Best Western Washington Street Inn, Green Bay May 28, 2000
An important change is taking place in the way that the USCF is governed. The procedure to elect state delegates to the USCF will change this year. State One Member One Vote (SOMOV) has all adult USCF members of a state voting for their state's USCF's delegate(s). These state delegates will in turn vote next year for four Executive Board positions. The whole Board will in turn vote for the officers of the Federation from the Board's own membership.
Under the old, modified USCF bylaws, the new Board was formed last year in an election by the Delegates and Voting Members. The Board is comprised of seven members with staggered terms of office. Elections will be held every two years with terms of office running four years.
Those eligible to vote in the state elections should receive a ballot in their June Chess Life. If you don't receive a ballot it is probably because the USCF doesn't have your birthdate. You will need to call or write them to rectify the problem.
According to the new bylaws, Wisconsin has two delegates and six alternate delegates. (Thanks go to Guy Hoffman who spearheaded a multi-year effort to ensure that we would get two delegates!) These delegates and alternate delegates will be able to vote in the Executive Board election next year. Each state affiliate was to submit a list of their nominees to the USCF. These will appear on the ballot identified in some special way. I urge you to vote and to vote for the nominees of this board! Our nominees are Andrew Becker, Brian Brzezinski, Tom Feeney, Guy Hoffman, Chris Krumenauer, Mike Selig, Peter Webster and myself. The top two vote getters will be the delegates while the remaining six will be the alternate delegates. Should a delegate not be able to attend the Delegates meeting at the US Open, alternate delegates will be called to fill the state's allotment.
The USCF is currently under a severe budget shortfall. Latest estimates forecast a $300,000 loss for their fiscal year ending May 31. All this while membership numbers are at a record high at over 84,000. But more than half this number are junior or scholastic members!
As a result of this shortfall the Executive Director was let go last October. A nation-wide search yielded a new Executive Director -- George DeFeis was hired this past winter. His credentials do not include a background in chess but rather as a fundraiser for non-profit organizations. It is hoped that he can lend his experiences in the area of sponsorships to bolster the USCF.
At last August's delegate's meeting in Reno the revised budget for this year did not include any State Affiliate Support Program (SASP) money. In the past, among many programs, the WCA has used this money to fund numerous junior initiatives, to fund the Merit Award Program, to help support the annual Wisconsin Postal Championship and to help fund the purchase of the Rohland Cup. I argued that wiping out this fund for the states would harm the states as their budgets and programs were already set. So, I asked that the $30,000 be put back into the USCF budget. In the end a compromise of $15,000 was added back into the budget.
I doubt I will be able to rescue SASP this year. So, we will be unable to continue some of our programs and will need to cutback others.
I would also like to inform you that Guy and I have been placed on several committees. Guy is chair of the States committee and a member of the Bylaws and TD Certification Committees. I am a member of the States, Internet and Chess in Education committees. In addition I was personally asked to join the Scholastic committee by the chairman of that committee. Scholastic committee work was very hectic this year. Our most important job was to screen the resumes of the candidates for the USCF Scholastic Director. After a round of interviews by the Executive Board, the Executive Director and a scholastic committee representative, Thomas Brownscombe was selected to replace Beatriz Marinello. Thomas is from Maryland where he greatly enhanced the level of scholastic involvement and play in that state. We hope he can do the same on a nationwide level.
Lastly regarding news at the national level, the US Open returns to St. Paul, Minnesota this August. This will be the 101st US Open. The first was also held in Minnesota. There are many different playing schedules to choose from so there are no excuses not to play! Hope to see you there!!
At the board meeting immediately following this meeting, I will be submitting bids to organize the 2000-2001 Wisconsin Junior Open and the WCA Veteran's Tournament. In addition, the bid calls for the first Wisconsin Senior Open! This was requested by the members at last year's annual membership meeting. Although not finalized until that meeting I am calling for a four round trophy event for anyone age 50 or over. The dates would be November 4-5 in Oshkosh. Please be patient with us over the next few years as we tweak that event to make it better.
A reminder that Guy Hoffman is our event clearinghouse. Organizers of events in Wisconsin need to clear dates through him. Do NOT assume that traditional dates are yours forever. Contact him each year to reserve the dates you want.
Traditionally the WCA sponsors six events each year. The State Closed Championship starts off the year. During fall we hold the Wisconsin Junior Open and Veteran's Tournaments, the William Martz Memorial/North Central Open and the Herman Schramm Memorial. Our chess year ends each spring with the Arpad Elo Open.
For the second straight year no one bid on the Elo Open and it was not held. The NCO moved to Neenah and hopes to build upon last year's event with consecutive year's at a very fine hotel. Wisconsin clubs and organizers are encouraged to bid for any WCA event. See me or our secretary for more details on the bidding procedure.
As will be noted in the Treasurer's report, the WCA did not have a good financial year. The Junior Open/Veteran's Tournament lost money for the first time in awhile primarily due to the forced scheduling of the event on Halloween which was also the weekend after the teacher's convention. Due to my old contact not reserving the rooms for us on the weekend I wanted, we were forced to move to Halloween weekend. Other events fared poorly as well. We need you to support the WCA by playing in WCA events!
Remember that some of our other funding sources are drying up as well. We will need to try harder to be more profitable.
Our thanks to Arlen Walker and Joe Hitselberger for volunteering their time to become our webmasters. Our current web address is
Please check it out and send Joe or Arlen your tournament announcements, tournament reports and games. They'll be glad to hear from you! Websites are only as good as the information they present. The information needs to be accurate and current. Please continue to send our webmasters the data. Organizers, remember that this is free advertising! In addition, if you or your club have websites, let's work together and link them up.
The WCA received $295.60 this year from the USCF for our state's share of the SASP money.
First, for the Junior Open we reduce entry fees for those that send in more than four entries in the same envelope. This helped ease the huge workload for the TD's at the event. 56 of 101 participated in this program that invites juniors and schools to get active and recruit others to come to the tournament thereby benefiting both the schools and the event.
Second, we mass mailed a Junior Open flyer to every high school in the state. This always locates new scholastic clubs and lets them know we exist and are able to help.
Third, we continue to strive for excellence in tournament organization and direction by funding the Merit Award Program. Due the budget cuts in New Windsor, this board elected to suspend the program as of January 1, 2000.
Last, the WCA helped Morgan Feeney, the highest finishing high school player in the 1998-1999 Junior Open, attend the Denker Tournament of High School Champions at last year's US Open. Good luck to Paul La Cosse in this year's event.
The 2000 Wisconsin Scholastic Championship attracted 399 participants! Congratulations to Madison West for "threepeating."
Congratulations to Josh Zillmer for winning the 1999 Wisconsin Chess Tour. If organizers want their event on the tour, they should contact me or Guy, who is the Tour Committee chairman, by the middle of November of the year before the Tour. Remember that being on the Tour is a privilege and not a right. Tour status requires that events be run in a way becoming of Wisconsin events. Jerry Noel has consented to be the Tour statistician through 2000. Organizers or directors must submit a copy of the wall chart to Jerry when the event is over. The $1 per player fee should be forwarded to WCA Treasurer Chris Krumenauer.
A great deal of thanks go to all the Board members for their hard work and many hours of time spent on chess projects this past year. Special thanks to Jerry Noel, Tom Feeney and Brian Brzezinski who have their terms of office expire today. As I understand it none wish to run for reelection. In addition Mike Selig's seat expiring in 2001 is vacant. We are in need of new blood and hope that many are interested in running!
I have heard a few people say that we need to change the structure of the board. But I believe that if more people become involved and share the burden, it will be lighter on us all.