24 July 2012

Entries for 2012 CJA Best Blog

Remember the CJA? The acronym stands for 'Chess Journalists of America' and I'm mainly interested in them because (A) they publish an online periodical dedicated to the subject of chess journalism (who could have guessed?), and (B) their annual awards include a blog category. This year I've already posted twice about the group: CJA in Transition (in April) and International Chess Journalists (in May).

I'm posting about them again because they've just published All Entries Received for Chess Journalist Awards 2012 on their main site. Although the site's home page dates the list to '20 June 2012', I know for a fact that the list wasn't visible a week ago, because I looked for it. In the category of 'Best Chess Blog', there are three entries:-

As I mentioned last year in The Last Shall Be Least, the 2011 blog award went to the first named blog, 'Broken Pawn'. A post on that blog last month, Best of the ... best? offered an inside look into the 2012 awards.

I'm guessing that the last named blog is indeed the entry, because no URLs were given and it might be instead Alexandra Kosteniuk's Chess Blog. Whichever it is, GM Kosteniuk won Chess Journalist of the Year for the 2009 CJA Awards.


On a related note, my 'In Transition' post relayed the news that 'In the near future CJA will be welcoming a new webmaster. Daniel Freeman, webmaster and co-founder of Chessgames.com, has agreed to take over as webmaster for CJA'. This past week a discussion page on Freeman's site, titled User Profile: Chessgames.com, offered some background to CG.com:-

OhioChessFan: What exactly is the relationship between Chessgames.com and 20/20 Tech?

The short version: 20/20 Technologies is a web development company gave birth to a chess site that soon became 100 times bigger than the company from which it was born. Daniel Freeman, the former vice-president of 20/20 Technologies, is now the CEO of Chessgames.

A more detailed version is this: 20/20 Technologies is one of the first web development companies, founded in 1995 by Daniel Freeman and Lee Cummings. In 2001 we were commissioned by Albert Artidiello to create a chess site. Albert had limited-funding but big dreams, so in the early years (2002, 2003) 20/20 agreed to do extensive work on Chessgames in exchange for a stake in the website's business (which at the time was zero, as there wasn't even such a thing as a premium membership, and the advertising didn't even cover the hosting fees.)

For a while it seemed like a really fun side-project but not a business per se. But then, around 2004-2005, the site launched its premium membership and turned profitable. At that stage, Chessgames was capable of actually paying for its development work, hiring GM commentators, etc. Chessgames could have gone to any web development company in the world at that point, but obviously it was in everybody's best interest to keep working with 20/20 Technologies. In gratitude for all they've done, Chessgames continues to put a link to 20/20 Technologies at the bottom of every page.

Let's hope the CJA site evolves to the same level of quality that we've come to expect from CG.com.

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