09 August 2018

2018 CJA Awards

A little more than a month after I posted about the 2018 CJA Award Entries, the Chess Journalists of America announced their award winners in Awards (chessjournalism.org). Before you click (or tap) that link, take a deep breath! The page is unusually clumsy.

The top of the page still mentions, 'CJA Award Entries accepted until June 18th!', as does every other page on the site. The awards themselves are listed in reverse order. They start with a couple of 'Special Achievement' awards and end with 'Chess Journalist of the Year'. Within different categories, any 'Honorable Mention' awards appear before 'First Place' awards. It's impossible to copy/paste from the list; instead you have to click a winner, view the CJA award certificate, and copy the relevant text from there. I could go on (no links to the original work) but what's the point? The CJA might not care enough about their awards to spend time on how they are presented, but other people -- the award winners? -- certainly do.

I'm going to follow last year's post, 2017 CJA Awards (August 2017), and mention four awards:-

  • Chess Journalist of the Year
  • Best Book
  • Best Chess Art
  • Best Chess Blog

The Journalist of the Year award went to Mike Klein. As far as I can tell, this is the third time he has won the most prestigious of the CJA Awards. I covered the two previous occasions in 2012's Best Chess Blog, Chess Journalist, Chess Art (August 2012) and 2015 CJA Awards (August 2015). To hear him talk about his craft, follow the links in USchess in Podcasts (June 2018). Here is a copy of his 2018 certificate.

In the 'Top Book' category, Lev Alburt and Jon Crumiller won the award for 'Best Book - Instruction' for their 'World Chess Championship: Carlsen v. Karjakin'. Tim Harding won 'Best Book - Other' for 'British Chess Literature to 1914: A Handbook for Historians'. How does an Irish national writing on a British topic win an American award? Because publisher McFarland, who submitted the nomination, is located in North Carolina.

My post on '2018 Award Entries' showed four of the five entries for 'Best Chess Art', plus a link to the fifth. The winner was Paul Dickinson for his two-page Chess Life (CL) cover. Of the two 'Honorable Mentions', one deserved it, one didn't. Pasting chess pieces into the background of an ordinary drawing is not a noteworthy example of chess art -- what is acceptable for a cover, can be bad for an award.

For my favorite category, 'Best Chess Blog', the winner was not a blog, but a single blog post: Playing The Quintessential American Tournament: The 2017 World Open (chess.com) by Sam Copeland. Follow that link for another link to all of his blog posts. I would guess that Chess.com's 'Top Bloggers' is also a good source for other blogs and blog posts of merit. A 'Best Chess Blog' winner of yesteryear, John Hartmann (2015; see the link above), won 'Best Chess Column' for his CL 'Looks at Books'.

I always end these CJA award posts with a hearty, heartfelt 'Congratulations to all winners!'. This year is no exception. If you're interested in the current and planned activities of the CJA, see 2018 Meeting Minutes, although where and when it was held is a minor mystery.

Getting back to those two 'Special Achievement' awards that head the awards list:-

  • American Chess Magazine for 'All Four Issues', and
  • Peter Doggers for 'Yearlong FIDE Coverage'

Both are worthy of a follow-up post.

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