Polgar, Truong booted from US Chess Fed

GM Susan Polgar

Controversy continues in American chess. GM Susan (Zsuzsa) Polgar and FM Paul Truong (who are married) have had their memberships revoked from the United States Chess Federation. This brings to a head the vitriolic media battle within America’s top chess brass.

This action was apparently enacted by the USCF Executive Board in a special session. Polgar and Truong appealed the sanctions to the Board of Delegates but the decision was upheld by a vote of 55-21 (Polgar) and 58-18 (Truong).

These actions may have occurred during the General Sessions at the U.S. Open and follows a ongoing and contentious lawsuit between Polgar/Truong and fellow members of the USCF Board of Directors. In this case, the dismissal and sanction stems from accusations that Polgar’s organization had fraudulently used Internet accounts to write scurrilous messages about board members in an attempt to defame and discredit.

Both were part of a contingent sued by Samuel Sloan, who felt his reputation was wrongly sullied by Internet posts linking him to unsavory activities. He filed a separate $20 million lawsuit against Polgar/Truong. An investigation was done by the USCF and Brian Mottershead pointed to Truong as being the culprit of false posting after an intricate analysis of weblogs. However, experts could not name a specific individual… only that the author used the handle “chesspromotion.” After further investigation, more attention had turned to a Gregory Alexander who managed Polgar’s websites. He has recently been arrested and arraigned for alleged “computer fraud and aggravated identity theft”. Charges against Truong appear to have been dropped after a “Motion to Dismiss” had been granted.

GM Susan Polgar

The USCF Executive Board moved to have the members removed from the Board. Truong and his wife then filed a counter lawsuit for $25 million (later lowered to $10 million) and have been the subject of relentless attacks. Over the past few months, elections for the Executive Board were conducted and in the run-up to the voting. There was much discussion about this lawsuit. Bill Goichberg, the USCF President released statements in his tournament literature implicitly citing Polgar/Truong for threats to the USCF. After trading barbs in printed and Internet media, the voting was conducted and Goichberg was re-elected along with three other members.

Apparently at the USCF meetings during the recently-concluded US Open in Indianapolis, a decision was made to revoke the memberships of both Polgar and Truong. There is a precedent case. Vaughn Bennett sued the USCF for $150 million after alleging consistent occurrences of racial discrimination in scholastic events. His membership was revoked. These series of events dampen an already beleaguered organization which has battled infighting and one financial crisis after another.

In the Avalanche Journal in Lubbock, Truong was quoted as saying, “We have absolutely no doubt that not only our memberships but our statuses on the board will be reinstated,” he said. Meanwhile Goichberg declined to comment the USCF’s actions, but stated that details about the decision soon could be posted on its Web site, www.uschess.org. Polgar and Truong were recently in Norway to visit the Arctic Chess Challenge and seem to be in good spirits, but details of their plans in this case are unknown.

Adam Young, “Tech Chess Star removed from National Organization,” Lubbock Online, 10 August 2009.

Bill Hall, “USCF Revokes Memberships of Polgar and Truong,” uschess.org, 10 August 2009.

Daaim Shabazz

Dr. Daaim Shabazz is the creator and webmaster of The Chess Drum. He serves as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds an MBA in Marketing and a doctorate in International Affairs & Development. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

7 Comments

  1. I am deeply saddened by this latest development. For a game that is less popular than many other sports, an infighting by well established chess admisntrators is self deafting and we all lose as a result of this. I hope things will cool down eventually and maybe USCF will reconsider its decision to ban Susan and Truong. Does GENS UNA SUMUS ever reign supreme anywhere at all?

  2. This is SAD…

    I declined to follow nearly all other “professional” sports activities after tiring of players’ strikes – no matter how justified (“The love of money is the root of all evil”).

    My perspective is rooted in the fact that too many “Trailblazers” paid their dues and excelled based upon their LOVE for their chosen Sport…without coveting the “bling” or magnifying the ego. And “class” (in all of its permutations) was seldom an issue.

    So to witness this skewed “power struggle” in the midst of what I consider one of the Ultimate Intellectual Enterprises is a MAJOR step backwards in the Quest to legitimize Chess as a mainstream social activity. That’s where the money’s at…

  3. I think you brothers are right ,the other day skateboarding was being televised and i was thinking how unfortunate for this field of study to be so far from the mainstream because of things like this,besides Susan has the women and children and Goichberg is in an office with a suit and tie,a few tournys, he should know he’s losing on the Queenside! Mr. Bennett nice fight against white moving first all the time! Reality setting in now so they gettin a lil nervous in an effort to “stay ahead”. [Side Note:] Magnus Carlsen i noticed when you played the Sicilian with Rb8 they called it the Chinese Variation, yet i noticed when Kramnik took a fall with a bit of Ultramodern, there was no mention why? Brother Shabazz seem to suggest you elite guys dont respect me ? Maybe because i havent played too much of the “Old Chess”. Well, your young so ill leave it alone ,maybe ill log back into ICC as THE BLACKRODNEYDANGERFIELD!! hahaha. yo Magnus check out some of his stuff hes really funny! Peace.

  4. I stopped playing in the USCF because on my best day I am an 1100 rated player (bottom of the barrel). I would have to pay (pick a number) $38 for USCF membership, pay (pick a number) $18 state membership MACA, then tournament fee (pick a number) $50. First prize in my rank is say $40, second is $30, and third is $20. Wait a minute, even if I win, I lose $10. Worse than that, anyone rated 2200 and higher paid no entry fee but wins $100+. Where did the money come from for the high rated players? Oh wait, it came from robbing the bottom of the barrel players. When I realized the USCF was a money pit, the fun factor disappeared and I stopped playing. It is time for the USCF to go out of business. Open a new chess program that is FIDE certified, and makes it worthwhile for bottom of the barrel players to take lessons or compete. I am saddened that Polgar is gone, and the USCF decision to release her has made my decision to not rejoin the USCF and compete in any of the major events or even in the smaller events. You can find me on the google profile listed above (whitedragoninc42) and on other places such as facebook, myspace, and twitter.

  5. USCF Agrees to Settle Lawsuits
    with Susan Polgar and Paul Truong

    By USCF Executive Board
    January 23, 2010

    The USCF announced it has agreed to a settlement with Susan Polgar and Paul Truong stemming from lawsuits filed by both parties. Polgar’s lawsuit, filed in August 2008, alleged libel, slander, defamation and other claims. USCF’s California lawsuit, adding claims against Susan Polgar in October 2008, alleged email hacking and wire fraud. The USCF also filed an Illinois lawsuit against Susan Polgar and Paul Truong to remove them as Executive Board members and end their relationship with the USCF for not acting in the best interests of the USCF.

    Under the settlement agreement, all named parties except Gregory Alexander and Sam Sloan have agreed to dismiss all claims and counter-claims in the actions in Texas and California. The Illinois lawsuit will end with a judgment confirming that Susan Polgar and Paul Truong are no longer Executive Board members. The USCF’s civil case against Alexander for email hacking and wire fraud continues, and Alexander is also facing similar federal criminal charges in California.

    As part of the settlement, Polgar and Truong have agreed to never contest the USCF Executive Board’s action in revoking their USCF memberships; acknowledge that they are no longer members of the USCF or members of the USCF Executive Board; agree to never seek, run for, or accept a leadership position in the USCF; and will never contest the Delegate’s actions that ratified the decisions of the USCF Executive Board at the August 2009 Annual Delegates Meeting.

    Under the settlement, the USCF will allow Polgar and Truong to be playing, non-members of the USCF and will be listed as “Playing Non-Member Status.”

    The USCF Insurer, Ansur America Insurance Company, a member of Frankenmuth Financial Group, has agreed to provide $131,000 to the USCF and $39,000 to Polgar’s attorneys.

    The USCF is pleased that this matter is finally settled and that no USCF funds will go to Polgar and Truong. Additionally, the USCF receives $131,000 to agree to a settlement.

    Source: https://main.uschess.org/content/view/10070/319/

  6. McClain, Kylan Loeb, “Settlement in Dispute That Riveted the Chess World,” New York Times, 23 January 2010.

    Randy Bauer, a federation board member, said the federation settled “to stop the bleeding.” He said the dispute had “hurt the federation,” adding: “We have had to lay off staff. We have had to reduce services.”

    Bill Hall, the organization’s executive director, said the federation, which has annual revenues of about $3 million, had spent nearly $750,000 in legal fees on the cases.

    To blame Polgar and Truong for USCF’s financial troubles is misguided and unfair. The USCF has had financial problems for many years preceding this case and barely survived bankruptcy. It got to a point where the USCF could not stage a U.S. Championship. Fortunately, Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield came along and rescued this situation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button