Documents covering the Business of the Wisconsin Chess Association. Here you can find minutes of the board meetings, the current bylaws, letters from the President, and other official documents of the WCA.

Letter 12/10/2000

  • Written by Mike Nietman
  • Published: 16 November 2004
  • Last Updated: 16 November 2004

Dear Wisconsin TD's, organizers and tournament sponsoring affiliates,


The Wisconsin Chess Association (WCA) is taking this opportunity to pass along information regarding the policies and programs of the WCA. With the infrequency of publication of Badger Chess and with a number of new affiliates we believe that the communication pipeline among clubs (including the state affiliate) is breaking down.

Tournament Clearinghouse: First, the USCF has set up a series of tournament clearinghouses. The clearinghouse person is in charge of overseeing the master schedule of events in a geographic region. The purpose of this is to avoid conflicting events. Clearly, two tournaments cannot be held in Wisconsin on the same weekend because we do not have enough tournament players to support multiple events.

Wisconsin is its own region and our clearinghouse person is Guy Hoffman. As soon as you are thinking about holding an event, please contact Guy first to make sure your weekend is available. His address is P.O. Box 259822, Madison, WI 53725. It is from this list that our website calendar (discussed later) is updated.

Tournament Standards: The WCA used to sponsor the Merit Award Program (MAP) but due to budgetary constraints at the USCF from whom the WCA received money to fund this program, we had to suspend it. However, the WCA and this state's tournament players expect that Wisconsin events are run under MAP guidelines as closely as possible. See the attached page entitled 'WCA MERIT AWARD SYSTEM' for further definitions of the program. In fact, numerous players from out of state are impressed with the quality of Wisconsin events! Let's keep it up!!

Wisconsin Chess Tour: The Wisconsin Chess Tour is a series of 8–12 events during the calendar year that promote participation in tournaments around the state. Funding for the Tour is by a donation of $1 per player to the WCA by the organizers of the events on the Tour. Attached is a further explanation of the Tour that includes the breakdown of the prize fund. Note that Tour events are especially held to higher standards and must follow the MAP guidelines.

The Tour is put together each November for the following year. If you desire to request Tour status for your event, please contact Guy at the address above by November 1. He is the chairman of our Tour subcommittee. The subcommittee looks at all of the requests and then recommends the set of events to the whole WCA Board who in turn vote to approve or modify their proposal.

It is vital that the organizer or director of the event get a copy of the wall chart (not crosstable!) to the Tour Statistician within one week after the event. Players like to know how they are doing before the next Tour event occurs. The 2001 Tour Statistician is Andrew Becker. His address is 1501 Briquelet St., Green Bay, WI 54304. Payments should be sent to WCA Treasurer Chris Krumenauer at 1729 Buehring Rd., Oshkosh, WI 54904.

WCA Events: The WCA sponsors seven events each year: the State Closed Championship, the William Martz Memorial/North Central Open, the Herman Schramm Memorial, the Arpad Elo Open, the Wisconsin Junior Open, the Wisconsin Senior Open and the Veteran's Tournament. The last three events are usually held concurrently. Each event can be bid upon by Wisconsin clubs, organizers and TD's. Organizer bids must include a budget. Please contact me for more information on the events and the bidding process if you or your club wishes to bid on an event. Note that some events have not been held in the past due to a lack of bids.

Clubs: Interestingly, one of the columns of Badger Chess that I used most often was the listing of Wisconsin clubs. As the contact for Wisconsin Chess, I've received dozens of letters, phone calls and e-mails requesting information about a "club near me". Usually they are from people moving into Wisconsin or from someone just picking up the game and wanting to play against some "local" competition. So, I'd pick up the most recent edition of BC and give out the information that your club provided Bill.

To update the last BC list, please take the time to send me an e-mail or a post card that provides me with a listing of your club's particulars. When (include day of week and time) and where does it meet? Who is the contact and what is their phone number and e-mail address.

In the future whenever your club changes sites, nights or contacts, please remember to drop me a note with the new information and I'll update my list. You never know when a master wants to play in your local club!

WCA Website: In this new electronic age, the WCA is sponsoring a website. Arlen Walker and Joe Hitselberger are co-webmasters. Please check it out and have your club's players do the same! It was recently revamped.

A website is only as good as the information on it. We will be glad to list and advertise your events on our website at no charge! All we ask is that an electronic format of the TLA or flyer be This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In addition, electronic crosstables, games and articles of your events will also be welcome.

If your club has a website. let us know and let's link them!

eFlyers!: In this same vein, Errol Hartman is undertaking a project to collect e-mail addresses of Wisconsin chess players. The purpose of this will be to disseminate flyers to the players. Please tell your club members about this and have them send their e-mail addresses to Errol.

If you have a flyer for your event in electronic format, please send it to Errol and he will forward it to the members of the list. Please advise as to when you want it sent out.

And remember, the website listing and the e-mail distribution are FREE advertisements for your events!!

USCF: The USCF is in a severe cash crunch having lost over $400,000 last year. Services will cost more. Check out the October Rating Supplement for details about numerous changes taking place on January 1. Specifically, some dues are raised. Please note that the base adult membership of $40 is not changing. USCF bylaws have been modified to allow for other membership dues to be a percentage of the base adult membership. For example, Youth membership will be 50% or $20 and Scholastic membership is 33% or $13. Also, affiliate commissions have been eliminated.

The TLA fees have been greatly modified. (Please note that what was printed in the October supplement regarding TLA's was further modified in early October. Check out the USCF website for further updates.) One of the reasons for this change is that several organizers from around the country abused the system as they would send in a "place holder" TLA to meet the initial deadline but then greatly revamp the TLA when sent the approval draft. Clearly this is not cost effective as it takes the clerk double time to get it right. (Also, the average income from TLA's on a given page of CL does not pay to produce that page!)

Note also that Rating Reports must be correct upon submission else they will be returned to you. This of course delays the rating of the event for your players. Talks regarding returning some of the rating fee if a report is correct have taken place but not yet implemented. Again see the October Rating Supplement for the exact details of the requirements for Rating Report submission.

In case you and your club members missed it last summer (most did!?), USCF elections have been opened up to all adult members of the USCF. Elections take place every two years for state delegates and alternate delegates who in turn vote for the USCF Executive Board and attend the Delegate's Meeting at the US Open. Wisconsin has two delegates and six alternate delegates. The WCA nominates eight people to be on the ballot. Individuals may also be nominated with the signatures of ten USCF members. Ballots were in the June Chess Life.

Andy Becker and Tom Feeney were elected as delegates for Wisconsin for the next two years. Congratulations to them! However, less than thirty Wisconsin USCF adult members voted in the election!? (Incredibly our percentage of people who voted was twice the percentage of eligible voters that voted nation-wide!?) In 2002 we need to better publicize the election and urge our members to vote.

Publications: Errol Hartman is leading a committee to look into the feasibility of the WCA running a state magazine. However, we are in need of an editor. If you or anyone you know is interested in being the editor or taking a role in a state magazine, please let him know. Alternatively, the WCA would support an independent magazine like Badger Chess.

This of course assumes that our players want a magazine. Please poll your club members and let us know what their desire is. Also ask about what they'd like to see in terms of content.

Our goal is to work with you and your clubs. By increasing the flow of information between us, the players will benefit and hence the organizations!

Please get me that club information and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.




Mike Nietman

WCA President

Letter 5/16/2001 (NJHS)

  • Written by Mike Nietman
  • Published: 16 November 2004
  • Last Updated: 16 May 2001

The 2002 National Junior High School Chess Championship is coming to Milwaukee! The U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) has arranged for the event to be held at the Midwest Express Center in downtown Milwaukee on May 9-12, 2002. The players will be housed right across the street at the host hotel, the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.

Some of my most memorable events in chess have been playing in three national high school championships, being the local organizer for the 1990 World Youth Chess Festival, organizing and directing the last nine Wisconsin Scholastic Championships and attending the recent Supernationals II in Kansas City as a floor tournament director.

Because of my efforts on youth chess, I have been asked by Tom Brownscombe, USCF Scholastic Director and Chief Organizer of this event, to be the official Wisconsin liaison to the event. Since I live in western Wisconsin, the logistical challenge is great. Therefore, I truly need your help to make this event a great success!

We have been offered an outstanding opportunity that if done properly can lead to additional, future national events! To be done successfully, we need everyone to assist.

For the teams and players, play! The event will be in four sections: K-9 Championship, K-8 Championship, K-8 Under 1000 and K-8 Under 750. (1000 and 750 are USCF ratings.) The event will be an individual, seven round Swiss. 1200 entrants are projected. Trophies will be awarded to the top 25 individuals and top 25 teams in each section. In addition, class prize trophies will be awarded. Please note that USCF membership is required to participate in this event.

Opening events begin Thursday, May 9 with Bughouse and Blitz tournaments. Current plans are for these events to be held at the Hilton Hotel as the convention center is not available until noon on Thursday.

For the tournament directors, direct! This will give you the opportunity to work with distinguished national TD's and to add a national scholastic event to your directing resume! This will aid you in upgrading your level of certification. We will need sixteen floor TD's and five pairing TD's who have WinTD experience.

For the parents, coaches and other clubs members, volunteer! This will give you an opportunity to assist in a prestigious national event while supporting your child, student or club!

Please note that for many of the volunteer positions, no knowledge of the game of chess is required, only a desire to help. Everyone is encouraged to assist, even if you can only volunteer for one day, it will make a difference!

Who is qualified to help? Everyone!

There are many positions to be filled by volunteers and every position is important to the success of the tournament. For example,

  • Tournament Floor Control Specialists. This includes room setup Thursday May 9 afternoon and evening (boards, sets and board numbers) and crowd control through out the tournament. Also, sets need to be picked up quickly after the last round for sale at the bookstore.
  • Demo Board Operators for the top two boards in each championship section
  • Scorekeepers to assist each section's chief TD with results
  • Reception Staff responsible for greeting teams arriving by air
  • Award's Ceremony Assistants
  • Food Service Assistants to the TD's and volunteers
  • "Chess Control" Workers (to assist the USCF staff and to give out information about the area)
  • Press Relations Assistants

and many, many more jobs I haven't thought of yet! Believe me when I say that all help will be appreciated!

Now I am keenly aware that Wisconsin has more high school players than players in any other scholastic age group. The challenge of being host to the National Junior High School Championship is formidable. I'll need help from many people. The USCF has been made aware that if we do a superior job of being host to this event, we expect to host the National High School Championship in a few years. Eventually, we hope to attract the US Open.

Please forward a copy of this letter to the parents of the chessplayers who will be eligible to participate in this event next year and to the members of your club. Then, if they can help in any manner, have them forward their names to me or to you so we can get a working list of names of volunteers for this event.

Enclosed is a copy of the preliminary flyer for next year's national scholastic events. Please note that there is a wrong phone number listed for the Hilton. It should be 414-271-7250 instead of 414-272-7250.

With your help we can make Milwaukee famous in the chess world!




Mike Nietman

WCA President

2001 President's Report

  • Written by Mike Nietman
  • Published: 16 November 2004
  • Last Updated: 02 September 2001
Riverside Days Inn, Racine, September 2, 2001

It was an exciting year for Wisconsin chess and in particular for two individuals. Even better news is that the next year holds great promise on many fronts!

First, congratulations to Josh Zillmer of Columbus who tied for first in the 2000 Arnold Denker Tournament of High School Champions at the U.S. Open in St. Paul and to Morgan Feeney of Racine who tied for first at the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Scholastic Tournament last December in Milwaukee. For their efforts both were awarded a full tuition and fees college scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas! Morgan went on to apply for a more prestigious scholarship from UTD and she won that one too! Together Josh and Morgan's scholarships amount to over $100,000!! Congratulations to them both!

I want to congratulate and say thanks to Arlen Walker, President of the Milwaukee Chess Foundation. With help from his board of directors, he spear-headed an effort to land the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Team Tournament in Milwaukee. This was the first major national championship to be held in Wisconsin in quite some time and he and his staff did a superb job!

Congratulations to Glendale Nicolet High School for capturing the 2001 State Scholastic team title. They captured the title when three time defending champion Madison West finally succumbed to the graduation bug and could only muster a 3-2 score.

Speaking of Madison West, congratulations to their coach Neil Gleason for winning the 2000 Wisconsin Chess Tour.

I'd like to thank Joe Hitselberger for directing the Wisconsin Postal Chess Championships over the past few years. Joe asks that we find another person to lead the event next year. If you are interested, please contact Joe or me and we'll get you started.

It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the passing of Dr. Scott Kittsley this past June. Scott was a benefactor of chess at all levels: national, state and local. He'll be missed and we hope that Alex Betaneli is able to keep the Kittsley Chess Festival going in remembrance of Scott.

Last November the WCA started a new tournament, the Wisconsin Senior Open. While open to anyone age 50 and over, only eight players participated. We're running the event again this November in hopes that the attendance will pick up. Although we do a mailing to all 'senior' USCF members, I'm sure there are many more people eligible who could play. So, please pass the word about this event to your clubmates and friends.

Does anyone in the Milwaukee area need a few more college credits? UW-Milwaukee is offering two for credit beginning chess courses this semester. The first class will start soon and be taught by Sheldon Gelbart. The second starts in October and the teacher is to be decided.

On the outreach side, I was approached by USCF Scholastic Director Tom Brownscombe at the Pan-Am last December about an opportunity involving AmericInn motels across the country. The idea was to hold a series of local and regional qualifiers to a national championship. Specifically, there are over eighty AmericInn's across Wisconsin (second in number to only Minnesota) and around twenty of them provided a room for two (open and scholastic), unrated, chess tournaments if we could provide tournament directors for these events. As compensation to the TD, the USCF was willing to provide a $25 gift certificate and the motel was willing to give a free room night. When I told USCF Executive Director George DeFeis about the difficulty of finding anyone on such short notice to TD the events which were to be held in late January, he threw in a year's USCF membership to boot. For those of us with life memberships, USCF added $40 to the gift certificate for each event ran. At the US Open I heard that some in other states were able to transfer the membership to cover their local club's affiliate dues. I'd like to thank all of the volunteer TD's and especially Dave Granik for going above and beyond the call and volunteering to direct three local events and a regional event. But we could have used more TD's!

While I firmly believe this is a great way to reach new members and new tournament players for our events and to reach new players in non-traditional chess areas of the state, the USCF realized that the tournament was put together too fast. Executive Director DeFeis is currently contacting AmericInn marketing officials to see if they are willing to try again and then to get the ball rolling earlier. If so, we'll need a large number of volunteers to run these events. Please note that since the events are not rated, non-certified TD's who are familiar with the Swiss pairing process can run an event. Remember, a day's work may pay for your USCF membership or your club's USCF affiliation! It should be noted to help drum up support for the three events I directed, I personally sent out postcards to USCF members and letters to media outlets in the Eau Claire to Hudson area.

An additional outreach activity that I'll be attending is the 2002 Wisconsin Association of School Boards convention in Milwaukee in January. The show hosts school board members, district superintendents and principals from around the state. Hopefully exposure at that level will lead to more contacts for participation in our events and to opening a door to get chess in the curriculum in our school districts. I'd like to thank the US Chess Trust and the USCF for providing funding to cover the costs of the booth and for promotional copies of the national magazines for dispersal to the crowd.

Riding on Arlen's coattails, the MCF and WCA made the USCF aware that Wisconsin wanted more. Last spring Tom Brownscombe notified me that the USCF was working with the Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau to land the 2002 National Junior High School Tournament at the Midwest Express Center in downtown Milwaukee. The event is scheduled for next May 9-12.

Since Wisconsin is top heavy in high school players, I gave the USCF notice that if we do a good job on this event that we wanted to host the national high school championship soon thereafter. And a U.S. Open would be the next logical step.

But how do we accomplish this? We need your help! TD's will be needed, both floor and back room pairing TD's. Volunteers will be needed for such things as crowd control, airport greeters, tournament room set-up and tear down specialists, results' verifiers, demo board operators, PR people, opening ceremony coordinators, award ceremony coordinators and the list goes on. You're help is needed!! I'll be writing job descriptions soon but if you know you can help, please let me know as soon as possible. Also, note that not all jobs need a knowledge of chess. So, family members and friends can help too. Also, if you can only volunteer for a day or two, that would still be great. We expect over 1200 participants and many more coaches and parents.

The best part of this is that the WCA will receive a flat fee per participant. It is expected that our treasury will grow next year.

Another exciting bit of news is the arrival of a new independent Wisconsin chess magazine. Good luck to Dave Penkalski, Tom Mertins and Rich Lambrecht in starting WIz Chess. We hope they have a long run.

There were a number of delegate motions passed at the US Open in Framingham last month that will affect all USCF members. For a more detailed list I'd like to refer you to my report that I e-mailed to clubs and TD's in the state last month. I've posted a copy in the playing room for your inspection. But I'd like to take a moment to talk to you about five of the major initiatives from that meeting.

First, after several years of debate, the delegates voted to allow full one member, one vote. By this I mean that starting in 2003 each USCF adult member will be able to vote directly for three seats on the Executive Board and then in 2005 to vote for the other four. I urge voters to vote but to make it an informed vote by listening to the people who are knowledgeable about the candidates. Resist the temptation and even pressure to vote for the big name candidates.

Secondly, FIDE is seeking to have chess become part of the Olympics. The IOC has already recognized FIDE as the official governing body for world chess. Next, the USOC needs to recognize the USCF as the official body for chess in the US. This application is being made.

A requirement for Olympic participation in any Olympic competition is drug testing of athletes. GM Joel Benjamin offered a motion that will allow the drug testing of participants of the US Championship or the event designated to select Olympic participants. While the subject of drug testing elicits strong emotions from both sides, the publicity benefits of chess being played in the Olympics may earn us more respect in many different areas. No, you wont be drug tested when you play in any event unless you are playing in the US Championship.

Thirdly, the office heard the cry of the delegates loud and clear on the subject of skyrocketing TLA fees. The delegates deferred all motions regarding TLA fees to the Executive Board for action.

Next, last spring the office heard loud and clear the outcry of players and organizers in not getting their events rated in a timely fashion. As of the beginning of August, all rating reports received through the prior week had been input and are ready for rating. This is a great improvement over last fall and winter when it was taking six weeks to rate an event.

Lastly, after posting a $435,000 loss in fiscal 2000, the USCF posted a modest $14,000 profit in fiscal 2001, almost a half million dollar turnaround. One of the ways they did this was to reduce their overhead of books. Instead of carrying nearly every title related to chess, they now carry around 200 titles. This has adversely effected cash flow during the slow periods but interestingly has increased the gross margin on the books they do sell. Also, backorders have been almost eliminated.

I'd also like to remind you that next June, you will be asked to vote for Wisconsin's two delegates and six alternate delegates (at current count) to the 2003 Delegate's Meeting. The WCA board will submit a slate for the ballot. If any other individual wishes to have their name appear on the ballot, they will need the signatures of ten other USCF members on a nomination form sent to the USCF. The rules for the ballot are still being formulated but they may include special marks for those nominated by the state affiliate and another special mark for those nominees desiring to be delegates who are able to attend the annual meeting. Please read the ballot instructions carefully and I urge you to vote for the WCA nominees.

I urge all TD's and organizers to read my December 10 letter (posted in the playing room) that describes WCA policy and procedures. In addition all TD's and organizers should familiarize themselves with new USCF policies that are listed on page ten of the August Rating Supplement. Failure to follow these new USCF policies may cost you additional money.

A great deal of thanks go to all the Board members for their hard work and many hours of time spent on chess projects this past year. Special thanks to Guy Hoffman and Jason Delpire who along with myself have our terms of office expire today.

2002 President's Report

  • Written by Mike Nietman
  • Published: 16 November 2004
  • Last Updated: 01 September 2002
Sheraton Four Points, Milwaukee, September 1, 2002

Another exciting year has passed for Wisconsin chess. For the first time ever we hosted a national scholastic championship and with the help of numerous tournament directors and volunteers, the 2002 National Junior High School Championship was a huge success!

In all, 1458 kindergarteners through ninth graders competed Mother's Day Weekend at the Midwest Express Center in downtown Milwaukee. The two year-old facility is still in immaculate condition and all the players, coaches and parents respected the property well and were very well behaved.

The largest rated event in state history ran smoothly under the lead of Chief Tournament Director Al Losoff. The USCF is now the main organizer of the five national scholastic events as well as the US Open. They in turn contract with a local affiliate to arrange for volunteers and additional TD staff. My thanks to the numerous volunteers who came forward. In particular to Arlen Walker who was a great sounding board for pre-tournament ideas and put in tons of hours running all over the facility to insure the smooth running of the event. I'd also like to single out USCF life member Randy Bubolz of Milwaukee who also donated several days to the success of the event. Randy jumped in at Chess Control on Thursday taking entries, memberships and solving problems. Then during the tournament he kept Chess Control running smoothly. My sincere congratulations on a job well done to Arlen, Randy and all the volunteers and tournament directors!

At the end of the event coaches and parents were very complimentary. The best one I received was from a coach from Pittsburgh who told me that he'd "attended over a dozen of the spring nationals and this was by far and away the best he'd ever attended."

My personal goal has been to bring the National High School Championship to Wisconsin in order to reward the vast majority of our scholastic programs here in the state. Now, every chance I get I remind Tom Brownscombe, USCF Scholastic Director and Diane Reese, USCF Event Manager that we'd love to host that event. While we were packing up Sunday night, Diane told me "2004 National High School here in Milwaukee!" Since then I've talked with her and she has stated that the 2004 National High School may have to go west for rotational reasons but that 2004 or 2006 are still possible. (2005 will be Supernationals III in Nashville, TN.) I'll keep you informed about our chances but when we do get another event, please volunteer! Although we had plenty of volunteers this year, several were high school players and they will want to play in the event next time. So, plan to join in on the fun and volunteer!

One thing that didn't happen was press coverage. Unfortunately the USCF did not forward to me a pre-tournament press release. So, the press was largely unaware of the event. Arlen did get some play time on WTMJ radio leading up to the event but the only Journal-Sentinel coverage we had was on Sunday buried in the Metro section and then after the basic information about the tournament was given the reporter decided to explore the reasons for the lack of girls at the event. I only wish she was around on Sunday when US Woman's Champion Jennifer Shahade spoke to all the girls participating. In the future I will not be caught shorthanded and will have a press release of my own ready to go on short notice.

As the local affiliate the WCA grossed $7290! At the board meeting immediately following this meeting we will be discussing what we should do with this money. My recommendations to the board will be that we re-fund the CD's that Scott Kittsley donated to us, reconsider the vote denying a stipend to our 2002 Denker Tournament representative and to make a donation to the Milwaukee Chess Foundation in appreciation for all the hard work the people of the Milwaukee area did to make the tournament such a success. That will still leave us with a sizable treasury that we'll need to manage better than we have in the past. Watch for the upcoming article about the event in Chess Life!

Congratulations to first time state scholastic team champion Milwaukee School of Languages. They tied with Madison West who beat them in their head-to-head match but MSOL won on tiebreaks. In all 411 players participated in the March event.

Congratulations also go to Guy Hoffman for winning the 2001 Wisconsin Chess Tour.

Regarding upcoming WCA events, we're adding a membership not required section to the Wisconsin Junior Open to hopefully draw more beginners to the event. After holding the Senior Open as a separate event the last two years and not drawing very well, we're going to fold that event back into the Veteran's Tournament and award a separate Senior trophy. Due to rising site costs, we decided to move last year's Herman Schramm Memorial to UW-Madison. The tournament had a great draw so we've planned to hold it there again this year.

Good luck to Alex Betaneli who successfully bid to hold three national championship tournaments at this hotel the weekend between Christmas and New Year's. The events are the National G/30 Action Championship, the National G/15 Quick Chess Championship and the G/5 National Blitz Championship. Along with Arlen's venture into the 2000 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championships, the USCF is taking notice of Wisconsin and its organizers who put on high quality events.

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Cedric Thompson who passed away a few weeks ago. Cedric was a pillar of the Milwaukee chess community. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee Chess Foundation and a member of a number of clubs in the Milwaukee area. His assistance in organizing and directing a number of the big Milwaukee events will be sorely missed.

The USCF was actually making a bit of money this past year. That was until the new auditors started to look at past year's financials. Unfortunately they found over $320,000 that needed to be written off the books due to problems in "previous accounting periods" going all the way back to 1996. The USCF decided to take the hit last year and not re-state all of those past financials. Net assets for the Federation were down $733,000 last year alone.

With all of this financial information in front of the delegates along with the fact that a developer has given the USCF an offer on their land at just about fair market value, the delegates voted to give the authority to the executive director and the executive board to sell the property. This does not force them to sell, just gives them the authority.

What does this mean? The building, owned by the life members, is in sad shape. Several hundred thousand dollars are needed to re-furbish it. Moving is not a bad idea. Where would they move? They may move to another, as to yet unknown, location near New Windsor.

A second alternative is to move from the area. One possibility is Excalibur Electronics, home of the Chess Hall of Fame and Museum, south of Miami, which is building a new wing and has offered the USCF space. Of course this means that only a few of the current employees would move and the USCF would basically have to start over.

Also to stem the loss of funds and to rebuild the financial reserves of the federation, the delegates voted to raise dues in all categories effective January 1. We also voted to re-establish the affiliate commission. So, regular membership dues will be $49 per year but $4 will go to the affiliate if you renew at your club. (Many clubs often rebate the $4 back to the member. So, you may want to "shop" around.) Note that the last dues increase was in 1996. Youth dues will be $25 with a $2 commission.

The scholastic membership will be split. To keep dues as low as possible for our youngest members, the Scholastic Committee proposed and the delegates accepted a new scholastic membership category without a magazine. The scholastic membership without any publication will be $13 with a $1 commission. (The executive director stated that he'd still do a catalog mailing to this group during the holiday season and will incorporate reports on the past year's national scholastics and information on the coming year's events.) The savings here is that the USCF will not spend $90,000 on printing and mailing School Mates. The scholastic membership with a publication will be $19 with a $2 commission. The publication will be a bimonthly Chess Life with a few columns devoted to beginners. Please note that the executive director was going to ask the editor of Chess Life to add a few beginner columns anyway as he has received numerous requests for beginner friendly columns.

In the recent vote among all adult USCF members in each state for their state delegates, 494 votes were cast nation-wide from about 40,000 eligible voters. It should be noted that there were problems with the ballot. Namely, no peel and stick label on the July Chess Life as per the directions, the August magazine with the peel and stick label came out very late and the peel and stick label had a bar code on it thereby redirecting the envelope back to the sender. The problems have been identified and will be rectified for the next election.

There were nine ballots sent in for the Wisconsin delegate vote. One was rejected because too many votes were cast. The results were

Mike Nietman 7
Guy Hoffman 6
Herman Presswood 5
Dave Granik 5
Peter Webster 5
Kelly Borman 5
Andrew Becker 5
Sheldon Gelbart 1

I'd like to thank everyone that took the time and effort to vote! Hopefully we'll get a better turnout next time.

A new rules book will be coming out before next summer. It will be more TD friendly in that it will have cross-references and TD Tips on how to apply the rules. Significant changes are listed below:

  • Draw claims will become draw offers
  • Due color will be decided without using rank as a factor
  • A standard penalties section will be added. Basically two minutes are added to the opponent's clock
  • Insufficient losing changes has been clarified such that
  • It should be decided by the two players and not the TD so slap a delay clock on the game
  • You can't make a claim until less than two minutes are on your clock

The USCF plans on improving its computer systems. They will start with the ratings program. There will be web access to the progress of your rating reports as they work their way through the system then the final report will be available to all over the web. Electronic submission of reports is also planned.

Lastly, TLA fees have reverted back to what they were a couple of years ago.

My thanks to all the board members for their hard work this past year. Chris Krumenauer, Peter Webster and Andy Becker have their terms expire today. In addition, Errol Hartman has resigned his seat on the board. The person finishing fourth in today's vote will serve out the remainder of his term which expires in 2003.

2003 President's Report

  • Written by Mike Nietman
  • Published: 16 November 2004
  • Last Updated: 31 August 2003
The River Center, UW-Oshkosh, August 31, 2003

The past year has proven to be a mixture of success for us. First, with the proceeds of the 2002 National Junior High School Tournament, the WCA is once again on a sound financial basis. Our treasurer will present the numbers shortly.

However, the USCF has run into severe financial difficulties. For the details, please see the memo that I’ve posted in the playing room but, to summarize, the assets of the Life Membership Account (both the USCF building and its portfolio) equal the amount of money the USCF owes. When the Delegates gathered in Los Angeles we were under the assumption that the year ended in May at either a break even status or running a slight surplus. When the audited financials came in, we were surprised to find a $365,000 deficit. The net change was due to four problems: First, the accrual accounting system for multi-year members was incorrect. Second, the Life Member Assets (LMA) reported a huge loss for the year. Third, payroll expenses from the last payroll period in the fiscal year needed to be accrued and fourth, over $50,000 in TLA’s went uninvoiced.

Clearly the last item can be corrected and the TLA’s invoiced but that would be in the current fiscal year. But the other three can not be made up.

The Delegates, Executive Board and office know that adult dues can not be raised again. It has been discussed that Youth, Scholastic and Scholastic Economy dues may be raised. Alternatively, expenses need to be cut. The first look was to reduce the number of Chess Life’s that the Youth and Scholastic members receive. The Scholastic Council, of which I am a member, has proposed a reduction in the number of Chess Life’s for all membership categories with the thinking that reducing contributor fees, printing and mailing costs for an entire month would save the most money. President Beatriz Marinello is reviewing the options.

In the meantime, seventeen USCF employees were laid off last week. Hopefully, this will allow them to meet their payrolls over the next few months.

The current plan is to sell the building to a developer who is willing to pay fair market value for the property, pay off some severances to employees who won’t move and then move to Crossville, TN. The Tennessee county has deeded the USCF a parcel of land to put up a building and offered free use of an existing building while the permanent building is put up. With the proceeds of the sale of the building, the USCF will also purchase long needed computer infrastructure and software to update their systems. Money to put up the building will come from a bank in Crossville when the USCF mortgages the land.

How can you help ensure the future of the USCF? Consider renewing your membership early! Consider buying from the USCF catalog!

Separate from raising dues it was suggested to raise rating fees. Various rates were discussed but anticipate a flat fee around 20 cents per game on disk and 40 cents per game on paper. The reason for this is that although the USCF takes in $100,000 from rating fees it loses $50,000 in the transactions in time spent processing the reports. It was thought that scholastic events cost more because many of the players are new and it is their first event. Scholastic events also tend to have a lot of missing ID’s. So, in essence under the existing rating fee structure, scholastic events were charged less but created more work for the office. Now there will be a flat fee for scholastic and open events.

The office and Executive Board has set a deadline for the end of the year to get up and running a pilot program for on-line submission of rating reports. I pointed out that eventually it should cost less for on-line submission of rating reports and that the charged fees should fall back.

One outstanding upgrade to the members only area of the USCF website will be a section that is currently in beta test. The new pages will allow you to view the rating reports of all of the events you’ve played in since 1991. To view the beta site log onto

Only a few Wisconsin USCF members took the time to vote for the Executive Board elections last June. Next year Wisconsin’s USCF members will be asked to choose delegates and alternate delegates. Please support the choices put forth by the WCA Board of Directors. They will be marked as such on the ballot.

Be advised that there will be a new rule book out soon. Major changes will be highlighted in a Chess Life article by rule book editor Tim Just. I posted a summary of the rules changes in the playing room. This list is from

Congratulations to Madison West High School for recapturing the State Scholastic Team Championship and for capturing nearly every trophy in the two varsity sections of the 2003 State Scholastic Chess Championships. A record 475 players participated. Next year the event will expand from four sections to six sections. We’ll add a third varsity section and a K-6 section.

The trophies kept heading to Madison as Madison West Coach, Alex Betaneli captured the 2002 Wisconsin Chess Tour trophy.

The WCA is pleased to announce that the North Central is back! After a two year absence Arlen Walker submitted a bid to hold the event at the Country Inn and Suites in Brookfield over the Thanksgiving weekend.

WCA tournament attendance excluding the Junior Open was down for the year. Tour event attendance was also down. If you take a look at the tournament calendar, you’ll notice a preponderance of the events falling in the fall. My personal opinion is that organizers, including the WCA, need to re-examine the schedule and spread out the events better over the year. This includes moving the State Championship back to Memorial Day Weekend. Very few Wisconsin players go to the Chicago Open that weekend anyway.

I encourage those of you with web access to monitor the WCA website. Arlen has some ideas to re-vamp it. I also ask organizers to request tournament dates from Guy Hoffman, the WCA Clearinghouse Director. We want to avoid organizers scheduling events on the same day. You may also contact Arlen so he can put them up on the website’s calendar. The website URL is

Arlen and I each maintain an e-mail list of Wisconsin chess players. We try to keep the list private to reduce the chance of spamming. If you are not on my list, please give me your e-mail address.

Be advised that the AmericInn motel chain is once again planning on doing several regional and a national scholastic chess championship. Current plans are to hold the regional events in the month of November. They are currently soliciting AmericInn properties that are interested in hosting an event. Then they will be interested in finding TD’s around the state to direct the events. Let me know if you are interested in the paid position and I’ll get you in contact with the marketing firm that is organizing the events.

I have told them repeatedly that the idea they are putting forth is wonderful. Unfortunately, the organizers continue to ignore pleas from the state and local organizers to avoid long standing events and to plan the events earlier to avoid conflicts. Last year a number of properties held an event on the weekend of the Northeastern. This year several events may coincide with the Wisconsin Junior Open and the National Youth Action event held in Rockford, IL the week after our Junior Open. We need to encourage this sponsorship but at the same time, get them to work with us not against us.

My thanks to all the board members for their hard work this past year. Chris Krumenauer, Andrew Becker and Herman Presswood have their terms of office expire today.

ADDENDUM: Wisconsin USCF membership demographics:

As of mid-July, Wisconsin had 1013 USCF members. This includes 54 affiliates and library members. The 1013 is a decline of 66 from the year before.

Of the 1013, 681 were in my database from prior years. 610 of those were in the database as members in 2002. 71 were in my database but not members in 2002. They were lapsed members who came back in.

332 were not in my database from the year before. Of those new members 187 were either Youth or Scholastic members while 94 were Regular members.

Sadly, this means that 471 or 44% of last years members were not in the list this year.

Of the 1013 members, 329 are Regular members, 219 are Life members, 212 areYouth members, 119 are Scholastic members.

728 have a rating. 470 have a different rating from the year before.

A request from a board member at the meeting asked for the number of prison members. That number is 36.


At least annually, the president of the WCA is required to present a "State of the Association" letter (at the membership meeting held during every championship). These official announcements are kept here.
Here are official minutes of the WCA board meetings.
Here are copies of old and new bylaws.