Thursday, July 31

Open Letter About Upcoming CalChess Election

Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 11:56:29
From: "Michael Aigner"
Subject: Open Letter About Upcoming CalChess Elections
To: "Tom Langland, CalChess President"

Dear Tom,

The CalChess Board elections will be held again at the Labor Day Tournament. Date: Saturday, August 30 at 3pm. Location: Golden Gateway Holiday Inn, Van Ness at Pine in San Francisco.

> The following terms expire in 2008
> ----------------------------------
> Tom Langland (President)
> Jason Gurtovoy (VP)
> Michael Aigner
> Salman Azhar

I am writing this email to formally state that I have no intention of running for reelection at the annual meeting on Labor Day weekend. I also resign as tournament clearinghouse effective at the same meeting, although I pledge to work on a smooth transition with my replacement.

A number of smaller factors contributed to my decision, creating a snowball effect. In short, I have learned that CalChess is no longer the organization that it was when I first volunteered my time. Fully 95% of the efforts of CalChess go to running one scholastic tournament and everything else is secondary. I have nothing against kids in chess (after all, I teach quite a few) but I draw the line between scholastic and junior/adult chess. CalChess has drifted away from adult chess and even away from its top juniors, with the sole emphasis now being on the U1000 rated players that bring in the money at the CalChess Scholastics.

Case in point: We can't even get an up or down vote on the Polgar and Denker stipends despite having over two months to sort it out. I could say more, but I promised to stay out of this (nonexistent) discussion because of an obvious conflict of interest. I also wish there would be the possibility for sponsoring another Masters tournament like other states (e.g. SoCal) have, but again there's been no interest among the rest of the Board.

Even as the Clearinghouse, I have had to put up with an increasing amount of frustration, usually from scholastic organizers. Many view posting tournaments as an entitlement. Frankly, the increasing amount of effort that I put into updating the tournament calendar no longer is worth it to me. Hosting the calendar on what is otherwise a dead website is even more depressing.

I won't rule out further participation in CalChess down the road, if the organization finds its sense of direction again. I have promised to help Salman as a TD at the CalChess Scholastics, like I did this year. And I will continue to write about local events on my blog.

Good luck and good chess to all!

Michael Aigner

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