The USCF Hits Rock Bottom
If you notice something a little different about your November issue of Chess Life, you are not the only one. The monthly magazine produced by the United States Chess Federation seems lighter and thinner. If you enjoy "Solitaire Chess" or "what's the best move?" don't try to find the answers on page 68. Instead, you should flip to page 33. The extreme reduction in material in Chess Life is one of many symbols of the USCF's deep financial difficulties.
Just a month after its 64th anniversary, the organization whose sole purpose is to promote chess in the United States has observed more than a decade's financial strain rise to the metaphorical surface.
Among the troubles include a six-figure loss in the last fiscal year, a maxed out bank line of credit, as well as an inability to afford postage in order to send Chess Life to its members. Everybody seems to have different excuses or reasons for the problems that the USCF has encountered. Some blame it on poor leadership while others point to financial incompetence, or simply antiquated tools. Regardless of the source of the dilemma, the USCF is in a deep hole and needs its members' help to dig out.
Chess Life's new editor, Glenn Petersen, shared a few ways you can make a difference. If you are a life member, pay yearly dues anyway. Renew your membership early or donate money for specific purposes, such as updating the computers in the office.
Above all, however, if each member does his or her part to promote chess, then the USCF can focus on funding the tournaments and Chess Life articles we enjoy.