Thursday, August 11, 2005

Put the champagne back in the fridge

The Chess Journalists of America (CJA) announced their 2005 prize winners on August 10th at the U. S. Open Chess Championships in Phoenix, Arizona during the annual CJA meeting.

My acceptance speech -- well, it's going to have to wait.

Chess Horizons Editor Mark Donlan submitted my article "2004 Boylston Chess Club Championship" (based on content from my blog of the same name) in the Best Magazine Tournament Report category. The bad news is that I was beat out by articles written by Mig and Tim Redman; the good news is that I received an Honorable Mention (see category 14).

I can imagine the judges reviewing the submissions: "Mig, Redman, Heisman, uh huh; Kavalek, Shabazz, Nunn, sure; DG...who the heck is this guy?"

Further down the list, you'll see that our occasional Guest Blogger Howard Goldowsky won the award for Best Editorial. Congratulations!

This leads me to a bit of editorializing of my own. Two years ago the CJA finally caught up with the new media trend by introducing internet-based award categories. This was certainly a major step forward in recognizing the role the web is playing in communicating chess-related information. In fact, I would be inclined to argue that web-based chess journalism far exceeds print at this point in time (at least in quantity, if not quality).

Yet, the current CJA internet categories are rather limiting given the broad range of web-based chess content being produced. For example, Michael Goeller had no better choice than to submit The Kenilworth Chess Club site under the Best General Website category. While he had little chance of winning in that category, I suspect he would have been a very strong contender in the unavailable Best Chess Club site category.

More importantly (and I'm sure you saw this coming from a hundred miles away), there are no categories for chess blogs. In fact, had 2004 Boylston Chess Club Championship not been adapted into a print article, there would have been no logical category to submit the site to (they don't even have a Web-Based Tournament Report category). Surely sites like Mandelamaza and The Chess Mind deserve the opportunity to receive recognition for the quality chess journalism they represent.

As a start, I would like to encourage the CJA to reevaluate the web-based award categories. Specifically, I believe -- at a minimum -- a Best Chess Blog category should be added. Should we be lucky enough to achieve this objective, in the future they might even consider sub-Blog categories, e.g. Best Chess Improvement Blog, Best Chess Analysis Blog, etc.

What do you think?

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