Dear chess friends and chess Journalists!
I am addressing this post to all of you out there who love chess, who have ever played chess, or written about chess in any way or form. Yes, that's you, reading these lines!
Nowadays the bounds and methods of journalism have grown considerably. According to Wikipedia,
Journalism is the craft of conveying news, descriptive material and opinion via a widening spectrum of media. These include newspapers, magazines, radio and television, the internet and even, more recently, the mobile phone.
I love the word "widening"! That means that any of you, who have ever written about chess in any medium, not only in the printed media, such as books, magazines, and newspapers, but also in new technologies, such as video (video podcasts, YouTube, video sharing sites), audio (songs, audio podcasts), photographs (photography sites), blogs, home pages, social sites (Twitter, Facebook) are journalists in some way, and at the very front of chess promotion! Yes, again, I'm speaking about YOU reading this post!
It's now possible from one's cell phone to update one's blog or Twitter account in seconds and that's one of the fastest way to relay or receive information. I read "tweets" every day from chess enthusiasts around the world with the freshest chess news. Today chess lovers can find out in real time how their chess heroes are playing, watch their games, and see tournament results tables. Even webcams are often installed in chess tournament halls, it makes you feel you're right there with the players, all this is journalism of the 21st century, and we are all part of it!
I thank every single one of you who has ever created any such kind of chess journalism. You are making the game cooler, younger, more alive! I want you all to join the CJA! But let me first start with the beginning.
I first become acquainted with the CJA thanks to its president, Jerry Hanken, who came to me in August of 2004 at the US Open in Fort Lauderdale and introduced me to the organization he cared so much about, the CJA. He told me all the benefits of being a member, and how I could not afford not to be a member. Jerry and I even played in that 2004 US Open Blitz tournament (Nakamura won the tournament, I came in second), and gave me a real fight in his favorite English opening. I immediately then joined the CJA, and since then have always been proud to be a member.
When Jerry invited me to become Vice-President of the CJA 2 years ago, he told me not to worry, as long as he's around, I won't have to do much. Jerry called me often to discuss new articles (read his article about me) and work went on as usual. He was very strong in his opinions, and always faithful to putting chess #1 in all his decisions. Suddenly the unthinkable happened, on October 1, 2009, I got the sad news that Jerry passed away, from complications of diabetes (read USCF post and a blog post). I had just spoken to him while he was in the hospital some days earlier and he was in good spirits, hoping to go home soon. In memory of Jerry Hanken, I will be holding high the torch for the CJA, to help it prosper and to continue to promote chess, with your help!
The CJA stands for "The Chess Journalists of America", but I don't want you to think it's limited depending on where you live, this is truly a worldwide association, and I intend to do my best to help promote it to the whole chess world.
One of the very best features of the CJA is its fantastic yearly AWARDS PROGRAM. One of the main goals I have as President of the CJA is to recognize any of you who really do something to promote chess, in any positive, original way you do so.
There are close to 20 awards categories in the Awards Program, such as (I use the 2009 categories, these may change a little for 2010):
• Chess Journalist of the Year
• Best Chess Column
• Best Achievement in Correspondence Chess
• Best Chess Art
• Best Chess Photograph
• Best Tournament Report
• Best Regular Newspaper Column
• Best Chess Web Site
• Best Historical Article
• Best Interview
• Best Editorial
• Best Review
• Best Analysis
• Best Instructive Lesson
• Best Humorous Contribution
• Special Recognition Award
I will gladly consider other categories upon request, due to new technologies, such as best Chess Podcast, best Chess YouTube Channel, best Chess Tweet, best chess poem, best chess iPhone app, best chess playing site, best live chess viewer, or any other you can think of. This will be difficult for the judges, but I will do my best to help. Feel free to add any comments to this post if you have any suggestions.
The CJA Awards are very prestigious. The winners get recognized officially with a beautiful certificate, of course also on the web, and in the most widely circulated chess magazine in the world, Chess Life (both printed and online versions). I have the honor of having won the 2009 "Chess Journalist of the Year" award, succeeding eminent chess journalists Macauley Peterson (2008), Mig Greengard (2007), Peter Tamburro (2006), Frisco del Rosario (2005), Andrew Soltis (2004), Fred Wilson (2003), Yasser Seirawan (2002), Hanon Russell (2001), Al Lawrence (2000). Don't you want to try to be the next "Journalist of the Year"? Before becoming CJA President, I have applied for several awards, and have won "Best Chess Art" (see my chess comic on the cover of the CJA Magazine #130), "Best Chess Video or Podcast" (for my Chess Killer Tips free video podcast, "Best Deep Analysis" (for my game Huss-Kosteniuk, which I commented in a magazine and also on video), so I'm sure you can also apply for an award, and get recognized for what you do for chess.
This should be plenty to convince you to become CJA members. The good news is that the cost to become a CJA member (and also get the quartely CJA magazine) at this time is only $10 for the USA and $15 for any other place in the world! That's a very low price for all the benefits you get from being with equally minded colleagues.
To make it easier for people to sign up to the CJA or renew their memberships, there are now additional options, perfect for people outside the USA who don't find it convenient to send a check.
a) Send a check made for $10 (USA) or $15 (outside USA) made out to CJA, c/o Randy Hough, 1826 W. Garvey Ave. #5, Alhambra, CA 91803, USA
b) Pay by Paypal (Paypal does not require registration, any credit card should work) via my webshop, all monies received will be transferred to the CJA:
If you have any questions about the CJA and have any doubt about should you become a member or not, feel free to contact me by email, and I will gladly personally answer your questions. More information can also be found on the CJA web site.
Women's World Chess Champion
Chess Journalist of the Year