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Chess contest turns nasty as rivals try to checkmate smears

By David Usborne in New York

Pawns, bishops and every other piece on the board are flying amid allegations that two members of the US Chess Federation (USCF) have been waging war against a former member seeking re-election by smearing him with phoney and often obscene postings on internet bulletin boards.

Samuel Sloan, from New York, has filed a lawsuit accusing the two board members, Susan Polgar and Paul Truong, of attempting to ruin his reputation and his chances of re-election with the postings. Both defendants have vigorously denied the allegations.

According to the suit, more than 2,000 messages were entered in the bulletin boards, most of them under his name. The New York Times, which first reported the affair, said most were unfit to print, but cited one advertising an "X-rated DVD featuring my wife is on sale now for only $27.95 plus shipping, handling and tips". Another posting, under a different name, inferred he was gay.

An administrator of the USCF's web site, Brian Mottershead, identified the authors of the postings as Ms Polgar, the federation's chairwoman, and her husband, Mr Truong, in a report he filed in the organisation's chat forum.

Mr Truong has denied the allegations. "The charges are absolutely outrageous, and it is based on information that was obtained 100 per cent illegally from the USCF," he told the Times.

His wife has protested that she never has time to visit such bulletin boards and that Mr Mottershead and a colleague, Hal Bogner, had been stung by criticisms she had made about the running of the organisations.

"These people started all these accusations the day after I criticised them about their job performance," she said.

Mr Sloan is seeking new elections to the board and monetary compensation. "If I ever want to apply for a job, nobody's going to hire me because there are thousands of obscene messages supposedly from me on the internet," he said.

Irish Independent


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