Ramada Conference Center, Milwaukee
September 6, 2009
The WCA had a quiet year. Tournament attendance after a couple of growth years, showed some signs of decline. This might be due to the national economic conditions we are in. Our treasury is strong. New organizers and tournament directors continue to emerge but there is continued need for more of them and for mentoring them. If you are one of these new organizers or TD’s, just ask to assist at an event run by a more senior organizer or TD and they’ll be happy to show you the ropes.
The USCF lost $110,000 last fiscal year. This even with two bequests given to the USCF totaling around $400,000. So, as you can see, without the bequests, USCF would have had a huge loss. They did pay down the mortgage on the building by $100,000 but the rest of the bequest money was used to defend the Federation in six lawsuits. Four are related to the 2007 Executive Board election while another was dismissed and the sixth is with their former book and equipment vendor. For a full understanding of the lawsuits that are draining USCF resources please read Executive Director Bill Hall’s explanation on the USCF website and updated occasionally in Chess Life but basically the four related suits deal with the alleged actions of two winning candidates, Susan Polgar and Paul Truong and how they posted fake forum postings and arranged to break into USCF Secretary Randy Hough’s personal e-mail.
Several attempts to remove the pair from the board failed until the board came up with the idea of revoking their USCF membership. They did so on the Friday night of the US Open last month. The pair then appealed the decision and, according to USCF bylaws, the delegates are to hear appeals of this nature. So, Saturday afternoon was the time given for the hearing of the appeal and a counterstatement. The hearing was closed and concluded in a secret ballot on the revocation of each one. The votes were overwhelming to uphold the board’s action.
So, unless another lawsuit is filed to delay the process, there will be a special election in the next year to fill the two open Executive Board seats.
As I hope you know, I was a candidate in this year’s election. Finishing sixth in the eleven way race for four seats, many of my fellow delegates wished me congratulations (for not having to get involved with all of the lawsuits) as well as condolences for losing but hoped I’d run again. The winners of the special election would have one year left then have to run again the following year. So, I’ll wait and see what happens before deciding to run again but I do want to thank all of my Wisconsin supporters who offered encouragement during my campaign and to those who voted for me.
Before hearing the appeals the delegates had to resolve several bylaws issues as pointed out by our Illinois nonprofit attorney. Several of these dealt with the delegates and their terms. Previously, in non-Executive Board election years, the state residents are asked to vote for their state delegates. Although Wisconsin has not been a problem, several states either don’t nominate people or those that won, didn’t attend the Delegate’s Meeting. So, we opted to return to the old way of naming delegates and that was to annually elect them by the state association boards.
One old practice was dealt away with and that was the practice recently named “delegates for a day” whereby interested people could solicit state delegations that were not full and be named a delegate for that state. This was often a way for people from states with full delegations to still get in under another state’s delegation. The attorney didn’t think this was legal.
In February the Greater Madison Visitor and Convention Bureau contacted me about holding national events in Madison. I toured the Alliant Energy Center and Monona Terrace. For various reasons I didn’t think either would be a good fit for a national scholastic event but I did believe that the Monona Terrace would be a superb site for a US Open. We kicked around several ideas and thought that the earliest we could put together a package was for the 2013 US Open. With the board’s support I’ve been pursuing this and trying to get the GMVCB and the USCF together. Cost is going to be a factor and I’m not sure if we can make the bid viable while keeping the hotel rates low enough yet high enough to get a kickback to pay for the convention center. It may depend upon us receiving some grants.
Scheduling is also a factor. There is a purported bid from Chicago for 2012 and the USCF will not want to go back-to-back in such close proximity. However, Chicago has held the US open in 1989, 1994 and 2006 and the feeling is that it should move around. So, keep you fingers crossed!
The WCA sponsors the Marshall Rohland Memorial/Wisconsin Closed Championship, the Arpad Elo Open, the William Martz Memorial/North Central Open, the Wisconsin Memorial and the Junior Open/Veterans Tournaments. All are open for bids from state organizers and/or tournament directors. If you are interested in more details on how to bid for these events, please contact any board member.
On the heels of Brian Luo’s appearance at the 2007 World Youth, Alex Velikanov became the second Wisconsin participant in a World Youth tournament participating in the 2008 event in Vietnam.
Congratulations to Madison West for winning their seventh consecutive State Scholastic Team Championship. Last March 414 students participated at UW-Oshkosh. Congratulations to Marion for repeating as the K-8 State Team Champion and to Muskego Lake Denoon Middle School for capturing the K-5 State Team Championship.
2008 Arnold Denker Tournament of High School Champions Wisconsin participant Chris Brown, Jr. finished 2-4 in Dallas but our 2009 representative Hongkai Pan won his last three games including against a master in the last round to finish 4-2. Mira Ensley-Field, Wisconsin’s 2008 and 2009 Susan Polgar Invitational for Girls Tournament participant finished 3-3 each year but she did score a huge upset in the first round of this year’s event by beating the eventual second place finisher.
Congratulations to Chris McKinney for capturing his first Wisconsin Chess Tour title. Organizers desiring to have their event considered for Tour status need to contact Guy by November of the year before the tour. The WCA wishes to thank Jerry Noel for being the Tour Statistician for many years. Jerry wishes to relinquish the position at year’s end. Luckily former Tour winner Neil Gleason has volunteered to takeover for Jerry. Neil is a statistician for Dane County and will do a great job for us. I urge the board to ratify that appointment at the board meeting following this meeting.
The terms of office of Ken Rasmussen, Ashish Vaja and Andy Becker expire today. I want to thank all of the Board members for their hard work this past year.