17 September 2020

2020 CJA Awards - Part 1

It's been more than a month and a half since I discussed the 2020 CJA Award Entries (July 2020), and at least a month since I would have liked to discuss the awards themselves. I split last year's post '2019 CJA Awards' into two parts -- Part 1 and Part 2 (both August 2019) -- first to discuss the process, then to discuss the awards. I have to do the same this year.

My '2020 Award Entries' post was fairly critical of the CJA award process:-

To sum them up in a word -- it looks like a 'botch'.

In past years, any criticism of the award process was taken as a personal affront by the award winners, as though I had criticized their own work. I was half expecting to get a similar response this year, so I was pleasantly surprised to receive a conciliatory email from Joshua Anderson, President of the CJA Awards. He wrote,

I thought I would reach out to you concerning your post and address some of the various points that you raised.

About my observation that there were two categories of nomination -- USchess and non-USchess -- he wrote,

The awards actually had three groupings, though due to some technical difficulties there was a bit of a delay in getting the entries from America Chess Magazine, listed. They are up now.

Indeed they are visible on the same page I linked in the previous post : CJA 2020 Awards [Entries] (chessjournalism.org). As for the other glitches I mentioned, Anderson explained,

The website will be moving in a few weeks as our new webmaster and the current platform do not mesh well, so our webmaster has arranged for us to move to a site that will allow us many more options. [...] Was it a down year? Yes, we were a little light in entries and there were definitely some communication breakdowns as our new webmaster and I had a couple of little miscommunications that routinely happen when you have new people coming into positions. [...] We will have the new website in a couple of weeks and this should allow us to make the awards much more available to the general public, so when you come back in 2021, you should be able to find things much as you did the previous couple years where you can access the entries, etc.

Having spent my adult life in Information Systems, those are explanations that I understand and accept, especially coming from a volunteer organization like the CJA. Although the award announcements are accessible on a couple of other sites, I'll allow a little more time for the move to Chessjournalism.org.

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