Is the USCF Still Relevant?

Markle
Greenmtnboy wrote:

I wonder if the USCF has ever de-licensed a rogue TD.  I remember Milo Krakauer back in the 70s chess scene.  According to Goichberg he was unethical and ran into problems with headquarters. 

  Yep, i know of one guy in WV that can no longer direct Tourn. because of the crap he pulled in the 90'S

AndyClifton

I am not bitter, I am grimly realistic!

Next you'll be calling woodshover morose.

And anyway, I thought you were going to sleep or something (or do you have another shift to put in on the dikes?).

PS  Wow, I was once 2 points higher than Kramnik (cool!). Laughing

heinzie

And now you're still sneakily one point higher than you claim to be... very clever

Natalia_Pogonina
heinzie wrote:

Then what life deception greater than this did manage to make you so bitter :p

Relocating your identity as we speak... did you know Vladimir Kramnik's USCF rating is 2288?


His real USCF rating would be in the 2850-2900 range.

heinzie

Nooo, his real USCF rating is 2288

AndyClifton

Please be relative, uncle & niece!

Estragon
DrSpudnik wrote:

The USCF snoozed for years while other sites were facilitating on line play. Now it is too late, there are way too many on line venues that don't require a $40 or so membership. Even so, if you compare what you get, chess.com kicks the USCF's ass. 

This was their great blunder - they could have had the first mega-playing site, and stomped out the fledging competition or bought them out early, but the organization was just not designed to move quickly, and the leadership at the time was entirely composed of those who came up in chess before the internet, most were not at all computer-savvy.

But they remain the FIDE affiliate for the USA, so if you want to play serious competition under the real rules, they are the only game in town.  I found some years ago, as I got older and went to fewer events, there was no reason to join until I was planning to play one again. 

Their magazine not only sucks and has always sucked, they bought out the old Chess Review when creator Al Horowitz died, which was a far superior magazine (that non-OTB players would buy) with a more active postal chess operation, and ruined that franchise, too.

Then they spent their entire future, including monies set aside for life memberships, on helping Fischer get the title.  A lot of expensive behind the scenes work went into getting him admitted to the cycle, since he had not qualified, and had walked out of the previous cycle's Interzonal stage (with the lead), and ensuring his antics and demands didn't derail the match with Spassky.

Had he kept playing, the gamble might well have paid off, but most of the gains of the "Fischer Boom" were lost to attrition over the years, and they had to raise prices to try to play catch up with everything they neglected helping Bobby get the title.

USCF has a long tradition of being led by people who have individually done a great deal for chess in their areas or nationally, but are nowhere near equipped to run an organization either efficiently or with any chance of broadening the game's appeal.

Coach_K510
Estragon wrote:
DrSpudnik wrote:

The USCF snoozed for years while other sites were facilitating on line play. Now it is too late, there are way too many on line venues that don't require a $40 or so membership. Even so, if you compare what you get, chess.com kicks the USCF's ass. 

This was their great blunder - they could have had the first mega-playing site, and stomped out the fledging competition or bought them out early, but the organization was just not designed to move quickly, and the leadership at the time was entirely composed of those who came up in chess before the internet, most were not at all computer-savvy.

But they remain the FIDE affiliate for the USA, so if you want to play serious competition under the real rules, they are the only game in town.  I found some years ago, as I got older and went to fewer events, there was no reason to join until I was planning to play one again. 

Their magazine not only sucks and has always sucked, they bought out the old Chess Review when creator Al Horowitz died, which was a far superior magazine (that non-OTB players would buy) with a more active postal chess operation, and ruined that franchise, too.

Then they spent their entire future, including monies set aside for life memberships, on helping Fischer get the title.  A lot of expensive behind the scenes work went into getting him admitted to the cycle, since he had not qualified, and had walked out of the previous cycle's Interzonal stage (with the lead), and ensuring his antics and demands didn't derail the match with Spassky.

Had he kept playing, the gamble might well have paid off, but most of the gains of the "Fischer Boom" were lost to attrition over the years, and they had to raise prices to try to play catch up with everything they neglected helping Bobby get the title.

USCF has a long tradition of being led by people who have individually done a great deal for chess in their areas or nationally, but are nowhere near equipped to run an organization either efficiently or with any chance of broadening the game's appeal.

Interesting post along with some others.  I have considered getting a membership soon to get the online magazines and play in a few tournaments this year but it still seems like a rip-off.  Perhaps a website with the right funds and leadership like chess.com could start their own recreational league or something with incentives and better hosted events and publications without going directly against USCF and FIDE.

 I think connecting online players with great big OTB events would be nice (tournament plus convention and other activities for kids and adults).  

TheAnnotatingLegend

Nice one.

Dutchday

It just depends what you want. I can't speak for the UCSF, but here you must be a member of the national chess federation to play in team matches and certain tournaments. Membership also comes with a magazine. 

Some people are in ''wild'' clubs and only play club matches and open tournaments.  

CapAnson

Well personally, playing over the board I "see" things much better than I do online.. I make less stupid blunders, I "get" the position a little better.. plus to get seriously better at chess and reach your full potential you have to play a long rated game, and unless you have the endurance to sit in front of a monitor for 4+ hours staring at a chessboard on the screen, OTB is your best bet.

Meadmaker

I hadn't noticed this topic, but it is near and dear to my heart.

It seems like there are really two questions.  Is OTB Chess relevant?  and Is the USCF relevant?

Online play has its advantages, and OTB play has certain problems, but for me, games are to be played against real human beings.  This includes Chess.   Not everyone agrees, but enough people agree.

 

Given that OTB Chess is relevant to some of us, is the USCF relevant?  I run USCF sanctioned Chess tournaments.  At those tournaments, I always have an option to play in a non-rated section where no USCF membership is required.  (Shameless plug, and attempt to improve google score:  http://gamesinmichigan.com/chessforcharity)  I almost never attract enough players to actually hold the non-USCF section.  In other words, the vast majority of OTB play in the US is done under the auspices of the USCF.  If you like OTB play, USCF is highly relevant.

 

I, like many others, think USCF is too darned expensive.  The required membership is high, and most of the tournaments offer player-funded prizes, which means high costs for entry fees.  I'm doing what I can to change it from the inside, but unfortunately, I am not much of an insider.  I'm just a local TD running cheap tournaments out of a church basement. The culture of the USCF has grown up over a long time, and is pretty entrenched.  Changing it won't be easy, especially as there is no real competition for the OTB market in the US.

If high costs are keeping you away, I do have a couple of suggestions for thingsyou can do, along the lines of "it's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."  The simplest thing you could do, which might actually have an effect in the long term would be to go to the forums at the USCF web site (uschess.org), register on the forums, and then start a thread saying, "I would play OTB Chess, but it's too expensive."  The conversation on the forums really does have an impact on what goes on in the USCF.  Be prepared for opposition, but, in the long run, if people actually did it, it would work.

The more extreme suggestions would involve becoming a member anyway and, like me, starting to hold tournaments that break the mold.  Also, in general, I'm a loudmouth and activist for lower costs within the USCF.  However, that level of effort is a bit much for most people. 

 

I do think it would be interesting if chess.com were to start a "chess.com OTB league".  They are big enough that it might work, but certainly no smaller effort would work.  However, I doubt that chess.com would see that as something they would even want to do.  For those reasons, we are stuck with USCF.  If you like OTB chess, and don't like the way USCF does things, your best bet is to try to change USCF, either from the inside or the outside. 

Beachdude67
Natalia_Pogonina wrote:
heinzie wrote:

Then what life deception greater than this did manage to make you so bitter :p

Relocating your identity as we speak... did you know Vladimir Kramnik's USCF rating is 2288?


His real USCF rating would be in the 2850-2900 range.

Absolutely, and the fact that Kramnik hasn't played in a US tournament in a long while suggests that there are deeper problems in the USCF.

Beachdude67

Someone earlier said that there is a chess club in Norfolk. I am pretty sure that this chess club is the same one that used to be at TCC. I didn't much care for the club and left years ago.

That said, the next rated USCF tournament that I could find that will be in my area isn't until November. Virginia Beach is part of one of the largest metro areas in the US and there are very few rated tournaments. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever to pay the USCF for a membership to play in one tournament.

SimonWebbsTiger

@Dutchday

we have the same arrangement in Denmark. You must be a member of Dansk Skak Union (our national federation) if you wish to play in tournaments; we also receive a chess magazine ("Skakbladet") as part of our membership dues. Currently, the dues are 1000 Danish kroner a year

Beachdude67

One other thing I forgot to mention...for some reason the tournaments also require a Virginia Chess Federation membership, which I think is kind of ridiculous. So tack on another $10 or whatever to tournament entry.

Dutchday

Well, the KNSB contribution (Dutch chess league) is 35 Euros or so. Nobody notices it, since your club usually pays it from your club tuition. Of course there is no such thing here as a tournament that's too far away.

Seeing this, I can see why people in the US would have no incentive to become a member of the UCSF. Fact is, you don't have to be. If you have connections, just rent a place for 100 bucks, buy some medals and get 75-100 participants in at 5 bucks a person. It's so simple even I can do it. It's nice to have a tournament under KNSB/UCSF flag, but there's no reason you can't do it on your own.

Kingpatzer

The USCF is broken and failed on many levels. 

But it is still the only game in town if someone wants to play real chess.

mateologist
Kingpatzer wrote:

The USCF is broken and failed on many levels. 

But it is still the only game in town if someone wants to play real chess.

A Bottom Line statement : As i have stated before if on-line chess is a Chevy than OTB is a Ferrari, they are both cars but that is about all they have in common. Cool  OTB -Tournament Chess rules !!

Kingpatzer

The real question is what it would take to create a significant challenge to USCF in America? If the rumors of FIDE extending ratings down to the 1200 level are true, and if someone can pull together a nationwide group of organized FIDE arbiters willing to run regular events in 30 or 40 major cities , it is quite possible that the USCF would collapse due to lack of interest. 

 But that is honestly still a non-trivial, though certainly achievable, task. Any billionaires out there interested in owning US chess?