In my last post about Paul Truong, I explained how a 1986 Chess Life interview with Life Master Kenneth Clayton acted as confirmation of his Vietnamese chess career and national titles. Recently, however, USCF Issues participant "Theodulf" dug up strong evidence that Paul has, in the past, publicly claimed an academic honor that he does not possess.
By searching at the Internet Archive, Theodulf found a page that had been part of the http://hometown.aol.com/paultruong site. This was the home site for AOL's paultruong user--which is most definitely Paul Truong, candidate for USCF Executive Board. We know this because Paul has publicly listed his paultruong AOL inbox as the place to contact him by email in his capacity as Polgar Committee chair. The page was archived 8 times between November 2001 and January 2005, and each time, the heading of the page is "Paul Truong, Ph.D."
The problem here is that Paul has never (as of this date) received a Ph.D. It is quite possible that he has pursued graduate studies with the goal of earning a Ph.D. However, I consider the possibility that a future USCF Executive Board member has at any time falsely claimed qualifications to be troubling. One important quality we desire in a leader is unquestioned integrity.
The heading of "Paul Truong, Ph.D" also shows up on a page that bills itself as the "Personal Chess Page of Paul Truong, Ph.D." While it is not impossible that the page could be a spoof, all the available evidence points in the direction of authenticity. The comments page shows that it has been in existence from September 2001 until today, and that lots of commentators have begun their messages "Hi Paul" or "FM Truong" and the like. Many comments speak of recent games played on internet chess sites with Truong:
Robert from Las Vegas:
"I have had a lot of great games with you, and i hope to have a lot more."
Chris "Blacksheep" Jones from Greenville, SC:
"Dr. Truong, I just wanted to thank you for challenging me to those lightning games on Monday. Many players of your strength would not bother with someone as low rated as me. "
John Panther D. from Pennsylvania:
"Hey Truong! its Panther from USChesslive!"
Of course, a mitigating factor is that Paul has never during his campaign for an Executive Board post claimed a Ph.D. Still....
As soon as I post this article, I am going to ask Paul to respond via a comment. I look forward either to convincing proof that he never authored the pages in question (although that appears to be highly unlikely, especially the AOL hometown page) or to an expression of deep apology. Either would restore my confidence in Paul's ability to provide capable leadership for the US Chess Federation.
Note: It is possible for site owners to ask the Internet Archive to remove their content from the Archive's database. It is also possible for whoever administers the nationalyouthchess.homestead.com site to alter it. Therefore, I have preserved images of the relevant pages below.