Friday, January 04, 2013

Open Letter to Key Members of College Chess

TO: Rusty Harwood
Chair, College Chess Committee

Copy: Al Lawrence (TTU), Alan Sherman (UMBC), Jim Stallings (UTD), Yasser Seirawan (Lindenwood), Paul Truong (Webster)

Dear Rusty,

In lieu of the unfortunate situation which took place at the latest PanAm Intercollegiate Chess Championship in Princeton regarding the "humanitarian" issue, I suggest one of the following to avoid this episode from ever happening again in the future:

- Permanent rule change


- Teams which may have this problem will need to make arrangements with their potential opponents prior to the start of the tournament to avoid this possibility

After a decision is made by the College Chess Committee, rules must once again be strictly enforced with no exception to ensure the spirit of fair play for all. Once rosters and lineups are finalized, no change should be allowed. This type of issue must be handled beforehand. Because this was not properly or timely executed at Princeton, multiple teams were unnecessarily effected when everything could have been avoided in a cordial and professional manner in the first place.

No team which plays by the rules should be penalized for no fault of their own. Webster University is compassionate about this sensitive human issue. We always put the welfare the students first. However, we play by the rules and we expect for the rules to be enforced.

When I faced the exact same situation with the exact same student some 8-9 months earlier, I found a solution to avoid conflict without bending any rule or asking for any exception. It can easily be done without creating disadvantages, discomfort, or unfairness to other teams in this prestigious event.

Thank you for addressing this sensitive issue.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar
Director, Webster University - SPICE
Head Coach, Webster University Chess Team

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