Lakshmana "Vish" Viswanath's candidate statements also appear in the Chess Life issues under which they are listed below.
Starting off as a chess dad, I served the Texas Chess Association (president, vice president, and other positions) for over a decade, served a one-year term on the US Chess Executive Board, and am a national tournament director. Currently, and for the past few years, I am the co-chair of State and Affiliate Committee of US Chess.
I will be serving on the Board with no personal agenda or prejudices. I absolutely have no financial interests. My passion for chess will be used to just promote chess at all levels. We need to bring new blood at all levels, e.g., organizers, coaches, TDs, delegates, leadership positions.
I am a retired small businessman of 17 years. Prior to that, I worked in universities for over 25 years. Being retired, I can devote my time and experience to serving on the Executive Board to further promote its mission. Thank you for your consideration.
In Texas, like everything else, chess membership has been big. I have been in Texas Chess Association's (the state affiliate) governance for over eight years. During my governance in Texas (by 2016) membership has grown to over 10,000. Now, after COVID-19, when we are boasting of 100,000 members, Texas alone contributed over 12,000 of the US Chess members. Texas continues to grow and is a major contributor to US Chess.
During the past two years, I have served as the co-chair of the State and Affiliates Committee (SAC). The first year we put closure to a half dozen cases, which were pending for several years and were in limbo. We also recommended and passed the changes to Article 8 of the bylaws. These bylaw changes are still pending legal approval. The intent was to make state affiliates much stronger. Our goal here is to proactively create a sup port system for state affiliates by providing tools, support, and direction. States, in turn, can and should provide support to US Chess to grow! All the excellent work that we did led to US Chess awarding the committee of the year to us, SAC, in 2022.
It would be nice to have a summary of the cases that come to SAC (and also Ethics, TDCC) published without compromising the identity of the parties involved. Making these cases public will help prevent others from committing similar infractions. We are also sending a strong message that US Chess will not tolerate certain behaviors. Hopefully, these and other actions will help minimize the tensions between several organizations and help all to work towards a common goal of promoting chess.
This year we replaced half of the committee (SAC) with new members to infuse new blood. I believe that our aging leadership should train the next generation. By infusing new blood (Delegates, TD) we bring new ideas and personnel to help chess grow at all levels. Isn't it awesome to have one-half old-timers sitting with the other half new comers to help SAC grow and transition? The same approach needs to be taken in other governance areas.
COVID-19 forced a lot of issues to be solved in a new environment. I believe we can do more to attract new blood at all levels including membership and governance.
It is awesome that we have surpassed the pre-COVID-19 membership levels and have finally come to six digits (in membership). The interest in chess playing is always there. Even though US Chess is doing more these days with online chess, I believe we can still do more. We could have a special membership category of online only membership. I am almost certain a million folks will easily sign up. Potential use of a database like that is anyone's imagination. Recruiting for OTB events will be much easier. We need to reach out to the next generation of players who are handheld savvy and want to play casual chess. We have been stagnant in the 90,000s for years and I am sure these online efforts can least double our regular membership in a few years.
Chess depends a lot on folks who have a passion to play, coach, organize, TD, and volunteer at various levels. We need to give all those folks a feeling of being wanted and help them grow into national committees and other governance areas. All committees need to have their charges re-evaluated regularly, leadership and membership changed often enough to remove dead wood, infuse new blood and ideas, and more importantly, give opportunities for everyone.
I will be the EB member that gives opportunities for all to be part of US Chess in helping it grow. My varied experiences and background bring a vast depth of educational, work, business, and other experiences to the table.
I believe with increased membership, bringing new blood in all levels of operations and governance, and new ideas, we can take US Chess to the next level. I humbly ask for one of the four votes that you will be casting in the next election. I do have the time, passion, and commitment with absolutely no self-interest. Thank you.