Open letter to the CJA members from Pete Tamburro
My thanks to Joshua for forwarding this email to you. He has done an outstanding job as chief judge. We are fortunate to have him. My congratulations also to Mike Klein for being our Chess Journalist of the Year. He is one of our best chess writers and more than deserving of the award.
I do not in any way want anyone to take my proposal as a reaction to his winning this prestigious award. It’s just that several times in years past we have had the situation where only one person gets nominated. We’ve had people nominate themselves because nobody else took the time to appreciate their work. We should be able to do better.
As someone who won a contested CJOY award, it felt good to be able to answer the question as to whether anyone else was nominated. It recent days, after Joshua emailed me to be one of the people to decide, on account of there being no contest and in keeping with past practice, whether we should leave the award vacant or confirm Mike Klein as worthy, I felt compelled to make this proposal because there should be a contest. We should be aware of the accomplishments of chess journalists. Oftentimes, we as an organization are clueless as to what journalists are doing at the state and local levels. Quite often, even the people that nominate have no idea of the total work of their own nominee. It is also sad that there are those trolls out there that disparage people for tooting their own horn, thus discouraging some from doing it themselves. Thus, here is my proposal:
1. All people entered in the various CJA awards categories are automatically nominees for Chess Journalist of the Year.
2. All people entered in the awards are required to provide contact information.
3. The Chief Judge shall appoint one person to contact the entrants and ask them to provide a list of their accomplishments that year.
4. There shall be posted on the website the compilation of said lists for consideration of the voters.
5. The person with the most votes wins.
6. A commemorative plaque (or obelisk) shall be awarded the winner.
This way, we will have a contest every year. The obelisk award has fallen by the wayside. I used personal funds one year to buy one for a winner. Obelisks are somewhat pricey and you need to work hard to find a local store to come up with one, but certainly at least a plaque rather than a certificate is appropriate for our highest honor. We, as chess journalists, also will be aware of the totality of what noteworthy writers are doing every year. We will look better as an organization by being able to do better than have just one nominee. Winners will be able to tell their friends that there were, say, twenty other candidates. Whereas one state or local oriented journalist may have only one or two entries considered worthy of entry for the other awards, being able to say you wrote 40 articles the whole year that included interviews, photo opportunities, editorials and game annotations, makes you a reasonably interesting contender for the CJOY award.
Please give this consideration, my fellow chess journalists. Thank you.