The River Center, UW-Oshkosh, August 31, 2003
The past year has proven to be a mixture of success for us. First, with the proceeds of the 2002 National Junior High School Tournament, the WCA is once again on a sound financial basis. Our treasurer will present the numbers shortly.
However, the USCF has run into severe financial difficulties. For the details, please see the memo that Ive posted in the playing room but, to summarize, the assets of the Life Membership Account (both the USCF building and its portfolio) equal the amount of money the USCF owes. When the Delegates gathered in Los Angeles we were under the assumption that the year ended in May at either a break even status or running a slight surplus. When the audited financials came in, we were surprised to find a $365,000 deficit. The net change was due to four problems: First, the accrual accounting system for multi-year members was incorrect. Second, the Life Member Assets (LMA) reported a huge loss for the year. Third, payroll expenses from the last payroll period in the fiscal year needed to be accrued and fourth, over $50,000 in TLAs went uninvoiced.
Clearly the last item can be corrected and the TLAs invoiced but that would be in the current fiscal year. But the other three can not be made up.
The Delegates, Executive Board and office know that adult dues can not be raised again. It has been discussed that Youth, Scholastic and Scholastic Economy dues may be raised. Alternatively, expenses need to be cut. The first look was to reduce the number of Chess Lifes that the Youth and Scholastic members receive. The Scholastic Council, of which I am a member, has proposed a reduction in the number of Chess Lifes for all membership categories with the thinking that reducing contributor fees, printing and mailing costs for an entire month would save the most money. President Beatriz Marinello is reviewing the options.
In the meantime, seventeen USCF employees were laid off last week. Hopefully, this will allow them to meet their payrolls over the next few months.
The current plan is to sell the building to a developer who is willing to pay fair market value for the property, pay off some severances to employees who wont move and then move to Crossville, TN. The Tennessee county has deeded the USCF a parcel of land to put up a building and offered free use of an existing building while the permanent building is put up. With the proceeds of the sale of the building, the USCF will also purchase long needed computer infrastructure and software to update their systems. Money to put up the building will come from a bank in Crossville when the USCF mortgages the land.
How can you help ensure the future of the USCF? Consider renewing your membership early! Consider buying from the USCF catalog!
Separate from raising dues it was suggested to raise rating fees. Various rates were discussed but anticipate a flat fee around 20 cents per game on disk and 40 cents per game on paper. The reason for this is that although the USCF takes in $100,000 from rating fees it loses $50,000 in the transactions in time spent processing the reports. It was thought that scholastic events cost more because many of the players are new and it is their first event. Scholastic events also tend to have a lot of missing IDs. So, in essence under the existing rating fee structure, scholastic events were charged less but created more work for the office. Now there will be a flat fee for scholastic and open events.
The office and Executive Board has set a deadline for the end of the year to get up and running a pilot program for on-line submission of rating reports. I pointed out that eventually it should cost less for on-line submission of rating reports and that the charged fees should fall back.
One outstanding upgrade to the members only area of the USCF website will be a section that is currently in beta test. The new pages will allow you to view the rating reports of all of the events youve played in since 1991. To view the beta site log onto http://msa.uschess.org.
Only a few Wisconsin USCF members took the time to vote for the Executive Board elections last June. Next year Wisconsins USCF members will be asked to choose delegates and alternate delegates. Please support the choices put forth by the WCA Board of Directors. They will be marked as such on the ballot.
Be advised that there will be a new rule book out soon. Major changes will be highlighted in a Chess Life article by rule book editor Tim Just. I posted a summary of the rules changes in the playing room. This list is from www.uschess.org.
Congratulations to Madison West High School for recapturing the State Scholastic Team Championship and for capturing nearly every trophy in the two varsity sections of the 2003 State Scholastic Chess Championships. A record 475 players participated. Next year the event will expand from four sections to six sections. Well add a third varsity section and a K-6 section.
The trophies kept heading to Madison as Madison West Coach, Alex Betaneli captured the 2002 Wisconsin Chess Tour trophy.
The WCA is pleased to announce that the North Central is back! After a two year absence Arlen Walker submitted a bid to hold the event at the Country Inn and Suites in Brookfield over the Thanksgiving weekend.
WCA tournament attendance excluding the Junior Open was down for the year. Tour event attendance was also down. If you take a look at the tournament calendar, youll notice a preponderance of the events falling in the fall. My personal opinion is that organizers, including the WCA, need to re-examine the schedule and spread out the events better over the year. This includes moving the State Championship back to Memorial Day Weekend. Very few Wisconsin players go to the Chicago Open that weekend anyway.
I encourage those of you with web access to monitor the WCA website. Arlen has some ideas to re-vamp it. I also ask organizers to request tournament dates from Guy Hoffman, the WCA Clearinghouse Director. We want to avoid organizers scheduling events on the same day. You may also contact Arlen so he can put them up on the websites calendar. The website URL is www.wischess.org.
Arlen and I each maintain an e-mail list of Wisconsin chess players. We try to keep the list private to reduce the chance of spamming. If you are not on my list, please give me your e-mail address.
Be advised that the AmericInn motel chain is once again planning on doing several regional and a national scholastic chess championship. Current plans are to hold the regional events in the month of November. They are currently soliciting AmericInn properties that are interested in hosting an event. Then they will be interested in finding TDs around the state to direct the events. Let me know if you are interested in the paid position and Ill get you in contact with the marketing firm that is organizing the events.
I have told them repeatedly that the idea they are putting forth is wonderful. Unfortunately, the organizers continue to ignore pleas from the state and local organizers to avoid long standing events and to plan the events earlier to avoid conflicts. Last year a number of properties held an event on the weekend of the Northeastern. This year several events may coincide with the Wisconsin Junior Open and the National Youth Action event held in Rockford, IL the week after our Junior Open. We need to encourage this sponsorship but at the same time, get them to work with us not against us.
My thanks to all the board members for their hard work this past year. Chris Krumenauer, Andrew Becker and Herman Presswood have their terms of office expire today.
ADDENDUM: Wisconsin USCF membership demographics:
As of mid-July, Wisconsin had 1013 USCF members. This includes 54 affiliates and library members. The 1013 is a decline of 66 from the year before.
Of the 1013, 681 were in my database from prior years. 610 of those were in the database as members in 2002. 71 were in my database but not members in 2002. They were lapsed members who came back in.
332 were not in my database from the year before. Of those new members 187 were either Youth or Scholastic members while 94 were Regular members.
Sadly, this means that 471 or 44% of last years members were not in the list this year.
Of the 1013 members, 329 are Regular members, 219 are Life members, 212 areYouth members, 119 are Scholastic members.
728 have a rating. 470 have a different rating from the year before.
A request from a board member at the meeting asked for the number of prison members. That number is 36.