Express and Junior Chess Express Discontinued
At the annual coaches meeting for the Washington High School
Chess Association (WHSCA), held at the State Team Tournament in late February,
the coaches agreed to support the Board’s recommendation that the two
publications published by WHSCA, Chess Express and Junior Chess Express, be
discontinued. While the Board
recognizes that the two publications were popular and interest in them
continued until the end, there were a number of driving factors that lead to
the decision to eliminate them. Here is
a list (in no particular order) of the driving factors.
level of effort needed to publish the Newsletters is considerable. Kirk and Paul were frequently working
well past midnight to write the articles, layout the Newsletters, edit,
print, post and mail over 100 issues for each of the two
publications. The cost for mailing
the Newsletters, approximately $1,000 per year, is a significant fraction
of WHSCA’s annual budget.
- We no
longer have an editor for these publications. Several years ago there were three Board members, one with
the dedicated job of Newsletter Editor.
With the loss of the Newsletter Editor a couple of years ago, there
was no one to fill that void. The
newsletters continued to be published for the last couple of years by the
remaining two Board members. No
one stepped forward to fill that position.
workload for our remaining two Board members has steadily increased. The death of Ollie LaFreniere created a
huge vacuum. In our view the most
critical function Ollie performed was the Washington State Rating System
(WSRS). Without the WSRS,
scholastic chess as we know it would change drastically for the
worse. Accordingly, the WHSCA
Board has assumed the responsibility of the rating system. We believe this has gone well, allowing
for some initial learning. But it
has come at a cost of large amounts of time for our already over-worked
Board. The added responsibility of
the WSRS and other “Ollie jobs” contributes greatly to the decision to
discontinue the Newsletters.
- In a
survey at the high school level, most people are getting information on
upcoming tournaments from the internet, not from publications such as
Chess Express and Junior Chess Express.
The newsletters no longer serve the function as the “life-blood” of
tournaments. Similarly, most
people get information on tournament results from the internet, not from
So in summary, while the Newsletters were appreciated and
valuable, their value has decreased with the advent of the internet, and the
level of effort needed to publish the Newsletters (not to mention the cost for
postage) exceeded their value.