Every two years the USCF holds elections for its Executive Board (EB), where the 2011 edition was covered on this blog in Odd Man Out. In 2013, there are six candidates for four positions, two of which are for three year terms, and two for two year terms. (I've lost track of why the terms are staggered and couldn't find out the reason in time to write this post.)
The six candidates are Mike Atkins, Randy Bauer, Ruth Haring, Beatriz Marinello, Tim Redman, and Chuck Unruh. All of them appear to be well qualified to serve on the EB. Which should I vote for?
The election has attracted more interest than in previous years and I received four different mailings on the subject. The first was from Tim Redman, followed by one from Bill Goichberg and two (duplicates bearing different dates) cosigned by Garry Kasparov and Rex Sinquefield.
Goichberg recommended a team of Atkins, Bauer, Haring, and Unruh. For reasons I won't repeat here, but which can be found on his web site Checkmate.us, he recommended against Marinello and Redman. Somewhat curiously -- whether by design or coincidence I have no way of knowing -- the Kasparov / Sinquefield team made the same recommendations as Goichberg.
Since I have no particular reason for preferring any of the six candidates, I will simply follow the recommendations of the three heavyweight insiders. Both Marinello and Redman currently perform valuable service to chess in their current functions and I expect they will continue to do so even if not elected.
Ruth Haring's candidate statement in the May 2013 issue of Chess Life, was illustrated with the following graphic.
As we look forward to the future it is important that we address membership retention. Existing scholastic programs see constant turnover and we see in our membership data, a membership decline beginning around the age of 11.
Scholastic retention is one of the most urgent and least understood puzzles facing the organization (see chart). USCF needs to focus in on this phenomenon to better understand the dynamics in play and develop strategies to convert scholastic members to lifelong members.
This well known phenomenon would be worth a follow-up post.