Sunday, February 21, 2016

Four Eras and 501(c)(3)

The Goldwater era often denigrated, I think by those who were not real chessplayers.  Goldwater's vision for the club was that chessplayers would come in, play chess, and leave.  There was also alot of socializing.  No one thought of chess as an educational activity in those days.   So what more could a chessplayer want?

A big blow to the club was how Goichberg was invited in to sponsor tournaments and then later he was thrown out.   As much as I liked Goichberg's tournaments, I don't think this was the correct move.  The Marshall had one style and Goichberg had another.  So I think these mistakes dealt a severe blow to the Marshall.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have suggested that board disclose the financial situation and underscore how all existing members should bring in new members to keep the club solid financially.

During the Haft era the club was very lively and there were many internationals, thanks in part to Eric Schiller, Erik Moskow, and Richard Gross.  GM Maurice Ashley and IM Josh Waitzskin were among the participants.   One question I don't think was ever answered was whether Leon borrowed money against the building to fund the internationals.

 It seems that sometimes when a new regime takes over, all the records from past regimes disappear.  It is really important for each regime to disclose what they are doing so that later regimes can learn from there experiences.  It is extremely important to do things by the book, so that you can disclose what you are doing.  One great thing that Leon did which isn't widely remembered is that he joined two of the apartments in the building into one, thus ending rent stabilization.

During the Prince era there started to be major discussion about 501(c)(3), tax deductible public service status.  I'm trying to think of the motivations at the time.  This was still well before the big chess teaching boom.  I think alot of it was due to a misunderstanding of how great the club already was and what an important role it was already playing in many people lives.

There was a bit of financial pressure, due to a poorly timed dues increase, but I still think the best solution would have been do more of what we were already doing.  I think there was a certain amount of scheming going on.  One or too people wanted to "sell" the club in the same manner that the Manhattan was sold to Adams and Kossak.

Now the club has gone full throttle on the 501(c)(3).  You know there was talk about how 501(c)(3) would bring us more internationals.  How many round robin internationals has the club had in the last six years? Is it two or is it three?  One of the tournaments had the unusual advent of a norm being denied because of a pre-arranged draw.   The most recent Swiss international was not superswiss (meaning fewer norms possible) probably due to organizational considerations rather than lack of funds.  Not enough foreign players.

The club is increasingly become a place for elitist rich people (and I am not saying all rich people are elitist), wannabees, and their hangers on to pat eachother on the back.    While there is still some chess going on, political games have fully replaced sound management.  Behind the scenes there are problems which are going to be detrimental.

Recently some people, including some who are supposed to be my friends have accused me of lying because I want to be president.  Actually I offered to be president, and I still don't think I would be one of the worst choices.  No one in their right mind would *want* to be president at stage of the game.  Someone would have to be pretty crazy or pretty stupid.  The best you can hope for is someone with a strong sense of obligations,  and I quite happy that there is extremely little chance it will be me.

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