Sunday, August 9, 2009

U.S. Open final: Six is the point

Six players tied for first in the 110th Annual U.S. Open, held at the Indianapolis Marriott East August 1-9. Scoring 7.5 out of 9 were GMs Alex Yermolinsky, Sergey Kudrin, Dmitry Gurevich and Jesse Kraai, and IMs Alex Lenderman and Jacek Stopa. Since Stopa is from Poland, the other five players take all five U.S. Championship qualification spots. Congratulations to the winners!

U.S. Open 3

Going into the final round, GM Sergey Kudrin and IM Alex Lenderman are tied for the lead with 7-1. Next at 6.5 are no les than 14 players. Three of them (GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, IM Ben Finegold, and IM Daniel Fernandez) are taking byes in the last round, and so will finish with 7. For the rest, the last-round pairings are:

GM Sergey Kudrin - IM Alex Lenderman
GM Gergely Antal - GM Julio Becerra
GM Alex Yermolinsky - IM Salvijus Bercys
IM Jacek Stopa - Daniel Rensch
GM Jesse Kraai - IM Justin Sarkar
GM Dmitry Gurevich - IM Ron Burnett
IM Blas Lugo - GM Alexander Shabalov (6)

USCF Delegates Meeting, day 2

9 a.m.: Call to order. The chair announced that committee reports would be deferred to the end (which probably means never) unless they have motions included.

9:05: Budget adopted, no debate. CL editor Dan Lucas is now speaking. Printing contract stuff, important but not glamorous. (E.g., unit cost of CL reduced from ~$.46 to $.37.) No US Open program book this year because they were too busy. Lucas seems to think it's unimportant. I disagree, but that's just me.

9:15: Harold Winston reporting on the Chess Trust. Give till it hurts -- there's a $4900 matching grant. The Hall of Fame is probably going to have to move because of Excalibur's financial troubles, possibly to St. Louis.

9:20: Don Schultz presents a FIDE report. Nothing significant.

9:22: Reappointment of Delegate-selected committees. No controversies. Donna Alarie and John Hillery added to Bylaws. Heh.

9:25: Committee reports: PPHBF proposes guidelines for those seeking support. The text is shown on a big screen, but some of the Dels can't see it and John McCrary has to read it. Passed without debate. Rules has several proposals, confusingly worded and poorly presented. I suspect we'll find we've voted something we didn't mean. Motion to adopt the FIDE rule that anyone whose cell phone rings loses the game. Failed. A confusing motion which looks to me like it's pretty much the same as the current rule is next. An amendment to make penalties harsher fails. Main motion passed. Next, a motion which would make it illegal to speak to anyone on a telephone during the game, even outside the playing hall. I think it's impractical and grossly punitive. Oh, and David Kuhns just mentioned in passing that the Workshop opposed this 1-20. The Delegates agreed. Failed. Lastly, a redundant motion saying that you can't get advice from an electronic device. Failed 26-28. We're up to 9:50 now.

9:55: Old business. Motion requiring voter registration. Starting to drag, as everybody wants to debate minutiae. Kicked back to committee.

10:00: Post minutes on the web site, charge for hard copy. Common sense. Passed. Transfer "secretary" function to someone other than the Secretary. Passed.

10:05: Arcane motions about recognition of income. Referred back to committee. Boilerplate authorizing promotional memberships. Passed.

10:10: Recall motions against Truong and Polgar. Argument about whether it's moot. My opinion: always go with suspenders and belt. Tabled until the lawyer is present.

10:25: Motion to make it possible to go after 501(c)(3) status. Lots of "Whereases." Everyone wants to speak to this, God knows why. Referred to Bylaws.

10:37: Raise non-magazine Adult membership from $29 to $34. Some really dumb arguments about what the new number should be. The floor of the Delegates Meeting is not the place to argue about this, no matter how smart the debater thinks he is. Passed.

10:45: Decrease the number of Delegates. Alarie's original proposal was dropping from 125 to 100, now changed to 120. This isn't going anywhere. (Will the proposers of such motions volunteer to be downsized?) Failed.

10:55: Anti-nepotism amendment. (Anti-Polgar amendment?) Some pointless nit-picking about whether you could have three siblings but not two. Now they're arguing about whether a "legal relationship" is required rather than simple cohabitation. (Is the USCF encouraging living in sin?) Bill is being a little too tolerant of people who want to keep talking. Postponed for language cleanup.

11:02: Another major Bylaws revision, changing EB terms to three years. Passed. Because, you know, making major changes without much thought has worked so well in the past.

11:05: ... And reconsidered, to add a change in the term limit from eight years to nine. Now we're debating this thing again. Randy Bauer is complaining that he might not be able to run for a third term. What a waste of time. Passed, again.

11:15: Anti-nepotism redux. Passed.

11:20: Motion by Frank Camaratta to have the Bylaws Committee prepare proposal for getting rid of OMOV. At least they didn't try to do it on the floor.

11:30: Proposal to reduce affiliate commissions from $3 to $2. Failed.

11:35: Request for indemnification of Polgar and Alexander for being sued by USCF. Answer: no.

11:58: Motion to create a Blitz rating system. Failed. Instead we passed a motion saying that Blitz can be rated under the Quick rating system, which everyone except David Kuhns thinks we were doing already.

12:14: Motion to abolish 14H. Heated debate. Failed. A small change was adopted, making the insertion of a delay clock the preferred option. Probably a good idea, as it helps to get TDs out of the business of adjudication.

12:40: A lot of time-wasting and posturing. We're now arguing whether P&L reports for individual tournaments should be supplied to the Dels. Referred.

1:02: Presentation of certificates to outgoing EB members. Installation of new EB members.

1:05: Adjournment. Finally. Oh, yeah, we never got around to the Polgar/Truong recall motions. Either because they couldn't find the attorney or because everyone forgot about it.

We cam na here to view your warks,
In hopes to be mair wise,
But only, lest we gang to hell,
It may be nae surprise.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

U.S. Open 2

With two rounds remaining, seven players are tied for the lead with 6-1: GMs Sergey Kudrin, Alex Yermolinsky and Alexndra Kosteniuk, IMs Alex Lenderman, Michael Mulyar and Ron Burnett, and Jonathan Hilton (rated 2298!). With Kosteniuk taking a bye, pairings for round 8 are Lenderman-Hilton, Mulyar-Kudrin, and Burnett-Yermolinsky

USCF Delegates Meeting

9:35: Initial call of the roll. 72 present (well above a quorum), later increased to 75. After some trivialities like approval of the minutes, the first item of business is a motion from the Bylaws committee to suspend the rules for a number of amendments. And the chair announced that we'd go into closed session at 2 p.m. to consider the appeal by Polgar and Truong to their membership suspension. This is taking longer than it should. I'm afraid Bill G does not run a very taut meeting.

9:45: Finally we get to the Bylaws amendments. Boiled down, we have: 1) Prohibition against an EB member suing the USCF, with compulsory arbitration; 2) Get rid of SOMOV. Delegates to be appointed to 1-year terms by the State Chapters. 3) Ratification of every vote since 1998, just in case. Harold Winston is now speaking.

9:55: Ratification passed. Litigation ban approved. Also, anyone suing the USCF must disclose it in CL when running. (This seems pretty unlikely to arise.)

10:15: Currently debating a sleeper clause, which would allow states to appoint Delegates from other states. I think it's a lousy idea, but it proved popular and was passed easily. It turns out that the Bylaws Committee proposal will continue to allow door appointments (with 1-year terms, the absent Delegates can simply be declared to have resigned). This, of course, would continue to allow a small group to pack the meeting. Here comes the new boss ...

10:35: To the heart of the matter: Go back to having State Chapters select Delegates for 1 (calendar) year terms. This would start in 2011, after the current Delegate terms expire. Much of the debate seems to be from people who don't like whoever is running their State Chapter. My nose bleeds for them. Passed.

10:45: Last Bylaws items: 1) A "severability" boilerplate clause. Passed. 2) Allowing the membership meeting to appoint up to five "extra" Delegates for that meeting. The backstory is that a few states have active feuds which froze out the losing side. Also, there are a few old-timers who always come to the Delegates Meeting but are not real popular in their own states. (The closer they are ...) Some trivial debate, but everybody knows they're going to pass this. Can't we just do it?

10:50: OK, passed. Done with Bylaws. Now we get to listen to committee reports for a while.

11:20: Reports from the President and ED. Heartwarming stuff, but it's kinda dragging. I doubt we'll get to anything substantive before lunch, and then we'll only have an hour until we have to deal with the Polgar/Truong mess.

11:45: An annoying person not familiar to me moved to reconsider the ratification motion, on the grounds that not everyone has read the entire info package. Looks like it will pass, and we'll have to do all this again in a couple of hours. Seems idiotic to me, since the info package is about the size of Crime and Punishment. No one is going to read it in the next two hours. Of course, most of it is a waste of paper -- complete copies of all legal filings, complete transcripts (not minutes) of EB meetings, and such piffle. If the Delegates haven't made up their minds yet, they're not going to change now.

11:58: Reconsideration passed. Idiots. (Oh, did I say that out loud?) Now we get to vote on it again at 2. Probably no blogging for a while after that, since we'll be in executive session for the Polgar/Truong appeal.

2:10: Still waiting for the President to show up so we can start. When we finally do, we'll have to deal with the "ratification" business again, followed by the Polgar/Truong appeal in executive session.

2:15: Back in session. Ratification passed again, near-unanimous with one abstention.

5:25: After an extended debate, which I'm not allowed to talk about (Question from the floor: "How long does confidentiality last?" Answer from the chair: "In microseconds?"), the revocation of Paul Truong's membership was upheld by a vote of 58-16, and Susan Polgar's by 55-21.

(Click here for day 2.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

U.S. Open 1

* After the merge, total attendance is 455. Not impressive by the standards of the 70s and 80s, but pretty good for the current decade. The dog-and-pony show of 9-, 6-, and 4-day schedules has produced some oddities, like young master Jonathan Hilton facing GM Alex Yermolinsky on Board 2, but at least there will be three rounds for everyone to compete together. The Indianapolis Marriott East is a very nice playing site, but it's easy to see why it sold out early -- aside from the function space, it's a pretty small hotel. Complete standings may be found through the USCF web page, but they apparently cannot be linked to because of some some very annoying web design choices.

* Abby Marshall of Virginia took first place in the Denker Touranment of High School Champions with 5.5 out of 6. I think this is a first, though I haven't had a chance to check. Tied for second with 5-1 were Jeffrey Haskel of Florida and Michael Yang of Minnesota.

* Rumor is that the Bylaws Committee wants to deal with whinng complaints about the legality of the Delegate selection process by repealing the changes made by the "Blue Ribbon Commission" back in 1998 -- returning to appointment of Delegates by the State Chapters to one-year terms. We won't know for sure until the Delegates Meeting tomorrow. Which will also have the inestimable pleasure of ruling on whether it's OK to revoke the memberships of Polgar and Truong. It's going to be a long weekend.