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.