goichberg enemies." Yet, Goichberg and gang continue to deny any wrongdoing or vendettas.
  4. Finally, I use an analogy to make my final point as to why Goichberg should not be trusted. When faced with the dilemma of who to give the baby to, King Solomon asked a soldier to cut the baby in half so each woman can have a part of him. The real mother pleaded not to harm the baby but instead give it to the other woman. The "fake" mother agreed to the detestable act. Similarly, Polgar has held that an open and complete investigation by independent parties and if the evidence shows they have committed any wrongdoing they would resign. On the other hand, if evidence shows the Goichberg and gang committed the wrongdoing, they should resign. The "fake mother" would much rather harm the "baby" than tell the truth.
Point 4. The offer of the settlement is public record and I believe remains on the table still today. The fact he is hiding behind his fiduciary duty to the members is crap - the members he has failed and whose privacy he allegedly violated?!

Point 5. Regarding his claim of sloppiness (not sure if he refers to my work or how the complaint was worded, which is where I "borrowed" from) but it is irrelevant. The fact is Kronenberger, the USCF's attorney, is trying to build the case that Polgar and Alexander hacked into personal emails. Kronenberger submits anonymizer accounts and IP's to make his case. However, the evidence not only fails to make his case but in fact disproves it, at least to the extent that Polgar does not have an account and, "After diligently searching our records, I am unable to find anything concerning the requested IP addresses." That report not only exonerates Polgar (no account) but Alexander as well (nothing found regarding the IP's submitted for review). More importantly, however, is the fact that Kronenberger allegedly doctored the evidence to conceal pertinent information and portray it as damaging to Polgar and Alexander.

Point 6. I would suspect the elements of bribery may differ from state to state but believe the core elements exist in all of them. To be sure, I briefly researched Texas and California where the two principle cases are filed. My source for the former was a copy of the 1987-1988 Texas Criminal Laws book as it reads:

Sec. 36.02. Bribery.
  1. A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly offers, confers, or agrees to confer on another, or solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept from another:
  • any benefit as consideration for the recipient's decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant, party official, or voter;
  • any benefit as consideration for the recipient's decision, vote, recommendation, or other exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding; or
  • any benefit as consideration for a violation of a duty imposed by law on a public servant or party official.
  1. It is no defense to prosecution under this section that a person whom the actor sought to influence was not qualified to act in the desired way whether because he had not yet assumed office or he lacked jurisdiction or for any other reason.
  2. It is no defense to prosecution under this section that the benefit is not offered or conferred or that the benefit is not solicited or accepted until after:
  • the decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion has occurred; or
  • the public servant ceases...etc.

The source for the latter state is the online version of Vol. IV of California Jurisprudence, Section 5, which reads, "Value of a Bribe. - It will be seen by reference to the legislative definition that a bribe may be "anything of value or advantage, present or prospective. While money is the usual consideration of a bribe, it is clear that almost anything may be the consideration which has sufficient value to influence the conduct of the person bribed. It is not necessary to the completion of the crime of offering to give a bribe that the thing offered as a bribe should have a present and ascertained value. To offer a thing in the future which, at the time agreed upon for future delivery, will have being and value is to offer a valuable thing within the meaning of the statute; and as the gravamen of the offense is the tendency which the thing offered as a bribe may have to pervert justice or corrupt official action, the crime is complete the moment an offer is made to give something, which may have a future existence and a prospective value."

In conclusion, I would like to be able to address several other issues but I have dedicated more time to this than I like to - it has taken away from some other very important issues. I leave you with the following questions:
  1. Much has been made about the fiduciary duty of Polgar and Truong - what about the fiduciary duty of the remaining board members?
  2. With declining numbers and already busted budgets can we afford settlements of $25 million, one million or attorney's fees of half or three-quarters of million? Putting aside the California and Texas cases, was the Illinois case wise and necessary? I submit it is beneficial to the attorneys but not the membership for whom the entire executive board has an obligation to uphold.
  3. What about violations of the open meetings act? Most states have procedures governing the conduct of public meetings and consider it a violation of those laws if two or more members meet (and it does not have to be in person) to discuss official business. How may violations of the this law were there?
  4. Is the intimidation and threat of lawsuits against delegates in their upcoming meeting an exercise or violation of their fiduciary duties?
  5. Was the "meeting" to discuss the creation of the Chairmanship for Polgar a violation? I submit it was all a charade to get Polgar and Truong to go along for the good of the USCF while they were "developing" a scheme for her demise long before she took office.
  6. Would the demise of the USCF benefit or damage the Continental Chess Association?
I beseech all USCF members and delegates to carefully consider their votes and make your decisions in the interest of saving the USCF.

Thank you for your indulgence and kind attention

John B. Flores
USCF Litigation
USCF Executive Board Endorsements

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

USCF Delegate Proposals In Search of a Delegate

I think the deadline for Advanced Delegate Motions is 1 June 2009. I hope these two proposals can find a delegate or delegates to champion them in Indianapolis.

1) Correspondence Chess
Posted at the USCF Issues Forum

Correspondence Chess has again fallen by the way side in the USCF. Two years ago we faced a crisis and the USCF stepped up to make sure that CC players in ICCF-US retained our representation in ICCF. IM Corky Schakel has taken over operation of ICCF-US and is doing a bang up job (see

Also two years ago there was one USCF CC event offered via web server on the ICCF server (WALTER MUIR E-QUADS) according to the CC web page ( There is still only that same event offered via web server. CC via web server is the preferred method of most CC players by far (see

Alex Dunne's column, in addition to being taken out of Chess Life (print and online) has not been made available via syndication (RSS, Atom, etc...) and is not promoted in the print or online Chess Life. I have spoken with quite a few CC players who used to read Dunne's column with regularity but now forget about it for months at a time as there is no way to be reminded that a new column is out.

We need a delegate to propose the following:
1) That all* USCF CC events be offered via web server (our own or the ICCF server) in addition to the current practice of offering them by post or email.
2) That failing the restoration of Check/Mail to Chess Life, that it should be syndicated via RSS/Atom and promoted in at least the online Chess Life.

*I understand that some events must be postal or email. However, almost every event I see on the Events page should be offered via web server.

I also understand that the USCF has been exploring setting up our own server. However, that exploration is now at least two years old. We received a bequest that was designated, at least in part, for CC. All I have seen from that is the proposal of starting a new CC event. With the current troubles cause by the varied litigants who have sued the USCF I understand that the bequests have had to be spent on litigation. However, the cost to the USCF to accomplish the two points above should be negligible and entry fees should offset that expense.

2) Online Chess Rating
Posted at the USCF Issues Forum

We need a delegate to champion the cause of those USCF members who can not play traditional OTB chess because of geographical or economic restraints but who CAN play online on one of the various ICS systems.

The USCF should establish an OnLine rating to be used for "standard" games. "Standard" games are usually defined as 10 minutes per game or longer. These games would differentiate from currently sanctioned ICS games in that they would not have TDs attending them at each location. Currently sanctioned online play under those terms are already rated under the current rating system.

-This new rating would necessitate an addition to the current "Regular" "Quick" and "Correspondence" ratings.
-Accommodation would have to be negotiated with an ICS (WCN seems the most likely candidate though I would prefer ICC) if the USCF chooses to have the ICS TD and charge rating fees. Alternatively, the USCF could set up an area on the website for players to submit their games and fees.
-Rating fees would have to be researched to see what would be profitable and what the market would bear.

This new rating could result in more than just friendly matches. The ability to hold OnLine tournaments and other events would be available to non-traditional players just as they are for traditional OTB players.

I know many former members who would have stayed if the USCF were relevant to them. If the USCF is to grow - and meet the organizational mission of promoting chess - it must find a way to develop an affinity for the organization among those who can not play traditional OTB events. The goal of this and the CC proposal ( is to develop that affinity and promote chess where the USCF is currently absent or has a very low profile.
If you are a member of the USCF and have an opinion or input about these issues, please go to the forum and get involved. If you are a delegate and agree with one or both please consider advancing an ADM on the topics.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Response to MorfeoKnight's Website Litigation Summary

MorfeoKnight has posted a page describing the USCF litigation. I have some comments on his site, which I will make. I invite him, or anyone else to contribute to the discussion.

USCF Belongs to the Members
We Deserve and Should Demand the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth, so Help the USCF

The inappropriate use of Chess Life and the USCF website to provide a one-sided account of the lawsuits, USCF v. Polgar, and vice-versa, has troubled me. Yesterday, when checking on the progress of the Chicago Open I noticed that site also being used to give an inaccurate and incomplete account of the facts.

Accordingly, I will use this space to provide as accurate and complete account of the facts. I trust and expect all visitors will review the complete record before drawing any conclusions.

In the words of the late Paul Harvey..."and now, for the rest of the story".

I must say that I found the invective regarding Bill Hall's litigation summaries in Chess Life to be puzzling. While Chess Life's publication schedule does not allow these updates to be as timely as one would like, I have thought Mr. Hall's statements in the magazine to be remarkably measured.

Obviously, the fine folks at chess disagree with me, feeling that the account is somehow one sided and unfair. Unfortunately, my requests for the fine folks at Chess Discussion to explain specifically why the statements by Mr. Hall were unfair or misleading were ignored.

Mr. Hall's statements are still available on the web, and can be found here and here.  Can someone, anyone, explain to me what specific language in this statement is inaccurtate, incomplete, or unfair?  I just don't see it.  I am willing to have my mind changed, but I just don't see it.

As far as the publicity on the Chicago Open website, the Chicago tournament is a CCA tournament, not USCF's tournament, and Bill can put whatever he wants to on his website.  While his writing was obviously advocacy, not a dispassionate summary, I did not see anything that was inaccurate.  

Incidently, I visited the Chicago Open on Sunday afternoon.  Bill also included campaign statements regarding the litigation on flyers distributed at the event.  Mike Nietman was also in attendance and had flyers available in the tournament hall.  Despite being a Chicago resident, Korenman had no presence at the event, which I found surprising, although consistent with the lack of energy which has permeated his last two campaigns.

Back to MorfeoKnight's website.

The following is a short list of allegations and corresponding facts.

It is alleged Susan Polgar "sued" the USCF.

Fact: The USCF first filed suit against Polgar on June 25, 2008, alleging hacking into email accounts and impersonating someone (see Pleading 1). Polgar filed suit on August 7, 2008 (see Pleading 2) and later amended her complaint on March 16, 2009 (see Pleading 3 ).

Unfortunately, this summary is neither complete nor accurate. What actually happened was:

1. On June 25, 2008, USCF filed a lawsuit against 10 John Does alleging that persons unknown had hacked into the email of Berry, Hough and/or Goichberg.

2. On August 7, 2008, Susan Polgar sues USCF.

3. On October 24, 2008, USCF amends its complaint in the California action to claim that Gregory Alexander and Susan Polgar conspired together to break into Randy Hough's email account.  Until this time, USCF had not sued Ms. Polgar, therefore, Ms. Polgar did, in fact, sue USCF, before USCF sued Ms. Polgar.

Now, in order to present the complete picture, it should be noted that Ms. Polgar has alleged, in response to the Amended Complaint in California that the John Doe action was a pretext and that USCF filed the lawsuit intending to sue Ms. Polgar the entire time.  I haven't found the evidence cited by her attorneys thus far to be particularly convincing; however, the litigation is still in its early stages.

Finally, and most importantly, it should be noted that it really doesn't matter a rat's ass who sued who first.  What matters is whether the underlying actions have merit.  

Returning now to MorfeoKnight's website, his next comment is as follows:

It is alleged Polgar wishes to bankrupt the USCF.

Fact: Polgar offered to settle for One ($1.00) Dollar even though she suffered personally and professionally from her opponents vicious attacks. She did so, with the best interest of the USCF and its members at heart, however, the settlement proposal was rejected. (I am unable to find the pleading for the proposed settlement so I am linking a copy of the announcement posted on Chess Discussion Blog [see 4].)

This is accurate as far as it goes, but is so incomplete that it would be misleading to one that reads it. To be fair, the incompleteness of the statements is not at all obvious to someone without legal training or a lawyer's advice, so I don't wish to indicate in anyway that MorfeoKnight intended to be misleading.

First of all it should be noted that I am sure that Ms. Polgar does not "want" to bankrupt USCF. Nonetheless, she has sued USCF and its ED and board members for absurd sums of money, and, in the unlikely event she is awarded what she is asking for, then USCF would be driven to bankruptcy.

GM Polgar offered to release USCF for $1 and an apology and a promise not to slander her in the future. That sounds nice until you think through the implications of the offer.

The major problem with the offer from USCF's perspective is that the offer is only to USCF, not it's board members or executive director. Because the USCF has a duty to defend and indemnify Goichberg, Berry, Bauer, Hough and Hall, the USCF could accept this offer and still go broke if a jury were to award a large judgment against Goichberg, Berry, Bauer, Hough or Hall. As such the settlement offer to USCF only is illusory.

Actually, it is worse than that. With the demand of an apology, USCF, by apology, would probably implicate the other defendants that USCF has the duty to indemnify. In short, while superficially attractive, accepting the offer would probably cost USCF in the long run.

Turning to MorfeoKnight's next point:

It is alleged Gregory Alexander hacked and impersonated others.

Fact: Alexander's pleading filed on January 12, 2009, implicate the USCF attorney, Karl Kronenberger, of concealing crucial exculpatory evidence and misleading the court (see Pleading 5 , page 4). On page 3 of said pleading, it asserts: "Exhibit G has been electronically doctored by Kronenberger to intentionally conceal crucial exculpatory evidence and to mislead the court. Exhibit G contains two large black boxes that obscure language hidden beneath. Mr. Kronenberger forgot to flatten the file, and anyone who uses Adobe Acrobat Professional can remove the black box which he wanted to hide from the court, and read what is underneath".

Sorry, but this is half-assed and sloppy.

In the first place, the describing the evidence as "exculpatory" is a bit of a stretch. The redacted evidence indicates that Ms. Polgar does not have an anonymizer account, although Mr. Alexander does. I will fall back on an earlier Chess Discussion post I made back in March:

With all due respect, I think the claim that the redacted material "clears the name of Ms. Polgar" is overstated.

The redacted material shows that Ms. Polgar does not have an anonymizer account. While that is useful information, it does not exonerate her.

1. Per USCF's complaint, not all the attempts to hack the email went through the anonymizer.
2. It does not eliminate the possibility that Ms. Polgar used an anonymizer account registered to another person.
3. It does not eliminate the possibility that another person did the hacking at Ms. Polgar's request or direction. USCF's attorney apparently claimed in open court that they have direct evidence to that effect. As yet, we do not have any knowledge what this purported direct evidence may be.

As fun as it is to comment on the internet, no one commenting on the web has access to all the evidence.

Secondly, the person allegedly exonerated by the redacted document was Ms. Polgar, not Mr. Alexander. Nothing in the redacted material helped Mr. Alexander's case in any way.

MorfeoKnight's Final point, although he promises more at a later date:

It is alleged Paul Truong was the "FSS" and the August 2008 Annual Delegates Meeting was used to try to remove him from the Executive Board.
Fact: Truong's "USCF trial" not only caught him and Polgar by surprise but they were not informed of Kronenberger's presentation. The four motions brought against Truong failed to remove him from the EB despite an alleged bribery. Pleading 3, pages 14 and 15, assert arrangements and other offers were made for two individuals in exchange for their vote to remove Troung. Page 15 reads, "Despite attending the meeting with the purpose of voting for Truong's removal, they changed their votes after hearing facts Truong presented in his defense and which facts were suppressed by Defendants Kronenberger, Goichberg, Hall, Hough, Hanken, and Berry." Internet discussion groups have reported a well respected individual in chess, and others, can testify and provide documentation to substantiate this assertion.

The allegation and the response don't really go together real well.

Whether Paul Troung was the FSS will be established by the technical evidence, which includes, but is by no means limited to, the Mottershead report. (Frankly, if I were representing USCF, I would be handing the data, but not Mottershead's analysis, to an expert and seeing if he draws the same conclusions that Mottershead does.) What happened at the August 2008 director's meeting has any real bearing on the core issue as to whether Mr. Truong was the FSS.

Some delegates tried to remove Mr. Truong at the 2008 meeting. The attempt failed. I'm not sure it's useful to try and divine why the delegates voted the way they did.

As far as the bribery allegation, the allegation seems to lack the essential element of bribery, the quid pro quo. Essentially bribery is offering inducement X to Y so that Y will do act Z. Because the alleged recipients of the bribe did not, in fact, vote the way that the Hanken allegedly wanted them to vote, tends to prove that there was no bribe. Furthermore, an allegedly incriminating email was posted on chessdiscussion, which said.

"If Bill says "yes", you wouldn't owe anything to him." If you don't owe anything to him, then there would be no quid pro quo.

Please note, this is a snippet of a snippet from an email exchange. Seeing the whole exchange in context would be more helpful.

Well those are my thoughts on MorfeoKnight's post. I think when it comes to presenting the whole truth, I think MorfeoKnight has a bit of work to do.