Nominations received for
Chess Journalist of the Year (2017)


Category 1: Chess Journalist of the Year

Following are the nominating statements for the journalists nominated for this award.

For a full list of CJA Awards categories see: 2017 Chess Journalists of America Awards.

Following are the statements provided by the nominators.

Note that the Award is for work done during the last year, not for their career.


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers is the Director of Content for Chess.com, a site based in the U.S. He is the past founder of ChessVibes, a site whose Twitter following exceeds 23,000 as the chess community eagerly awaits his timely updates.

In the past year, he has written more than 200 news reports for Chess.com. These range from in-depth tournament reports to obituaries to investigative pieces on chess politics.

His knowledge of top-level chess players, FIDE governance, and his range of abilities is unparalleled in the chess world.

To wit: In the past year, he has traveled to more than one dozen countries for his reporting, including the U.S. Doggers has been on site to cover many Grand Chess Tour events, FIDE Grand Prix tournaments, the World Championship, the World Cup, and many more. He's also ably written about a range of online events on Chess.com, including the Grandmaster Blitz Battle series and the PRO Chess League.

He attracts quite a following, with his final Olympiad report being read 60,000 times and some of his World Championship articles (where he was on site all three weeks) clearing 80,000. Doggers made regular appearances on the World Championship live broadcast, when his abilities were seen and he was then made a "field reporter" at the World Rapid and Blitz Championships the next month. It's not required for chess journalists to be strong players, but it doesn't hurt -- Doggers has two IM norms to his credit.

Doggers is one of the few chess journalists who takes the time to investigate stories like Olympiad players not being paid their expenses. And he was the only journalist who flew to Athens to cover the FIDE Presidential Board Meeting concerning President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's decreased role. More than 100,000 readers wanted to read about that day's events, and see what quotes Doggers got from the president.

He also has a keen perspective that the chess world is not all grandmasters, as it evidenced from the fantastic first-person account of the pub tournament in Amsterdam, which was lauded by readers.

Lastly, Doggers is one of the true innovators in the chess world as relates to multimedia usage. His photographs regularly appear in a variety of chess magazines. He alone created this video package with Magnus Carlsen from the world championship (viewed 133,000 times).

This last year he also produced several live shows from tournaments in Iceland, Netherlands, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, and more. He is also a co-producer and regular on-air presenter of Chess.com's weekly chess entertainment and reporting show, "ChessCenter."

With an eye to fairness, accuracy and timeliness, Doggers's tournament reports and features make him the most respected chess journalist in the world. His is a worthy candidate for consideration for Chess Journalist of the Year.


John Hartmann

We nominate John Hartmann for Chess Journalist of the Year. In a year where both online and print journalism is thriving in the U.S., John bridges both with his rich contributions for both Chess Life (where he is the Looks at Books columnist) and for our online news site at uschess.org. His long-form pieces at US Chess include Chess Tech U: Philosophy and Game Analysis and Top Ten Tech Tips for the New Year. John goes into depth on how to use chess technology tools to improve rather than just accumulate knowledge.

Here is an excerpt from his piece on Philosophy and Game Analysis.

In showing this game, I am not trying to hold my play up as some model for others to follow. I did not play particularly well, and I did not see my opponent's tactical ideas very clearly. Still I think there is value in using a game like this, warts and all, as an example of how to work on our own games.

Effective chess training, as we have seen, tries to rewire our intuition or 'chess subconscious,' burnishing our strengths and shoring up our weaknesses. A serious analysis of one's own games is fundamental to this task, and used judiciously, the computer can play a critical role in this process. Having heeded the Delphic admonition, what do we do with this self-knowledge? How do we structure our training?

In my case, openings are not a problem, and my tendency to overvalue the bishops was muted here. While I'm good at converting technical advantages, my calculation was not stellar in this game, and I continue to underestimate my opponent's passed pawns. There are, as always, things I need to do to improve.


Pete Tamburro

1. Helped get the new American Chess Magazine started and for the effort was named Managing Editor and recruited American GMs, national masters and amateurs to write for the magazine.

2. Covered the world championship in NYC for British Chess Magazine and wrote the feature article on it for them.

3. Reported in BCM on important US chess events from Bisguier's passing to 5700+ kids in one US tournament.

4. Writes a regular Openings for Amateurs column for BCM

5. Wrote instructional articles for Chess Life Kids

6. Writes a three times a week puzzle column for www.arcamax.com

7. Editor of the Atlantic Chess News Annual, distributed free at US Amateur Team East championship.http://njscf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/2017ACNDraft5.pdf

8. Editor for new book by Sam Palatnik and Michael Khodarkovsky: The Chess GPS Improvement

9.Openings for Amateurs book translated and published in Italian.


Vanessa West

What makes someone a great chess journalist?

It's a difficult question to answer.

As writers, we send our stories, considerations, and opinions out into what can feel like a void. Beyond a handful of comments posted beneath the article, sporadic social media shares, and the occasional reader mentioning it in-person, it's hard to know who's reading or if an article achieved its desired effect.

All we can do is learn from the feedback you do receive and keep trying--keep sending our words out into the world until something gets through.

This past year (June 2016-May 2017), I wrote 50 articles about a wide range of subjects, but there were a few that were especially meaningful to me.

I owe every single one of my best articles this year to a failure I experienced the previous year. At the end of 2015, one of my articles was nominated for the 2015 Best of US Chess contest, but it ultimately didn't make the top 10. At first, this was completely discouraging--I write for US Chess News on a weekly basis, far more often than anyone else. How could I have been unable to write a single article that belonged in the top 10 for the publication?

Soon, though, I realized, just like any failure I've experienced in competitive chess, that it was an opportunity to improve. Assessing my writing that year honestly, I knew that nothing I wrote in 2015 was my very best work.

So, beginning in 2016, I pushed myself to work much, much harder on my articles, in regards to researching, writing, and editing. For some articles, to make deadlines (which can be particularly quick for online journalism), I worked nearly constantly for days straight until they reached what I was looking for.

In my article, "What Is Your Goal in Chess?", I shared in detail my personal method of using my tournament games as a direct course for improvement. It ended up earning 2nd for the 2016 Best of US Chess contest, which was thrilling for me since my goal was just to reach the top 5.

My article, "Should Women's Chess Titles Be Eliminated?" had an especially surprising reach and effect. For as long as I can remember, the issue has been important to me, but I didn't know how to coherently express my viewpoints. In addition, many in the chess world disagree with my point of view, and I wanted to write the article in a way that could possibly bridge the gap. I worked on that piece on and off for pretty much a year before it reached the published version. While the subject of the article is women's chess titles, what I was really aiming for was much bigger: an inspirational piece aimed to get the community to rethink and improve the approach to gender and chess as a whole.

About a week after the article was published, I was browsing Twitter and thinking about how all of the comments and discussion of my piece were likely going to fizzle out soon. As I scrolled down, I came across a chess.com post with a preview of their latest Chess Center video, and, to my great surprise, I saw the title of my article.

The video, "Chess Center: Eliminate Women's Titles?", mentions my piece and has a guest, WFM Alexandra Botez, discuss the issues of women's titles and women's events in detail. I never dreamed that an article I wrote would get that kind of exposure. It meant the world to me that readers gave my words such thorough consideration.

Here are the links to what I consider my most significant articles of the past year:

"Should Women's Chess Titles Be Eliminated?"

"What Is Your Goal in Chess?"

"How to Study Chess"

"How to Really Learn an Opening: Review: First Steps: The French"

"An American Chess Resurgence!?"

Here is a link to all of the articles I've written for US Chess: https://new.uschess.org/author/vwest/


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This Page Last Updated on 7 June 2017
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