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Chess 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.


  1. The 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The 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.
  4. 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 the newsletters.


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.