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June 25, 2008

Tom Braunlich
Volunteer of the Month: Tom Braunlich

The USCF Volunteer of the Month is named by a different member of the executive board each month. This month, Jim Berry named our honoree.

Other states should be envious of Oklahoma for having a “volunteer” the caliber of Tom Braunlich organizing first class chess events. 

Tom grew up in Tulsa and was a product of the Fischer boom. He earned his highest USCF rating of 2350 by travelling around the U.S. playing in national events in the 1970s and 80s. From 1987–2002 he worked as a games designer in Seattle and Virginia. 

In 2000 he volunteered to organize his first Millennium Chess Festival in Virginia Beach. The first edition of this now popular tournament drew 100 players. Numbers two and three drew 200 players and he was off and running. Altogether he organized the first six Millenniums.

They were characterized by innovative features such as a live game between two grandmasters located in different areas with separate wall boards and during the game commenting on each move to the spectators. He organized Fischer-random events and hired grandmasters to give lectures and workshops for kids. In 2003 Tom moved back to Oklahoma and the Virginia Millenneums continue to this day without him due to the foundation of hard work and the legacy he left behind.

Back in Oklahoma, Tom volunteered his time and expertise as an officer with the Oklahoma Chess Foundation. With the support of the OCF he began to organize unique annual events beginning in 2005 such as the Okie Chess Festivals which hold 1, 2 or 3 strong round robins (RR) with the supporting Swiss. These RRs had players flying in from all over the country. It should be noted that all-play-all events are much more difficult to organize due to players often having to be replaced at the last minute.  

Tom volunteered to help organize much of the 2007 FKB U.S. Championship in Stillwater even though he was also a contestant. In 2008 he volunteered to shoulder much of the organizer duties of the FKB Qualifier Open and the 2008 FKB U.S. Championship held in Tulsa.  Tom learned new organizing tricks by playing in European tourneys. Paying attention to details, he designed custom logos for each event, ordered banners, coordinated invitations and provided transportation. Other not-so-common trademarks of a Braunlich event are the opening and closing ceremonies, flowers and custom board numbers on the tables. 

I am proud to name Tom Braunlich as the July USCF Volunteer of the Month.
~Jim Berry

Mail in your ballot!

You still have time to mail in your 2008 USCF Delegate Ballot that you received in June. Ballots must arrive in Crossville, Tennessee by July 20. If you are an eligible voter, your ballot was attached as a cover wrap to your June 2008 issue of Chess Life (unless you receive the magazine via first class mail, in which case you received your ballot via a separate first class mailing).

The results will be submitted to the delegates on Saturday, August 9, 2008, for certification. The elected delegates will take office at the conclusion of the 2008 Delegates Meeting.

The Delegates Meeting is held in conjunction with the U.S. Open, which this year will be from August 2nd through the 10th, in Dallas, Texas. For more information on the 2008 U.S. Open, please see the USCF website, www.uschess.org.

Know your USCF on uschess.org

The USCF maintains a number of sections at uschess.org that the average member will find of use:

Go to uschess.org and click on “About USCF.” Under “Governance” you will find items such as (you will have to log in):

Executive Board: Meetings & Related Documents

The executive board (EB) governs the USCF in between annual meetings of the delegates. The EB generally meets four times per year and also conducts business by teleconference and by e-mail. Here you can find .pdf documents about EB proceedings, and, for some meetings, audio files.

In Passing

We offer this area of our website to recognize and remember our members who have died. If you know of a member who has died, please feel free to notify Joan DuBois (see page 2) and if possible, include an obituary and a photograph (.jpg or .tif format). If we do not receive an obituary we will list their name and state.

A number of governance reports are available for .pdf, .xls or .doc download here, including the 2009 budget, list of delegates, EB motions, and recent Delegates’ Calls.

Finance Documents
Here you can find quarterly financial statements, budgets, and audited financial statements.

A number of discussion forums are available here, including “Announcements” for official USCF announcements; “All Things Chess” for general chess discussion; “Chess Clubs” for discussing chess club organization; “Chess Tournaments” for discussing direction and organization of tournaments; “Chess Life Articles” for discussion of Chess Life and Chess Life Online articles; and “USCF Issues” (registration required for this one).

The USCF Mission
USCF is a not-for-profit membership organization devoted to extending the role of chess in American society. USCF promotes the study and knowledge of the game of chess, for its own sake as an art and enjoyment, but also as a means for the improvement of society. It informs, educates, and fosters the development of players (professional and amateur) and potential players. It encourages the development of a network of institutions devoted to enhancing the growth of chess, from local clubs to state and regional associations, and it promotes chess in American society. To these ends, USCF offers a monthly magazine, as well as targeted publications to its members and others. It supervises the organization of the U.S. Chess Championship, an open tournament held every summer, and other national events. It offers a wide range of books and services to its members and others at prices consistent with the benefits of its members. USCF serves as the governing body for chess in the United States and as a participant in international chess organizations and projects. It is structured to ensure effective democratic procedures in accord with its bylaws and laws of the state of Illinois.