On December 7, 2006 (interesting date choice, don't you think - Pearl Harbor Day) - GM Susan Polgar officially announced at her blog that she would be running for the Executive Board of the USCF. But prior to that date fans of her blog had been encouraging her to run in the upcoming election (June, 2007), I'd say, going back at least to October, 2006.
So, when I read this last night in the May, 2007 issue of Chess Life magazine (official magazine of the USCF), I had a good laugh:
"Across the Board" page 9:
by Bill Goichberg, USCF President
USCF Membership Surges...
The seven months since my last report in the October 2006 Chess Life have seen an almost unprecendeted gain in USCF membership. Total members for the period 9/1/06 through 3/31/07 are up by 6,016, the second largest gain for any seven-month period in the history of the federation. Our current membership total of 84,495 is also the highest in almost three years.
The "due sales" offering adult membership...
During the seven months 9/06 through 3/07, USCF gained 494 adult members, the largest increase for any period of seven consecutive months in 12 years. ..."
Bill Goichberg, bless his heart, attributes the increase in adult memberships (they are the only ones who can vote, as I understand current USCF policy - all the rest of the membership increase is, I assume, from scholastic members and they can't vote and so, in the eyes of some chess politicans, they really "don't count") - to a "dues sale!" That increase couldn't possibly have - nah - it couldn't possibly have anything to do with Susan Polgar and her slate of candidates running for the USCF Executive Board and the fact that in order to vote in the election next month, you have to be a member in good standing - nah. LOL!
Mr. Goichberg goes on to say that he is aware that "one of the factors that has held back USCF growth in recent years is unwarranted negativism, especially popular on Internet discussion groups." Yeah, all right. So in the face of all this negativism, why the sudden surge in membership - voting membership? Wouldn't all the unwarranted and (it is implied, unrelenting and continuing) negativism lead, instead, to a further decline in membership?
As much as Mr. Goichberg tries to put a positive spin on the things that he cites as improvements since the near bankruptcy of the USCF in 2003, the USCF is actually just recently slowly and painfully attempting to rectify a gross decline in service that used to be provided to paying (and voting) members - adult members. I do not fault Mr. Goichberg for the prior failings of the USCF - he wasn't an officer or Executive Board member when so many of the really bad decisions were made. Since he has come on board as President things have improved - but not enough. Certainly not enough for the long-suffering members of USCF.
My bet is that Mr. Goichberg has already read the handwriting on the proverbial wall and he's now being the consummate chess politician that he has always been - and because he's the President of USCF he gets a free in-print forum to do it. But no matter what spin Mr. Goichberg puts on it, there is only one reason for the increase of adult, i.e., voting membership in the USCF - Susan Polgar and her slate of candidates. People have joined (or rejoined) the USCF with the sole intent of voting in Susan Polgar and her slate of candidates to the USCF Executive Board next month.
Mr. Goichberg, will you embrace the four new Board members - Polgar, Bauer, Truong and Korenman - when they are elected in June?