Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Does USCF Have A Marketing Department?

While eating lunch and watching the tube I flipped over from golf to the NASCAR race, and then during a commercial to CNN and who did I see but a former chessplayer, Grandmaster Ken Rogoff. With the recent economic turmoil he is everywhere. I recently watched a documentary on the meltdown of 2008 and he was interviewed in it. I read an article in the Thursday, August 12 New York Times, 'Sometimes, Inflation Is Not Evil', by Floyd Norris (, and there was a picture of the GM. From the article: In a column in The Financial Times this week, Ken Rogoff, the Harvard economist, suggested central bankers consider “the option of trying to achieve some modest deleveraging through moderate inflation of, say, 4 to 6 percent for several years.”

Mr. Rogoff conceded that “any inflation above 2 percent may seem anathema to those who still remember the anti-inflation wars of the 1970s and 1980s.”
He's in the Financial Times, and many other publications. Like I said, he is EVERYWHERE!
The USCF marketing department is missing the marketing opportunity of a lifetime! Then I wondered, "Does the USCF even have a marketing department?" So I went to the latest issue of CHESS LIFE and looked on page 2, and could find no 'marketing' whatsoever. Seems they would have a marketing department...
Ali Velshi, the Chief Business Correspondent, was interviewing business types. Now imagine if the Grandmaster were wearing a USCF hat, and maybe a USCF patch, ala NASCAR drivers. He could wear a USCF tie for good measure. The marketing department could pay Mr. Rogoff to wear them everytime he is 'on camera'.
The interview could have gone something like this.
Ali Velshi: "Ken, what do you think of the markets now?"
Ken Rogoff: "This turmoil is CRAZY!" (Actual word used by Mr Rogoff)
Ali Velshi: "What do you think could be done?"
Ken Rogoff: "Well, Ali, they are calling it a recession, but I've always heard a recession is when your neighbor is out of work; but a depression is when you are out of work! While you and I consider what we are now in a recession, for fourty or so million Americans, it can only be described as a depression, because being out of work is depressing."
Ali Velshi: "What do you propose we do about it?"
Ken Rogoff: "Join the United States Chess Federation!"
Ali Velshi: "Ken, I see you are wearing a USCF hat, tie, lapel pin, and patch on your blazer. How do you think joining that organization can help?"
Ken Rogoff: "Ali, the people have a great deal of time on their hands now. With no job, resentment builds until they are out in the streets, joining a 'flash mob', creating havoc for the establishment. They are fomenting dissension and anarchy. The anger and agression they feel could be better channeled toward their opponent sitting across the board! Chess is a wonderful teaching tool, as shown by numerous studies. Students who study the Royal game of chess have been shown to improve in other areas as well. Parents could become involved and also learn the game, giving them a constructive way to play and learn with their children. And chess does not cost much, compared to other endeavors. After the revolution the USSR showed what chess can do for a society for little money."
Ali Velshi: "Well, um...yes...but...look what happened to the USSR."
Ken Rogoff: "Well, there is that."
Ali Velshi: "Ken, I understand you became a chess Grandmaster at a young age, then gave up the game. Why?"
Ken Rogoff: "Well, Ali, I realized there is very little money in chess and decided to go back to school and make a career for myself; some way to be able to actually feed my family. If I had stayed with chess, I would have had to wander the globe like some kind of mendicant."
Ali Velshi: "With that said, you would still advocate a youngster take up the game of chess?"
Ken Rogoff: "Certainly! After a few years involved with chess, they too would see that they are walking down a dead end street and realize how imperative it is for them to go to school and study hard in order to obtain an education and become a pillar of the establishment, like you and I, Ali."
Ali Velshi: "Sounds great, Ken! How do the people watching get in touch with the USCF?"
Ken Rogoff: "They can go to"
Ali Velshi: "What if they cannot afford a computer, Ken."
Ken Rogoff: "They can call the USCF at their 800 number."
Ali Velshi: "What if they cannot afford a phone, Ken?"
Ken Rogoff: " I thought EVERYONE had a cellphone. I happen to have a chess magazine right here with me, Ali. Let me take a moment to find the address for the USCF. Uh-oh, I have the best chess magazine in the world with me, New in Chess."
Ali Velshi: "You mean the USCF magazine is NOT the best chess magazine in the world?"
Ken Rogoff: "I'm afraid not, Ali. I don't usually carry it with me. I leave it in the 'reading room."
Ali Velshi: "The reading room?"
Ken Rogoff: "Yes, Ali. You know-the 'reading room'. It has become the kind of magazine one glances at while sitting for a short time."
Ali Velshi: "Ah, yes. The 'READING ROOM'. I get your drift, Ken. I'm sure the viewers will be able to find that information on their own with a concerted effort. Thank you very much, Grandmaster!"
Richard Quest: "Hey, I'm on this panel, too!"
Ali Velshi: "Richard, do you now, or have you ever played chess?"
Richard Quest: "Uh, well, uh no."
Ali Velshi: "Thank you for your input, Richard! After the break we will discuss just how many more people will have to lose their jobs for the establishment to acknowledge that we are, in fact, in a depression, and start calling it what everyone knows it has, in fact, become."

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