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Counterplay


Our letters inbox was a little light this month, so instead here is USCF Execu- tive Director Bill Hall’s report to the USCF Delegates from the 2011 Dele- gates’ Call. You can download the entire Delegates’ Call,which also has reports from USCF President Jim Berry and Vice President of Finance Randy Bauer, aswell as reports fromthe various com- mittee chairs, at uschess.org, “About USCF,” “Governance,” “Reports.” (Reg- istation is required.)


USCF Executive Director’s Report


When faced with adversity, you have two options: meet the challenge and become better for it, or let it destroy you. Over the last few years, the USCF has faced its share of adversity. I believe the results of this year stand to show that we as an organization are meeting those challenges and that we are all better for it. I am happy to report that we are ending the fiscal year with a surplus that is significantly higher than budgeted. I would like to thank the members of the USCF staff for all contributing to make this hap- pen.We have accomplished this largely due to controlling expenses.With pre- vious extraordinary expenditures, we are still digging out of a hole, but at least now we can see that we are in the process of making it out.


When we last met in Irvine, California, I said that we have to think summer when it is winter and that we have to think winter when it is summer. At that time, I said that financially we were in an early spring and that things were improving. Now we are into summer organizationally. What do animals in nature do when it is summer? They begin preparing for winter. Now that we survived a bleak winter we have to take steps to ensure that we are pre- pared should we find winter once again on our doorstep.


As our Vice-President of Finance pointed out, much of our survival was born on the backs of our employees. This can work for short-termsurvival, but is not a formula for long-term success. Simi- larly, we had to delay investments into computer and other infrastructure. Again, this eventually becomes a seri- ous problem.We are now able tomake some minor improvements for the employees and have begun replacing


6 Chess Life — August 2011


some of our computers and other sys- tems.We have a long way to go to fully retire the ill-effects of previous lawsuits and we have to be cautious until we are completely recovered.


Continuing our progress will be a chal- lenge. We cannot continue to make cuts without beginning to intrude on the value of the services we bring to our membership. I believe we have a per- ceived value problem with our mem- bership, already. We cannot hope to grow our organization without chang- ing this; however, at the same time, we have to do so with very limited re- sources. The focus here is in online services and online community build- ing. With online play and USCF-run online leagues, I hope to see us begin to change our retention rates and build excitement about an online U.S.Chess community. Through changes to our website, we can further the community experience while improving our ability to efficiently communicate with our membership. As we get this in place, we will have an advertising campaign to bring back formermembers and we are currently working to redesign our renewal reminder notification system tomake itmore efficient and effective. Also included, we are working to develop a socialmedia strategy so that we can effectively remain a viable organization into the future.


The ability to survive by making cuts is coming to an end. Now we must begin to grow revenue in the short term with some minor dues increases and in the long term by growing our membership and other revenue streams. If we continue only by cutting, the perceived value problem will become a real value problem and we will simple losemembers until there is little left. The seventy-plus year history of the USCF deserves better, ourmem- bers deserve better, and chess deserves better.


In addition to online services and social media initiatives, we also are working on partnership with organizations like the Boy Scouts of America. This, cou- pled with other relationships, offer us a chance to expose millions of chil- dren to the opportunity to learn and play chess. I amvery excited about all of the potential that we have for growth. Now we have to take advantage of those opportunities with creative


approaches considering the limits on our resources.


In closing, I would like to thank Randy Bauer for his service on the Executive Board. His leadership as VP of Finance has been invaluable and his ability to work to make the Board a cohesive teamhas been extraordinary. You will be missed in that role. In 2007 at the Delegate’s Meeting in New Jersey, I addressed the leadership speaking about how it was critical that we as an organization clean up our politics. Although a very difficult period fol- lowed, now I am pleased with how the Executive Board is able to effectively work together. A significant portion of our current successes is due to this, and I hope this will continue well into the future. Remember, many of us have differing opinions of the details of how to proceed or what is a priority, but we all come together for the com- mon goal of furthering chess. While we debate our differences, let us not forget what unites us. If we can put the individual egos aside, we can do great things of which we can all be proud.


I look forward to seeing you in Orlando. Bill Hall


USCF Executive Director


Corrections In the July Chess Life, John Roy-


croft was listed as endgame study editor for British Chess Magazine from 1931-1974 instead of 1973- 1974.


In the June Chess Life, the Pan


American article stated that Toronto was the “northern most” team to appear. Reed College in Portland, Oregon is at 45 degrees 30’ north and was actually the northernmost team.


Chess Life regrets the errors.


Send your letters to letters@uschess.org. If Chess Life publishes your letter, you will be sent a copy of Test, Evaluate and Improve Your Chess. Letters are subject to editing for content, style, or length.


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