Ideas for the new CSCA Board

With the new CSCA elections just around the corner, here is some food for thought, and things I have seen other State Chess Organizations do, that I would like to see the CSCA (Colorado State Chess Association) to consider:

  • Ability to sign up/renew memberships online:

The Massachusetts Chess Association has a good example of this.

Along the same lines, it would be nice if online registration was available for more tournaments.

  • Monthly newsletter – Klaus Johnson was doing this for a while, and would be nice to see this again.
  • Updated website:

The CSCA website has looked exactly the same for the past 10+ years. It would be cool to give it a more modern look, possibly with WordPress as a backend. Drag it kicking and screaming into Web 2.0. It still has the “look and feel” of a website written by hand in HTML in the late 1990s.

WordPress also comes with the ability to add users who can make modifications. This would eliminate the “single point of failure” problem that comes from having to have a webmaster do everything. For example recently a TLA had the wrong registrations times listed, and the DCC was unable to get them changed.

I see lots of clubs and organizations that have their own twitter feeds, facebook pages and events, email invitations to tournaments, photo albums and cool websites where you can download large databases of games in PGN format, look at back issues of state magazines, etc.  None of this is on the CSCA website.

Take a look at any random 10-15 state websites, and you will have a dozen ideas of how the CSCA website could be modernized and ideas that could be implemented fairly easily (and also will see a fair share of websites that are terrible, and way worse than the CSCA lol).

Also get rid of the krappy Microsoft Paint “State Flag” logo and use Fred Spell’s logo above on the website.

  • Don’t change the CO tour

While it has it’s flaws, and is not a perfect system, I don’t recommend trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

Just because one person doesn’t like it, doesn’t mean you have to do anything about it.

  • Updated online tour points

Would be nice to be able to see this info online.  Also list all of the points, not just the top ten lists.

  • CO Chess Informant

It sounds like the costs for printing and mailing the CO Chess Informant are getting too high, and going online makes the most sense. If so, I would like to see the Informant not just be the same creature it is now as a PDF online, but instead take advantage of things that you can only do online – such as click and move boards, articles where people can leave comments, etc.

It might be possible to still have one or two printed magazines per year, which might be nice.

If it goes 100% online, I think that the membership dues should be lowered as well.

All of these ideas I believe to be reasonable, doable, and inexpensive.  They are all things I have seen other clubs do, or things that the CSCA has done in the past, but no longer does.

 Just like the moves 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7, lets be more “modern”!

And one final note – I know that being a chess officer in the CSCA or any chess club can be a thankless job, so I want to say a warm and sincere Thanks to the current board, and to those who decide to run for office next year.  I mean no criticism, but only want to give some of my ideas.


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5 thoughts on “Ideas for the new CSCA Board

  1. Hey, you should run for CSCA President, Tim!

    Most of those ideas I think definitely need to be implemented, with the exception of the CO Tour, because I don’t think “only one” person disagrees with this and Pueblo does appear to monopolize the tour with their events. No other chess presence in Colorado runs as many tour events, and it’s soured the rest of us on even bothering competing. Limit their participation!

    I quit the CSCA board because I’ve tried implementing some of these changes for the CSCA website and was given the cold shoulder. The website has pretty much not changed in the last decade, and that’s a disappointing trend that perhaps can only be changed by taking a more personal CSCA-board-centric interest in the website. It needs a complete overhaul to put Games viewers, a forum, and other things in there now. The current setup is just not adequate anymore.

  2. Randy, I agree with you that there is probably more than one person who thinks that the CO tour might need to be changed. I think it was mostly “one person” who started the whole “debate”, and it didn’t seem to me like others were really thinking about this beforehand. But I could be wrong.

    Pueblo actually has had to cancel a lot of their tournaments, because Jerry Maier is taking a “leave of absence” from chess. So it is actually a bit of a moot point at the moment.

    If you listen to (or read) my podcast with Klaus Johnson, we talked about this issue. He mentioned Iowa specifically, and how they had to put in controls so that the events were balanced in the state. I liked Klaus’ point that having too many events in one city is better than having no events at all.

    I think we agree on the topic of the CSCA website. Is that a “volunteer” effort, or are we actually paying for that?

    I’m not really interested in running at the moment. I will continue my role however as political gadfly :-)

    • We pay $X per year for the website hosting, but all the stuff Rick does, like putting new tournaments on there, etc., is volunteerism, as I recall. It’d be a little easier to demand changes if we did employ a webmaster. He’d be the one to answer this, but he might just be burned out on our website. I know if I did the Informant for 15 years or updated Tour points for that long, my energy would be running low on it.

      But giving the website a makeover is not high on the CSCA board’s priorities, either, so why should he make changes? Thus, the catalyst for all this originates with the CSCA board.

  3. For this website, I pay about 10 dollars a year for the domain name, and 10 dollars a month for the hosting. So it is about 130 dollars a year.

    If we went to a WordPress model (which is what this site runs on, and I would propose the CSCA website to use), then there could be multiple users accounts set up. So if you wanted to post a TLA for the Loveland Open, for example, you could just log in as yourself, add the TLA, and then make modifications later if needed.

    If Buck wanted to add Games from the Pikes Peak Open, same idea.

    By having multiple login accounts, it could be more of a group effort, rather than just having one person responsible for the whole thing (which I agree, would burn me out after 10-15 years). WordPress is quite easy to use (no more difficult than say Microsoft Word), and has thousands of “plugins” that can be used to add functionality.

  4. An updated website would be nice, but there’s something to be said for the stability of the site that we’ve had, in terms that’s it’s been regularly updated and is fairly current in content if not in appearance.

    I’m considering if an updated web site will further the cause of Colorado chess or help us grow. I like the idea having online re-plays of tournament games, or going as far as having a database of user-submitted tourney games. Likewise I like the idea of having online discussion forums and maybe a wiki and anything else we can plugin, and am definitely liking the online renewal idea (which reminds me about my own renewal I have to do).

    I can’t say I like the idea of making the Informant totally electronic. What’s happened to all the other periodicals that I subscribe to that have done this…Chess Life and technical magazines….I never ready them anymore. When I’m at my ‘puter I get distracted by all the other things I have to do and don’t feel like reading a magazine. Although I think it would be great to have an electronic supplement to it. However the writing is probably on the wall for this and it probably makes more economic sense not to print them any longer.

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