Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sam Sloan

Susan Polgar's unsuccessful opposition (originated in July) to convicted felon Sam Sloan's election to the Executive Board of the United States Chess Federation has likely had the perverse effect of making many chessplayers curious about him. After all, most of us have known his name since the beginnings of chess on the internet. But how many have actually spent much time learning more than the name? Well, there is a lot you can learn online, though separating fact from fiction may be hard to do. To go by what is written about him at Wikipedia or ChessBase, he is like a character out of Damon Runyon. As a wind-bag and ubiquitous poster of web pages and forums, however, Sloan has done much to craft his own image, so it is hard to know for sure how much is true. Most articles I've seen appear to have Sloan himself as their source: from the profile of him as a New York City cab driver (the occupation of many a fictional character) to his Wikipedia profile (which could easily have been self-posted, as likely are his games, mostly wins, at Chessgames.com). He appears to be, upon close scrutiny, practically the embodiment of the American "confidence man" for the internet age. The great irony is that he was only elected because his own self-promotion has made his name more familiar to USCF voters than any other on the ballot, yet few had ever had the curiosity to learn more about the man behind the name. I hope GM Polgar's opposition has made USCF members just curious enough to take one hard look at Sam Sloan so that they will all be better prepared to reject him in the future.

3 comments:

Goran said...

"The great irony is that he was only elected because his own self-promotion has made his name more familiar to USCF voters than any other on the ballot"

That's why I'm against "Susan Polgar way". It has the similar potential danger.

Michael Goeller said...

I was a little wary of GM SP when she joined the ranks of bloggers that she was doing it for pure self-promotion, but she has accomplished a great deal for chess (especially in the US and especially for girls) so I am convinced that whatever self-promoting she does only furthers the larger cause. And, at least she has the substance behind the surface spin... SS surely does not.

Anonymous said...

"Wikipedia"?!, that is a evil web
site: its article on "Bobby
Fischer" used to say that
geniuses were wicked people.
The fact that you send people
there to get information is
all I need to know about you.
As for Sam Sloan, his web site
shows that he has an uncommon
concern for people who are
attacked, (such as you and
Pulgar try to do to him).
Members of your Chess Club
should consider their fate
if you likewise turn on them.