16 August 2011

The Last Shall Be Least

The Chess Journalists of America (CJA) have just announced their annual awards -- see 2011 Awards Committee Report [PDF format] -- and the award for Chess Journalist of the Year went to ... (drum roll) ... no one. As I reported last year in 'It Speaks Volumes', the 2010 award went by default to the only entry, so this year the group decided not to risk repeating the scenario. As the Chief Judge explained,

No matter how you see it, one individual should not be allowed to win the most coveted of all CJA Award categories on the basis of the fact that they are the only one person who submitted a package for consideration of that award. I want to once more clarify, I am adamant that last year's winner was more than deserving and certainly had my vote. But this is the scenario which I do not want to run into: Jane/Joe Doe submits a package for consideration for the CJotY award which has crappy or even below mediocre entries on their own individual merits. They are the only individual who submitted an entry for that award category. Now no matter how you vote or for all that who votes, this individual is guaranteed the award. [...]

This year within the award guidelines/rules I clearly embedded the text that closed the loophole. There were no entries for that category, had we received an entry I would have mailed their check back.

So zero entries are better than a single entry? If, like me, you somehow missed the publication of entries, they are listed at CJA Awards Committee Receives 2011 Entries (CJAawards.org). This is the second year that most of the entries have been available online, allowing anyone interested in chess journalism to measure the competition.

Besides the Journalist of the Year award, I'm most interested in the art and blog awards. The 2011 Best Chess Art Award went for the cover of the March 2011 issue Northwest Chess. Since I didn't find the winning cover particularly attractive -- it reminded me of art for your living room available 'Buy It Now' on eBay -- on the left I'm reproducing instead one of the two runners-up. Titled 'Irina's Nirvana', it appeared on the October 2010 cover of Chess Life, after IM Irina Krush won the U.S. Women's Championship: 'Design by Shirley Szymanek (www.dog4design.co.uk)'.

As for the '2011 Best Chess Blog Award', what can I say? Listed last, in the 'New Media' categories after both 'Best [USCF] State Chapter Website Award' and 'Best General Chess Website Award', the best blog award went to Broken Pawn. Runner-up was Chessvine.com, the only other entry in the blog category. This was one of five categories with only two entries, but even these fared better than the '2011 CJA Best Regular Newspaper Local Interest Chess Column Award', with a single entry.

In the months leading up to the award announcement, Broken Pawn posted a series on the whole CJA submission process: Higher Education, A second second chance, Fool me once..., Second best, and Birthday wishes for a lazy day. The first post I've listed includes the following gem:-

Maybe I’ll get some publicity for my blog, but I’m thinking I’ve shortchanged the colleges, Who’s Who book publishers, and Chamber of Commerce dinner organizers. These are people who know there’s a lot of 'stupid' money out there and they are just trying to get in ahead of the Chess Journalists of America!

The chess blogs might get little respect, but they remain gracious; from Chessvine.com's CJA Awards 2011 - Best Chess Blog ...Broken Pawn: 'The Chess Journalists of America awards have been announced and I'm once again a FAAAR second banana to a very good blog', then questioned the lack of competition, 'Why aren't these brilliant bloggers competing against one another?' Whatever the reason, congratulations to all of the winners!


Hank Anzis said...

Sorry you feel that way about my blog. I think you have missed the humor of my posts by taking a single paragraph out of it's context, but it may be a cultural thing. It would have been nice if you had read some of the posts that won me the award, but why let a little research get in the way of innuendo...

Hank Anzis (brokenpawn.blogspot.com)

Mark Weeks said...

HankAnzis - Re 'Sorry you feel that way about my blog', what part of 'Congratulations to all of the winners!' did you not understand?

As for the rest of your comment: 'you have missed the humor', no, I haven't; 'a single paragraph out of its context', no, it isn't; 'it may be a cultural thing', I'm also an American (but not from Iowa); 'would have been nice if you had read some of the posts that won me the award', I did and even pointed out how to find them; 'why let a little research get in the way of innuendo', I know gratuitous sarcasm when I see it. You're 0 for 5, my friend, plus you tried to insult the citizens of my adopted country. People with thin skins should think twice about blogging. - Mark

Hank Anzis said...

I suppose, the blog posts I submitted to the CJA for special attention like 'A Winning Weekend', 'A Top 10 Kind of Day', 'Sometimes it all Comes Together' captures the Iowa Chess scene though my eyes and probably helped my chances much more than my CJA ravings, for whatever reason.

As an aside, do you know what has happened to Bob Long? Has he gone 100% private or just inactive?

Hank Anzis

Mark Weeks said...

We had different agendas with our choice of posts. You wanted to win a contest and you succeeded. I wanted to highlight your posts about competing in that contest. My post was more about the CJA awards than about the blog category. As for Bob Long, I raised the question a few weeks ago in another post about the CJA...

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch

...but am no wiser today. He had some kind of a seminar scheduled for July, but then went quiet. I have a few of his books on Purdy and really enjoy them. - Mark

Hank Anzis said...

In that case, I apologize for offending you and your adopted country. I recognized your picture as a follower on his blog. I agree, the Purdy books are quite excellent.