Wednesday, September 2, 2009


RR: I agree. Paul, a few newspapers published some articles about problems with the chess federation. Can you explain? What does this mean? There are people out there writing things in papers and online that don’t do your good work justice.

PT: As the saying goes, you can either lead, follow, or get out of the way. We’re trying to lead, and they’re trying to make us get out of the way. Susan has worked very hard to get to where she is, and when you’re at the top of the game there will always be people who are jealous. The U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) is very political and extremely ineffective.

We continue to work in our community of Lubbock, to bring home national championships, to develop research agendas, and to not worry so much about politics for politics sake. We’re doing good work here with chess tournaments, camps, lessons at the Science Spectrum, playing with senior citizens at the TTU College of Distance Education, working with various churches and libraries and groups… We are also working on a national and international scale to promote chess for girls, women’s chess, scholastic chess, professional chess, chess in education, and a lot more.

The bad PR we’ve received, yes, has been very unfortunate, and it came from people who want to see Susan and SPICE fail. It is a concerted effort on their part to try to stop our success. This is hurting our entire sport. Unfortunately, there is little we can do when people are not telling the truth. Things people claim are highly misleading and even slanderous. But, we’re doing good work, and it shows.RR: Final question. How do you like Lubbock now that you have been here for almost two years?

SP: I love it! My children love it! We love Texas Tech. We love Lubbock. We love the people we work with. We love the warmth and hospitality of the people in this community. When I came to town back in early 2007 to discuss the idea of moving to Lubbock to start SPICE, I was told that Texas Tech is committed to SPICE for a long, foreseeable future. I plan to be here for a long time and continue a tradition of excellence.

RR: Thank you all for your time and congratulations, Gergely, again, for capturing the first national chess championship for Texas Tech. I hope more will be in our future.

More Q&A from Chess Fans

Jackson (Denver, CO): I read on the USCF website about the revocation of your USCF memberships. Is it true and why?

PT: It is true. The Executive Board’s action is deplorable. Instead of doing what is best for chess and the USCF, these people appear to put their personal and political interests first. They are doing everything they can to hide their misconduct from the USCF members and delegates, even if this costs jobs for USCF employees and perhaps even cause the collapse of the entire federation. They used Chess Life and Chess Life Online to spread false information to hide the truth. But the facts will come out eventually.

JS (Los Angeles, CA): I have read only the USCF side of the story. Could you please summarize the cause of these lawsuits?

PT: Our position is that the USCF Executive Board and the USCF Executive Director continuously violated the USCF bylaws. I believe they abused their authority and used USCF members’ money for their own political agenda. I believe the legal cost so far exceeds $1 million for both sides, not counting what the USCF insurance has paid separately on behalf of the USCF. These people claim that the USCF has no money to support scholastic chess, college chess, women’s chess, professional chess, or chess promotion, etc. But they have no problem spending over $600,000 of members’ money for their own political agenda. It is inconceivable that these people are doing this in the middle of the worst economy in decades, and where countless USCF members have lost their jobs. These people could not care less about the welfare of chess or the USCF. They tried to blame this on us, while this has been their pattern of conduct for years.

These individuals can try to hide the facts, but the truth will come out in court. We have received tremendous support from countless USCF members encouraging us to stand tall and fight against these corrupt chess politicians.

The USCF has to cut their operating schedule to a four-day work week. The position of USCF Scholastic Director and FIDE Director had to be cut because of a serious financial meltdown. We offered to drop the lawsuit against the USCF for $1. The Executive Board rejected the offer because if the lawsuit against the USCF is dropped, they can not longer hide behind our federation to conceal their misconduct.

It also appears that they are also hiding from USCF members that Susan’s lawsuit against the USCF and its board members is covered by the insurance company. Mr. Jeff Jones is representing the USCF, and individual members of the Executive Board. These same people spent over $500,000 of members’ money to file frivolous lawsuits and to defend the misconduct of their political supporters from the lawsuit. They simply conveniently forgot to tell the USCF members this.

Chess Mom (Detroit, MI): Is it legal for the Executive Board to revoke your USCF Life Memberships and Executive Board status?

PT: We don’t think so. But it is up to the court to decide. But we do believe their actions directly violated the USCF bylaws.

Albert (Henderson, NV): What is your future plan with chess?

SP: We will continue to promote chess in multiple aspects. Nothing has changed. The SPICE Cup is the next big event on our calendar. You can follow our activities by checking out

Jim (Des Moines, IA): Can you still compete in chess tournaments?

SP: No. The Executive Board revoked our USCF memberships. They claimed that we can still play. But there is no such thing as being able to play rated chess and not being a member. They are just making things up as they go along and this is clearly against the USCF rules. In addition, I cannot play in world championships or Olympiads unless I am a member of a national federation. So basically what the Executive Board did is to destroy what is left of my playing career.

Interview source:,

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