Why I Quit my Dream Job

Why I Quit my Dream Job

August 6th, 2013
posted by

For four years, I worked a job with so many good aspects– educating people, entertaining people, being creative, working in a field that I love and am an expert in, fun co-workers with similar interests, flexible hours, the ability to work from anywhere, good compensation, constant flattering feedback– that almost anyone would call it a dream job. And so it came as a shock to many of my friends, coworkers, and customers when I quit.

Initially, Chess.com had no income, and thus there was no question of how to divide it. But in 2011 and 2012, the company did extremely well. How was our hefty income distributed? In 2012 we had about 35 full-time employees, 8 owners (7 of whom were employees), and dozens of contractors. If we leave out Chess.com’s second co-founder, the CEO took home as much in 2012 as the other 30+ full-time employees. While the other employee-owners (including myself) had sizable incomes, most of Chess.com’s employees were compensated far below what they deserved.

As I grew more aware of the developing exploitation of our workers, I was sickened. The possibility reared its head that the primary goal of the company was not to create the greatest chess site for the world, but to create the greatest profit for one person.

I hoped this was not the case. For years I had thought the CEO was my friend, a man with values different from most corporate executives’. He had once agreed it seemed a good idea to have a maximum ratio between the highest and lowest salaries in a company, suggesting the ratio should be between five and ten. Now in our company that number exceeded forty. Did this not trouble him? No. I pleaded for respect and fair compensation, suggesting multiple mechanisms for the company to share its profits with the fantastic people who created them. And my requests were quite modest: for example, I was willing to work for one quarter of my previous pay if the company would share 1% of its profits among its workers. All were rejected. It became clear that the status quo was indeed what he wanted, and that it would not be changing.

There is an interesting argument that continuing my work would provide value to millions, while the numbers in one person’s bank account are of little consequence. Much as I long for a day where the numbers in bank accounts are as meaningless as those in videogames, we currently live in a world where money is largely interchangeable with power. I further consider concentrations of power to be the greatest threat to humankind (this contention is the subject of a future essay). To expend the greater part of my time and energy increasing the concentration of money and power in a single pair of hands seems like an extremely dangerous occupation, so, regretfully, I had to walk away from the coworkers, friends, chess-lovers, and projects that I so loved.

How is it that a wonderful group project, with fifty plus people working on it, and millions actively engaged in the community should be used for this purpose of a single person’s enrichment? The answer lies in the structure of the economy, and the corporation specifically. Chess.com has a single person who can make any decision he pleases (the CEO), regardless of anyone else’s opinion, and a single person who chooses that CEO (the majority owner, the same person). In other corporations, there may be a small group of two or three owners who amongst themselves hold decision-making sway. This means lack of accountability, lack of input from many people, conflict of interest, and almost no check upon selfishness and corruption. And so throughout the economy we see bosses and their buddies setting their own compensation arbitrarily high while relegating the vast majority of the workers to poverty.

Within our present legal framework, there is no recourse. The law is written by and for the few wealthy and powerful individuals, so its goal is merely to perpetuate this situation where one person dominates many. In retrospect, I can only regret the damage I have done, wishing I had not fallen for the typical “the boss is your friend” trick, and that I’d been more savvy about the horrors that are corporations.

I have felt for months that I owed this explanation to the people I worked with and for over the last four years. Its publication was postponed for a long time because when I left I was sad, upset, insulted, disappointed, angry. I did not want to do anything based on those feelings, and so I waited and considered at length how to communicate this message. Even when lies were posted on Chess.com, I held my tongue. I needed to be sure of my feelings, thoughts, and expression.

One important question I had to resolve was: could we the various stakeholders in Chess.com do anything to save the site from its owner? I’ve spent months reflecting upon this question, without coming up with any satisfying answer; my ideas and hopes seem unrealistic. I think any number of letters from customers, co-workers, and co-owners would fall upon a pair of deaf ears. I think my co-workers do not have the economic independence to leave and start over without the boss. Still, I hope one day to help build an online chess community without a greedy overlord.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 at 8:11 am and is filed under Commentary, Updates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

176 Responses to “Why I Quit my Dream Job”

  1. Michael Says:

    Still, I hope one day to help build an online chess community without a greedy overlord.

    I hope so too. Seems hard in our current system though.

  2. Paul Says:

    Good luck to ya Pruess! Never took you for such a commie…

    Glad I got to view your thread before the usual zealous moderation ;)

  3. Erik Says:

    Interesting viewpoint. I’m not anything like what David paints me here, but sometimes agendas trump truth :) No hard feelings on my part (except for how you basically stopped doing your job for about a year while collecting paychecks…). Best of luck in the future!

    [EDIT 8/11/2013: I have privately apologized to David for these untrue and silly comments I made in the heat of the moment. David accepted my apology. David was always a wonderful team member and I wish him the best in the future. Very sorry for acting rashly. Please see my post below for my complete response.]

  4. D Says:

    I did my job constantly, worked way more hours than “expected” of me. You would never keep an employee on for a year if they weren’t doing their job.

  5. Jiminy Cricket Says:

    Let me break you down for you, Erik:

    1. Deny claims
    2. Counter with ad hominem while establishing self as reasonable
    3. Wish interlocutor “good luck” with heavy dose of sarcasm
    4. Profit?

    Oh wait no, you skipped to step 4 two years ago by standing on the backs of your employees and contractors. You’re a shitty human, and a shitty troll. Good censor, though: quick work on that Chess.com forum thread. I wonder why David condescended to allow your comments here. Maybe it was so that the whole world could see your lies and meager buffoonery.

  6. Jay Says:

    David, I have to strongly disagree with your analysis of how things went. I was there for the entire ride, talked with you many times throughout the process, and the main issue was not how the revenue was distributed in the company. The main issue was that you felt you were entitled to a % of company profits. This logic is simply flawed and does not work in capitalism. Does the guy at apple who designed the core features of the iphone5 deserve 10% of company profits b/c the iphone5 is responsible for 10% of apples profits? What about the guy doing R&D on a product that never is released or loses money? Should we take money out of his paycheck?

    You were being paid a reasonable competitive salary based on market demands/conditions. You then asked for a 500% raise. When I asked you how you came to that #, it was not a sound calculation. You estimated your % of overall company contribution..multiplied that % by yearly revenues, then divided that # by 2, and thought erik would never go for that, so you discounted it by about 5%.

    It wasn’t until much later after negotiations on your 500% raise had fallen apart and we had let you go that you made your actual motives clear, which were to take the money we paid you and distribute it to all the “underpaid employees” in some sort of robin hood manner. This is also not how capitalism works and for good reason. There is no way a company could ever succeed if every employee felt they should be overpaid so that THEY can distribute revenues the way they see fit. It would lead to anarchy and ruin within the company.

    Anyhow, I like that you are getting these feelings off your best, but this article is really nothing more than a smear campaign full of half truths and outright lies.

    I spoke with you about hours to try and come to terms with you about how salaries are determined, based on supply/demand and market conditions, but you disagreed and you see the world through a communist lens. Unfortunately that’s not the way companies work, but to then smear someone because you disagree with capitalism and free markets is unfair and unethical.

    Chess.com is loved by its employees and its users and Erik is a fantastic CEO. People work for us because they love their jobs and the compensation is above average. You chose to leave because your demands were simply unreasonable.

    That is the honest truth.

  7. D Says:

    feels weird clicking “approve” on more untruths, but there it is. people are welcome to read your comment.

  8. dl Says:

    i have to say I saw david at both scholastic nationals last year and he was more than doing his job speding extra hours going above and beyond as an ambassador for chess/chesskid.com, his chesskid shows always went longer than required, and his marathon broadcast of the chesskid invitational never stopped being entertaining after almost 30 hours of broadcasting. it’s hard to believe that constitutes stopping doing one’s job.

  9. Jiminy Cricket Says:

    Et tu, Jay?

    Has Erik’s charisma and efficiency blinded you?

    Or are you just another victim to the brainwashing occurring every day in corporate America: that CEOs are shining heroes, guiding the unwashed masses above the poverty line below which those people would be without luminaries like Erik to hold their hands? Let me dispel that in one sentence: there are people working for chess.com who worry about being able to feed their families.

    Don’t try to proselytize for this bullshit, Jay. You’re better than that. At least, you were. And maybe someday again you will be. Try to remember your discussions with David, your friendship with David, and the cold hard logic that you used when coding Chess.com but so conveniently discarded in the last fifteen minutes.

    And think long and hard about your buddy Erik’s censorship policies. David lets you say whatever the hell you want here — lies included — but his friends at Chess.com aren’t even allowed to discuss his reasons for leaving? A site that doesn’t foster open discussion is not a site that should be on the internet. I suggest you advise Erik to make some changes in how he runs the place before the internet begins its autocorrectional process.

  10. dl Says:

    re erik: further i gotta say that low blow jab about not doing his job(which is so obviously untrue and as D points out hard to believe that you’d keep him for a year if that were true), kinda takes away any credibility in your previous statements.

  11. John Connor Says:

    Sounds a lot like sour grapes from someone who didn’t get their way. If you felt this way for so long (it appears you have felt this way for a while), why did you continue to work and collect a paycheck from a company you disagreed with so strongly?

    Why did you not quit and have the commune pay your way util you found a job job/employer that would do things YOUR way?????

    (BTW, I have been there. I left. My wife and I struggled but my principles are intact.)

  12. D Says:

    John, I’m glad to hear about the principles being intact, and sorry for your struggles.
    In the interest of keeping that post succinct and readable, I left out most every detail. Basically my disagreements only started coming to the fore in 2012, and I tried to use what influence I had to change the ship before jumping it.

  13. Myself Says:

    Erik, I think your choice of coming here telling your “view” while disallowing others to post his view (without quotation marks) in YOUR site had been bad calculated, might be truth that other employees or ex-employees share the poster perception?

  14. Jay Says:

    My last post before I move on:

    1) Chess.com is a not a site for posting religious/philosophical/political beliefs. It’s not a blog. It’s a site to play chess, learn chess, and talk about chess. That’s it. That is why the forums are moderated to keep trolls or other unwanted posts that stir up anger/controversy and leave people feeling offended or hurt. We try to keep it clean. It has nothing to do with suppressing the “truth”.

    2) Jiminy..why do you hide under an alias?

    3) Everyone is hyper focused on whether or not David was working 40+ hours a week. That is so far outside the realm of what’s important and if that’s what you’re concerned about, you have clearly missed the point of David’s post and my reply. I don’t care if david was doing 0 hours or 100 hours a week. It doesn’t change anything about the reasons why David & Chess.com parted ways.

    This post is nothing more than a smear campaign and a personal attack with friends of David cheering from the sideline about the evils of corporate america.

  15. Myself Says:

    Jay is the co-founder (and I guess a great Capitalist supporter) not needed for brainwash

    As a mather of fact I don’t know how they dare to come here to discuss about the facts in question while erasing them on their website

  16. Myself Says:

    “This post is nothing more than a smear campaign and a personal attack with friends of David cheering from the sideline about the evils of corporate america.”

    the only personal attack was Erik low blow.

    David didn’t even mentioned your names

  17. Bruno Wernert Says:

    Hey David,

    This is a sad story but not so surprising…
    You lost a job but if you come to Paris you’ll win some tacos, burritos and tostadas!
    I just discovered an excellent mexican and I’ll be happy to invite you along the canal St-Martin.

    Cheers,

    Bruno

  18. dl Says:

    the focus on how many hour he worked was brought up by erik, quote, “except for how you basically stopped doing your job for about a year while collecting paychecks” which is so patently unture that it undermines the credibility of erik. i don;’t necessarily agree or disagree with david’s political views, but a low blow is a low blow.

  19. Jiminy Cricket Says:

    Everyone is hyper focused on whether or not David was working 40+ hours a week

    Jay: The only reason people are discussing David’s workload is that Erik criticized David’s performance in an underhanded and undertrue way.

    If you think I’m hiding behind a pseudonym, you’re missing the point of my pseudonym. If you think this is a smear campaign, you’re missing the point of David’s post. People have been wondering why David left. Erik told one story back in February. After organizing his thoughts and feelings, David has told his side of the story, eschewing personal details in favor of structural criticism. I know you said you were done here, but I hope you read the replies and understand in your heart that you’re not correct in your posts above. Whether or not you choose to continue discussing, please realize that your words are inaccurate. At least check what a “smear campaign” means before the next time you use the term… it would behoove you.

  20. LaurentS Says:

    Hi David,

    If you ever come to Paris, please give me a shout : I’d be happy to invite you and have a drink.

  21. concerned citizen Says:

    I don’t think that the prevailing social organization and incumbent power structures are automatic excuses for individuals’ conscious choices. Perhaps, to some degree, they might dampen judgements against the victims of circumstance. Individuals in positions of some power have the luxury of being able to act in accordance with their beliefs, with less concern for personal needs. We absolutely should judge them for the choices they freely make.

    Jay’s suggestion that it is ‘unfair and unethical’ to criticize someone for selfish choices is bewildering.

  22. Salman Azhar Says:

    I don’t know Erik and the internal workings but David was doing his job and the only one I know at chess.com who engaged with us in business development for many years.

  23. Natalia Pogonina Says:

    I am not going to try to adjudicate who is right and who is wrong, because one needs to know all the circumstances from the inside to draw a conclusion.

    Two quick statements instead:

    a) David has always worked hard at Chess.com. It was easy to notice. Moreover, knowing his views and beliefs, it is hard to imagine him wanting to “do nothing and come after paychecks for a year”. He is generally not money-driven and anti-capitalist, afaik.
    b) As a person who has been associated with Chess.com since 2009 and has written numerous articles there, played a vote chess game, sincerely recommended the site to thousands of people all over the world, etc., the last thing I want to see there is crude censorship. About an hour after David posted this column at Chess.com, all (!) his blogs posts have been erased, including interviews, tournament reviews and so on. Moreover, his comments on his own wall have also been deleted. I have always thought USA was a liberal country where freedom of speech is guaranteed? Did he break any rules by sharing his emotions about having worked for Chess.com in the past? Were any of his 100% previously written chess-related posts of any harm to the website? What is going on?

    In my opinion, there are two possible decent solutions:
    a) Talk this over again between yourself and try to come to an understanding. Determine to what extent David will/won’t contribute to Chess.com in the future. Otherwise, you know, it’s ridiculous seeing one of the top contributors’ posts (who also has a Staff badge and a corresponding profile description) get deleted one after another.
    b) If you can’t come to an agreement, then why not allow David post his messages as long as they don’t violate Chess.com rules? I know you can always accept a dictator’s pose and say that “what I feel like doing today is the rules”, but this paradigm is certainly not acceptable for a respectable and top chess portal like Chess.com. Don’t be like North Korean leaders :)

  24. John Musacha Says:

    Erik, in regard to your response that Pruess had “stopped doing your job for about a year while collecting paychecks…”, unless you can show evidence of this statement showing its truth, David has a prima facie case against you (and maybe your company) for libel.

    And you already made the statement you made to a large audience of third parties. Too late to take it back.

    Pruess should sue you, you scummy little prick. Someone with some clout needs to stand up to you and your bogus website. The way you treat your users also is a shame. Why do you think there are so many anti-Chess.com parody pages and websites out there? Chess.com is the only chess website with such a distinction. See, for instance: http://encyclopediadramatica.se/chess.com

    Chess.com is nothing but an information-mining site run by people that don’t play chess. Such as Erik and that power tripping maniac “Kohai.” What is Kohai’s chess rating, about 700?

  25. John Musacha Says:

    I also agree with J. Cricket’s second post about the censorship on Chess.com.

    Chess.com is THE most heavily censored and moderated site I’ve ever seen on the internet in my almost 20 years of WWW use.

    Pretty much anyone that posts anything that could even be remotely construed as being critical or questioning of the management there, or of its supporters (who are a team of paid-off pro-management trolls known as the “Royal Spam Society”) is banned within minutes, and his posts deleted.

  26. Michael Says:

    @Jay, it is my understanding that your numbers and story are less than totally factual. I hope that David will write a follow-up debunking them. I was very close to him during his talks with you and his negotiations with Erik, and what you’re saying comes out of left field given my understanding of the story…

    @Erik: Your comment was kind of pathetic. I’m glad for your sake that you like yourself enough to keep smiling—that’s an important trait for happiness—but if I were you I wouldn’t. :)

    @concerned citizen: Well said, a succinct apology for judgment. I’m as befuddled by Jay’s comments as you are.

    @Jiminy Cricket: I can’t help but smile at your vitriol, given at whom it’s directed, but please rein it in a bit. Let’s stay civil.

    @dl, Myself, Laurent, Salman, Bruno: It means a lot to me that you react as you do; obviously this is a contentious topic (though it shouldn’t be), and I think David is also deeply dismayed by Jay’s reaction. Your support and rational responses are fantastic. I’m also glad it’s so obvious that David has worked hard. It’s kind of ridiculous that Erik chose to strike with that particular accusation, and it’s awesome that you all recognize this.

    @Natalia: Good points regarding censorship. Rock it!

    @John Musacha: Oh god I didn’t know about that Encyclopedia Dramatica article. Pure gold! That site’s pretty funny overall, but this in particular speaks to me. I wonder if the page will be updated to refer to these events. :)

  27. John Musacha Says:

    In between the typing of my last comment about the censorship on Chess.com and its posting, WGM Natalia Pogonina posted a good explanation and examples of the censorship at work on Chess.com even today.

    I totally agree with everything she said. If you are discussing the management there in any other manner than “Heil Erik! Kohai is God!” then you are out “in two shakes of a lamb’s tail,” as they say.

    Natalia Pogonina is the most respected female GM that contributes to Chess.com, and one of the most respected members overall. Hopefully the staff at Chess.com, won’t kick her off the site after they read her very honest and accurate post.

  28. Erik Says:

    My apologies for what I said to you David about your work quality. I should have kept that problem private. I didn’t know so many people would be reading this. (And no, that isn’t a hollow apology because I’m afraid of a libel suit, which is a silly idea in this context.) I really mean it. I’m sorry.

    All of David’s wonderful posts will be restored to the website soon to preserve his good legacy and contribution to the community. They shouldn’t have been disabled. The controversial post is unwelcomed though. Chess.com is a place for chess, not public grudges.

    Obviously there are a lot of different opinions about how the world should work. I’m libertarian. Others are socialist. Whatever. Cumbaya. I’m just glad I live in a country where we are free to disagree and free to pursue our lives how we best see fit.

    For all of those calling me “prick” and whatever else – I know you are doing your best to support your friend at all costs. I can understand your loyalty. Obviously you don’t know me, so I don’t mind. Sticks and stones…

    I’ve received support from every member of the Chess.com team. I genuinely believe they are all more than satisfied with their working arrangements and have expressed to me that they don’t need a 3rd party arbiter to decide what is best for them.

    I wish all of your the best in your future endeavors as you try to survive on this floating rock in space we call earth.

    Peace to your souls. Namaste.

    [EDIT 8/11/2013: I have privately apologized to David for these untrue and silly comments I made in the heat of the moment. David accepted my apology. David was always a wonderful team member and I wish him the best in the future. Very sorry for acting rashly. Please see my post below for my complete response.]

  29. JG Says:

    I’m glad I read this story on Chess.com before I purchased a membership at Chess.com. I saw the post on Chess.com and was puzzled and intrigued so I dug a little further into Chess.com and found many (some lesser and some more alarming than this) complaints. Anyway, I’m sorry to hear your story and whatever details transpired that I’m unaware of (and don’t need to know) it has made an impression on you and a life change is coming it appears. I’m taken aback by the Chess.com site CEO/ part owner Erik comments here. Not only is that type of comment completely unprofessional, if untrue is definite grounds for a lawsuit. The complete deletion war about this on Chess.com has me suspicious that Chess.com is more the guilty party, too. Bad PR move either way by Chess.com. You seem like a nice guy and obviously talented at chess and I’d be very interested in keeping in contact with you. More outside the scope of this discussion I’d be interested in if you have any serious intention on working with another chess site or collaborating with others in creating a chess website/hub. Please contact me further about it if you’d be inclined. All the best and thanks again for indirectly opening my eyes to a potential bad investment.

  30. JG Says:

    Just saw Erik’s new comment. I respect his apology concerning the other comment and in general his more professional tone. Well done.

  31. Ozzie Cobblepot Says:

    Other than the gratuitous comment of Erik’s, I enjoyed reading the post and comments. Thanks to Natalia Pogonina’s tweet for the heads up.

  32. sarah Says:

    Jay saying David asked for a 500% raise was hilarious… haha! This guy is in a commune, he does not care about his own financial gain. If this were true, I imagine it was to distribute equally to the employees he was fighting so hard for. Well done writing this article David! I hope it makes it’s way around the chess community, not as a smear campaign, but for others to know the real reason you left. I’ll pass around the article via facebook and twitter. :)

    Can I suggest that you start a new chess site? I am sure you will have a strong following and employing GM’s & IM’s will be a breeze. I’m sure Natalia will be on board :)

    @Erik, my son’s favourite t-shirt is a chesskid.com shirt that David gave him a couple months BEFORE he left chess.com. He gave this to him at a non-chess event so he can wear it to tournaments for marketing. I can honestly say that we had over 20 parents tell me they were going to sign up for chesskid after he won a huge tournament wearing the shirt……. I think David WAS doing his job, even while very unhappy with the company!
    David, can you suggest a NEW favourite t-shirt as we head to the world youth chess champs??

    Signed,

    A mom who is switching her diamond member chess.com kiddos to ICC…

  33. Lawdog Says:

    Wow! I never guessed that this was the issue. I’m just very sad that David and Erik couldn’t work things out. I miss David a lot. He was a great chess teacher over the internet. This is just a very painful situation.

  34. Balachandar Says:

    I have a capitalist mindset, and sorry Pruess, this is how the world works. If I feel I’m hugely talented and hardworking, and my employer is playing me 1/10th of what I deserve while making huge profits himself due to my efforts and that of other employees, I would resign and take the risk of being an entrepreneur myself.

    A businessman is rewarded for his risk. When Erik started chess.com 6 years ago, things may not have gone as smoothly as they did. He invested in the domain, and put up the capital necessary and paid the GMs and IMs for videos, did the advertising etc. If things went wrong and chess.com faced losses, he alone be bearing them. I like how Jay put it, “What about the guy doing R&D on a product that never is released or loses money? Should we take money out of his paycheck?”

    Regarding deletion of the post, yes it was high censorship, and anarchy, but I guess it would have created a huge storm in the chess.com forums, which is best avoided. Anyways, people are free to come here and read, and comment.

    The only thing about chess.com which upsets me slightly is how they send messages urging members to subscribe, as they hardly earn anything, they’re not a huge corporation, and are dependent on the contribution made by it’s members to keep them surviving. They sure managed to fool thousands of innocent members in believing in it, and buying memberships ranging from $20 to $99 a year. But I guess it’s a part of marketing strategy. Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware. Buy the chess.com membership only if you feel the features offered are worth the money, and do not fall for the bogus claims and donate to them.

  35. Michael Says:

    I like how Jay put it, “What about the guy doing R&D on a product that never is released or loses money? Should we take money out of his paycheck?”

    That has nothing to do with any argument of David’s. He wants all employees to get a piece of the pie.

  36. PruessFan Says:

    After all this I am another person who will NOT be renewing his diamond membership with chess.com, perhaps ICC or FICS is a better choice, Im sorry to hear your troubles David this is the world we live in, but that does not mean we should sit down and accept it! respect for standing up against it all as ultimately you have lost your dream job and the bosses just keep raking in the money as per normal. yup are society sucks

  37. R Says:

    First, kudos to Erik for a very professional second reply.

    I don’t know what are the internal matters of chess.com and I don’t want to comment on that without proper knowledge.

    I am writing this cause, as a graduate from a very reputed US business school and an curious observer of American socio- economic environment, this blog and discussion intrigues me.

    @Jay and Erik: First, It very easy to label somebody who disagrees with you communist or as capitalist ( as some ppl said abt chess.com leadership) rather than talk about issues and I have been taught that this is the first sign that you don’t have much substantial to say. Same is true for calling anybody who supports David, his loyal friend.

    Second, you talked about demand and supplies rule as a commandment for corporations, well think again, in terms of human capital, companies who don’t treat their human capital with supply and demand, win their employees loyalty and are some of the most successful companies. Study the HR policies of Amazon, Google, Toyota, Microsoft etc.

    I don’t know the facts about the issues between David and chess.com leadership and it is not my place to comment on them but yes as Pogonina suggested you are not going to achieve much by censorship.

    As an user and admirer of chess I must say I am hesitant to write (on chess related and chess.com issues) cause I don’t know when some chess.com moderator or staff get offended and ban me or delete my post.

    ( I can give you some glaring example for what I said regarding this arrogance but I am not doing so cause it is not about scoring a point but to raise a concern)

    If you think, this reputation is not good for the longevity of this beautiful effort ( called chess.com) to revive chess.

    PS* Btw John Musacha, I came to know about this blog on Royal Spam Society so stop making unsubstantiated accusation.

  38. Jiminy Cricket Says:

    To those praising the professionalism in Erik’s second reply… don’t be fools. Erik didn’t apologize for his slander, he apologized for damaging his own credibility by making his slander public. In other words, he apologized to himself for his own misstep. He didn’t retract his comment. He then went on to lie more:

    I’ve received support from every member of the Chess.com team. I genuinely believe they are all more than satisfied with their working arrangements and have expressed to me that they don’t need a 3rd party arbiter to decide what is best for them.

    I am, as Jay calls it, “hiding behind a pseudonym” precisely because I am a member of the Chess.com team and I am unhappy with how I’m being treated. But I don’t dare voice my dissatisfaction under my actual name because I need the job. I’ve seen the flaws in our system and they disturb me. I struggle to provide for my family, and Erik’s “generosity” is limited to random holiday bonuses, an unreliable boost in income that barely makes ends meet and is far from guaranteed. There are parallels between how Erik compensates his workers and how an abusive partner manipulates his or her lover. Unlike David, I do not have a commune to support me while I find other employment opportunities. I am stuck in my current role, at least until Erik fires me the way he’s been firing people (my understanding is that our profits are declining, and his solution—rather than losing some of his own arbitrarily high self-pay—is to ‘trim the fat’).

    Thing is, this method only works so far. Combined with the brutal moderation and censorship of the community, I fear Erik’s approach will sink the entire ship. This morning I saw someone post on the forums ABOUT David’s thread, wondering what it had entailed. That member’s account has since been deleted. Is Erik going to delete everyone sympathetic to David? There won’t be a website left. I’m not looking forward to having to find new work, but I won’t cry for Chess.com. The site isn’t what it used to be.

    Wake up, Erik. The only reason your staff and contractors bow before you is that we know we’re at your whim. David here has admitted to falling for the “the boss is your friend” trick—have you perhaps fallen for the “your employees are your friends” trick? When you decide to be a libertarian, you enter the jungle, man, the fucking jungle. I just hope you don’t drag your kids down with you into the friendless pit of miserable infamy that devoured Ayn Rand and your other narcissistic role-models.

    Your hilariously idiotic faux-pas in your first comment here belies your fear. You’re actually worried that David’s expose will hurt you.

  39. Frank Miles Says:

    David’s post about the owner of chess.com is truly disturbing ,what makes it worse are the replies by the owner himself ,trying to tar David with a blatant lie and then making a terrible attempt at an apology when he got exposed.

    Deleting accounts and locking topics that dare ask questions seems to be getting worse yet these Gestapo like tactics makes sense now that Eric’s true colors are being revealed.

    Then again as long as Eric has 7 million ‘members’ and his site is private he can be as big a @#$% as he wants. Sadly he is hardly going to panic about a few people learning the truth.

    Thanks for being brave enough to do this David and all the best.

  40. John Musacha Says:

    To “R,” thanks for the “props” but I find it odd that someone who claims to be “a graduate from a very reputed US business school” uses such poor grammar, diction, and sentence structure.

  41. Balachandar Says:

    “I like how Jay put it, “What about the guy doing R&D on a product that never is released or loses money? Should we take money out of his paycheck?”

    That has nothing to do with any argument of David’s. He wants all employees to get a piece of the pie.”

    So, if chess.com faces losses tomorrow, will everyone bear it? I’m a Chartered Accountancy student and I know a little bit about mergers / admission of new partners. Will the employees be paying the cash for goodwill of the company to get a share in the profits?

  42. D Says:

    “So, if chess.com faces losses tomorrow, will everyone bear it? Will the employees be paying the cash for goodwill of the company to get a share in the profits?”
    If the employees were all given a stake in a company, then yes, they would share in its profits and losses. That’s logical.

  43. Woodpusher Says:

    After reading David’s essay and the comments, I just wanna say that it’s refreshing to be able to have a open and uncensored discussion about Chess.com’s practices and its owner, Erik Allebest.

    This is probably an internet first!

    If one tries to ask questions or discuss management policies on Chess.com itself, three things happen:

    1. The conversation is immediately swarmed by a gang of pro-administration lackeys like Goldendog, Corrijean, DrSpudnik, AlCzervik, KCO, who start immediately and profanely attacking anyone questioning or criticizing Chess.com,

    2. Non-paying members questioning site policy get immediately banned, and their posts removed. All paying members doing the same get their posting rights revoked (known on the site as “The Muzzle”) and their posts removed. (David Pruess himself got “The Muzzle” yesterday, in fact.)

    3. Then the entire discussion is “locked” and deleted.

    As a member of chess.com for almost 4 years now, I have seen this happen time and time again. Also, the severe censorship and banning users simply for asking questions that is practiced at Chess.com, mostly through Erik’s lackey “Kohai” seems to be getting even more pervasive.

    I am not in the management unlike the guy who said profits are declining, but as a daily user of the site I have personally noticed the site “slowing” down. There are fewer members posting in the forums and also the number of players in “live chess” has stagnated over the last 2 years, or indeed has declined.

    The number of complaints and people voicing their dissatisfaction with administration policy has exponentially increased in the last year, that’s for sure. At least dissent has increased for the few minutes it exists, before the guy is banned for life.

    Sorry if this is TLDR

  44. Woodpusher Says:

    What I also wanted to say before I worried that my first post was TLDR was that actually, if the number of users is declining and profits are down, as was suggested earlier, maybe that is directly because of the fascist “big brother” type policies of Chess.com in regard to its users and especially the forums.

    I wonder if people keep leaving or refusing to renew their subscriptions (and I know of 3 $99/year “Diamond” members that have not renewed their memberships just in the last few months) that Erik and his lackeys will take notice and curtail their oppressive moderation and censorship.

  45. robbie Says:

    i will certainly not be renewing my diamond account to feed fat cat capitalists. I have no respect for the site any longer, ICC, here I come.

  46. Bob Says:

    The principal purpose for this post is to say that David Pruess is a wonderful teacher — clear, enthusiastic, able to distill complex topics into simple terms, etc. I personally miss him on chess.com, and my son and the kids in our elementary school chess club REALLY miss him on chesskid.com. Especially for the sake of the children who learned to love David because of his thoughtful and endearing presence on chesskid.com, I hope this dispute can be resolved in a way that brings David back where he belongs — teaching chess, for fair compensation.

    Thank you for hearing my views.

    Bob Danforth

  47. Glory Says:

    David, I wish you all the best in your life from here on out.

  48. macaroon Says:

    To Balachandar:

    (First a disclaimer: I don’t know the specifics of this matter. For that reason I’m speaking mainly in abstract terms.)

    I respect your position, but I have a couple of counter-arguments for you.

    Comments in-line:

    “If I feel … my employer is playing me 1/10th of what I deserve while making huge profits himself … I would resign and take the risk of being an entrepreneur myself.”

    That may be precisely what dpruess is doing.

    Question: would you also refrain from criticizing that former employer?

    Dpruess seems to feel he was misled. I have no idea if this is true or not. If he felt that he had some sort of verbal assurance from the CEO, that they were in agreement about how profits should be distributed at a company, and if dpruess feels that this was a condition of his employment, those are grounds for a grievance. If true, dpruess does have cause for complaint: “I was misled.” Etc. (It would never stand up in court, from too much room for misunderstanding: oh, this is what I actually meant, you misunderstood me, etc., etc.)

    “A businessman is rewarded for his risk. When Erik started chess.com 6 years ago, things may not have gone as smoothly as they did. He invested in the domain, and put up the capital necessary and paid the GMs and IMs for videos, did the advertising etc.”

    That’s a very fair point. That is in fact the classic justification for profit: risk. For instance, a housing contractor takes a risk on every job (even on a small job, any employee could start a fire, or rupture a water pipe, causing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage). So not only does a contractor factor in his salary requirements, and those of his employees; he also factors in a profit. Because he could lose his shirt on any job, if things go badly.

    “If things went wrong and chess.com faced losses, he alone be bearing them.”

    This is far, far from accurate! Oh my goodness, this could not be further from the truth!

    One word: bankruptcy law.

    Typically, if a business goes bust, although the founder/CEO will definitely feel financial pain from that loss, some of his assets are typically protected from creditors, in spite of the fact that *those assets were often the product of profits* from that business.

    Especially if the asset is a house in which that founder/CEO resides.

    For example, if the CEO of company ‘X’ has bought himself a 4 million dollar house, that can fall under the “homestead act” and other precedents, and will not necessarily or even typically be lost in bankruptcy proceedings. Even if the house was bought with company profits.

    And let’s not glide too quickly past that phrase: “bankruptcy proceedings.” Those proceedings often involve court costs. Who typically pays those court costs?

    Sure, the bankrupted entrepeneur pays something — mostly his own lawyers.

    Who pays the judges, stenographers, bailiffs, etc.?

    Tax payers. You and me. Everyone who works.

    In fact, costs of bankruptcy are defrayed, spread all over the place.

    So there goes your “libertarian paradise” — the founder/CEO of chess.com will not end up in the bread line if his company goes belly up. He won’t go to debtor’s prison. And if he bought a house (where he actually resides) with company profits, good chance he’ll get to keep that, too. Depending.

    And there’s a reason for this sort of leniency — because our economy wants to encourage risk-taking!

    Okay, fine. But let’s not turn around and pretend that the risk-taker — the CEO — is the only one taking the risk! We all share in the risk, and it’s meted out in the tax hit that we all absorb, every time one of the “risk-takers” goes belly up. (And in other ways, which I won’t get into just now.)

    So it’s also fair to say — since we all share in the risk somewhat — that we should all derive some of the benefit.

    It’s just ridiculous to say that the CEO is entitled to every penny of profit, when much of the “risk” that he supposedly takes, is in fact shared, defrayed risk, through the legal mechanisms of our system.

    One does not have to be a “communist” to say what I just said. Unless one is also “communist” for supporting bankruptcy laws protecting debtors, and all of the rest.

    Don’t forget, the largest utilizers of bankruptcy protection, are of course companies, not individuals.

    So, back to my main thrust — why do we coddle entrepeneurs so much in our society? Unlike one hundred and fifty years ago, entrepeneurs no longer face debtors’ prison and the like. They even get to keep some of their profit-derived assets in case of bankruptcy. Why do we allow this?

    The answer has typically been, “well the benefit to society from risk-taking ventures justifies it.” “The benefit can be measured in terms of increased commerce.” I.e., — it’s overall good for the economy, for new companies to start up, and existing companies to expand, etc., etc.

    Just look at chess.com — it employs dozens of people, pays its taxes, etc — a net good. A net positive.

    Okay, fair enough.

    But where on earth do we get the currently fashionable notion, that the CEO is the sole risk-taker in that venture?

    Not taking anything away from him — for all I know, this person Erik deserves a hefty profit. And I can’t say how much — as far as I know he has earned every penny of it.

    BUT — it seems to me there’s a bit of a self-serving lie, at the heart of the myth of the sole “risk-taker.”

    In fact, all of the employees do take some risk, however small or great. And all of society is shouldering part of the burden of the risk taken by our vaunted entrepeneur class.

    We subsidize entrepeneurs. And that’s fine — we wish them every success. And they deserve to reap some profit from their labors.

    But it’s time we stopped pretending that they were out there in the wilds of Alaska, risking their lives against polar bear attacks. This is a libertarian fantasy.

    Show me a libertarian entrepeneur who is willing to do away with the protection of bankruptcy laws in case things don’t work out. And then I’ll allow that they are entitled to *every penny* of profit from their venture.

    $.02,

    =macaroon

  49. Huge fan of Dpruess Says:

    I have been a member of chess.com for 4+ years and I’ve never known David to not work hard. All the time he spent analysing the games of members and also Masters for the benefit of all the members watching is proof he did not stop doing his job and only collected paychecks, as Erik has suggested.

    Also, David has personally helped me with issues I had on the site, and very promptly too, which left a great impression on me, to this day. And he left a great impression for the site, that here was a staff member who was keen to make sure that the needs of members were met and that they were content customers. That is a big loss to chess.com to lose such a hard working employee, who put in a lot of extra hours for the benefit of the members and subsequently the owner, Erik. Really, I am dumbfounded at Erik’s comment. He did the exact opposite of what Erik has claimed. We were there also, and we aren’t dumb, nor blind.

    Love your ethics David, your care for everyone receiving fair benefits. My respect and admiration for you was always high when you were on staff at chess.com, but now it’s even higher.

    I’m really sorry David that you have had so much stress. I wish you the best for the future, and if you ever do decide to create a chess site, I am 100% sure it would be a great success. You have a massive fan base of existing chess.com members, including many titled players, all of whom I am sure would want to support you and would relish the opportunity to join your chess site. I would certainly join it.

  50. Huge fan of Dpruess Says:

    Adding, I believe everyone has the right to try to make as much profit as possible, if that’s what their aim is, and they deserve to be rewarded for their hard work, but not when it’s done by unethical practices, such as exploiting employees. Then they do not deserve any accolades for their achievements, nor do they deserve all of that profit.

  51. TG Says:

    I just can’t wrap my head around what you thought you were going to accomplish, nor how you expected it would be even remotely tolerated for you to post such a scathing indictment, true or not, directly to chess.com’s forums and addressed at chess.com’s customers.

    Differences in ideologies and past disagreements aside, that was just too low.

    The mind reels.

  52. Michael Says:

    @TG: David was trying to get the word to his fans on the site, to whom Erik had previously lied about David’s reasons for leaving. You think that’s low compared to Erik’s slander above?

  53. John Musacha Says:

    Hey, long time no see, “TG,” or should I just call you Goldendog?

    If you “just can’t wrap [your] head around” what Mr. Pruess was saying, perhaps you should have a more open mind about things, instead of being afflicted with your severe case of pro-Chess.com fervour.

    Just remember, any discussion here is on equal terms. Mommy Kohai isn’t here to save your butt in any debates by banning anyone that disagrees with the Chess.com administration and its spineless sycophants.

    It boggles the mind.

  54. John Musacha Says:

    In reference to what “Mike” said above about Erik lying about the reasons for Mr. Pruess’s departure from Chess.com in February, I guess nobody knew whether the administration was lying at the time, since any talk about Pruess’s departure was swiftly deleted, such as this deleted thread from late February 2013:

    http://www.chess.com/forum/view/community/has-david-pruess-resigned-from-the-staff-of-chesscom?lc=1#last_comment

    Plenty more like it were also deleted. It did at the time seem quite shady in that when the biggest star in the Chess.com firmament left, anyone asking what happened or wishing him well was silenced, or even banned by Erik, Kohai, and the other administrators.

    Only almost six months later do we actually know the truth about what happened; and it’s not even that controversial. Makes one wonder why Erik and the administration are so loathe to tell their members the truth.

    The mind reels.

  55. TG Says:

    Not surprising to find chess.com’s chief vandal in here. The countless dozens of sock-puppet accounts that have been created by John Musacha to relentlessly spam the site with obscenities and incite discord while harassing it’s management and members leave little surprise that you can also be found here similarly maligning the site. Your juvenile Wiki page linked above says everything anyone needs to know about you.

    What’s your angle exactly?

    PS: I’m not goldendog.

  56. John Musacha Says:

    TG, I have said nothing here in this forum that is not true. In fact, other posters in this discussion, including some that are staff members and employees of Chess.com, have independently expressed similar sentiments concerning the site management, its oppressive overmoderation, censorship, and its “hair trigger” in banning anyone that dares to question the administration.

    Go ahead, you can read others saying the same thing.

    “Maligning” is not the proper term. Simply stating the truth about the site and its policies could only be considered “maligning” to those that don’t want to hear the truth.

    So, what is your “angle”? Why are you afflicted by such a severe case of pro-administration myopia when you aren’t even part of the administration? Or are you?

  57. TG Says:

    The content of your wiki site qualifies as maligning, as does posting the link to it here.

  58. Jim Says:

    I find it quite interesting how Erik is the first to criticize David, and his work ethic, which numerous people have testified was outstanding, but when people begin to take David’s side, Erik suddenly hops on the bandwagon and supports David.

  59. Balachandar Says:

    “D Says:
    August 7th, 2013 at 10:46 am
    “So, if chess.com faces losses tomorrow, will everyone bear it? Will the employees be paying the cash for goodwill of the company to get a share in the profits?”
    If the employees were all given a stake in a company, then yes, they would share in its profits and losses. That’s logical.”

    Yes, but it still rests on the owner whether he wants to give a share to his employees or not.

    But as someone has pointed out, a good business will maintain it’s employees well to retain employees. High labour turnover would result in decreased productivity and increase in recruitment and training costs.

  60. John Musacha Says:

    I’m flattered, but that’s not “my” wiki.
    Firstly, wikis are collaborative efforts where anyone can edit them.

    Secondly, it’s on “encyclopediadramatica” not “Wikimusacha.org”.

    Thirdly, I didn’t contribute any edits to that page.

    Fourthly, most of the claims on the wiki I think are intended for humour AND still speak to the greater truth about chess.com. (i.e. cult-like atmosphere, vicious censorship, snitches…they even have a screenshot of Kohai offering some user a complimentary premium membership if he informs on his friends for her.)

    Fifthly, the wiki tribute page has gotten good reviews from the readers and posters here, such as from an actual member of the Chess.com administration who said: “about that Encyclopedia Dramatica article. Pure gold! That site’s pretty funny overall, but this in particular speaks to me.”

    And Lastly, once again, the article can be found here:

    http://encyclopediadramatica.se/chess.com

    Thank you.

  61. Balachandar Says:

    To macaroon:

    ““If I feel … my employer is playing me 1/10th of what I deserve while making huge profits himself … I would resign and take the risk of being an entrepreneur myself.”

    That may be precisely what dpruess is doing.

    Question: would you also refrain from criticizing that former employer?”

    As long as I’m an employee, I can’t demand a lot more than the current market average. To be honest, I feel DPruess was making a large sum for an IM. Chess players don’t make anything at all. I’m from India, and I know of an IM from here who said that he is sad that he chose chess as his career as he has no regular source of income and wished he had a stable job.

    How much do IM / GM instructors make? $40 – $50 per hour? Pruess was in the site’s management as well, so he was doing more than just articles, videos and game analysis, so I feel he would have been paid appropriately, compared to other IMs / GMs working in other sites, or elsewhere.

    The fact that chess.com was making huge profits, and the CEO took more money home than 40 employees’ salary put together should not have any impact on me, though I would feel jealous / bad, and may leave the company to start my own business, but again, that would involve risk, and a business requires several years to be set up and gain popularity. But as long as I, as an employee, am paid as per the market rate, I can’t demand more.

    Regarding Insolvency, I do know about it, but not in very detail. I will read and reply to that part of your comment later when I get time, as it’s quite lengthy.

  62. Xavier F.T. Says:

    I just found this story and reddit and I must say, I’m speechless.

    I believe in capitalism, but I also believe in fair compensation and treating your workers right.

    It’s sad to learn that the CEO appreciates David’s work so little. He even went on to say he didn’t work for a year? wtf?

    Needless to say, I won’t be renewing my account on chess.com, there are better alternatives.

  63. macaroon Says:

    Balachandar,

    Thank you for your very courteous reply.

    I guess I reached out to you because what you say makes sense to me on one level; but on another level, it comes across like the standard refrain on the inevitability and inescapability of market logic.

    I question that “market logic” mantra. It’s not that I’m opposed to markets — I’m in favor of market efficiencies, and the benefits they can bring. The so-called miracle of the marketplace is not just advertising copy; to a certain extent it’s real.

    But the lessons we are told we must draw from that “miracle,” — told again and again — are beyond moronic.

    First of all: do we really live in a free market? I don’t see much freedom to the market we have at this time. I have worked for technology companies; I see large companies buy smaller companies, sometimes merely in order to suppress possible competition.

    Those same large companies lobby our government, often to alter specific tax and other laws, in order to benefit the company in question.

    These same large companies sue the competition with regularity. How many lawsuits are currently pending, between Apple and IBM? Between Apple and Samsung? Between Apple and Google? Between Toyota and Ford? Between GM and Ford? Between Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson?

    I won’t claim to know the precise answer to that question; but I do know that there exists an enormous backlog of lawsuits, and counter-suits, between one large corporation and the next. These companies are now involved in continual litigation with each other — and we taxpayers foot the bill.

    And to top it all off — those same companies complain about having to pay their fair share of taxes! All while gobbling up the dynamic output, the fruits of labor of millions of taxpayers in this country.

    I could give more examples.

    I’m glad that a site like chess.com could start up, eventually turn a profit, employ a bunch of chess IM’s, who as you point out, otherwise might not even earn a crust of bread. That’s actually a good example of the market working the way it’s supposed to.

    And I don’t have a problem with the CEO making a profit for his trouble.

    But it’s also the case that the system seems rigged for those at the top.

    My own solution: increase the top marginal tax rate. Conservatives love to talk about what a better time it was, in 1950s America. Well, the top marginal tax rate was still 90% in the 1950s in this country!

    I’m not saying we should go back to anywhere near that high. The top marginal rates fell to 70% by the time Kennedy was in office.

    Reagan dropped them to 29% — a huge tax break for those at the top.

    But that drop had a pernicious effect on our economy. Before, when tax rates were high, if a company made let’s say ten million dollars in profit, the CEO might pay himself one million. He’d know that after a million, let’s say, the government would take 70% (or 90%, in the 1950s). So he wouldn’t bother paying himself the entire ten million.

    What would he do with the other 9 million in profit? Well, typically, he’d plow it back into the company; either by paying a stock dividend, or upgrading, expanding, or otherwise improving the company.

    Because money spent on the company, would not incur the same tax liability.

    In other words, the high top marginal tax rate, kept companies strong; kept investment in companies going. Instead of what we’ve had ever since Reagan — companies being raided, ravaged, and left for dead, by corporate raiders, CEO’s, and whomever else.

    Vulture capitalism, in other words.

    And it’s not inevitable. It’s not just an unfortunate by-product of the market! It’s because of specific laws, which have allowed it.

    The big lie is telling us constantly that “oh this is ugly, yes; but it’s just an unfortunate by-product of the miraculous markets, which have served us so well otherwise.” Horse-hockey. The truth is: the extremely wealthy, those who have benefitted from the status quo, would like us to think this is just how it has to be. It doesn’t have to be this way. This stuff could be made illegal.

    $.02,

    =mac

  64. Jazzy Says:

    This compliments my move from chess.com to ChessCube.com. Thanks D.. best wishes for the future.

  65. Nymph Says:

    I was more than happy for what I got as a free user from your site and see little point in being concerned about how you guys divide the profit. If the CEO was that much greedy, he could just impose a fee on all the users even for basic services and that could spell doom for my chess experience. However, I feel if I open a company then I have every right to say to any of my staffs “My way or the highway.” Greed isn’t a crime. If others like you start to leave the company as well, then may be he’ll reconsider the policy to keep the site floating. You can even give him a few sleepless nights by starting up your own site, hiring away some of his current staffs where you may distribute the profit equally among all. But because it’s chess and because it’s your passion doesn’t mean it’s outside the purview of economics and from an accounting stand point, it’s identical to a car factory or a Mcdonalds chain.

  66. pagemaster Says:

    @Nymph: David isn’t asking anyone to share his concern and hasn’t given any call to action. He is simply saying that he personally couldn’t continue to work for a company that followed the “status quo” model of the corporation without compromising his own values. And his commentary is not at all unsolicited; many people asked him why he left.

    David never argued that chess.com was a special case just because he has strong feelings about it. A big point of this essay is to talk about what he views to be a systemic problem (which McDonalds or a car factory share, and which chess.com ended up being a part of, too). His point is that even though it’s the “status quo”, not every company does work this way and not every company has to work this way. The owners can decide exactly what kind of policies to enact. David thought (incorrectly) that the founders had values different from most CEOs in this area, and closer to his own. As he mentioned in the essay, this was based on many theoretical discussions with them long before there was any money. It wasn’t clear until there was actually a profit what decisions would be made, and in the end actions speak louder than words.

    It’s true that greed isn’t a crime, but it is morally suspicious. It is a personal question that everyone must ask themselves whether or not to choose to associate with and support a person whose greed causes them to mistreat others. David decided not to. Many other people in the comments have decided the same. And many people will decide that it doesn’t matter to them, and that is fine, as well.

  67. F Says:

    Erik’s (and chess.com’s) obvious lack of appreciation and reward for their employees is only coupled by its intense censorship. Erik treats his employees like crap, and makes sure nobody can hear about it.

    I remember just a few weeks ago there was a topic “What is your favorite chess website, and why?” As it was on chess.com, the majority of the answers were chess.com, but the thread was still deleted within a day.

    Is Erik really that desperate that he can’t even allow discussion about other chess websites? Chess.com has by far the largest user base, so what is he worried about? As a member on many other chess websites (gameknot, chesscube, etc..), I can assure you that when discussing chess websites there, it is not even remotely an issue.

  68. dl Says:

    balachandar- just a note comparing what an average GM/IM makes is irrelevant. it’s like comparing what jackie chan makes to the average martial arts instructor and saying he shouldn’t complain.

  69. dl Says:

    not that dpruess is complaining directly, i just mean the compairson is not valid

  70. Richard Garam Says:

    Huge respect, Pruess! You are a good guy! If you ever get your own site, It’ll definitely be my chess site of choice!

  71. whatupyodog Says:

    I see others have been getting pissed over chess.coms incessant banning and fascism. Anyone who doesn’t worship the staff there will be instantly banned. Also, the encyclopediadramatica page of chess.com is one of the only informative pages left of chess.com because websites such as Wikipedia have taken down their chess.com page because it portrayed it as a fair website which was found to be completely false.

  72. OKDad Says:

    David,

    I just wanted to say how great your articles and videos were on chesskid.com. I bought my daughter a membership because she loved your videos so much. She cried yesterday when your videos were taken down and again today when she saw all your articles had been taken down too.

    I find it shocking that the chess.com management would be so slimy, so cut-your-own-nose-to-spite-your-face paranoid that they would remove all the wonderful work you had done simply because of their disagreement with you, whatever form it may take. I’m flabbergasted and furious.

    I hope you find another online forum to peddle your skills. My daughter and I will follow you.

  73. ketchuplover Says:

    Mr.Pruess there are many CC and or “live” competitors of chess.com. Perhaps you could find suitable opportunities among them. I wish you the best.

    What percentage of chess.com memberships goes to the staff? tyia

  74. Disgruntled former employee speaks out! - Chess Forums | Free Online Chess Game & Forum Says:

    […] […]

  75. Derek Says:

    Woooooooooow, this is all so crazy! Will be following closely….

  76. John Musacha Says:

    On top of the vicious and obvious censorship going on at Chess.com, a few members here have commented that the site is afflicted with this gang of pro-administration trolls that shout down and personally attack anyone even remotely questioning the management.

    The above-poster “TG” posting yesterday is one of those people. His handle is “The Grobe” and he’s part of that bullying “Royal Spam Society” gang of trolls with the management’s blessing there.

    His posts on his forum are typical of their M.O. on Chess.com. First, he posts attacking Pruess, with this exasperated tone, appearing to be both flabbergasted and practically hyperventilating, saying his mind “reels” at the very thought of someone posting anything critical of Erik on Chess.com

    Then, when I pointed this out to him, he then in turn rapidly personally attacked me, spouting all sorts of ridiculous allegations for which he has no proof.

    Of course, if this had transpired on Chess.com, Kohai, Erik and the other administration members would have banned anyone in his discussion BUT “TG” (The Grobe), leaving this poor sould to go back to his troll buddies convinced at how clever and smart he his, and of course for another job well done.

  77. Mico Says:

    “but you disagreed and you see the world through a communist lens. Unfortunately that’s not the way companies work, but to then smear someone because you disagree with capitalism and free markets is unfair and unethical.”

    No, that’s how governments work. A company can run itself anyway it wants too.

    “Chess.com is loved by its employees and its users and Erik is a fantastic CEO…. That is the honest truth.” – Jay (co-founder and professional ass kisser) [big shock]

    No it’s not. Erik is a prick. Anyone that’s dealt with him knows this. He’s an arrogant better than thou asshole. He’s a a liar and obvious at that. I’ve seen him arguing with a member on another site and was nothing more than a pathetic bully. A petty child that resorts to name calling when things don’t go his way. He’s a sad person and THAT’S THE HONEST TRUTH.

    It comes as no surprise that the other worker’s aren’t defending your claims Jay. Where is this love you speak of? An employee isn’t going to bite the hand that feeds them. But when they don’t even show up to dispute the “lies,” that says a lot of what they think about your beliefs of reality. Case in point, Natalia Pogonina even comes out to DEFEND David. Not the other way around. Maybe she knows she’s popular enough there to be able to get away with it. But even she has to dance around the words.

    “My apologies for what I said to you David about your work quality. I should have kept that problem private. I didn’t know so many people would be reading this.” – Wreck

    What a liar. Such a typical passive aggressive dick it’s amazing he can stand himself. Yeah, I paid someone for a freaking year to do NOTHING! What a load.

    David is completely right. We live in a sad society where you have to kiss ass to the man or kicked out on the street. The opposite of this is not communism. That’s a weak argument anyway.
    We live on a planet where we routinely destroy the Earth for the almighty dollar. We have rich people that think themselves to be gods, but no intelligence amongst any of them.

  78. chessplayer11 Says:

    Great, I’ve been banned from being even able to post on the site.
    I saw this where all I asked was “How do you know they’re not being banned? You’re remembering screen names from years back?”

    http://www.chess.com/forum/view/livechess/when-will-chesscom-start-banning-people-who-disconnect

    I’m the one who gets called stupid and I think, why did all of my posts go? I try to post something and nothing shows up.

    All because I mentioned this thread in a post? Really? Even though the link to this is right there on David’s profile page.

    OH … MY … GOD! It’s even worst than that!
    ALL of my posts have been deleted.
    Not ONE. I mean the ENTIRE site. Every single FUCKING post over five years because I mentioned THIS shit. One single post!

    Chessplayer11 – remnants of my existence…. :(
    http://www.chess.com/tactics/?id=27918
    http://www.chess.com/tactics/?id=121829

    Hundreds of posts to help people and they just wipe out EVERYTHING because of this!
    FFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!

    All gone … everything, EVERYTHING … going back YEARS!
    What unbelievable fucking bullshit I can’t even stand it!
    Why even keep the account at all. There’s no use to it anymore.
    Just to make me feel more like shit?
    God damn it. Erik’s worst than I could even have imagined a human being to be.

    WHY NOT JUST FUCKING KILL ME TOO!
    ONE FUCKING MENTION OF THIS AND I LOSE EVERYTHING. FUCK IT.
    FUCK LIFE. I’M DONE WITH THIS SHIT! I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY ERIK!

  79. chessplayer11 Says:

    R Says:
    August 7th, 2013 at 1:21 am

    “First, kudos to Erik for a very professional second reply.”

    He deleted everything the guy made and ONLY brought his stuff back when he saw that it would affect his profit. This didn’t apply to ANYONE else. His “professional” second reply was based entirely on the financial impact he would have if he didn’t grow up and become that used smiling car salesman. He offered no explanation for his lie, and says that chess.com is no place for personal grudges. It’s okay publicly here though? This is known as being two-faced.

    As noted in http://encyclopediadramatica.se/chess.com
    “In true totalitarian style, any on-site discussion concerning the loss of the MMORPG’s only bona fide real world asset has been met with insta-bans and swift deletion of any discussion concerning the departure of David Prüss.”

    Why was David given an apology?

    In Erik’s own words
    “I didn’t know so many people would be reading this….

    All of David’s wonderful posts will be restored to the website soon to preserve his good legacy and contribution to the community. They shouldn’t have been disabled.” – Erik

    Doesn’t apply to anybody else because THEY’RE NOT COSTING HIM MONEY! I’m not an I’m that’s going to cause anyone to quit the site over.

    “I’m just glad I live in a country where we are free to disagree” – Erik

    No Erik. We can’t actually disagree with you. Deleting every single thing someone has ever written, and blocking them from being able to post pretty much ensures that. Wouldn’t you agree?
    I wish I had never learned of this guy’s existence. I had no idea how insanely hostile you would react over it.

    I don’t care about how much anyone is making. All I know is that from a single post all of my years of trying to help people, mostly in the tactic trainer section, were wiped out for no reason. My guess, was because it was over a grudge.

    You say you’re a libertarian? Isn’t that maximum freedom, minimum government.
    So why are you acting like a dictator?

  80. whatupyodog Says:

    Chessplayer11, that has happened to multiple people on the site. You probably didn’t know about it because of the staff covering it up, but they’ve even been known to do this to even diamond and other paying members on their site and banning them without refunds. Kohai and Erik are the main culprits behind it, censoring as much as they can and keeping chess.com as fascist as possible.

  81. mico Says:

    I’m definitely ending my premium membership when renewal time comes. It sounds to me like this erik guy is running his own site into the wall with no foot on the brakes. I don’t want to find myself paying for something to find out that it’s just gone one day because all of the valued employees do jump ship. I’m thinking that I won’t see a refund if that day comes. So far three workers have complained, and none have said it was great or even good except of course a co-founder, so I don’t think I’m too wrong on this.
    Can anyone tell me what they think the best chess site out there now is other than chess.com? Something tells me I can’t ask that on there without account removal… lol.

    I am curious. For those people that make articles and videos on chess.com, do they own their work? I mean, can they take it with them if they leave or get fired or does the site own it. To me it seems like the writers and video makers should retain ownership of anything they make and lease it to the site. I know in a our world, the rules are set up so that employees don’t usually own anything they make, and that makes sense for somethings, but to me not so much for content. Maybe they could own it for the duration of employment only, and upon leaving the site doesn’t get to say its theirs and no one elses. Gives more incentive for the owner to make sure the employees are happy and choose not to leave for greener pastures.

    My advice for those that are dissatisfied with the site, you should go on “strike”. Not a real one because apparently the site’s owner is willing to pay employees for up to a year without doing any work. I wish I had a job like that. lol. I can start tomorrow if you need some help. Seriously, that was funny that he would state anything like that and expect anyone to believe it. He must really think everyone else is really naive to buy that one.

  82. Schicklegruber Says:

    Chessplayer11, I was stunned to read your post, and checked out your links, and if this was all due to a simple *mention* of this blog, well, all I can say is, I’m appalled. Holy crap. This is just completely unwarranted. I’ve been a member of the site for a number of years, and played loads of games there, and have had some great experiences there, but this makes it all seem like I’ve been listening to the orchestra play on the Titanic while Jaws is lurking just off the side (if you’ll permit me to mix my metaphors).

    But to the primary topic, David’s story… the wanton censorship, which I’ve seen firsthand, lends a great deal of credence to the thesis that the management has some serious problems. While I can’t really say that I expect a capitalist entrepreneur to wholeheartedly embrace equality, profit-sharing, and other somewhat ideallistically leftist economic tendencies, I can’t say that the behaviour of the site staff has done anything to dispel the stereotype of the evil CEO/overlord. Reading this has definitely made me think twice about sending my annual renewal fees to another site.

  83. macaroon Says:

    I just want to say — chessplayer11 was a very cool, helpful person to me, when I first joined chess.com, as a paying member — just two months ago!

    I can barely even play chess. I joined as a “diamond” member, because I figured, $14/month is not so bad; I get certain perks, etc.

    And I enjoyed the site. And part of the reason was because of people like chessplayer11. He’s smart and funny, and irreverent towards the site — so what?

    LAME. I mean, this is a cool guy. I don’t even know dpruess. I’m newbie. But I do know chessplayer11. And he’s a cool guy.

    This really burns me up.

    I’m so f*ing mad right now.

    I’m really, really pissed.

    I’m so pissed, that I hope that there’s a mass exodus from chess.com, to some other chess website.

    If you guys tell me where you all hang out, I’ll go there. I want to be on a chess website that doesn’t delete every helpful, chess related post, of a good, solid, nice, helpful, smart, and funny contributor like chessplayer11.

    I mean, the guy doesn’t even know me, I’ve only been on the site for a month or so, and he even went so far as to comment on one of my games — step by step. He explained how computer chess engines work, and some of their quirks.

    I mean, this is the kind of contributor, the kind of web citizen that a chess website should be catering too, drooling over.

    Chessplayer11 type members don’t grow on trees.

    God, they are so STUPID. They are definitely — someone said it on this thread — **shooting themselves in the foot** on this one.

    When I was in the technology field, there was a website called “fuckedcompany.com” or something. I think, it may be time for us to start to publicize how messed up chess.com is. I mean, really pull out the big guns, and start to hurt them where they live — hurt their reputation. But only with the facts. The truth.

    Not to rant and rave, but just stick to the facts.

    Of course, as soon as they realize, they’ll cave, and do a PR job. But the point is — they need to be taken down a notch.

    Sorry, but I’m pissed. Because chessplayer11, who I don’t really know, but like I said — he’s funny and he’s cool — because they really messed with him on this one. I mean, hundreds, maybe thousands of hours, of posts, all of those chess positions, game sequences, carefully worked out, questions answered, helpful comments offered — all erased? Because he linked to this site?

    UNBELIEVABLY LAME.

    Sorry. I’m pissed right now.

    I’m going to go have a beer.

    See you all around. Let me know if there’s another chess website, where they don’t pull this kind of BS, and I’ll quit my membership at chess.com in a heartbeat. And I’ll be sure to let them know exactly f*ing why. God, I’m pissed right now.

    $.02,

    =macaroon, (aka zacarunius)

  84. macaroon Says:

    I just read what I wrote. It’s all true. I found chess.com about two months ago. I got a handle, “zacarunius,” started playing games, doing tactics trainer over there. Chessplayer11 explained some things in tactics trainer. I thought he was really good, and super helpful, unlike a lot of people in the tactics trainer comments, who just post things like “oh yeah, I’m so cool, I got this in 3 seconds!” or whatever.

    So I “followed” chessplayer11, to see what he was up to. I found a post of his, called “WTF,” where he said the funniest shit. Sure, he criticized the company — so what?

    Here is what he said:

    “I know I can write this because it’s in the Help & Support section. You guys probably have a proxy that blocks you from seeing this section.”

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

    That is some *funny* shit! And so f*ing true — there is absolutely no responsiveness in those forums going on.

    Anyway, why I say the company is shooting itself in the foot? It’s simple.

    chess.com is shooting itself in the foot, because as long as people like chessplayer11 were around, to poke fun, criticize, even to carp about chess.com policies — I would have stayed there. That’s called camaraderie.

    But the minute they start banning people like chessplayer11, who was super helpful, and a funny guy, clearly — the minute they start banning people like him — I’m the f* out of there.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid, short-sighted, petty, dumb, asinine, stupid, and — did I mention how *stupid* chess.com is for banning this guy?

    And — not to mention — there’s a mini-shitstorm happening already, over their firing of dpruess. So, wouldn’t they want to *avoid* adding fuel to that fire? Wouldn’t they want to *dispel* these ugly rumors — that they ban good actors from their website, over petty grievances?

    Wouldn’t they want to avoid looking like thugs, especially right now, when they are already in the spotlight?

    I didn’t know whether to believe dpruess entirely, because I’m newbie. I didn’t know whether to believe the people who said the site is heavy-handed.

    Now I do know who to believe.

    That’s really, really bad, for chess.com. I only joined a couple of months ago. I’ve never played chess online, up until that time. I right away purchased a “premium” membership, the most expensive one in fact. I was about to recommend the site to some friends of mine, who do play chess, but haven’t played online.

    All of that revenue, and potential revenue, can now be kissed f*ing good-bye. Yeah, it’s not much, in the scheme of things — but look at all of the other folks on here, who are taking their kids off of chess.com. I mean, some guy’s daughter f*ing cried when she found out dpruess was no longer at chess.com!?

    They are really, really f*ing up.

    God, they are STUPID.

    So, chessplayer11 — if it’s any consolation: I know you can never get back the thousands of hours, or whatever, that you put into that website. But, at least you aren’t a dumb-as-a-post shit turd, like the management over there.

    $1.05

    =zacarunius (guess I’ll be the next to be banned, for admitting my chess.com handle)

  85. macaroon Says:

    And for the record: I’m not a f*ing “communist,” whatever the heck that even means. But if chess.com misled dpruess, and lead him to think that there would be profit-sharing or whatever, then that’s messed up. If that makes me a f*ing commie, then — whatever. That’s a weak argument.

    What I am, is a capitalist. As a true believer in the free enterprise system — god bless it, yada, yada, apple pie, whatever — I think we should get back at chess.com. By hitting them where they live. In the pocket book.

    Ain’t nothing “communist” about that. It’s called the “free market system.” As the word starts to spread, and people learn that chess.com practices heavy-handed tactics with smalltime contributors, they will feel some financial pain from that.

    OH WELL. THAT’S THE FREE MARKET SYSTEM.

    I love how all of these free market fundamentalists try to pretend that it’s foreordained that certain companies should thrive. There’s no reason they have to thrive. All that has to happen is for people to take their memberships elsewhere.

    $14/month,

    =zacarun

  86. macaroon Says:

    Oh, and I’m positive chess.com owns the content.

    I say that because for example amazon.com owns all of the user reviews on their site.

    What makes amazon.com so valuable, is partly those very user reviews. People rely on them to gauge whether they want to buy something, or which something to buy.

    Amazon.com has done a great job of leveraging the contributions of their users, for their company’s gain.

    Since I brought it up, let’s compare/contrast Amazon.com, with chess.com.

    Both sites benefit from user contributions.

    But unlike chess.com, *amazon.com does not routinely delete every single review by a user, for stupid, petty, short-sighted reasons* (mostly reasons of control — chess.com management are control freaks).

    I’ve read amazon reviews that criticize amazon heavily. And amazon leaves those reviews up.

    Why? Because smazon knows that their *credibility* is at stake. The integrity of the site – their bread and butter — rests on the integrity of those user reviews. A heavy-handed deletion policy would undermine that integrity.

    But amazon.com is a much, much smarter corporation than chess.com is.

    And that’s my main argument here. Chess.com has lost a lot — tons — of credibility, with lots of users, in just the past 72 hours.

    And I predict, it’s gonna hurt them. It almost always hurts a consumer-oriented company, when they disrespect their consumers. Unless the company is just so big, that they can get away with it. I don’t think chess.com is that big.

    =$.02

  87. Amin Awolf Says:

    I am Willing as soon as I get a grip and stand my ground in life, and earn some more experience in programming and web-dev to join any project with you. I posted my email in this comment. I am a Programming student.

    And as for what you wrote. My fellow man, I’d rather be a man of values, then be a man of success. For the simple fact that, success is just an outcome of dedication and hard work, and not pay. And those two need values to be real.

    I encourage and admire your step.

    Sincerely yours;
    A Wolf

    Let him that would move the world, first move himself. – Socrates

  88. David Petty Says:

    chessplayer11: I’m really sorry that happened to you. As you said, you don’t care how people are paid and your link to here was not about pushing an agenda, but just to help someone who asked what was going on. Because you are a helpful person.

    I am a former employee of Chess.com and friends with several of the current staff. I brought your specific case to someone just now and urged them strongly to undo what they have done and restore your old posts.

    I hope they will listen, as it’s not only the right thing to do, but also in their best interests.

  89. Kevin Says:

    What an absolute needless controversy. I was about to register at chess.com and was looking for other forums as well to see which one/s I want to begin my journey of learning to play chess better than my self-taught level. I will still register at chess.com and plan to become active there. I may also register elsewhere eventually if I find useful resources.

    The asinine attitude that chess.com does not have the right to operate how it sees fit because one or more employees does not like the business model is a double standard. Those who complain the loudest about such things are usually the first to cry when someone encroaches upon their rights of free will and enterprise.

    As long as chess.com is operating within the confines of the laws of its jurisdiction, why should it be subject to someone else’s dictates, someone who had nothing at all to do with its creation?

    This is the same cowardice philosophy the have-nots and sluggards have used for millennia to wrest control of everything from governments to private enterprise, simply because they are too lazy, incompetent, or daft to do for themselves, by themselves.

  90. Jiminy Cricket Says:

    Wow, Kevin, what the actual fuck. The have-nots and sluggards? In which category do you find yourself, and why do you hate yourself so much?

    As long as chess.com is operating within the confines of the laws of its jurisdiction, why should it be subject to someone else’s dictates, someone who had nothing at all to do with its creation?

    So many things wrong here. First of all you’re assuming that the law is always right and people can’t voice dissatisfaction with things if they’re legal. Yet you call David’s attitude asinine—you do realize, his essay is operating within the confines of the laws of its jurisdiction, and you have nothing to do with the creation of David’s views, right? So why bother complaining?

    Even if we grant you your illogical disregard, you should know that, as someone who worked with David at Chess.com for a couple years, I can assure you he did have something to do with its creation. If you read the comments here, you’ll see plenty of proof: all the customers for whom David’s contributions to Chess.com were the main draw. He was a huge force of creation, always working to make the site better. Turns out that was a losing battle.

    And honestly, if you think these are the arguments of sluggards, then you should reevaluate. David is hard-working and accomplished a lot. If someone of his caliber is making these arguments, then maybe instead of dismissing him you should challenge your assumptions and realize that maybe there are no “sluggards.”

  91. Hannah Rensch Says:

    Hey, interesting comments. I’ve been on Chess.com for about six months now and never have gotten to read any critiques of the site till now. (Since everyone making critiques ON the site gets booted immediately). Wow.

    Even last night I personally saw two accounts “gagged” with their posts deleted. One guy was asking for the future (unused) portion of his premium yearly membership and one guy that defended his choice. (Their names are Stigmatisert and Pelikan_Player FYI)

    I notice we have some current and former staff members of Chess.com here commenting … If I may ask a question of them?

    Is Kohai a liar and a power trippin control freak in everyday life, or is she just like that on the site only because Erik forces her to “crack the whip” on the users there?

    All the best, David!

    (disclaimer: No relation of the famous IM Rensch)

  92. Hannah Rensch Says:

    Sorry, I left out a key part of the last post. The guy was asking for a REFUND of his unused portion of his premium membership. I forgot to put in “refund” sorry.

  93. Battaglia Says:

    Agree with all that was said before about the crazy censorship and banning on Chess.com. One guy said he knows of several cases of it, I would like to correct him and say nah, its more like several hundred cases at least, if not thousands. You just have to be looking for it and be there a while.

    My impression was that Erik and his underlings were more interested in lording their power over the Chess.com membership for some reason even more than money. But I could be wrong.

    Anyway, Chess.com sucks and I will be cancelling my Diamond membership there.

  94. Michael - CEO of Chess Club Live Says:

    Dpruess come and join us. I’m not an evil CEO/overlord. I’ve been running a free chess website for 6 years, investing in my fans with my own money. It’s tough out there but the fans make it worthwhile.

  95. ketchuplover Says:

    A listing of chess sites can be found by researching stanleyrandomchess-site comparison

    happy hunting y’all :)

  96. Cleantha Says:

    I heard some good things about chesscube.com. I’m going try that website.

    On a side note, another thread with the link to this page just got deleted.

  97. whatupyodog Says:

    To those of you looking for another chess site, try ICC or chesscube, I’ve played on both of the sites personally and enjoy them much better than chess.com, mainly because fascists don’t run them and their live chess servers don’t suck unlike chess.com. Also, I see Michael suggests Chess Club Live, Ive never played there but so I don’t know much about it but nothings worse than chess.com so I’d try it.
    Also, Hannah Rensch, Kohai is just as bad if not worse than Erik on her own. A couple of other people and I started a website a while back to discuss what was happening on chess.com and she went to it on her own accord and tried to defend chess.com along with seeing who was on the website and banned them on chess.com. One was a paying member who received no refund.

  98. Roger purdy Says:

    From reading this thread I get the feeling that with the newly discovered ill will and the exodus of paying members, chess.com’s days are numbered. While Erik seems to have honoured at least one of tenet’s of modern capitalism: price is determined by supply/demand not “fairness”, it would have served him better if he followed the other important maxim: “treat your customers right”.

    As a red blood capitalist (and recently ex-member of chess.com), I would be happy if chess.com and Erik fail.

  99. macaroon Says:

    Kevin,

    You wrote:
    “The asinine attitude that chess.com does not have the right to operate how it sees fit because one or more employees does not like the business model is a double standard.”

    The majority of comments on this page don’t deny that chess.com has the right. Mostly we are talking about where we choose to spend our little monthly subscription dollars.

    You also wrote:
    “Those who complain the loudest about such things are usually the first to cry when someone encroaches upon their rights of free will and enterprise.”

    Exactly! Because we value liberty. We don’t just give it lip service because we think it sounds cool. We despise tyranny in all its forms. We dislike a corporation with questionable ethical practices, and we can’t stand anyone trying to take away any of our rights.

    How are those two things contradictory? I don’t get it. It’s just the opposite. They go together like bread and butter.

    No one is trying to take away Erik’s rights. He’s free to do whatever he wants, as long as it’s legal. But we also have rights. We have the right to criticize, lambaste, and ridicule him and his website for it. We have the right to urge other chess.com members to discontinue their memberships.

    At least, I think we have the right. If not, then I guess I’m going to jail. I’m guilty of having an opinion about a chess website. How many years can I get for that?

  100. John Says:

    I think it’s sad that a person can’t start a business and run it how they want to (without being raked over the coals for it). You would think by the comments here he is a murderer or a rapist. Entrepreneurs take risks and put in time/effort/hours beyond what anyone comprehends.

  101. ChessMember Says:

    So this company that gave you a “dream job” was the devil ?

    Interesting.

    So you took your opinion which was far out in left field (off the radar), attached them to chess.com, and since chess.com doesn’t follow your view point or operate in your view point, they are the devil.

    Interesting.

    You know the company you bought your domain from could of served as a good example as well?

    Interesting.

    Also, if you are looking at the large majority of people who make the most money in america, they do it through government monopoly. Big business and Government. That is not Capitalism, that is Fascism or what some call Psuedo-Capitalism. You also can’t have a true capitalistic market when you have a central bank. I don’t think you really know what capitalism is. Maybe you should stop applying terminology to something you don’t understand.

    Interesting.

    Did you know Freedom of Speech doesn’t matter if you are doing it on someone else’s property?

    Interesting.

    “As I grew more aware of the developing exploitation of our workers, I was sickened.”

    So if I hire someone to moderate my forum and they tell me they want $xx,xxx a year. I’m exploiting them because they agreed to a price?

    Interesting.

    “There is an interesting argument that continuing my work would provide value to millions, while the numbers in one person’s bank account are of little consequence. Much as I long for a day where the numbers in bank accounts are as meaningless as those in videogames,”

    So you don’t care about numbers in a bank account, but you want profit share divided equally among all employees of the company? Sounds like you DO care about #’s, as long as they end up in yours.

    David, why don’t you stop attacking someone who gave you a dream job and start your own business and run it the way you want to run it? I think you might find out that your proposals and “revolution” in how you want a business to run will ultimately fail harder than any company in the history of the world. You do know that 9/10 businesses FAIL (they lose all of their money) within 5 years? And that is without distributing profits.

    Interesting.

  102. The Desert of the Real Says:

    You know, Erik’s personality has always been like this. I found this years ago to be true.

    Here’s another example of his personality. Some guy, who at least is honest about what he is, that may be a jerk in his own right gets attacked in a very similar manner as we see here.
    You can say that Erik has every right to express his words. And you’re right. This is just to show the quality of character that he is.
    He could just ignore the guy, an arrogant troll, but instead goes there to belittle him. This is the insolence that is Erik and has always been.
    Unlike this cheater_1 person, he could have privately emailed David his discontent. He chose it to be public for a reason. He’s just too dumb to have realized that it would bite him in the ass.
    The irony is that he’s practically describing himself with his own words.

    You’ll need to scroll down to the bottom to read his post. Based on the post, there was no reason for Erik to have gone there at all. The guy is just vindictive.

    Found on the way back machine site. circa late 2010
    http://web.archive.org/web/20101201033618/http://www.myspace.com/cheater_1/blog/539066023

    Interestingly, cheater_1′s account and content is still available on chess.com, while they were all too quick to delete David’s. For some reason they allowed cheater_1 to stay on when the site had about 300,000 members. Likely to suit their needs. But in his description, which they changed, his reason for being banned was long-winded posts and, … (you’ll love this) …overzealousness.

    If you read about this cheater guy, you’ll no doubt come to the same conclusion that everyone else does. He’s a sad person. Which is exactly the reason why it’s sadder that Erik would bring himself down to even below that level. I can only imagine that he gets a kick out of putting people down.

    In his post, cheater_1 says; “[Erik] threatened to LIFETIME ban me if I didn’t move.” Back then, his credibility would have been ignored. Today it seems highly believable.

    The reality about Erik is that he is just very unprofessional. To be the CEO of a company and act like a child is really pathetic.
    I write this because so many people are easily sold on Erik’s “apology.” The comments he made in the link above were from years ago. He hasn’t grown up any. If anything, he’s gotten worst. He needs to take a course in lying, since he sucks at it.

    Speaking of cheating; if you challenge a ban over an alleged cheat on your part, this site states that you can dispute it.

    http://support.chess.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/124/0/cheaters–cheating-what-you-need-to-know
    Can someone appeal if their account is closed?

    -We are happy to listen [I'm sure they are], but generally speaking, appeals are unsuccessful.
    -The usual pattern is that the member denies cheating and demands proof, and then we maintain that they were indeed cheating and we’re not at liberty to disclose how we proved it: Pretty futile. [Then why bother allowing an "appeal process" at all?]

    So instead of a simple Q/A: Can I dispute my ban for cheating? No. Sorry, but all decisions are final.
    They instead want to see you try to squirm up an excuse, most likely for their own amusement. This indicates to me that Erik suffers from sadistic tendencies.

    Why do people cheat?
    -Our best guess is a lack of respect for their opponents and for the game – often combined with low self-esteem. [Is this really necessary at all? I can guess who wrote this]

    As noted above by Jiminy Cricket, “I suggest you advise Erik to make some changes in how he runs the place before the internet begins its autocorrectional process.” This would include hackers potentially grabbing credit card info and personal data in their effort to bring down a site at the expense of innocent users. If I recall correctly, it happened to Sony a while back, so just a word of caution, do use site at own risk.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_Network_outage

    And as a fact, we all know that companies that do get hacked rarely report it as it would hurt them financially too much. Therefore they won’t call the police/FBI. Sony didn’t have that luxury and had to let the users know so they could protect themselves. It’s unknown if chess.com would do the same, but my guess is no.


    Poster above finds himself very interesting. He isn’t. The guy left because he was unhappy there. Does it matter why? He’s not allowed to tell anyone or have an opinion? “David, why don’t you stop attacking someone” – It was one post. You clearly have no idea what the whole story is.
    “So you don’t care about numbers in a bank account, but you want profit share divided equally among all employees of the company?” – All Erik did was START the company. It’s everyone else’s work that built it up. Why shouldn’t the workers of a company that are making it what it is and are pulling in the revenue for it be given their fair(er) share? He didn’t ask for “profit share divided equally among all employees,” nor did he call them “the devil.” You’re not even twisting the words, you’re just making stuff up.

    Uninteresting.

  103. Whatever Says:

    Erik Says:
    “My apologies for what I said to you David about your work quality. I should have kept that problem private. I didn’t know so many people would be reading this. (And no, that isn’t a hollow apology because I’m afraid of a libel suit, which is a silly idea in this context.) I really mean it. I’m sorry.”

    You’re sorry you said *publicly* this slacker’s work is crap? What an apology…. What a nice guy this Erik is.
    You said he did NOTHING for a year!
    A statement supported by no one.
    What? No apology for that lie?
    Then go on to restore all of his “wonderful posts … to preserve his good legacy and contribution to the community”. What contributions? He doesn’t do anything remember?

    “The controversial post is unwelcomed though.”
    Of course. It critiques you. If it were about anyone else, it wouldn’t have even been noticed. I read your share of public insults towards members. You even have a hall of shame for banned members. And you know it’s always the best quality sites that have those…as the accounts are closed and they serve no purpose to anyone since no one can play them. Just a way to publicly humiliate them further I suppose?

    “Chess.com is a place for chess, not public grudges.”
    Yeah, the public grudges are for here it seems. Along with lying to boot.

    “For all of those calling me “prick” and whatever else – I know you are doing your best to support your friend at all costs.”
    All costs? Going a bit far there. I don’t know David. You’re a prick because you’re a prick.

    “Obviously you don’t know me, so I don’t mind.”
    I can tell what type of person you are. ‘Hmm, he said something bad about me. Delete it and then everything else he’s ever made.’
    Yep, you’re a prick alright.

    “I’ve received support from every member of the Chess.com team.”
    Haha. Not here. The opposite in fact. I guess your entire staff that supports you is on vacation this week.

    ” I genuinely believe they are all more than satisfied with their working arrangements”
    REALLY? Because I’m reading otherwise here.
    Do you TRULY believe that? Even in the face of dissent?
    Perhaps the meds are wearing off. You seem a bit delusional.

    It’s starting to seem pretty clear that it’s Erik who suffers from an extreme low self-esteem to match the ego he has. It’s the only explanation I can think of that would cause a site to have such an intense policy of censorship against any post that could make him look bad. His posts here only support that idea. To believe the staff loves him AFTER they have already voiced their opinions of how he handles things is unreal.

    Here’s an idea. Sort of like ratemyprofessors.com, only here it’s rate my boss. (Something you never see bosses doing for some odd reason).
    Privately ask your employees to go to a poll site, (NOT made by you), so you’ll know the answers could only be from them. Have them answer HONESTLY and ANONYMOUSLY on a scale of one to five (with clear instruction on what one and five mean) what they think of you personally, their work arrangements, whether you’re a prick, etc. Preferably a site where they can’t write anything so you won’t know who they are. No peer pressure to select anything other than how they truly feel.
    Then you won’t have to ‘believe’ anything. You’ll know.

    Of course I think you already know what the results will look like.

    Oh and Jay. Everything you said was… Well here’s a cartoon depiction of what it sounded like.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v7MdlSFjgM

  104. Adam Says:

    For those people who are in support of Erik, yes, he does have the right to run his company however he wants. That’s how a capitalist system works. However, there are also morals, which apply to every human being. It is clear Erik lacks morals, as a businessman and as a human being.

    On the internet, you can find dozens of examples of Erik acting like a 5 year old while trash talking and belittling people opposed to him or chess.com. That is not how the CEO of a company with (supposedly) over 7 million members acts. A prime example of this is Erik’s first comment on this thread, where he insults David’s work ethic (which we all know is pristine).

    Why should David, a bright young mind, work for a company like this? He is underpaid, overworked, and employed by a man who is truly just a bad person. My question to you Erik, is what if you were in David’s position? What if you were the one working all hours of the day and night, hardly making as much money as you deserve? Wouldn’t you think your boss is a horrible person as well? Wouldn’t you quit as well?

    The bottom line is, Erik has the right to do whatever he wants, but is clearly wrong to do it. He is very unprofessional, immature, and overall just an evil person, who will inevitably see his days of chess.com come to a close.

    Anyways, after reading this post (great job David!), I’ll be cancelling my membership, as well as many other posters here.

  105. D Says:

    Hi everyone!
    I would love to answer the majority of these comments, but I was busy for a couple days, and now it seems impossible to catch up.
    I appreciate a lot of interesting comments and friendly comments. I wish we could all find ways to express our disagreements with some behavior or other without resorting to words like “prick.”

    On the subject of “this company was the devil” and some other misconceptions of what I’m saying. I have not argued that Chess.com is better or worse than other companies or that it’s evil. I tried to put forward two main reasons for my departure (the lack of distribution of power and profit), which probably apply to some extent to a large percentage of American corporations. It’s my personal feeling/judgment that those things were important enough to leave despite many positives.

    So on the freedom arguments, I think:
    - People are free to behave as they see fit
    - Other people are free to express their disagreements with that behavior, and adjust their own behaviors accordingly
    After all, feedback helps us improve our behaviors, as individuals and as groups, over time.

    There have also been a few people misreading my statements about my own compensation. In my own opinion, I was fairly compensated for the four years I worked at Chess.com.
    Also, there may well be many bosses out there who do little work themselves, and just collect from the work of those below them; Erik was not one of them. From what I know, he worked the most of anyone on this fantastic website. And personally I thought he deserved large rewards for that. In general we have a very hard-working staff. It’s my opinion that they deserve a share of profits; others can have another opinion.

  106. D Says:

    One of the topics I’d be interested to hear people discuss is this:
    Most people believe that democratic structures lead to better policy outcomes than autocratic structures. Despite this, the default structure for corporations (whose activities have massive impacts on life) is accepted to be autocratic. What do we think of this?
    I think the censorship topic is also very interesting, but properly belongs in its own thread. Would anyone like to write a post on the topic and submit it?

  107. Beria Says:

    I’ve been a member of Chess.com for two years. I agree with D when he says that Erik probably works more on the site than anyone. I see that Erik shows “online” quite a bit and in my opinion always has been (relatively) diplomatic and friendly with his members as well as being personally prompt in responding to questions and problems.

    I concur with the people talking about the rampant censorship and banning members there. Chess.com has a very stifling forum environment.

    Erik can maintain his “smiling face” because he leaves all the dirty work to his minions who proceed with gusto against anyone perceived as a threat to the regime. Which is really silly when you think about it. Who the hell cares at the end of the day about what people are saying on a internet chess site? But for some reason, the administration there likes to run the site like they are the fascist dictators of a small nation.

    A few people have mentioned Kohai, and yeah I agree, he (she?) is by far the most obnoxious of Erik’s henchmen. It’s like he gets paid per member banned or something. And forget Kohai ever responding to any site or technical issues, he’s too busy deleting posts, stalking users, and banning people to do much more than that.

    Chess.com probably bans more people every day than most chess websites sign up in a month.

  108. macaroon Says:

    chesscube is cool, but there are far fewer players there, of the “newbie” type especially.

  109. macaroon Says:

    Chess.com has the most users, and that alone makes it a valuable internet property.

    In fact, the last sentence of Beria’s post might make a good slogan:

    “Here at chess.com, we ban more people daily than most chess websites sign up in a month.”

    Wow — imagine if they used that as their slogan!

  110. macaroon Says:

    “The Desert of the Real” wrote:

    “You’re not even twisting the words, you’re just making stuff up.

    Uninteresting.”

    That’s pretty funny, after reading the post by ChessMember. (Is that supposed to be a chess porn name or something? “ChessMember.” Seriously?)

  111. macaroon Says:

    P.S. “Desert of the Real”: For the record: I don’t know Erik, I don’t know Dpruess, and I certainly never heard of cheater_1 before.

    But based on reading cheater_1′s blog, I can’t hold it against Erik if he put a lifetime ban on him.

    In fact, that sounds like a pretty good move.

    $.02

  112. Beria Says:

    There are Chess.com old-timers out there that argue that Erik WAS Cheater_1, or that Cheater_1 was one of Erik’s associates and that the Cheater_1 account was a ruse to stir up discussion and interest on the site in its early days.

  113. Jim Says:

    @macaroon, I have to disagree. Chesscube has BY FAR better players than chess.com. If I had to give an average USCF rating to chess.com, it would probably be about 1100. There are so many simply bad players on there. It’s hard to find a person on Chesscube who doesn’t know what they are doing. Not to mention they have better live servers, better social networking, and fair mods.

  114. John Musacha Says:

    Heh. The graphic interface on Chesscube looks much like the TV screens from the Mike Judge film “Idiocracy” if you get what I’m sayin here.

  115. toysrflags Says:

    what a read. and what a bunch of babies — on both sides. especially musacha — boo hoo the rss! thegrobe is mean! goldendog is mean too!

    you’re cute dude.

  116. whatupyodog Says:

    Jim, I think that’s what macaroon was saying. The players on chess.com are all just plain awful, and yes, a monkey could probably code a better live chess server than chess.com’s, its hard to find one worse than theirs.

    Also, for those who would argue that chess.com has plenty of titled players on it, most of them rarely ever play or even log on that often. You can check for yourself.

  117. Erik Says:

    Wow. It’s certainly been an interesting ride for me since reading David’s blog post. Wild times!

    First and foremost, I am SORRY. Deeply, truly sorry. I wrote something terrible about David, and then my first “apology” wasn’t even a real apology – I was still mad, but regretful. Now, after clearing my head, I have written a long REAL apology to David and he has accepted it. Writing that comment about David ranks up there as one of the dumbest things I have done, and I did it in the heat of anger. Looking back at it now I’m just shaking my head. So dumb. In my mind I told myself stories about what had happened over the last year, and I let myself distort the truth and then barf that out within 30 seconds of reading David’s blog. I was furious, and it overpowered me. I am sorry. I do not mean it. David worked long and hard to help build Chess.com. We had our differences here and there, but they were so minor compared to all of the amazing experiences we shared together over the years. I have chosen to remind myself of all of the good times we shared – the laughs, the ping pong matches, the trips, the chess lessons… I’m not going to allow any negativity to ruin that. So again, I’m sorry. (Note to self and those reading: never say or write something when you are angry. It’s impossible to distinguish truth from emotion and you will likely end up feeling different after you calm down!)

    Secondly, sorry for the rash reactions of deleting/muting people. When this whole thing started it caught everyone off guard and I think several posts that shouldn’t have necessarily been deleted were, and several people were muted. Everyone at Chess.com felt like we were under attack, and were trying to gauge what was happening. My apologies. If there is someone still unfairly muted or something, please email me ASAP and we’ll get it worked out (my contact info can be found later in this comment).

    Next, I want to clarify what I think the real issue is here because I think it has been distorted. The core issue is that David and I believe in different solutions to the world’s problems. I’m libtertarian, and David is communist (I don’t say that in a negative way whatsoever – he believes in redistribution of wealth and lives in a commune). I respect David for his commitment to his values. And in the end, he decided he couldn’t work for a company that doesn’t share his core values. That is the issue.

    Somehow, that has been distorted into a picture of me as a cruel slavedriving moneygrubber who is yelling at his underpaid employees to work harder and doesn’t give a damn about employees or Chess.com members. I don’t think that is what David intended for his readers to believe.

    Instead of arguing about it, I’ll just share some facts:

    - In 2006 I turned down early-stage high-paying and stock-option rich jobs at Facebook and Palantir to start Chess.com. I just love chess. In fact, this is my 3rd venture in chess!
    - I did not take any salary or money for nearly 4 years while starting Chess.com.
    - I invested my entire life savings into Chess.com.
    - I have NEVER denied a single request for time off or vacation.
    - I have reviewed our team, and every single person is making more than the average wage given their role, location, and experience.
    - David is the FIRST and ONLY employee to ever quit Chess.com in our 7 years of history. And even he called it his “dream job”.

    If you still think I’m a mean person, a prick, a greedy overlord, or a terrible boss who doesn’t care about Chess.com, then I offer you this 3-part challenge:

    First, talk to me directly! Email me at chessdev@gmail.com and we can have an email or Skype conversation. Or come meet me in New York the week of Aug 24-30.

    Secondly, contact any of our team members: http://www.chess.com/about . You can message them directly through our site. Or again, come meet any of us in New York! Message me for details.

    Finally, I’d also challenge you to ask David if he really thinks I am mean, unkind, unfriendly, cruel, boss who doesn’t care about the employees or our members. Obviously we don’t agree on macroeconomics, politics, or who/how should own Chess.com, but I respect David as a kind, well-meaning, and respectful person who is liked by those around him. And I believe he thinks those things about me.

    Once again, I’m sorry for what I said about David. Not cool, and not true. And I don’t expect everyone to love me – especially people who’ve never met me :) But take a chance – I’m here and I’m open!

    Peace,

    Erik

    PS – I’m not going to be back to make or read the comments here. But if you ever want to contact me, my email is above!

  118. John Musacha Says:

    Yo, Toysrflags, I never said anyone was “mean” you inbred halfwit.

  119. whatupyodog Says:

    I would suggest that Toysrflags was kco, but Toysrflags made a post without 20 grammatical errors which rules him out.

  120. Bobby Says:

    Just remember, anything Erik says now is in knowing that people are reading and judging him. It’s easy to act professional when you know people are listening. You can see Erik’s true character in things like his first comment, when he assumed he was just going to be talking to David, and no one else.

  121. toysrflags Says:

    musacha says (and I quote) — goldendog is mean!

  122. toysrflags Says:

    erik is a person. the end. he cares what we think. he’s emotional. he wants people’s money. I believe he wants to make a great chess website. he’s a prick at times, he’s a saint at times. bosses usually are dicks sometimes. erik seems like a nice enough guy trying to make money. he’s also a diva (from what I’ve seen). big deal. there are other options to play and cheat at online chess. it’s so odd how so many seem to have a boner for chess.com while simultaneously hating erik. sure the censorship is whack at times. but again, why do people get so worked up about that? you want to post stupid openings? start an ask.fm account.

  123. D Says:

    Another perspective: what Erik first posted was based on a surge of anger, and what he has posted now is based on a few days of reflection plus talking to some other people. That’s one of the reasons I waited 6 months to post anything: I did not want to say something I would regret later because I was upset, especially if I might be wrongly upset.
    I’ve talked with Erik quite a bit, and personally chose to accept his apology for that first comment immediately.

  124. toysrflags Says:

    sounds like erik and david have worked it out, but i bet musacha still hates goldendog.

  125. The Desert of the Real Says:

    @macaroon. Erik should have banned him from the get go. Just from his screen name alone. Instead, allows him to play, forces him to continue with a threat of banning him if he

    didn’t, and then bans him anyway (assuming this to be true as it was not disputed). But the real point was that even years later, he was still hung up on him and following him on

    myspace. (who uses myspace?), just to attack him. That’s obsessive to care that much what one person thinks of you. As for cheater_1. No one liked him, he was too arrogant.

    @Beria Erik is NOT cheater_1. No one has that much free time to create so many posts. Many of which were long after he was banned and had become irrelevant and about topics that had nothing to do with chess, (or anything interesting for that matter). This was not a post publicized on chess.com as far as I know. The nature of the post was also too odd for it

    to be that they knew each other. cheater supposedly work as an IT guy who used a mainframe. To misread that as owning a mainframe? No one owns their own mainframe. It’s plausible that he would have access to one. I just don’t think it was a cohort.

    btw, David, you have an issue with erik being called a prick, when you refer to him as a greedy overlord? Splitting hairs there.

    About Erik’s posts, Bobby’s sums up one part. It what was expected anyway. Of course he won’t be back to leave comments. What can he say anymore? The reading part is disputable though. I’m sure he believed that when he wrote it.
    But this part?
    “Finally, I’d also challenge you to ask David if he really thinks I am mean, unkind, unfriendly, cruel, boss who doesn’t care about the employees or our members.”

    Previously written by David
    “Also, there may well be many bosses out there who do little work themselves, and just collect from the work of those below them; Erik was not one of them. From what I know, he worked the most of anyone on this fantastic website. And personally I thought he deserved large rewards for that. In general we have a very hard-working staff.”
    lol. What a challenge. Is this Jeopardy, where the answers come before the question?

    But then there’s this:
    “Chess.com’s employees were compensated far below what they deserved.
    As I grew more aware of the developing exploitation of our workers, I was sickened. The possibility reared its head that the primary goal of the company was not to create the greatest chess site for the world, but to create the greatest profit for one person. [...] when I left I was sad, upset, insulted, disappointed, angry.”

    So I don’t know which answer to pick there. But when you intentionally add four adjectives before the noun ‘boss’, followed by a modifier that changes the question, it makes it hard to know what the question even is.

    E.g., Do you really believe that I hate ice cream, molest children, watch glee, and still think lowly of you while paying for half the rent?
    Try answering that one without beginning your sentence with, “Umm, well…..”

    You also know that his personality wouldn’t allow him to agree to those words that you alone picked, as it would make him look like a jerk to say that.

    Although I’ll (challenge?) David if he thinks you’re trustworthy. But he pretty much already said you weren’t anyway.

    By and large the vast majority of posts here dealt with censorship issues, how you treat your employees (who did express their opinion), and your own passive aggressive nature.
    None of which you acknowledged at all. All I know is that posting on chess.com doesn’t sound like a safe idea if you want to stay there.

    “I have privately apologized to David for these untrue and silly comments I made in the heat of the moment.”
    You forgot about deleting his existence from the site, along with anyone that mentioned him. That’s REALLY insane. I would not want to work for anyone that so easily snaps like that. To try to marginalize it as just a “silly comment,” is really missing what you are. It’s like saying that Rodney King and the LA police had a minor disagreement.
    I can not believe that a person is capable of blowing up like this without having a history of episodes like it. To have been angry at that letter at ALL is NUTS. This guy is a classic Type A personality. (I don’t say that in a negative way whatsoever – he has free-floating hostility, which can be triggered by even minor incidents.)

    “David is communist, he believes in redistribution of wealth”
    “my requests were quite modest: for example, I was willing to work for one quarter of my previous pay if the company would share 1% of its profits among its workers.”
    I can see how that would be communism.

    “Somehow, that has been distorted into a picture of me as a cruel slavedriving moneygrubber who is yelling at his underpaid employees to work harder and doesn’t give a damn about employees or Chess.com members. I don’t think that is what David intended for his readers to believe.”
    No… Just the moneygrubber and underpaid part. I like how you continuously make things up. At least you’re consistent. :)

    “I turned down early-stage high-paying and stock-option rich jobs at Facebook and Palantir to start Chess.com”
    high-paying? You commie!

    “David is the FIRST and ONLY employee to ever quit Chess.com in our 7 years of history.”
    So all the people who say they used to work there were fired?

    “Secondly, contact any of our team members: http://www.chess.com/about . You can message them directly through our site.”
    Looks like a good way to find out which ones said those things about you.

    “I am sorry. I do not mean it.”
    Finally some truth :)

  126. John Musacha Says:

    Yo, ToysNRosesFlags, don’t you have any term papers you should be grading?

    It’s really great that you support censorship on Chess.com so much that you think even posting about “stupid openings” should be censored.

    That’s great. Really. Tell us more. Sorry if such does not meet with the approval of your “Royal Spam Society” overlords.

  127. toysrflags Says:

    i forgive you, but i still don’t get why you’re so hurt.

  128. macaroon Says:

    @Jim,

    The reason I like chess.com is that it has mediocre (okay — bad) players. I myself am a crappy chess player.

    It’s not that I want to play sloppy chess forever. And yes, one could argue that playing crappy players allows me to continue being mediocre. On the other hand, it would be pretty discouraging to be overmastered in every single game.

    On chess.com I’ve been able to slowly rise from a shockingly bad ~850 rating, all the way to a plain old, garden variety awful ~1000 rating. Progress!

    Chesscube.com might have, oh, 500 players playing chess at any given time. As opposed to 7,000, 8,000, or 10,000 on chess.com.

    If you consider chess.com the McDonald’s of chess websites, okay. I’m sure chess experts and connoisseurs have better options. But as far as chess is concerned, if I might use an analogy: folks like me are driving down the turnpike with an empty stomach and an appointment in 1/2 hour.

    Continuing with the analogy: the “rest stop” has a Wendy’s, a McDonald’s, and a TCBY. There may be a great Italian restaurant nearby; but it requires I get off of the turnpike, and spend 45 minutes to an hour over lunch. It’s not that I can’t tell the difference between fast food and fine cuisine. I’m just not sure I have time or energy for it right now.

    Real chess players out there may find my attitude depressing. But everyone has to start somewhere. If chess.com is the most attractive “entry level” chess website — for the reasons I’ve put forth — then kudos to them. There needs to be a chess website for the masses, the crappy players, the guys like me.

    And it’s not necessarily the case that chess.com is obscuring the other websites. It’s not a zero-sum game. If chess.com corrals beginners and casual (crappy) players, they may become a feeder site for sites like chesscube.com. I.e., when players become better, they may “move on” from the entry-level sites.

    I don’t really know; I’m just thinking out loud at this point.

  129. whatupyodog Says:

    Chess.com stifles creativity, that is why people who support unusual openings are banned and threads about them are locked. Apparently toysrflags supports the stifling of creativity and wants chess.com to be run like the Soviet Union which is why he supports the czar (Erik) in whatever he chooses to do.

  130. Hannah Rensch Says:

    Yeah its funny how that dude Flags is all like “I dont know why people get so worked up about the censorship.” What an idiot.

    People get so worked up about this because its downright creepy to see, time after time, any and all posts even that could be remotely construed as questioning of the management are deleted and people banned. Stuff like that costs Chess.com a lot of credibility.

    I have to agree with some of you here, I think Kohai is way more repressive than Erik ever could be. The only people that aren’t “worked up” about how that bitch lords it over everyone on the site are the butt-kissers and suckups like that Flags dude.

  131. macaroon Says:

    For what it’s worth, I’m still playing games over on chess.com. (The McDonald’s of chess websites?)

    I don’t want to be two-faced, or a hypocrite about it. I was real, real mad when they deleted all of chessplayer11′s content. He was like, “why don’t they just kill me while they’re at it.”

    That may sound over-dramatic, but bear in mind, chessplayer11 says he’d put *thousands* of hours into all of the content that he created over there (game sequences, comments on different tactics, who knows what else).

    So, removing all of his content, because of one “naughty” post which was sort of tongue-in-cheek disrespectful (rude) towards the management, (and which linked to this website), was way, way overboard; obviously it really shook him.

    (By the way: chessplayer11′s post, was also *funny*. I’d describe it as cantankerous. So what’s the big problem with that, anyway?)

    All I know is, chessplayer11 took the time to help me, and that means something.

    Fast forward to now. All of chessplayer11′s content has been restored (except for the “offending” post). I see that he hasn’t played any games recently. I don’t know. I’ll talk to him, see what’s up.

    Long story short: I’m still on chess.com. Bear in mind — I don’t know any of the players, past bad behavior, etc. I’ve never even seen “Kohai” over there. Just read about her on here.

    I sent an email to the email address Erik posted here, and I told him it seems like the main bone of contention is the massive arbitrary overzealous deletion of user content. He said he agreed.

    A snow job? Well, I’m sure the old salty dogs on here will tell me that’s exactly what it is. But I’ve got to come to my own conclusions. I’ve only been on chess.com (or *any* online chess forum) for about two months.

    So, long/short, I’m still on there.

    I’ll update this thread if anything interesting happens.

  132. toysrflags Says:

    not only am i an idiot, but i’m an everton supporter and i want chess.com to be run like the Soviet Union — preferably when Trotsky was still coming up with ideas.

  133. JackAttack Says:

    Sorry about having a crap boss David hope you have better luck in the future

  134. Jules Dell Says:

    The way Chess.com runs its site in regard to censorship of dissatisfied users is real shady.

    I was playing chess on Chess.com with a friend (thebest1993) two nights ago. My friend had posted on the forums saying that the staff wasn’t answering his requests for technical support.

    The administration at Chess.com “silenced” or muted my friend in the middle of our game, and deleted all his posts. They then banned ME from the site altogether, even though I had done nothing wrong. I guess playing chess with a dude that is complaining about the tech support there can get you banned.

    Lame.

  135. pdela Says:

    first and more important thing, hi david.
    personally, usually vote socialdemocracy. I’m sorry writing from an old cell, difficult task. I don’t know how sindicalism works in US. Here the union of workers kind of establish a power balance with the owner. If owner takes bad decisitions for workers, they may decide to stop working (strike is a Constitutional right and owner can not take measurements against employers). where do you want a post about censorship?

  136. D Says:

    Hi!
    To submit a post for our site, email it to davidpruess@yahoo.com
    :-)

  137. Pdela Says:

    I meant contact chessgames not chessbase

  138. Jempty Silman Says:

    Erik is so full of shit when he says that the banning and deletion of posts only was in reponse to David’s blog earlier this month. This has been going on for years.

    It didn’t start just this month. It’s their normal site policy.

    Erik, holding true to his “character” is a liar and a shitty person.

    The word sociopath comes to mind.

  139. Pdela Says:

    “One of the topics I’d be interested to hear people discuss is this:
    Most people believe that democratic structures lead to better policy outcomes than autocratic structures. Despite this, the default structure for corporations (whose activities have massive impacts on life) is accepted to be autocratic. What do we think of this?”

    I will give a very superficial thought. For corporations the better policy is that which will produce more profits for the boss.

    Maybe, from the very beginning you have to start as a cooperative nor a corporation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative

  140. Pdela Says:

    @David Petty. hey! I remember you, you were covering with Dpruess the Anand-Topalov match (which attracted tons of people to chess.com).
    I think you two should have done a “Pardon our blunders” together. You, stopped the streaming of the match claiming it was a draw.

    As predicted, the game finished being a decisive victory for Topalov (equalizing the match) :D :D :D :D

    was it this one? no current member of chess.com but yeah I have great memory

    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1581339

  141. Pdela Says:

    Sorry, last post and I move to some other website to spam.

    By cooperative I meant a worker cooperative:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worker_cooperative

    and explicitly the comparation with For-profit Corporations, and State-Owned Enterprises.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worker_cooperative#Comparison_with_other_work_organizations

    I mean we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

    My uncle (now retired) worked for most of his laboural life for Mondragón Cooperative Corporation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation

    see ya :-)

  142. Pdela Says:

    ouppps, sorry something else to read :(
    It’s written from an European point of view

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_and_the_Debt_Trap

  143. R Says:

    @Pdela,

    In my views, corporations won’t work democratically. In a corporation, different people have opinions based on their access to information, intelligence, attitude etc and if a company work according to majority view, it wont leads to anywhere. There has to be a core in decision making so there is a coherence in corporation’ objectives actions. In same way, if somebody visions something, convince others about his vision and work to achieve his dream, he has a right to guide company according to his values and aspiration. This is a motivation which keeps us looking to achieve something, create something new.

    It is same as in a family, a family can not be run by the democracy, or by majority votes.

    Having said that, it is also true and many corporations have realized that companies work best when they manage to instill sense of loyalty and ownership among their employees, are most successful.

  144. Pdela Says:

    @ R well, there are some comments of mine who are awaiting moderation, I guess because they are long.

    But I put as an example

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation

    Because it is were my uncle worked (he was involved in some communist/left-wind movements while confronting Franquism)
    he is now retired

    And because as far as I know is the more advanced case.

  145. Pdela Says:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jun/24/alternative-capitalism-mondragon

  146. Pdela Says:

    I don’t know if I can bring my uncle here to tell us his working experience in Mondragón

  147. Brian Says:

    David has the right to whatever socioecopolitical views he is committed to. But David doesn’t have the right to publicly paint Erik as a “greedy overlord”. Nor does David have the right to imply that Chess.com is run in a selfish and corrupt manner. Erik wasn’t right in his response here, either. But that has been addressed ad nauseum, and David has accepted Erik’s apology. I haven’t seen David apologize for the smears.

    My perspective: David should leave Chess.com out of his communist rantings.

  148. pdela Says:

    “Still, I hope one day to help build an online chess community without a greedy overlord.” from David

    He said what he said nor what you what you would had liked him to say.

    “But that has been addressed ad nauseum”

    Yeah after multiple reprobation and after know how many people had access to this post.

    “My perspective: David should leave Chess.com out of his communist rantings.”

    “What???? Do you also have to tell David what to post in his site???”. He was owner in chess.com for a long time and of course can name chess.com when he pleases

  149. pdela Says:

    I also want to “publicity paint”, and unlike David I address him directly and not CEOs in general, Steve Jobs as a selfish and corrupt guy.

    1.- When he was in charge of Apple (bigger corporation in the world today) Apple started to “employ” people in slavery conditions.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/07/apple-foxconn-scandal_n_1325930.html

    2.- Apple was and still is evanding taxes. You can find here multiple articules

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/apple-tax-evasion

    If you feel I have not right to say what I said, fill a demand

  150. pdela Says:

    and here a repugnant justification for the laboural conditions by a business site:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/pogue-apple-foxconn-2012-2

  151. Brian Says:

    Like I said, it’s my perspective. David wasn’t writing on his bathroom wall. David was writing publicly and even linked Chess.com to his writings. It’s a free country, and no one cares what I think anyway. But David let me post my perspective, so that’s my two cents.

  152. Rohan Crawford Says:

    Yeah, that Kohai sure is a raging !@#$. I’m surprised that Erik hasn’t fired her yet.

  153. Kacparov Says:

    I realise that the discussion has generally finished, just a few words from me :)
    I’m a member of chess.com for over 4,5 years. I guess that most of you have heard more or less about me. I used to be much more active in the forums 3-4 years ago, now I mostly play on mobile phone so I have no access to forums (that’s also why I’m here so late, only now have I found more time on the computer). I prefer helping individual members or participating in groups to the general forums.
    From my point of view – it’s a big loss to the community that David won’t be posting videos etc. anymore. Even though I rarely had time to watch them, I have seen enough to know that their quality was really high.
    Creating such an enormous chess community is a great achievement by Erik, he must have worked really hard for such an effect. All Erik’s choices, ideas so far seemed fine. Making David leave is possibly Erik’s first big mistake. I hope that it’s the first, and the last one.
    From the chess.com team I’ve had the most to do with Kohai. She was always the first to answer my questions or solve problems. And no, it wasn’t about banning or muting members:) I think that Kohai is absolutely fine, and she shouldn’t be connected with the matter between Erik and David.
    Sorry for language mistakes:)

  154. Pdela Says:

    kacparov, kacparov… … it sounds familiar…
    I seems like David has gone to live in a
    hippie trent with no Internet connection :D

    which model of phone do you have? An iphone?
    For me it is impossible to drag pieces, but also
    I have an HTC (and not the top one) and gross
    fingers

  155. John Says:

    Shoot. I wonder if David is referring to Danny as taking all of the cash. Danny does love his cash and has, from all accounts, many many children to feed.

    Still, I think the distribution of wealth should be spread more evenly – I agree completely. I spent several years on that site and never got paid for any of the stuff I wrote, that was drawing in customers. In fact, I paid THEM, not the other way around. Now that I think about it more and more, it gets me personally more ticked. Where was MY CASH? Oh forget it. :(

  156. Kacparov Says:

    @Pdela – I have a Samsung Galaxy Mini. The chess.com app doesn’t have many features, but it’s enough to play my games:)

  157. Dan Tellio Says:

    just more typical crap from the system

  158. Heloise Heller Says:

    I will say in Erik’s defense that he is really the only person on the Chess.com staff that seems to give half a shit about client’s problems. I don’t know how many times I have contacted Chess.com site support, and especially that “Kohai” (who is a raging idiot) and received no response whatsoever even to repeated contacts. But when I contacted Erik personally about these problems, he took care of them immediately.

    I don’t know what those idiots that work for him do all day, it certainly isn’t respond to help and support requests. It’s crazy.

  159. Abdel Irada Says:

    Jempty Silman: “The word sociopath comes to mind.”

    According to a recent report, the job most attractive to psychopaths is … corporate CEO.

    Nothing I have read here gives me cause to doubt it.

  160. Radioarno Says:

    So Erik from Chess.com has fired a few administrators there that were making him look bad with all the banning and censorship. That was a good move; the site is improving slowly but surely. Kohai should be the next to get fired.

  161. Philip Sheard Says:

    Interesting thread. I wondered why chess.com was dying.

  162. Philip Sheard Says:

    Has chess.com hired someone to submit seemly random blog posts, in an attempt to boost site rankings? This is the only explanation that I can think of for some of the posts that have appeared recently. They all seem to be truncated at the same length too – about 340 words or 1920 characters.

    The posts look meaningful at first glance, but contain no useful information. For instance there was a post recently that was meant to be an introduction to the subject of blood pressure, but made no mention of systolic and diastolic pressures. This is what alerted me to the phenomenon.

  163. Plaxx Says:

    I am glad the issue has been resolved amicably between erik and david.. Nobody is perfect… for those thinking of leaving chess.com to other chess website… do you know the internal politics going on in the other websites.

    Whatever Says:
    You even have a hall of shame for banned members. And you know it’s always the best quality sites that have those…as the accounts are closed and they serve no purpose to anyone since no one can play them. Just a way to publicly humiliate them further I suppose?

    I am totally in support of the hall of shame… no public humiliation is enough for a cheater.

    I will still give chess.com a pass mark for creating a great online chess community…. hope they don’t rest on their laurels.

  164. Bardu Says:

    Thanks, David. Your honesty is very refreshing in this day and age. I wish you the best with whatever you do.

  165. Vaan Says:

    Well, reading David’s article, and some responses to it, I have really made up my mind never to sign up on chess.com. I previously had premium accounts with chess.com but will never do that again.

    Good quality chess materials are hard to find, and chess.com provided some instructive videos to deepen my understanding of the game. However, after seeing that much filth, I decided – the hell with it. The hell with chess.com and the game of chess too. I’ll save my time and be happy in life. :)

  166. dave Says:

    when Erik did his recent q +a, i asked several times what % of the members were paying customers. he chose not to answer.not being an insider its difficult to make a comment as to the rights and wrongs but Eriks blatant lie about David being paid a year for doing no work was deeply unattractive and unjustifiable even if it was ‘in the heat of the moment’. still think its a great site although i admit i havent tried any others.on another note congratulations to Team England for winning the 2013 chess.com World League ahead of the mighty Russians!

  167. Gaur Says:

    I am a member in chess.com since 2008. I have followed its growth.
    I think Erik is a jerk. At one time when Danny and David were playing against the world and they lost, the guy flipped. He then asked for a recommendation for a movie from the online audience and when someone responded what he liked, he asked to give them a free membership.
    Bottomline: Free membership only because he liked him. Not for playing chess.
    In any case, regarding the inequality of pay, this is America. This is how capitalism works and will work. You win when suck up to a boss. I have even seen this in academic laboratories in prestigous universities. Sure they are talented but they are rewarded for talents not for being nice! As for David, I can imagine his pain at Eriks behavior and to confront and deal with it on a day to day basis when materialism is not his forte may have been quite hard to bear.

  168. MaxBrowne Says:

    To the fellow above that wrote he noticed a bunch random and meaningless blog posts on Chess.com that were there just to drive up web traffic, I saw that too! How ridiculous and desperate.

    I have noticed that Erik has his cronies, mostly that “Kohai” person previously mentioned, invade other websites and social networks to spread pro-Chess.com propaganda.

    These Chess.com “agents” are almost constantly agitating on Wikipedia as if Chess.com were one of the most important organizations in the history of mankind.

    If these people would put as much effort into simply improving their website and customer service as they do into propaganda, blackhat ops, and censoring and banning their own users that ask questions, they might actually have a decent website.

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least that Erik studied Communist or Nazi techniques in business school, or wherever he learned this stuff.

  169. Alan Cranston Says:

    A former member of Chess.com is suing Chess.com for libel and slander in Federal Court to the tune of $200,000.00. This was even reported in the mainstream press. You can read the story in the NY Post here:
    http://nypost.com/2013/11/16/chess-coach-im-not-a-cheater/

    The lawsuit concerns a member named “Chess2Knights” who claims he was unfairly branded as a cheater about a year ago. Erik Abelest, the subject of many of these posts here, issued a statement on Chess.com shortly after the commencement of the suit to the effect that the “real cheater” was someone named “Chess2Knight,” not “Chess2Knights” (get it!?) Then he apologized for the “confusion.”

    Of course this all sounds like total hokum, unless you want to believe the administration at Chess.com is so incompetent that they can’t tell the difference between “Chess2Knight” and “Chess2Knights” given an entire year, until you literally bring the case to Federal Court.

    I started a thread on Chess.com concerning this lawsuit and got a few replies, until this “Kohai” maniac came on line tonight and immediately banned me and deleted the thread. I also noticed that this “Kohai” had put some wierd tracking cookies on my computer at the same time that I had to manually delete.

    I think it would be cool if as many people as possible went onto Chess.com and started threads about this lawsuit. It’s obvious that the site and this Kohai schmuck in particular cannot handle any open discussion about what’s really going on with Chess.com

  170. Chess3Knights Says:

    I’m a Chess.com member and have been reading the forums there lately. There have been about three to five members that have mentioned this Henry DePres lawsuit in the forums lately and all of them were banned within minutes and their posts (and replies) erased. Seems like Chess.com is back on the heavy banning/censorship kick after being relatively chill for a few months.

    For more on this lawsuit you can see it on this “online docket” here:
    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/new-york/nyedce/2:2013cv06212/348953

  171. Tony Says:

    “It’s obvious that the site and this Kohai schmuck in particular cannot handle any open discussion about what’s really going on with Chess.com.”

    Even by the standards of this era of the internet–a sort of golden age of the meretricious, where mere politeness of form seems so often to mask any distasteful substance that may be lurking beneath–chess.com represents to me a pinnacle of mendacity. Consider for example what happened right after this whole brouhaha broke. I well remember reading Erik’s comment to the effect that “we all love David and we’re sure going to miss him” blah blah blah. As if even the most naive onlooker was likely to buy such a whitewash. And David, as I recall your response to that was similarly glazed-eyed and Stepfordian.

    But then, chess.com has always seemed to bear little affection for (and only a passing acquaintance with) the truth. And their thin-skinnedness and inability to accept criticism (or even contrary points of view) have also assumed legendary proportions. Kohai and her ilk seem to treat the community as though she were some farmer’s wife shooing chickens in her yard. I find it quite amazing that such a provincial and small-minded group is in charge of a website where millions of people are involved. They seem far better suited to being librarians at some local junior high school–scowling at any noise infraction and issuing frequent “ssh”‘es in the direction of the latest transgressor–than they do to helming a global community.

  172. Mohit Says:

    I am feeling really bad. David is my favourite video author.

    @David Are you going to setup your own chess site anytime soon, coz you have got your first member right here.

    Best of luck & God Bless you Master Pruess.

  173. MD Says:

    I haven’t been playing, but I’ve been supporting chess.com via three diamond accounts that have been auto-renewing :). David Pruess, Playful Squirrel, was my favorite commentator/educator. I won’t be renewing.

  174. Hellokitty Says:

    Kevin says: This is the same cowardice philosophy the have-nots and sluggards have used for millennia to wrest control of everything from governments to private enterprise, simply because they are too lazy, incompetent, or daft to do for themselves, by themselves.

    Ah, so perhaps we should return to feudalism?

  175. sisu Says:

    Hi David,

    I’ve been a member on chess.com for 7 years, and paid for 2 of those. You were one of the sincerely nice guys on the chess site. It’s sad that you left, but I can understand why. The dream of making the best chess site on the internet does not work if the other staff members don’t care about it, or understand this concept. Perhaps all along they had different expectations, or perhaps their expectations changed when the money corrupted things. Would you be willing to invest in a new chess website, with multiple owners that have the same share in the company, in which decisions would have to be made on a joint basis? There are a lot of people who do not think there is a perfect chess site on the internet at the present moment, but if you took parts from them you could one that is close enough. Add new concepts to this and without joking you would not need FIDE. The only thing that you would not get access to would be the domain name chess.com. But that is minor. I know of a few chess players that would be keen to invest and get some programmers from sites like elance.com (that chess.com used) to get a new community started. What we need are the groundwork rules so that we dont have another episode of chess.com. Think about this.

    To Erik,

    You may be the best debater on skype, or in emails. But you are not the best listener. Or perhaps it is the lack of trust in staff members that understand chess eludes you. Because chess.com has had fundamental problems for years now. Sugar-coating the interface to look like a mobile phone application, or introducing death matches does not fix the underlying issues. The main one is that the servers and routers are hopelessly inadequate. There are many crashes (who here was trying to watch the Esserman vs Ju deathmatch yesterday?), and no staff are on hand to fix it promptly. The percentage of RETURNING cheaters is ridiculously high on chess.com. The percentage of FAKE titled players allowed to have a FREE membership on this site is ridiculous. Chess Puzzles have turned into an engine contest with ambiguous solutions. There is no lag protection in live chess. The censorship on the site is obnoxious. The sheer number of cheaters in Online Chess is still too high. The number of trolls in forums are out of hand. Hiring volunteers to save on costs gets you inexperience, and plainly naive staff. Remember you are dealing with chess players, who are not stupid.
    Lots of problems with simple solutions, but you either refuse to listen to them, or refuse to implement these suggested solutions because they require a small cost. Better to keep the status quo and look at the bank balance, right? A few annoyed chess players dont really matter, do they?
    Well this one does. I will also not be renewing my membership.
    Cheers.

  176. Amy Brixel Says:

    I never knew what happened, David. But I guessed it was something like this. You are an honorable man trying to fight the good fight. Best wishes.

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