Thursday, August 30, 2012

Delegates - They're Not Just in FL Anymore!

These next two weeks are filled with US Delegate events - the national political party conventions - making this month a political junkie's dream! What may be news to you is that the chess world has something similar (although, at times, I hope, better!) and you can be involved!

The US Open is one of the largest and most important general chess events in the country, and its not all about those nine critical games. One of the things that happens during the US Open every year is the USCF Delegate's Meeting. While the USCF Office and the USCF Executive Board run the day-to-day operations of the Federation, the policy decisions and overall aims are decided by a 150-person Board of Delegates that meet every year at the US Open.

Each USCF "state" (I put that in quotes because, for example, as far as the USCF is concerned, there is a N. California and a S. California) has a certain number of Delegates based on their USCF membership. Choosing those Delegates, and submitting their names to the Federation, is the responsibility of the State Chess Associations. A body of Primary and Alternate Delegates - in the case of MA, three of each - is recruited and chosen by the MACA Board in our case. These names are submitted to the Federation near the end of the year and their terms of office go from January to January. Three Alternate Delegates are chosen in case any of the Primary Delegates cannot fulfill their responsibilities during the year.

So what does a USCF Delegate do? Their primary responsibility is to attend the Annual Delegate's Meeting, representing their state and its membership, during the last weekend of the US Open. This is when the actual business gets done, and these two meetings don't interfere with the US Open playing schedule. If you've been to the US Open you might also know that from Wednesday to Friday there are several workshops held. This is where a lot of the discussions take place regarding things that come up during the Delegates Meeting, so it can be important, but not critical, to attend the areas that you, or your constituents, are interested in. These meetings may conflict if you're on an accelerated playing schedule, but not if you're on the traditional playing schedule.

You can read about Al Lawrence's impression of the 2012 Delegate's Meeting in Vancouver here
Otherwise, during the year, Delegates are part of the USCF representative infrastructure. It's possible that people may want to contact you regarding a question or a problem they have regarding the Federation. Also, while you don't need to be a Delegate to serve on a USCF Committee, statistically, usually most USCF Committee members are Delegates.

So, are you going to the US Open in Madison, WI next year? How would you like to take an active hand in both shaping the policies of your USCF and representing the active tournament chess players in your state? The MA Chess Association is currently seeking a slate of three Primary and three Alternate Delegates to represent MA to the USCF during its 2013 Delegates Meeting at the US Open next August in Madison.

Are you a USCF member and interested in putting your name in the ring? Have additional questions? Contact Doc Kinne at kinnerc @

No comments: