Judges

Sadiya Ahmadi

Current President of the CJA and Coordinating Judge.  He has written for Chess Life (Calls for Submissions/Result reports) and Chess Life Online - http://www.uschess.org/content/view/11984/688/ "Dancing Around Chess at the Philadelphia Art Museum."

Joshua has taught classes/camps for Silver Knights/Shining Knights for almost 9 years and in that capacity taught thousands of students, several of whom have made top 100 lists.  He has also taught numerous private students, including two who have made top 100 lists and won state scholastic titles.   He is a Senior Tournament Director who has directed over 150 tournaments, including the Holly Heisman Memorial charity event for the last seven years.

He is currently involved with three projects for McFarland: researching the Byrne brothers, editing a volume about the Best of Chess Life, and contributing to a work on the 1958 Baltimore Colts.  

 

Joshua lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his lovely and patient wife and small menagerie of 1 cat, 5 rabbits, 3 turtles, 1 bird, and some fish.

Joshua Anderson

FM Matthew Bengtson, a retired FIDE master, wrote numerous articles for Chess Horizons, including a sprawling analysis over many pages of a minor-piece endgame that won a CJA award for Best Analysis. As a teacher and coach he has taught in the Masters of the 21st Century program, and in summer camps in the Philadelphia area. As a private coach, has worked with some talented junior players. Recently highlighted on My Best Move column, Mr. Bengtson is a renowned concert pianist who has performed internationally, including two appearances at the US Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis. He is an Assistant Professor of Piano Literature at the University of Michigan.

FM Matthew Bengtson

Created the CJA Web Site in 1999 and was the only webmaster of the site until 2017.

Member of CJA starting in 1987.

Wrote the column "The Campbell Report" for the APCT News Bulletin (American Postal Chess Tournaments magazine) for 18 years. Many of the columns can be seen here.

Maintained a personal correspondence chess web site for many years. See here.

Numerous other articles and photos have been published.

J. Franklin Campbell

When I was about five years old, I was at my Grandmother’s house, and my Uncle had a game of chess set up in the basement.  I asked him to show me how to play.  He said it was too complicated for me.  I pestered and pestered him the rest of the day.  Finally he gave in, but said that he was only going to show me one time how the pieces moved and if I forgot after that it was my own fault.  I am not sure if I really remembered all the moves or he helped some, but from then on the game became a lifelong passion.  Soon after I received as a birthday present my first two books on Chess: Lasker’s Manual of Chess and Mason’s Art of Chess.  That was it, I was hooked on Chess Literature.  I began collecting any and all books, articles, etc. I have a Chess Library of about 1000 volumes (now I just need the time to read them all). 

 

About 15 years ago I took over as the editor of the Iowa Chess News En Passant and have been doing it ever since.  The En Passant has won a few CJA Awards over the years.  I have had articles in Chess Life, Chess Life Online and one of my correspondence games appeared in a book called Thinkers’ Chess by Stephan Gerzadowicz.  I served as judge in the CJA Awards about 5 years ago and am very happy to be doing it again.

Mark Capron

CHESSPLAYER: Bill began playing chess at age eight. By 1972, he had become a Master. His accolades include: Florida State Champion, U.S. Army Championship co-winner, Philadelphia Open Champion, Washington D.C. Champion, World Open Expert Champion, U.S. Expert Champion, U.S. Open Expert Champion, and National Open Expert Champion.

 

TEACHER: After having served as a U.S. Army Specialist teacher (Avionics Repair), he started teaching chess. About 30 years ago, he created Cornwall Chess Services (CCS) providing training to over a dozen schools. His students' accolades included: U.S. Open Junior Champion, U.S. Elementary Champion (team and individual), #1 rated in U.S. by age, representative of the U.S at World Youth Championships, and dozens of Florida Scholastic titles. Since 2014, Bill has been helping the National Scholastic Chess Foundation to run seminars training 100s of teachers to teach chess.

 

WRITER: Bill first took an interest in writing when he was the editor of his High School's literary magazine. As an adult, he created and edited the Florida State chess magazine, Checkmate! His Tribune network's "Chess: A Knight's Tour" column began appearing in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel in 1993 and in the Los Angeles Times in 2010. Amongst its many CJA certificates is "The Best Newspaper Chess Column" in the U.S.

Bill Cornwall

Jon Crumiller is a USCF National Master and Life Member. He co-authored the book Carlsen vs. Karjakin World Chess Championship New York 2016 which won the 2018 CJA Instructional Book of the Year award (and which was studied by Fabiano Caruana and his team in the infamous "Videogate" clip.) Jon was featured in Chess Life's My Best Move in the August 2018 issue. He has won a state championship, given simultaneous exhibitions in prisons, authored monthly online columns for worldchess.com, played to a draw vs. Magnus Carlsen in an exhibition, and developed the chess curriculum for a local public school (K-8).


Jon owns one of the world's top chess collections, consisting of antique chess sets, boards, timers, antiquarian books, autographs, and ephemera. His chess collection has been the subject of three exhibitions (2013, 2015, 2018) at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis. Jon conducts research on the evolution of chess set styles, usage, and manufacturing, and he shares this information with the global community of collectors, including his fellow enthusiasts in Chess Collectors International.

Jon and his wife Jenny live in Princeton, New Jersey, and have three children and two grandchildren. Jon is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Princeton Consultants Inc., a mid-size consulting firm that specializes in business optimization, artificial intelligence, and operational efficiency. Jenny is an elected official on Princeton Council, the governing body of Princeton, New Jersey.

Jon Crumiller

Stephen Dann

John Donaldson (USCF member since 1972)

 

  • National Master 1977, Senior Master 1980, International Master 1983 - Grandmaster norms Lindsborg 2002 and Stratton Mountain ( CCA International) 2003

  • Peak rating USCF 2601 (May 1990), Peak FIDE 2467 (March 2004)

  • Captain US Olympiad Team 13 times (1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 - one 1st place finish, two 2nd place finishes, four 3rd place finishes)

  • Captain US World Team 7 times (1993, 1997, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 - one 1st place finish, two 2nd place finishes)

  • Captain US Pan American Team 1 time (2013 - one 1st place finish)

  • Associate Editor of Inside Chess 1988-2000

  • Mechanics' Institute (San Francisco) Chess Director 1998-2018

  • Author of over 30 books on chess 

John Donaldson

Josh Gambrell

Howard Goldowsky has been writing long-form profiles of chess players and chess personalities for 20 years. His first major piece was a profile of Mig Greengard for the once great and now defunct Chess Cafe website. His latest major piece, in 2014, was "How to Catch a Chess Cheater," a profile of IM and Computer Science Professor Ken Regan, for Chess Life. Goldowsky's work from the first decade of his writing career has been collected in Engaging Pieces (Daowood & Brighton, 2007), and in 2010 Goldowsky edited the chess short story anthology Masters of Technique (Mongoose Press). The title of his next chess book will be something like Man Over Board: Enjoying Chess with the Fish. 

Howard Goldowsky

Dov Gorman

Jim directed his first tournament while in the Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1978. He achieved an expert rating (2004) while serving in Korea in 1988 ("Once an expert, always an expert!" L. Evans). He played in the All Army Chess Championship five times and made the All Army Chess Team once. After retiring he used the remainder of his G.I. Bill benefits to attend the Fort Worth Art Institute and learn webdesign. Since it was an art school, he was required to take art courses and was quickly surprised to discover he enjoys art! Two of his art works are copyrighted. His living room has much of his art displayed, including some 30" by 40" oil on canvas works. For every art class, students displayed their work and both students and instructors critiqued all in a round robin forum. Jim calls it both a humbling and highly educational experience. Jim also excelled in photography and courses on evaluating art. He still directs chess tournaments and creates websites in his home.

Jim Hollingsworth

Francisco (Franc) Guadalupe is a US Chess National Tournament Director, the only USA FIDE International Arbiter Category A, and a FIDE International Organizer.  He was the Deputy Chief Arbiter for the 2016 World Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin.  Franc served as the US Chess Interim Executive Director in 2013 and as the US Chess Director of Events from 2014 to the end of 2017.  He was the Deputy Chief Arbiter of the 2006 and 2010 U.S. Championship and the Chief Arbiter of that event in 2013, 2017 and 2019. Franc was also the Chief TD of the 2010, 2011 and 2013 U.S. Open as well as the Chief TD of many other national events including SuperNationals IV and V.  As US Chess Director of Events, Franc organized many national events including SuperNationals VI.  He is the FIDE Zonal President for USA and has represented US Chess at five FIDE Congresses.  In 2009, Franc traveled to Belize, C.A. to train their chess tournament directors.  Franc is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Four with over 23 years of active military service. 

Franc Guadalupe

Eric C. Johnson has played or been involved in chess for over 35 years. He first began playing in US Chess Federation-rated tournaments in 1980. His peak rating of 2227 makes him a USCF National Master. Johnson worked for the US Chess Federation as an Assistant Director of National Events from 1994 to 1999. He is the organizer and one of the founding members of the Allentown Center City Chess Club. He holds a Master's Degree in Psychology from Lehigh University.

  • USCF peak rating 2227

  • USCF Assistant Director of National Events (1994-1999)

  • Organizer Allentown Center City Chess Club (see www.freewebs.com/allentowncentercitychessclub for info)

  • Organizer  David Elliott Cup (Grand Prix) 11 years

  • Previous winner of CJA awards and honorable mentions

  • Author/publisher of various chess booklets including:

  • 2015 David Elliott Cup games booklet

  • What Should I Play (openings guide for beginners)

  • Johnson v. Santo Match: The Cerebral Struggle in the Urban Jungle

  • Club Chess in Allentown: 2000 to 2015

  • 20 Games and their Stories

  • Publisher of Chess Pride magazine (4 issues in the late 1990s)

Eric Johnson

Al Lawrence has probably offered up his best year ever writing on chess. Although he does not have the advantage of being on staff at a chess publication, he has covered a wide variety of events and provided two regular columns. He has written about history, important tournaments, as well as chess volunteers and other personalities. He has provided readers with several unusual pieces—including “Playing the French” (actually a travel piece) and his expanded column in the May CL “women’s” issue on 96-year-old Mildred Starin. His in-depth interview of Dewain Barber for CL’s March cover story, "Dewain Barber, Dean of Scholastic Chess,” is a masterclass in writing a chess bio. Lawrence’s winning the “CJOY” award twice before should not diminish the special recognition he deserves for another outstanding year.

 

Below is a list of his major contributions during the period for consideration.

 

Chess Life articles:

 

“Faces Across the Board” column: 12 installments recognizing volunteers, promising juniors, and interesting chess veterans

 

May 2019:

Faces Across the Board: A special full-page column on 96-year-old Mildred Starin

 

April 2019:

First Moves: "Playing the French,” an unusual chess travelogue about the Menton, France, Open.

 

March 2019:

Cover Story: "Dewain Barber, Dean of Scholastic Chess”

Feature story: "2018 PanAms, Gorlocks All the Way Down”

 

January 2019

SB to Feature Story: “Thrones of the Game”

 

November 2018

Cover Story: “Gareyev Soars to Victory”

 

June 2018

Feature Story: “UT-Rio Grande Valley Snaps Webster’s Final Four Streak”

 

CLkids (bi-montly publication):

Six installments of “Faces Across the Board,” featuring promising and inspiring chess juniors

 

CL Online:

March CL Cover Story Podcast

November Cover Story Podcast

 

 “Webster University Wins Seventh Title at 65th PanAms”

“Eyes Wide Open: Gareyev Wins 2018 US Open”—Selected as one of best of 2018

“San Francisco Hosts Pan-Ams for 1st Time”

Nominated by Hanon Russell

In my opinion, as a prior winner of the award, he is far and away the leading candidate for this year’s award. –Hanon Russell, 2001 Chess Journalist of the Year and owner of Russell Enterprises, Inc., the largest publisher of chess books in North America

Al Lawrence

Harvey Lerman Profile

Harvey Lerman

Myron was on the USCF Policy Board from 1978-1987 holding the positions of Secretary, Treasurer and Vice President. He is currently the Chair of the US Chess Outreach Committee. He is a National Tournament Director, International Arbiter, chess organizer, promoter and teacher. He was President of the Arizona Chess Association for over 20 years.  He has been a writer and editor for a number of chess publications and is a columnist for a local music publication.

 

Rachel was on the USCF Executive Board as Secretary from 1993 to 1999 and is the founder and project leader for the US Chess Outreach Committee's CAPA (Chess as a Positive Alternative) project. Both were officers of the Tempe Chess Club for over 40 years. They are both US Chess Delegates at Large and currently do what they can to involve today's youth with chess and firmly believe that chess is a good solution to many of the ills of today's society.

Myron & Rachel Lieberman

Dan has worked for US Chess since late 2005. Since June 2018 he has been the Senior Director of Strategic Communication; prior to that he served as the Director of Publications. He was the second-longest serving editor of Chess Life in that magazine's 70+ year history.  In his current position he is responsible for all US Chess external and internal communications, which includes all print publications, the editorial sections of uschess.org, and social media.  He is a past president of CJA, a former editor of Georgia Chess, and the host of the podcasts "Cover Stories with Chess Life" and "One Move at a Time," which are available at uschess.org, Google and Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

Daniel Lucas

"US Chess Delegate from Southern California, Member of the FIDE Commission for the Disabled & 2018 Vice Chairman of the US Chess Committee of the Year (Accessibility and Special Circumstances Committee) and current member of the US Chess Outreach and Clubs Committees. President of the Southern California Chess Federation and State Scholastic Chess Coordinator, Chairman of the Scholastic Committee and Women’s Committee Co-Chair. Author of 5 Chess Textbooks, including “Mastering Chess: Through the Ages” and active chess journalist and editor for Rank and File magazine."

Sean Jordan Manross

Melinda J. Matthews joined US Chess as its Assistant Editor in April 2017 and was promoted to Publications Editor in June 2018. Her primary responsibility is the flagship publication, Chess Life, but she also edits Chess Life Kids as well as other in-house publications such as tournament programs, newsletters, and governance documents. She has been a writer and blogger for US Chess since 2010. Her work has earned several Best of CLO nods, including fourth place in 2018 for her interview with Rochelle Ballantyne. Melinda also contributed the cover story and sidebar articles for Chess Life's 2013 SuperNationals coverage.

Melinda Matthews

Need profile here

Peter Minear

Ashley Lynn Priore is a graduate from the Ellis School for girls in Pittsburgh, PA and is a current student at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in English and Business with a minor in political science. An award winning and nationally ranked player under the United States Chess Federation, Ashley is a competitive chess player, writer and poet, and social entrepreneur. 
In 2014, Ashley founded The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute, a Pittsburgh based non-profit organization dedicated to teaching chess to the community and ensuring every child has the necessary tools and opportunities to learn the game through a twenty-first century approach to education. Queen’s Gambit is dedicated to using the strategy of chess to keep Pittsburgh sustainable and innovative for the future. A chess educator, social advocate, and leader around the city, Ashley and the Queen’s Gambit have made partnerships with Pittsburgh City Government, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Remake Learning, City Schools and many more to use chess to empower communities.


Ashley is an innovate speaker who appeared on the Tedx stage in 2018. She started playing competitive chess at the age of four and began teaching at eight years old.
Ashley currently serves on the boards of the Pittsburgh Chess Club, Women in Digital Pittsburgh, Dragon's Den, Pittsburgh Learning Commons, City of Bridges High School and the Pittsburgh Museum of Cartoon Art. She is also a part of the Kidsburgh Advisory Team and Prototype Pittsburgh Advisory Board. She serves on several committees including the the Young Non-Profit Professionals Network, Pittsburgh Women’s Alliance, and the Executive Women’s Council of Greater Pittsburgh. Ashley is an active committee member under United States Chess.
A catalyst for change who started her own business at the early age of 14 years old, Ashley seeks to empower all to use their passions for good. In 2019, Ashley entered politics and is currently a candidate for Pittsburgh Board of Education, District 4.

Ashley Priore

Rebecka Ratcliffe has authored four children’s books, including the Moodrangles emotions series for preschoolers and The Tiny Giant, a fantasy novel for middle-graders.  Her current projects include the follow-up to The Tiny Giant and the online story project, Story McStoryface, a blend of horror and dark humor for adults. She co-leads the Dundee Dolphins Chess Club at her children’s school with her husband, and particularly enjoys working with elementary children new to the game. She loves to see the delight on a little girl’s face when told the Queen is the most powerful piece on the board.

Rebecka Ratcliffe

• USCF Top 100 Women list from 1985 through the early 1990’s 

• Manhattan Chess Club manager 1986-88 

• Tournament Director at and organizer of Greater NY Scholastic Championships since 1986 (USCF’s longest-running scholastic tournament?). 

• Tournament Director at New York State Scholastic Championships. 

• Chess teacher from 1987 at Anderson School, Hunter, Columbia Grammar (CGPS), Collegiate, St. David’s, Brearley & Chapin, Spence and Manhattan New School. 

• Professional Players Committee Chairman 

• NJ State Chess Association board member 

• Director of Operations of the Professional Chess Association (PCA) 1994-96 

• Organizer of the 1st New York Qualifying Tournament of the PCA/Intel Grand Prix Championship 1994 at the New York City Winter Garden next to the World Trade Center 

• Event manager for the World Chess Championships 1994 quarter final matches at the Trump Tower in NYC in June 1994. 

• Event manager for the World Chess Championships 1995 at the World Trade Center. 

• Tournament Director at 1998 U.S. Junior Closed Championship (held at Borough of Manhattan Community College and at the Marshall Chess Club) 

• Arbiter at several International tournaments held at the Marshall Chess Club 

• Arbiter at 25 World Opens as well as innumerable CCA events, and local and national scholastics. 

• Co-author of the children’s book “How To Play Chess! Tactics, Traps, And Tips For Beginners” 

• FIDE International Organizer (2011) 

• Representative on the US delegation to 82nd and 85th FIDE Congresses in Krakow and Tromso 

• Founder and organizer of New York State All Girls Championship 2017-2019 

• Member of FIDE Chess in Schools Commission 2 

• USCF National Tournament Director (2013) 

• Member of many USCF Committee’s: Women's Chess, Hall of Fame, FIDE Events, International Affairs, Player Opportunity Fund. 

• Charter Member of the Accessibility & Special Circumstances Committee 

• Founder and organizer of NYC's Magnus High School and Junior High Chess League, 2013-2018 

• Founder and organizer of New York State All Girls Championship 2017-2018 

• US Chess Delegate for NY State 

• NY State Chess Association Scholastic Liaison on the Board of Directors 

• Full-time faculty teacher and K-12 chess curriculum program director at Columbia Grammar Prep School, developing the program for almost 20 years. (Strongest student graduating from CGPS so far is GM Marc Arnold) 

• Senior Vice President of “Girls to Grandmaster” G2GM.org New York based non-profit. 

• 2018 US Chess Organizer of the Year 

Sophia Rohde

Phil Simpkins is a retired attorney and arbitrator. Currently, he runs New Castle Chess, a local chess club in Historic New Castle, DE. In 2003, he was awarded Organizer of the Year by US Chess. Phil is a life member of both US Chess and DE Chess, a USCF Local Tournament Director, and has served as the Tournament Clearinghouse for DE since 2002. He helped create the Delaware Chess Association in 1985, and served as its president from 2002-2005. Phil is also responsible for creating the DE chess website, writing and editing articles, as well as analyzing games for the DE Chess Journal. Additionally, Phil was the legislation editor, editor-in-chief and editor emeritus of "Law Forum." Today, he sits on two US Chess governance committees (Accessibility and Special Needs, and States).

Phil Simpkins

GM Andy Soltis retired in 2014 after 45 years as a reporter and editor at the New York Post. He continues to write a weekly chess column for the Post (begun in 1972) and a monthly column in Chess Life (begun in 1979). He has written several books, including the recent multi biography “Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, Korchnoi.”

Andy Soltis

Chess mom of three girls (Age 15, 11, 9 in 2019) currently living in Stockton, CA with her husband. Received doctorate degree in chemistry, and have been in physical chemistry and clinical chemistry research for 15+ years before changing careers into data science in 2012 and eventually chess in 2014.

 

Current positions:

  • General Manager for the oldest chess club in the US, the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club: responsible for the scholastic events (classes, clubs, camps, tournaments), regular tournaments, and special events for the club. 

  • Chair of USCF's Clubs Committee 

  • Vice-Chair of USCF' Accessibility and Special Circumstances Committee

  • USCF Scholastic Committee member

  • Managing Editor of the Journal of Chess Research

  • Secretary, Board of Directors to CalChess (Northern CA State Affiliate)

Achievements:

Organizer of the Year in 2017 by US Chess

Under her leadership received Chess Club of the Year in 2018 by US Chess for her former organization, BayAreaChess.

Developed and lead enrichment programs with 100+ schools, and 30+ staff.

Managed 200+ yearly tournament schedule (USCF/FIDE rated, scholastic and open events)

 

Organized the following events:

US National Junior Cadet Championship

US Amateur Team West National Championship

US Class National Championship

US Junior Congress National Championship

US G/30 and G/60 National Championships

Pan American Intercollegiate Championship

BayArea International Super Norm Event

CalChess State Championships: State Championship, Spring Scholastic (with 1300+ players), Grade Level Scholastic, Girls State Scholastic, Barber/Denker/NGIT State Qualifier

And thousands of other tournaments with various sizes.

Judit Sztaray

A past president of the CJA and Journalist of the Year, Pete Tamburro has won over 20 CJA awards in over 10 different categories. He wrote for Chess Life from 1975-2015 ,  Chess Life (for) Kids since its inception in 2006.  Since 2014, he has written a monthly openings column for  British Chess Magazine. He co-founded the Atlantic Chess News with Glenn Petersen in 1973 and was the founding editor of the ACN Annual. He has run a three times a week puzzle column at www.arcamax.com since 2006. He also was a founding editor of American Chess magazine and writes for them as well.

He has also had published two chess books, Learn Chess from the Greats (Dover, 2000) and Openings for Amateurs (Mongoose, 2014). He  was the editor of the Kasparov Chess Foundation’s multi-volume Teaching Chess Step by Step which was directed toward elementary school teachers for their programs. He has also published one on one interviews with Tal, Karpov and Kasparov as well as other notable chess players and authors.  Pete is a retired award winning teacher of US history and has been published on his local history work in a book and magazines. He has three sons of whom he is quite proud and lives in Morristown, NJ.

Pete Tamburro

I teach at the New York State Maritime College in Fort Schuyler, Bronx, New York. I was a rated expert when I last played USCF events (1998), and I won the CJA Award for best historical article in the same year, I believe. It was entitled Henry Chadwick, Father of Baseball, Friend of Chess

Edward Tassinari

Jennifer Vallens is the founder of OFF da ROOK Entertainment www.offdarook.com. She is a Level 1 US Chess certified coach and runs scholastic tournaments and organizes special chess events. Jennifer represented GM Timur Gareyev and organized the Las Vegas event where he set the new Guinness World Record for blindfold chess.

Jennifer has written articles for ChessBase, Chess Life and New In Chess magazines. She has served as a judge for US Chess "Best Of"  for three years and CJA for 2 years, she is a longstanding board member of the Karpov International Chess School and a board member of CJA and board member and delegate of the Southern California Chess Federation.

Jennifer is a Yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga studio and teaches beginning chess at the Yarrow YMCA.  She enjoys hiking and spending quality time with her family.

Jennifer Vallens

Chessmaster 40 years.

ICC commentator 2006.

10 time Colorado Champion, 9 time Denver Champion.

also won Kansas Open 2007.

wrote 20,000 Chess emails at BrianWallChess@Yahoogroups.com

Brian Wall