Friday, June 6, 2008

USCF Seeks Money to Fund Olympiad "Team"

Check this out. The United States Chess Federation is soliciting contributions (that, as I understand it, are NOT tax deductible because the USCF is not a tax-exempt entity under the Internal Revenue Code) to send a "Team" to the 2008 Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany. Actually, that should be "teams," since men and women play in separate events - therefore, two teams. Notice that the linked page does not specify that contributions will be made to US Chess Trust, which DOES qualify under s. 501 IRC as a non-profit organization (therefore contributions are tax-deductible). So, why would a person make a contribution of $$$ that is not tax-deductible? This raises a separate question: why does the USCF need a separate arm to receive tax-deductible contributions anyway? Why does the USCF not remake itself into a tax-exempt institution? I mean, really, how much money could it possibly be making from the sale of books and chess equipment? If sales were good, wouldn't USCF be making money hand over fist instead of being (again) in the red some $200,000 this year? A further troubling aspect - how does someone who makes a contribution KNOW FOR CERTAIN that the $$$ contributed to send teams to the Olympiad will actually, in fact, be used to send teams to the Olympiad??? I didn't see a thing on the "donation" page that guarantees that money contributed will only be used for that particular purpose. So, what's to prevent the USCF from using the money for purposes OTHER THAN what the donee intended? Another troubling aspect - the Olympiad is in November - not much time for players to prepare for such an important event. As of yet, the U.S. teams have not even been named! If USCF does not intend to give the players as much time as possible to prepare (train) for the Olympiad, why are we even bothering to send teams? After all, it's not as if the USA has the best chessplayers in the world, who need no training and can go to Dresden and cold-cock the competition. Far from it! Seems to me that USCF is asking people to contribute blindly, to support teams that may not have a snowball's chance in hell of winning any medal. Other than the two U.S. Chess Champions - Yuri Shulman (Men's) and Anna Zatonskih (Women's), we have no idea who will be on the teams - except we KNOW that GM Susan Polgar will NOT be competing on the U.S. Women's Team. Hey, I love chess, but I'm not THAT stupid. Now this has got me to wondering - is this the extent of USCF's marketing and solicitations for money to fund 2008 Olympiad teams? A button on its Chess Life Online website? Yeah, potential corporate sponsors visit every day and $$$ will be pouring in. Philanthropists visit every day and someone will give USCF a million dollars just to fund Olympiads. NOT!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Based on the number of responses to this article chess players have about as much enthusiasm for the International Chess Olympiad as the USCF. Some really good points are raised and it would be nice to see someone from the USCF actually attempt to rebut them. I understand that the recent USCF Junior Championship also had invitees being informed very late in the process.

Of course, given the mess the USCF made of the women's championship this year how much team spirit can we expect? Also, don't you think that one should at least have to reside in the US to play for the USA? Shouldn't we develop our aspiring talent?

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