• Bethany Carson

2013 Minutes

The annual meeting of the Chess Journalists of America was held in Madison, Wisconsin during the U. S. Open Championship. Following are the minutes of that meeting, held on August 2, 2013.

Chess Journalists of America Minutes of the Annual Workshop and Business Meeting Madison, Wisconsin August 2, 2013

1. Call to Order

Interim President Frank Niro (KY) called the meeting to order. Officers present were Jeffrey Roland (ID), Randy Hough (CA), Mark Taylor (GA), Al Lawrence (TX) and Dan Lucas (GA). Approximately 30 additional CJA members were in the audience. The sign-up sheet of members present was given to Secretary-Treasurer, Randy Hough, for his files.

Prior to the start of the business meeting, an informative question-and-answer session was held with Chess Life Editor, Dan Lucas, and Chess Life Online Editor, Jennifer Shahade.

2. Report of the Nominating and Membership Committee (met August 1, 2013)

Frank Niro presented the recommendations of the ad hoc Nominating and Membership Committee which met the previous day to set the agenda for today’s meeting, review the preliminary report from the Awards Committee, and develop a slate of candidates for CJA Officers.

The agenda was distributed at the Workshop. Additionally, the Treasurer’s Report from Randy Hough was distributed at the Workshop.

The Award’s Committee report, which included results of the 2013 CJA Awards, was accepted at the ad hoc committee meeting with the addition of a nominee for the Best Chess Blog, which did not receive any nominations by the original deadline. As a result, the deadline for nominations was extended by consensus of  the CJA officers and immediate past president at the August 1st ad hoc committee meeting (Niro, Roland, Hough, Lawrence and Lucas). The name was subsequently submitted to Joshua Anderson, chair of the Awards Committee, who reviewed the blog and agreed, on behalf of the Awards Committee, to accept the nomination. A full list of 2013 CJA Award winners will be presented later in the meeting.

The ad hoc committee recommends that existing memberships be extended until December 31, 2013, or until The CJA Journal numbers are caught up.

After discussion, a motion was made from the floor by CJA member Rachel Lieberman (AZ), and seconded by multiple members, to ratify the actions of the ad hoc Nominating and Membership Committee meeting and elect the slate of officers as presented. The vote passed unanimously.

Slate of Officers and Committees (terms expire 2015):

            President – Frank Niro (KY)             Vice President – Jeffrey Roland (ID)             Secretary-Treasurer – Randall Hough (CA)             Editor, The Chess Journalist – Mark Taylor (GA)             Webmaster, J. Franklin Campbell (MI)             Outreach, Al Lawrence (TX) {new position, subject to by-laws amendment}             Ex Officio Chess Life Editor, Daniel Lucas (GA)

The Outreach position was originally a Committee role, but given the inactivity of the committee in recent years, a new officer position has been added. Upon support of the CJA membership at this meeting, the by-laws will be revised to reflect this change. Mr. Lawrence will begin his new role immediately.

Note that Franklin Campbell has resigned as Webmaster, officially, but graciously agreed to serve until a replacement is found. Frank Niro will actively seek a replacement prior to the 2014 meeting and will work with both the current and new webmasters to ensure a smooth transition.

With respect to the standing committees, some changes have occurred as a result of the preceding vote. The status of the standing committees is summarized below:

The Ethics Committee, chaired by Russell Miller (WA), has requested ad hoc status since, thankfully, there haven’t been any ethical issues to discuss in several years.

The By-Laws Committee will be reactivated by the officers. The by-laws committee will elect its own chair.

The Awards Committee is chaired by Joshua Anderson. He has agreed to serve again for the 2014 Awards. The process needs to be updated, especially as it relates to electronic judging, who can nominate whom, fee structure, as well as the Book of the Year and Chess Journalist of the Year awards.

The Elections Committee does not need to meet until 2015.

The Outreach Committee was converted, as of this meeting, to an Officer position (see above).

The Historical Archives Committee is new this year. CJA has a tremendous history, but very little of this is documented in a clear way. The Historical Archives Committee will develop recommendations for preserving CJA history which will be incorporated into a strategic plan for the organization. Committee members, including those nominated from the floor, are Hal Terrie (NH), Stephen Dann (MA), Rob Roy (CT), Russell Miller (WA), Glenn Peterson (NJ), J. Franklin Campbell (MI) and Myron Lieberman (AZ). Frank Niro will contact those nominated who were not present at the Workshop to determine their interest in serving. The historical archives committee will elect its own chair.

3. Web Site (

Frank Niro reported on behalf of J. Franklin Campbell. As noted above, Franklin Campbell has resigned after many years as CJA Webmaster but has agreed to serve until a replacement is found. We are in the process of recruiting a new webmaster who will have the time modernize the web site in order to expand content and take advantage of new tools. In particular, electronic publication of  The Chess Journalist, interactive educational tools, additional links, archives, examples of good chess writing, past award winning articles and, eventually, training tools leading to professional certification are possibilities given current web building software. The site can potentially be used to collect memberships and submission of CJA award nominations at some point in the future.

4. The Chess Journalist

Mark Taylor reported that it has been difficult getting enough submissions of worthwhile material to fill the magazine. Many writers, as well as the Editor himself, have been overwhelmed with other responsibilities. A new issue will be released as soon as possible and, if necessary, a double issue will be put together to get caught up. After discussion, the consensus seemed to be that quarterly electronic issues can be produced with a single printed annual issue highlighting the Award winning entries. Either way, however, there still needs to be an increase in the submission of material, preferably among younger journalists who want to develop their skills by writing a few relevant pieces for The Chess Journalist.

5.USCF Library project

Bill Hall and Pat Smith have requested assistance reorganizing the library in the USCF office in Crossville, TN, with the goal of making the library more accessible to USCF members. Frank will meet with the USCF Executive Board at their fall meeting before proceeding further.

6. Awards

Joshua Anderson, CJA Awards Committee Chairman & Chief Judge, provided the following list of awards for the 2013 competition for best chess journalism:

THE TOP FIVE:    Chess Journalist of the Year -- Winner: Jamaal Abdul-Alim, nominated by Chess Life    Best Story of the Year -- Winner: The Resolute GM by Macauley Peterson, April 2013 Chess Life, nominated by Chess Life    Best Chess Column -- Winner: My Best Move by GM Joel Benjamin, August 2012 Chess Life, nominated by Chess Life    Best State Magazine/Newsletter -- Winner: Georgia Chess, edited by Mark N. Taylor    Best Book (paper-printed only) -- Winner: Amateur to IM by Jonathan Hawkins, nominated by Mongoose Press

VISUAL ARTS:    Best Chess Magazine/Newsletter Layout -- Winner: Georgia Chess #3, nominated by Mark Taylor                                (Honorable Mention: August 2012 Chess Life, nominated by Chess Life)    Best Chess Photojournalism -- Winner: November 2012 -- Front Cover, photo by Mark Schenkel, nominated by Chess Life    Best Chess Art -- Winner: Rhino Chess by Frankie Butler, April 2013 Chess Life                               (Honorable Mention: Georgia Chess Cover -- September, 2012, photo by GCA President Fun Fong)

NEWSPAPER MEDIA:    Best Regular Newspaper Column -- Winner: Peter Henner (Honorable Mention: Bill Cornwall)    Best Regular Newspaper Article of Local Interest -- Winner: Power Moves in Politics and on the Chessboard -- David Sands)

The following categories are open to journalist and publications both in print and those found online. NEWS or FEATURES:    Best Tournament Report Article -- Winner: Two Weeks of Theater by Mike Klein, August 2012 Chess Life, nominated by Chess Life    Best Features Article -- Winner: White Collection by Mark Taylor, December 2012 Chess Life                               (Honorable Mention -- Assault on Mount Karpov by GM Yasser SeirawanSeptember 2012 Chess Life    Best Instructive Lesson -- Winner: Stay on Attack by Todd Andrews, December, 2012 Chess Life                               (Honorable Mention -- Winning with White by GM Varuzhan Akobian and William Faulk, March 2013 Chess Life)    Best Review -- Winner: Making the Leap, by Howard Goldowsky, January 2013 Chess Life    Best Humorous Contribution -- Winner: Queen Interview by Matt Traynor    Best Historical Article -- Winner: Poe vs. the Turk by Dr. Gerald Levitt, June 2012 Chess Life    Best Interview -- Winner: Sam Shankland by Janis Nisii, September 2012 Chess Life                               (Honorable Mention: Maurice Ashley by Macauley Peterson, November 2012 Chess Life)    Best Analysis -- Winner: Nakamura/Robson by GM Ray Robson, August 2012 Chess Life

The following categories are open only to online journalist and their websites. ELECTRONIC MEDIA:    Best [USCF] State Chapter Website -- Winner:                               (Honorable Mention:    Best General Chess Website -- Winner:    Best Chess Blog -- Winner: Chess Book reviews 

7. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Friday, August 1, 2014, in connection with the annual Publications workshop at the U.S. Open in St. Louis, Missouri (subsequently changed to Orlando, Florida).

8. Adjournment

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted, Frank A. Niro, President