Constitution & Bylaws

Constitution and Bylaws of the Chess Journalists of America
Originally adopted August 11th, 1980
as amended August 12th, 1993
as amended August 12th, 2006


  • To encourage chess journalists, writers, editors, and publishers to exchange information and ideas for their mutual benefit;

  • to promote the highest standards of ethics in chess journalism;

  • to represent United States chess journalists in appropriate national and international bodies;

  • to influence policies affecting the promotion of chess;

  • for each and all of the purposes, an association is formed pursuant to these Bylaws.


The name of the association shall be Chess Journalists of America, abbreviated CJA.


There are four types of membership. Regular Members and Honorary Members, who may vote and are responsible for the approval of Bylaws, the election of officers, and the formulation of association policies; Associate Members and Foreign Members who are invited to participate in all association activities but may not vote or hold office. All members are entitled to receive the Association's official publication and to participate in the association's annual awards program. All members pledge to uphold the purposes and ideals of the association and to abide by its Code of Ethics.

Regular Membership: Any United States citizen or resident who is active in chess in a professional or quasiprofessional capacity as a journalist, writer, editor, or publisher may become a Regular Member upon payment of dues as established by the Executive Board and approved by the membership at an Annual Business Meeting for each year or membership. The writing or publishing of reports as a function of elected or appointed office, or the writing or publishing of brief tournament reports by a tournament organizer, shall not in itself be sufficient qualification for Regular Membership. Questionable cases shall be decided by the Executive Committee, subject to appeal to the Annual Meeting.

Foreign Membership: Any practicing chess journalist who is not a resident of the United States may become a Foreign Member upon payment of dues at the rate of 1.5 times the dues for Regular Membership for each year of membership. Foreign Members may not hold office and may not vote.

Associate Membership: Any resident of the United States may become an Associate Member of the CJA upon payment of the Regular Membership dues per year of membership. Associate Members may not hold office and may not vote.

Honorary Membership: (A) Honorary Members are awarded Life membership in the CJA. (B) The Chess Journalist of the Year is awarded an Honorary Membership unless two members of the Executive Board oppose such awarding. (C) Honorary Members are nominated by a unanimous vote of the Executive Board (with no abstentions save an Executive Board member must abstain if being nominated). The nomination is then presented to the membership at the Annual Meeting, at which the candidate must receive an 80% approval vote of those voting. (D) Honorary members are not required to pay dues, but have all other rights and obligations of Regular Membership, including the right to hold office. (E) Honorary Membership is non-revocable; therefore, a candidate must have demonstrated, throughout a significantly long career in chess journalism, adherence to the highest ideals of journalistic ethics. (F) No more than two Honorary Members shall be selected in any year.


Any Regular or Honorary Member may hold any office. The officers are President, Vice-President, Secretary- Treasurer, Editor of the official publication, and the Webmaster, who together constitute the Executive Board with the President as chairman. The Editor is appointed by the President to a term of unspecified length. The other Officers shall be elected by the voting membership to concurrent two-year terms. Officers individually and the Executive Board as a group are subject to the authority of the membership.

President: The President calls and presides at meetings of the membership and of the Executive Board and is responsible for the overall operation of the association in accordance with these By-Laws and the will of the membership. As Chairman of the Executive Board, the President reports its activities to the membership. The President appoints the Editor and the Webmaster, subject to approval by a majority of the remainder of the Executive Board. The President has one vote on the Executive Board and a second vote to break ties.

Vice President: The Vice-President assumes the duties of the President when the President is unable to serve. He has one vote on the Executive Board, even in the President's absence.

Secretary/Treasurer: The Secretary-Treasurer keeps the association's financial accounts, maintains its bank accounts, submits the annual budget to the Executive Board and the member-ship, keeps the official minutes of the Annual Meeting, keeps the official membership records, and is responsible for renewal mailings, etc. The Secretary-Treasurer has one vote on the Executive Board.

Editor: The Editor is responsible for the editing, production, and distribution of the association's publication. The Editor has one vote on the Executive Board.

Webmaster: The Webmaster shall be responsible for the setting up and maintaining of the CJA webpage( s). Materials submitted by members of the Executive Committee (such as minutes, general notices, etc.) shall be posted in as timely a manner as possible. The Webmaster must have demonstrated such abilities prior to assuming this position. The Webmaster shall have one vote on the Executive Committee.

Executive Board: In addition to the other duties specified in these By-laws, the Executive Board shall: (1) approve the Chairmen of Permanent Committees named by the President; (2) select representatives to appropriate bodies; (3) nominate Honorary Members; (4) rule on questions of membership eligibility; (5) verify election results; (6) review the annual budget; (7) prepare agendas for membership meetings; and (8) resolve disputes among members.



An appointed officer (Webmaster, Editor, Chairs of Permanent Committee) may be removed by a vote in favor of doing so by 2 of the 3 elected Officers. Should this happen, it should not be considered malfeasance in any manner.

If it is alleged that an elected or appointed officer has committed gross malfeasance that may warrant his removal from office, a recall petition shall adhere to the following requirements:

  1. The petition shall state full particulars.

  2. The petition must be approved/signed by at least 10 current CJA members.

  3. The petition shall include for each member listed in 2B the following: name, home phone number, e-mail address, and postal address, so that any questions of authenticity can quickly be handled.

  4. The Executive Board shall appoint a chairman and at least two other members of a special Recall Committee; the member submitting the petition has right of refusal for the chairman’s appointment.

  5. The Chairman and each member of the Recall Committee must satisfy at least one of the following: 1) have been a CJA member for at least 5 years; 2.) be a current CJA Officer; or 3.) be a current board member of the Cramer Committee/Chess Trust. The Officer whose service is being questioned may not be a member of the Recall Committee, nor may he vote on any matters dealing with the Committee.

  6. The most recent CJA mailing list, whether published in The Chess Journalist or on the Web, shall serve as the basis for voting.

  7. The Recall Committee Chairman, along with the Elections Chairman Committee or the Webmaster or their substitute appointee(s), shall establish methods for voting, whether electronic or via mail.

  8. Once the Recall petition is certified by the Executive Board and the Committee is appointed, the named officer shall have 15 days to respond to the petition, and his/her response must be used in all further mailings.

  9. The Petition and response shall be sent to all members for voting purposes. Should this occur within 30 days of the Annual Meeting, then the actual voting will take place at the meeting. Otherwise, a mail and/or electronic voting procedure shall be used.

  10. The Elections Committee shall establish a means to ensure that the voting is done properly.

  11. Once a minimum of 20 votes have been counted by the Chairman of the Elections Committee or substitute, the results shall be published on the Web, with no method of identifying which vote is from which member.

  12. A 2/3 plurality of the votes cast is needed for the petition to be considered passed.

  13. If the Recall passes, then the Executive Board is responsible for electing a replacement Officer, unless it is within 60 days of the Annual Business Meeting. If this is the case, then the Officer may be replaced by the Membership at the meeting.

  14. The recalled Officer may not be reappointed to the Office just vacated due to the Petition.

  15. The Secretary/Treasurer may reimburse the Recall Committee for any reasonable expenses, subject to limits set by the Executive Board.


If an Officer is unable to complete his term of office, those functions may be assumed by the next Officer in line, in the descending order: President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Editor, Webmaster; if an orderly succession is not feasible, the Executive Board may, by majority vote, appoint a Regular or Honorary Member to complete the unexpired term.


The membership shall meet once a year, in conjunction with the annual United States Open Chess Championship, to conduct the formal business of the association. A quorum shall consist of those members present in person.

The Executive Board shall meet prior to the Annual Meeting to discuss the budget, the agenda, and other matters it may wish to bring before the membership.

The President or another Officer shall arrange for meeting rooms and all other needed facilities and shall announce, well in advance, the annual meeting’s date, place, and preliminary agenda.


The Association’s official publication shall be The Chess Journalist, which shall be issued at least four times a year. The Chess Journalist shall print the minutes of official meetings, either in full or in summary; official notices to members; results of association elections; summaries of committee reports; and other items of official business. The Chess Journalist shall print annually a list of all current members’ names and addresses; and in each issue, the names and addresses of Officers and Committee Chairmen. The Editor is solely responsible for the editing, production, and content of The Chess Journalist, except as specified above.

The Chess Journalist shall be available to non-members of the Association at a price to be determined by the Executive Board.


The Association shall conduct an annual awards program to recognize achievement in chess journalism. All matters pertaining to the conduct of the program shall be the responsibility of the Awards Committee.

The President (with the Executive Board having the right to veto any such appoint by a 2/3 vote) shall, considering the advice of the Awards Committee Chair, appoint a “Chief Judge,” whose tasks, among others, shall be to arrange for other CJA members to act as judges as needed, to distribute the materials submitted to the various judges, to tally the results and report them to the President/Executive Board, and to arrange for the list of award winners to be submitted to the CJA Webmaster as well as any other publications.


An election of Officers shall be held every second year. Each candidate, including incumbents, must be nominated by at least two Regular or Honorary Members who are not themselves candidates. The deadline for receipt of nominations shall be set by the Executive Board and published in The Chess Journalist at least sixty days in advance of the deadline. Nominations must be mailed to both the Secretary and Editor. The list of candidates shall be printed in The Chess Journalist together with the official mail ballot, voting instructions, the deadline for receipt of the ballots, and a statement of no more than one hundred words by each candidate. Write-in votes shall be allowed.

The Elections Committee shall establish necessary criteria for voting electronically, in coordination with the Webmaster. For those who are voting by US Mail, the instructions shall include:

““After marking your ballot, place it in an envelope, sign your name on the envelope, print your name and address and the word BALLOT on the face of the envelope, and send it to the Secretary. Do not place anything else in the envelope. To be counted, your ballot must be received by the specified date and the envelope must be signed with your name.”

Envelopes containing ballots shall be held unopened by the Secretary, who shall bring them or otherwise safely transmit them to the place of the membership meeting at the time set by the Executive Board for the counting of the ballots. At that time and place, and in public view, the envelopes shall be unsealed and the ballots counted.

Voters using electronic voting shall submit their votes to both the Elections Chair and the Webmaster, following the guide-lines provided by those two.

Winners are determined by a majority or plurality of valid votes. Upon verification of the vote totals by the Executive Board, the election is officially certified and the Officers installed at the close of the meeting.

In an election year if, by the time of the annual membership meeting, the mail ballot nomination and election system has failed to fill an elective office, then the voting members (Regular and Honorary) present at the annual membership meeting are empowered to nominate and elect a candidate to fill that office.


Each Chair of a Permanent Committee shall determine the number of members needed to carry out the duties of that committee. Members may be added when necessary at the discretion of the Chair. A Committee may exist as a Committee-of-one if deemed that no other members are necessary at that time.

The duties of each committee are listed in the By- Laws.

There are five Permanent Committees, whose Chairs are appointed by a majority vote of the Executive Board. In general, in order to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest, Chairs of Permanent Committees should not be members of the Executive Board. Each Chair shall establish that committee’s procedures, appoint its members, and report its activities to the membership. Ad Hoc committees may be appointed by the Executive Board or by the voting members in attendance at a membership meeting.


  1. If there are no contrary provisions in any Federal, State, or other law applicable to the CJA, or in its Constitution or its By-Laws, or in any special rules of order that may have been adopted, Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the authority for all questions of procedures, committee business, and all other CJA business. The President may appoint a Parliamentarian at the Business Meeting, if needed. The most current version shall be the authority.

  2. Changes/Amendments to this Constitution may be made by either of two methods: after publishing such proposed changes in The Chess Journalist and on the web, by a (i) 80% vote in favor by the entire voting membership or (ii) by a 60% vote in favor at two consecutive Annual Meetings.

  3. Changes to these By-Laws may be enacted by a majority vote of those members present at the membership meeting.


  1. Dues for regular memberships are set at $10 per year.

  2. No officer of this Organization shall profit monetarily by his actions as an Officer. (This does not preclude an officer acting as a Judge from keeping any materials sent to him as part of the voting, or for the Editor and/or Webmaster to be paid a stipend as set by the Executive Board.) Any reasonable expenses incurred by such officers [elected or appointed] acting on behalf of the CJA may be reimbursed upon approval of the remainder of the Executive Board.

  3. Committees duties

    Bylaws: The Bylaws Committee considers revision of and amendments to the Bylaws. The Committee’s recommendations and any other proposals shall be offered for debate at membership meetings and, if approved, printed in The Chess Journalist for adoption or rejection by a majority of the ballots cast by Regular or Honorary Members. The By-Laws Committee shall undertake a review of the Constitution and By-Laws whenever deemed necessary. No more than 5 years may elapse between reviews, even if no changes are needed.

    Ethics: Allegations that a member has violated the Assoc-iation’s Code of Ethics shall be investigated by the Ethics Committee, which shall determine what action, if any, should be taken.

    Awards: The Awards Committee is responsible for conducting the Association’s annual awards program, establishing its categories, selecting the judges, arranging the displays, filing its report for publication in The Chess Journalist and elsewhere, and all other matters pertaining to the Awards program.

    Outreach: The Outreach Committee exists to foster communication between the CJA and mainstream journalists, and to encourage mainstream journalists to actively participate in CJA activities.

    Elections: Elections Committee shall be in charge of any and all elections. It shall establish any necessary criteria for allowing electronic voting, in collaboration with the Webmaster. Should the Secretary/Treasurer be a candidate for an election, then the Chair of this committee shall be responsible for determining a satisfactory person to receive the ballots and transmit same to the Annual Meeting.