Friday, April 9, 2010

The Giuoco Piano

Here's another opening for us to study - and a video to go along with it.

Lots of tactical twists, but so is the Ruy Lopez, too! Last century, this was one of the majors that everyone had to know.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Armed Forces Chess

A few days ago, I asked about this. USCF EB Member Mike Atkins responded:

The previous US Armed Forces Opens were held at:
2009- Gettysburg War Museum, Army, Chief TD/Organizer Mike Hoffpauir
2008- Bethesda Naval Hospital, Navy, Tom Belke Organzier, Ernie Schlich Chief TD
2007- Henderson Hall Marine Corps Base (On the grounds of Fort Myer, next to Arlington Cemetary), John Farrell/Organizer, Michael Atkins, Chief TD
2006 - Washington DC Old Soldier's Home, Org/Lt. Col Doug Taffinder, Chief TD/Michael Atkins
For the 2006 event we brought in as special speaker retired USAF Lt. General William Earn Brown, a chessplayer who was in one of the Tuskeegee Airman graduating classes in the late 1940's.

The US Armed Forces Open is open to solder who are active-duty, retirees (20+ year retirees) and students at the Academies.

This year's event is being organized by Lt Col Taffinder again and will be in the DC area. They do a wonderful job in securing donated prizes and have gotten financial support in the past in order to purchase great trophies. The Military Academies participate in the tournament with West Point typically bringing the most players. When it is being held on military bases, the rooms for the academy students are usually free and the EF is always free for everyone.

The Military Chair recently resigned and they are in the process of ironing out a strategy to always have a Chair. I am the EB Liaison to the Military Committe.


(Used with permission.) Here's a chess site devoted to this topic:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Walters' Chess Qualifications

Here's a short list:

Chess Club Official: None
Tournament Director: None
State Affiliate: None
USCF Committeework: None
Newsletter/Magazine: None
Blog: Started one after he announced his campaign. (See below.)

Walters is saying the typical things chess politicians say when they have no real credentials:

a) He's going to represent the players, since he has no organizer experience.

Trying to turn a liability into an asset. So, why didn't/won't he represent the players in his state or his local chess club?

b) He's passionate about chess.

Sure, and the other pols are not? Since his one claim to contributing to chess other than just playing it is this blog, it sure would be nice if there were at least more than one post to it since Feb. 18 - and that was just a crosstable!

c) He's posted 300 odd comments to the USCF's Issues Forum. Mostly mean, nasty attacks or else some petty comment. These means that he fits right in with the USCF politics culture. (Sigh!)


Note John Hillery's comment to yesterday's post. Walters should be elected only to keep Sam Sloan out. This is what the USCF has come to.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Walters' Campaign Blog

Earlier I had stated that Gary Walters, candidate for the USCF Executive Board, had done nothing in chess but put up a campaign blog after he began his electioneering. More on that in later posts, but on the blog issue John Hillery commented, saying that my characterization of his blog was unjust.

(Sadly the links do not show up in this blog very well. You have to move your cursor around to find them.)

I am not the only one who's saying this blog is for campaigning. This from the USCF's Forums, thread "I Will Only Vote Positively", post #180806, Gary Walters himself says,

I am also campaigning actively on my blog at You can find out more about me there.

This compares to Hillery's comment cited above:

"You failed to mention that he only started his blog after he launched his election campaign." [quoting me - JL]

That would be a fair point if his blog were primarily (or even significantly) about politics. It isn't. It's a chess news and analysis site, and a good one.

The point of all this is that what we have is a candidate who is not willing to work his way up but wants to start at the top. In order to make up for his lack of chess experience, he launches a blog so that he can have at least some chess thing to campaign on.

Let's face it. In a year with the USCF in a financial crisis, it is going to need a very active Executive Board, aggressively helping with fundraising and promoting. It's stuck with Walters because the alternative is so unacceptable. If the members expect this pol to be more than just a resume credential collector, they are likely to be disappointed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Adventures In NY, Boston, and Elsewhere

Just learned of a new chess blog. Well, chess and lots of other stuff, too. Rather like my own at Jack Le Moine's Blog.

This blog is run by Erabin at Brandais University. Check his blog out and tell him Jack sent you!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Queen's Gambit

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.)

Almost always, when the Queen Pawn meets the Queen Pawn in the center, White supports with the Queen Bishop Pawn. While this forumation is not as deadly as its brother formation on the Kingside, it is more strategic and hence more practical.

I usually play this. I note that the QB pawn usually moves up next to the Q pawn no matter what Black does.

This is an overview for beginners.

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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Old Finances

This is from my Way-Back Machine at the USCF's Forum. An oldie but goodie from 1/1/2007. Post 25787.

Thanks for the audit reports. I did look up the ones going back to 2002. Just a few comments. I note that all of the reports for all years was unqualified. This meant that the auditors found nothing materially wrong with the financials. If there were significant missing moneys, then that would have been noted somewhere - especially if they were in the ballpark of millions of dollars. There were no internal control reports - that dispenses with that issue. There should have been management reports, too. Those are not normally made available to the public.

I know that this next may stick in your craw but the Executive Board members should be given access to those reports. That's the price of having SS on the board. I don't mean to be troublesome here, just fair. I don't think there's a legal requirement for that, that's just my opinion.

I note that the building and land in TN is valued at near the price SS claimed was paid for it. The FY 2006 financials noted that the land was appraised but the building was not. Professional appraisers as a rule value property based upon all relevant factors. If encumbrances had the effect of significantly reducing the re-sale value aka the fair market value of the land, then the appraisers should have included that in their appraisal. Accounting rules require that assets be recorded at the lower of cost or market. Since the auditor did not write down the HQ in Crossville, this supports Joel Chandler's explanations and not Sam Sloan's. That should dispense with that issue. The building will be appraised this year. I do wonder why the building and land weren't both appraised at the same time.

I note that the 2005 report is marked "draft". This looks bad. You really should get the final version of the report up, even if it has no changes from the draft version.

Summary: the audit reports do not support Sam Sloan's allegations.*
* He was claiming $3 million were missing from the treasury.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Sam Sloan Should Do

Sloan does have a big positive. He comes across pretty good on video. He could concentrate on producing videos for youtube and elsewhere. He’s got eccentric ideas on openings and other strategies but here, this works in his favor. Chess needs coverage of eccentric openings and not just more of the same old stuff. - Yet another video of the Najdorf Sicilian (for example)!

If he gets a director to coach him and line up shots, together with some post-production editing, he could make a name for himself – which is to say, he could re-brand himself in the chess world.

Conclusion: how Sloan could rehabilitate himself is an interesting exercise for a lazy afternoon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Non-Chess Jack 3/9/10

What am I up to when I'm not playing chess and chess politics?

Yesterday, I read a book on Twitter. It was really an eye-opener for me. I did a little bit to my twitter site and my twitter practice. I went up from 6 to 65 followers. Here's my Twitter site, and check out the book, too.

- Yes, I know. You saw on the USCF's Forum this:

Big picture time here: I notice I have 63 followers on Twitter.
- Myself, Post 183785

Same terminology used by the Rev. Jim Jones. Scary.
- Another USCF poster, citing the leader of a famous mass suicide in the early 1980's, Post 183786

I had to inform the group that "followers" is the official term used by Twitter, Google (see the right panel here) and other major social internet sites. Why bother with such crazies?


Here's another installment of Herodotus on my History Blog. H was a tourist as well as an historian in the 5th. century BC, so his description of the ancient Egypt he saw takes us back in time 2,400 years.

Now, with securities prices low is the best time to invest. In my Finance Blog, I ruminate on wisdom I found from Rich Dad and others.

Health Care dominates the news on my Politics Blog but the most far-reaching news is Obama's cutting back on the Space Program. What are the Left's goals in Space?

and don't forget my first Youtube video ever!

Sam Sloan's Tricky Ingredients

The above are easy stuff. More tricky is his belief system relating to that 3 letter word that begins with s and ends with x. He’s been really in-your-face with it and it has caused him a lot of trouble on this forum and elsewhere. For me, this is a deal-breaker but I realize that for most, they do not take the kind of moral stands as I do. So, what is his optimal strategy here?

First, we’ve got to respect the fact that he is sincere in what he believes. His record goes back a half-century now to his days in Berkley. As for the children issue, he notes that it is/was legal in the countries where he did it.

Second, we’ve got an environment where tolerance for matters related to the s word is artificially high. It is plausible to see a scenario where Sloan responds to concerns about his website, books, and other media by successfully urging a live-and-let-live attitude.

His best bet would be to put his s-word related stuff on the web behind some kind of wall like other adult-content sites do. As I recall, this was the chief complaint by people on this forum during the time Sloan was on the Board.

As for his views on adults, children, and the s-word, they are what they are. While parents will probably always be uncomfortable having him around their children at chess tournaments, at the rate society keeps accepting more and more gross behavior, it is plausible to imagine his views gaining wider acceptance in the years to come.

The issue needs more finesse than Sloan is probably capable of but once again, it is possible for him to do it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sam Sloan's No-Brainer Ingredients

I know that it is difficult to imagine a Sam Sloan that has some measure of respectability in the chess world but it is possible. Like Nixon’s case after Watergate, it will take awhile. What are the ingredients of a Sloan rehabilitation?

1) He’s got to dial back on chess politics. Post less on USCF Issues and more on All Things Chess.

2) Lawsuits against Polgar/Truong are popular but not against the USCF. He’s got to refrain from any more anti-USCF litigation.

3) Stay out of trouble with the law. This especially goes for child-related trouble!

This is the no-brainer stuff.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Positively Sam Sloan

Is there a strategy for Sloan getting back to some status of respectability in the chess world? (I’m thinking of something like the post-Watergate Nixon did.)

First, let’s clear out some underbrush. About the election:

Sloan’s election chances are slim. The worst thing from his standpoint was that he’s in an effectively 2 man race. Had there been a third man for that last slot, then he might have had a shot at getting in by the majority of anti-Sloan voters splitting their vote. As it is, every one of them can concentrate their votes on Walters. The election is Walters’ to loose. He does not need to be qualified or even knowledgeable; he just needs to avoid anything stupid. Sloan’s only hope is to get people thinking the USCF is badly managed and then go negative on Walters. He’s not up to the job; he cannot fix things – that sort of spiel. This is a plausible strategy for him; he likes attacking people. Still, Sloan faces the problem that he has no base of support. Further, in his case, his experience on the Board actually works against him in this election.

I just do not see him winning this. Even if he does win, what does he get? - A seat at a Board where he will once again be isolated. Worse, Sloan being Sloan, he probably won’t be able to resist the opportunities to cause trouble. Having gone to the well once already, the USCF may do unto Sloan what it did to Polgar and Truong and expel him. Eviscerating the rules for removal from the Board will not be the novelty it was last year.

Sloan’s best bet would be to withdraw from the race so that he can get an early start on his rehabilitation but to analyze that move would be to withdraw from any plausible Sloan-like behavior into fantasy. So, I assume that he will run, adopt some strategy such as I imagine, and loose.

Then what? What is his best strategy from that point?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More on That Miami Tournament

(Continuation of the March 1 post.)

There's some further information on this issue:

1) The organizers had set unrealistically high guaranteed prizes. They would have been unlikely to have broken even - even if there had been no hurricanes and the weather had been perfect.

2) They had not done unusual publicity to boost the attendance, meaning

3) The guaranteed prize fund was their publicity and they just used the hurricane warning as an excuse to pull it.

4) The USCF delayed action on this until after the election so that the appearance of political manipulation could be avoided.

These are pretty substantial arguements on the other side of this issue. In light of this, the organizers really ought to explain themselves to the chess public.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dutch Defense, Stonewall

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.)

The Stonewall has pawns on KB4, K3, Q4, and QB3. Either Black or White can move into this formation. In my experience, it is really hard to bust this formation. I recall Max Euwe's book on the middlegame had an extensive chapter on how to bust it.

This is one opening I recommend for beginning players.

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

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hurricanes, Tsunamis, and Chess Tournaments

The 2008 Miami tournament is back in the news with an appeal from the Rules Committee. - Fallout from the organizers lowering the prize funds due to Hurricane Ike - which did not hit.

Hurricanes and other natural disasters do occur. Experts put out alerts and then they turn out to be wrong. Just look at the tsumami warnings in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific this weekend. Experts thought it might happen; mass evacuations were declared and made. Fox, CNN, and MSNBC provided all-day coverage of an anticipated disaster that did not happen.

It does not help chess organization in the future to create precidents that discourage organizers by blaming them for National Weather Service warnings that do not pan out.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Race for Executive Board

Since Susan Polgar and Paul Truong were forced off last year, their seats are vacant. This July the members will elect 2 people to replace them. 3 candidates have filed:

1) Mike Neitman, who has served for a very long time in Scholastic Chess Committees and has a long record in USCF affairs.

2) Gary Walters, who has no record at all but has played a few rated games in the past few years. He has also posted 300+ times on the USCF's forums, mostly attacking yours truly.

3) Sam Sloan, who has a very long record in USCF affairs but it is really bad. He served 1 year on the EB in 2006-2007.

Of the candidates, Neitman is a lock, so the real election is between Walters and Sloan for that last seat. Because Sloan is so unacceptable, people are trying to pump up Walters by exagerating his qualifications and downgrading the qualifications expected of an Executive Board Member.

I shall provide much more explanations of this short summary in the future.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Alekhine Defense

Here's another cool opening video. I always seem to get crushed with the 4 Pawns attack, so I need to look for another variation.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is Debt Cancellation Income?

Since there's so much confusion at the USCF, Wick, and others, I'll make one last post on this issue.

Was their legal liabilities reduced by $39,000 or not? About that crack about "HONESTLY portrayed that way" (see below) have you checked with the IRS regarding rules on taxable income? A phone call may help you guys clarify the matter of debt cancellation being income.


Confusion Alert: Susan owes money to the lawyers; her lawyers did not owe money to Susan. It was her debt (not the lawyers') that was partially cancelled by the insurance payment. This seems to be the point which is leading the USCF, Wick, and others astray.

A Voice Which Should Be Included?

Subject: my post to the MQ...
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 13:20:43 -0800
From: Hal Bogner

"... a voice which should be included"?

Sent at: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:05 pm
From: hmb
To: WPraeder

Hi Wayne - I just submitted this to the censors, and am putting it into
a PM in case it never otherwise sees the light of day.


I do think HMB needs to be allowed to post - coming out of settlement,
his is a voice which should be included.

No one in the MQ is forbidden from posting. It is just that the post is
reviewed before being released.

If my posts will need to be subject to prior review (i.e., read by
censors), then my voice will go away.

Steve Jones' voice has gone away for this reason. After advocating for
changes in the moderation, and after having worked on the inside of the
MOC/FOC system as a volunteer, he chose to let his membership lapse over
this issue and this issue alone.

Kevin Bachler is also in the MQ. I sent him a PM, and he replied, and
encouraged me to post his reply.

This will be the only post that I will make while under this censorship
regime. Members will only see it if it is approved by those responsible
for performing such prior censorship. Thank you to all who are standing
up on this issue. I hope that everyone will someday have the same
privileges that I myself insist upon here as a member, and I will only
remain a member if they are granted. If I also am to let my membership
expire, it will not be the end of my various activities in chess, just
as it is not the end for others who have checked out from USCF in one
way or another.

Re: et tu?

Sent at: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:35 am
From: kbachler
To: hmb
Hi Kevin,

I've just joined you on the moderation

Is that why you stopped posting?



Hello Hal,

I stopped posting because I informed USCF that I would let my membership
expire and will not rejoin. The moderators are incompetent and biased
generally, but Sawmiller in particular. He gleefully "punishes" some
people for transgressions that he even refuses to acknowledge in others.
The moderators take all critiques as personal criticism, they appear
either incapable or unwilling to learn. I found it amazing that their
"defense" as to why they were unbiased is that they allowed me to post
legally-required identifying information when I made comments of
an investment nature.

USCF also does not set expectations and/or requirements of decorum and
comportment, thereby letting people slander other members - often
volunteers - with impunity. USCF is first and foremost a membership
organization, and the members must get along for USCF to grow and
thrive. That USCF cannot recognize this simple social reality (a social
reality that IS recognized by other social groups - even nationally
smaller ones like MENSA) is a testament to the social ineptness in USCF.
USCF appears to be an organization where many of the volunteers/workers
find the only "power" in their lives, so they'd rather exercise that
power than improve USCF for its members. A perceived challenge to their
power is dealt with severely - even if the reason is in actuality an
improving in the lot of the members.

So, frankly, I've had it with USCF. There are fun things I can do with
my life instead. A hobby should be fun. Volunteering for one's hobby
should be fun. USCF is NOT fun.

I'm focusing on playing via ICCF and recently won a Master class
section. It's fun, and enjoyable and doesn't involve any of the
political crap and refusal to improve that one finds in USCF. It is,
frankly, about chess.

I've also focused more on my job and career - both of which have
received significant challenges in the recent economy.

In a few months my membership will expire, quietly. I suspect/hope that
this time no one will renew it for me, and that's just fine.

I can be reached in the future at

Feel free to share this email, including the above email addres with the
forum when you are able. I don't expect to check this mailbox.



Saturday, January 23, 2010

Our Long National Nightmare is Over.

The USCF v. Polgar and Truong lawsuits were, in the main, settled. The stipulation of dismissal was filed with the court yesterday afternoon.

Polgar received no money. Her lawyers did receive $39,000 from USCF's insurance company, which, may cover the out of pocket expenses the lawyers incurred. It certainly doesn't cover even 20% of Ms. Polgar's legal fees.

In a prior post Jack LeMoine interpreted the settlement as a vindication of Paul Truong from the FSS allegations -- not so much. The brutal fact of the matter is that the Mottershead report remains unrebutted. Indeed, it's findings have been bolstered with more data -- data that was not within USCF's control.

I would also note that the 39k paid by USCF's insurer is what is known in the trade as a costs-of-defense settlement. When it would cost you 80k to try a case, and 39k to settle it, many insurers will cut their losses and pay to settle the claim. (Whether this is a good long term business strategy is a facinating question -- but beyond the scope of this blog.)

Polgar Wins

Indications from the USCF's Forums that the settlement involved cash payments to Susan Polgar. Amid all of the spin that has come from that place, money talks loudest.

If this proves to be true, then this fact addresses the central question of Paul Truong's innocence of the FSS Affair.

We'll keep track of this story and report developments.


New development: USCF issues Press Release.

My summary:
1) Polgar/Truong to stay out of USCF.
2) USCF's insurance company pays $131,000 to USCF and $39,000 to Polgar's lawyers.
3) They release each other from all claims.
4) Does not cover Gregory Alexander or Sam Sloan.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lawsuits Settled!

The USCF settled the lawsuits between it and Susan Polgar and Paul Truong. It has not settled the suits it has with Gregory Alexander. Susan Polgar's lawsuit versus Sam Sloan is ongoing.

This is breaking news. More as it becomes available.

The Danish Gambit

Here's another cool opening video. This one is on the Danish. Black's Queen sac was memorable when I first saw it and it sticks with me to this day.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chess Blogging: Why So Little?

The Georgia Society of CPA's launched a blog last week and I contributed a few posts to help them get started. This one was about blogging versus chatting and I used the USCF's activities as an example of the behavior. As you can see, while USCF politics was discussed therein, it really wasn't about that. Rather, I addressed this question: why is it so hard for people to blog?

I think that this is especially of interest to the chess community. Chess in the US needs all the promotion that it can get.

Here's the link to the CPA Society's post: GSCPA

And don't forget about the Chess Blog Carnival coming up at the end of this month. (Plug!)

Footnote: While I did not mention names in that post, the chess community will recognize the references to Brian Lafferty and Brian Mottershead. Not important to the point of my posting, just FYI here in this forum.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The English Opening

- Here we go again. . .

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.)

(sorry, I couldn't get the window to fit onto the column width, so I just left a link.)

The English (1.c4) is another flexible opening. This means that an immense number of variations occur quickly. This video covers the 1. ... e5 response with an early ... Bb4. Be leery of the claims of "book move" and so on as there are so many other good choices for both Black and White.

Notice that after White occupies c4, d4, and e4 with his pawns, Black can capture e5 x d4 and when White's Queen responds Q x d4, Black can develop his Knight to c6 and gain time. While his center pawn has to lay back at d6, White's trio of pawns is busted up and Black has the e file to attack down after castling. So, things aren't as cut and dried as the pundit makes it look.

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

Friday, January 8, 2010

Najdorf Sicilian

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.)

I notice that this blog's column width isn't large enough to accommodate the YouTube video - that pesky Google ad which can be turned off, only the button is to the right of the column's cutoff pixel.

Here's a link to Jack Le Moine's Blog where you can watch it, together with a few remarks of my own.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 Chess Blog Carnival

A new year is upon us. Even if it is not regular, an occasional carnival showcasing the chess blogging talent out there is a good thing.

Here's the chess carnival's page. It also lists past chess carnivals. If you blog on chess, then showcase your work in the carnival. It will publish on 2/1/10.


On a related topic:
If you blog on other subjects, then check out the many blog carnivals out there. These carnivals cover a broad range of areas of interest. Blog Carnivals have become one of the many resources for bloggers to promote their work and for the public to search for quality blogs.

I began the Chess Blog Carnival 2 years ago when I discovered that there was none for chess.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Is Settlement on the Horizon?

USCF's attorneys in the Texas case have filed a paper with the court curiously entitled NOTICE TO THE COURT OF TENTATIVE, POSSIBLE, PARTIAL SETTLEMENT. (I am not sure guys, but could you put a few more qualifiers in that title?) The settlement would resolve all claims in the TX, CA, and IL actions except USCF v. Gregory Alexander (formerly in CA, but transfered to Texas) and Polgar v. Sloan (in Texas). The settlement would not have any effect on the Alexander criminal case. The document does not discuss terms.

For information about settlement, we need to turn to a bizarre filing by Sam Sloan. While Sloan's filing itself is hardly a reliable source of information, the emails between Sloan and the mediators indicate that the parties are agreeing to a mutual dismissal of the claims, without payment by either party. An email to Sloan from the mediators states:

You'll be surprised, and hopefully pleased, to know that the USCF & Susan Polgar have agreed to settle all of the current cases. Basically, both sides agreed to walk away & provide mutual releases back and forth.

Sam, in his inimitable fashion, has reacted to a proposed settlement by throwing a public snit fit. A less charitable mind than mine might form the opinion that Sam was trying to cause trouble in the hopes that one side or the other would pay him money to shut up and go away.

As to the settlement terms, as far as known, do not seem unreasonable under the circumstances. USCF has claims against Polgar which, if reduced to a judgment would be, at a minimum, very difficult to collect. Polgar's claims are flimsy and unlikely to prevail. Of course, the precise details of the settlement are unknown at this point.

There has been some speculation about possible settlement terms that do not strike me as reasonable. Sloan has claimed that Polgar and Truong would be restored to the board. Not bloody likely. First of all, I don't think the EB has the power to do that. Secondly, from USCF's point of view, the entire goal has been to eliminate potential liabilities arising from the FSS affair. Restoring Polgar and Truong to the Board would completely frustrate that goal. I just don't see any reasonable scenario where that could fly.

Some have made a claim about our FIDE affiliation. I don't see that as being realistically involved. Our FIDE affiliation is not ours to give. FIDE's affiliation belongs to FIDE, and FIDE can give it to whoever it wants to.

In all, it would prove to be a tragic waste of time, money, opportunity and potential, but, at least, it would all be over.