Thursday, October 06, 2011

More on Bad Behavior in Chess

I have copied and pasted below an email from Mike Hoffer about Face Book flaming of a handicapped chess player whose behavior is unacceptable.

Rob Clark's apology for his annoying behavior, written well before the Facebook post in Tampa Bay Chess, is at the bottom of this message. While USCF had requested a day to arrive at a resolution, they now want until next Wednesday in order to contact and receive replies from all of their tournament officials to arrive at their recommendation for Rob's sanctions. The way I see it, we may either feel good about terminating the chess career of an annoying player, or we may feel good about helping someone with a disability become the best he can be by realizing he must observe boundaries if he wants to be a part of things, otherwise there will be heavy consequences. In the future, let's please handle our dirty laundry privately. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS OR CALL ME! For those of you who may have missed my FB reply, I have also added it directly below this note:

We deeply appreciate the support all of you have given to our tournaments. We are indeed very sensitive to the concerns, needs, and desires of our treasured clientele. The situation will be handled appropriately. Those of you who really know me realize that I can be at least as assertive as Francisco Guadalupe. That very evening, immediately after the tournament, I had a long private talk with Rob. He humbly and remorsefully apologized for his part in the conflicts. Yesterday, long before this post on Facebook, Rob had already written a formal apology via email to me promising to everyone this sort of thing will never happen again. I will forward his email to everyone who is involved.

Termination is an extreme measure and sets a dangerous precedent. This is still America. We could easily be sued for a capricious and wrong decision. After conferring with USCF, we propose a suspension, a written apology, and zero tolerance of future inappropriate behavior. USCF told me they will meet today to arrive at a final decision.

Rob suffers from a serious medical condition which is the root of the issue. Jeff stated in the beginning of this thread that Rob will not act out if he consciously realizes they may be heavy consequences. Rob loves competitive chess and said that he would rather die than lose the privilege of playing in chess tournaments because it is one of the few things that gives him joy. Our goal is to help others. Hopefully, we can all help Rob become the best he can be.

Meanwhile, "Tampa Bay Chess on Facebook" is a family-oriented and very public forum intended for event schedules, mirth, merriment, and encouragement. Our endeavor is to increase our following and not to scare people away. In the future, if you have ANY concerns, you all know how to contact me 24/7: Phone 813-526-2257; Email - ; Website -

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: RC
To: Michael Hoffer
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 4:03 PM
Subject: In regards to tournament ettiquette and recent events-Att. to J. York, Timo and other parties

Hello, I am replying to recent events that have put me, Robert Clark, in an uncomfortable position. Mike brought it to my attention that people have been complaining about me at the tournament. As to my behavior I will take full responsibility and offer apologies for my mistakes. In the future I promise to act proper and behave as well as anyone at tournaments. To play without disturbing others and only talk OUTSIDE the playing room while matches are in progress. I would sincerely like to start fresh and put all the bad stuff behind us. I know the TD experiences were very uncomfortable for me and I will handle it better without getting upset. I apologize to any of the players who were disturbed by it. I promise to act according to rules on conduct and good behavior- and no cussing. I want to stay on good terms with everyone and practice good sportsmanship. We play for fun but making friends is part of the fun. Be courteous to me and I will return the courtesy. I know the rules and will abide. I hope to see everyone at tournaments and we are there to improve, have fun and interact hopefully as friends. I will stay quiet in playing room and not disturb others concentration- I am serious about chess and want to improve at it. Kindest regards and sincere apologies for any transgressions on my part, your friend in chess and otb, Robert Clark (Tampa resident)

I think that we can all work together to keep chess enjoyable to everyone who plays and learn to help those who need a little extra help with their behavior problems.

Mike Serovey, MA, MISM

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