I am running for one of the two open seats on the USCF's Executive Board in the 2010 Special Election. Below is an introductory statement (500 words), and I will post here from time to time on issues that I think are important, as well as on issues of interest to others.
I began playing USCF chess in junior high school in Columbus, Ohio in 1969 and became swept up in Fischer's run to the World Championship. I played throughout high school, tying for first in the Central Ohio School Chess Association (COSCA) championship as a senior (2nd on tie breaks), and playing for the first-seeded team in the state championship. Following high school, I began a military career that took me away from organized chess for years. Although I played casually, and even returned to rated chess during two more quiet stateside military assignments, it was only upon departing the military that I was able to return to chess with a renewed passion. I am currently, in my own words, one of the country's more devout correspondence players. In addition, I use the majority of my vacation time to play in OTB tournaments. Over the past three years, I've played in California (twice), Connecticut, Florida, New York, and Ohio. During this time I have played approximately 120 USCF correspondence games and a similar number of games in the ICCF. I've almost completed the 2009 USCF Absolute tournament, and I'm one of 15 finalists in the 18th United States Correspondence Chess Championship. I have lived in New York, Georgia, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, and Ohio, as well as in Germany. I have a B.A. from Auburn University in English literature, a Masters from the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and a law degree from Cornell Law School. I was awarded the Silver Star as an infantry company commander during DESERT STORM in Kuwait. For the past decade I have lived in Cleveland, Ohio where I work as a civil litigator focusing on complex commercial cases. I became drawn deeply into USCF issues off the chessboard upon learning that an Executive Board member had sued the USCF. This appeared so fundamentally detrimental to the USCF that I began reviewing the various cases, and engaging in discussions (as "Grayson") on a wide variety of subjects in the USCF's Issues Forum.
What can I bring to the USCF? I bring a passion for the game. The game must come before personal viewpoints, political power, and pecuniary interests. The "game" begins with the rank and file player who plays in weekend events. These players (for the most part you and me) are critical to raising chess to its highest potential, which certainly includes developing young players who will enjoy the game beyond their school years, and affording the most talented players the opportunity to play full time with minimal distraction. We must present to all a professional, reasonable, and capable leadership if we are to advance chess in the United States and tap into resources, yes, including money, that will allow chess to be viewed as the intellectual pursuit that it is. We don't always have to agree with one another, but we do need to work together to advance the game. I think I can help.
Gary L. Walters