FEBRUARY 24, 2006
ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING MINUTES
The meeting was held at 7:30 PM on Friday, Feburary 24, 2006 in the Cottage
Grove High School library.
Mike called the meeting to order, welcomed everyone, thanked them for coming, and made brief
comments about the state of the Association. He said the Association had grown significantly.
Treasurer Jon Nuxoll
made a brief report in which he said the tournament had made a profit of approximately $100. The costs for the tournament
went up this year because we hired an assistant TD and because we budgeted $200 for the coaches' hospitality room. Even
so, we are "in the black," and Jon promised a more exact "to the penny" accounting as soon as he is able to finalize the numbers.
reports: Steve Hawke reported that the Portland League had 14 teams this year, and that some applications for participation
were turned down as they applied too late. The teams had to double schedule this year, playing twice a week at times,
to complete their schedule. There is discussion about dividing into two smaller leagues next year, depending on the
number of teams that wish to participate.
The Midwestern League jumped from 6 teams last year to 10 this year.
We lost Thurston, but we welcomed Churchill, Creswell, Junction City, Oakland, and Willamette. The league played a 9-round
single round robin, meeting each Wednesday at Lane Community College in Eugene.
In tournament business, the
question arose as to pairings being based on league affiliation. After a spirited exchange, the coaches instructed me
to inform the TD's that beginning in the third round, they were to pair teams based on score group and seeds rather than on
league affiliation. I am in the process of writing an amendment that will address this concern. Thanks to Jerry
Ramey for his assistance on the need to clarify our current language.
No one came forward to be the Executive Secretary-elect.
If no one does, the position will be vacant, and when my term ends in 2007, the Association will find itself without leadership.
no one came forward to offer to host the tournament next year. Since then, two schools in the greater Portland area
have told me they are looking into the possibility of hosting the 2007 tournament.
Finally, Jerry Ramey reminded us
that the qualifier to the Denker tournament will be held March 18 and 19 in Eugene.
FEBRUARY 12, 2006
I'm writing this on Saturday, and just two weeks from today
will wrap up, with honors for several teams and many individuals. Here
are a few things to know
that I hope will help you feel more prepared.
1--Bring your own equipment. The OHSCTA does not own any boards,
clocks as an organization, and we will not be providing any. If you don't
have enough, we hope you will
be able to blend what you have with what
your opponents have into a usable array of equipment to outfit a match.
have invited someone to set up a sales concession at the tournament but I
have not yet heard back from him, so at
this time, we cannot count on the
possibility that there will be items available for sale at the tournament.
player with black gets to select the equipment for use in the game
and to position the clock on the right or the left.
If the player with
white has a problem with black's selection, however, the white player can
ask for a ruling.
Sets must meet certain standards, and if the board is
too small, or the pieces are not the traditional Staunton design,
if they are in unusual colors, for example, a request for a ruling is
definitely in order.
very key, and we have problems with it almost every year. You
must fill your team from the best board down.
Here's what that
means--Let's just give your five best players the names King, Queen, Rook,
Bishop, and Pawn.
If any player starts the tournament at Board 2, for
example, in this case, Queen, then that player MUST play board 2 in
round. If that player needs to leave because Aunt Sarah is getting
married on Saturday, you cannot substitute
your 6th best player, Amy
Alternate, in that 2 spot. Rook must move from 3 to 2, Bishop must move
from 4 to 3,
and Pawn must move from 5 to 4, placing Alternate at 5. This
eliminates Rook, Bishop, and Pawn from being eligible
for board prizes at
the end of the tournament, because they played a different board on
Saturday than they did on Friday.
The easiest policy is, if a player
cannot play the whole tournament, s/he should not come. The exception
be at the very lowest boards, where substitutions will not have a
negative impact on the rest of the team.
another way it plays out--Round 1 is ready to begin, but your 3rd
board player has not shown up. You might think,
"no problem, we know
she's coming, we will just have her opponent start her clock and she will
have to catch up when
she arrives." However, that is not the ruling.
Again, because of the rule that says you have to fill the vacant
moving up, you have two options regarding this late player. One is to
move up to fill the vacant board(s,)
leaving board 5 vacant or using a B
division player to fill it, or the other is to leave all 3 clocks running
3, 4, and 5, until your team is properly seated at all boards.
If you were planning on substituting, or if you have
related to filling boards, please let me know. It's much easier to think
right now than it will
be when the tournament is going and the rulings
must be made almost instantaneously.
4--Despite my efforts to have
things all settled when everyone arrives,
there will inevitably be something that comes up that I have overlooked,
a situation develop which I had not anticipated. I will need to ask
for everyone's cooperation.
remember, NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES are allowed in the tournament
hall. Just the other day, a student of mine told me
that he was in
Biology class when he watched a fellow student use a cell phone to take a
picture of a classmate's test.
He then could have sent the test to other
students who had Biology later that day. The young people can be very
We must be vigilant regarding this situation. With state
championships and honors on the line, the temptation might
be too much for
some of our players to bear. This same tactic could be used to photograph
a position, leave the
tournament hall, feed it into a handheld, get an
answer, and text message it back to the player. Players could read
opening line and several variations into their MP3 players. The
possibities are limitless, so we have to make
and enforce this ruling. NO
ELECTRONIC DEVICES, and NO EARPHONES. To avoid embarrassment, if you have
hearing-impaired player who uses a hearing aid, you might discretely
mention that to the TD and to me so that we don't
find ourselves in an
awkward position. Players whose opponents appear to be using electronic
devices can stop
the clocks, raise their hands, and get rulings.
Because of this situation, we are going to need everyone to stay vigilant.
at least the fourth, and maybe the fifth time, I must remind you
that when you register, you MUST have a letter on school
the principal's or athletic/activity director's signature, stating that
your players ATTEND your school,
or if they do not, that they are eligible
because they are either: home schooled in your school's attendance area,
students in an alternative program in your district. (Or in the case
of certain smaller schools, teams can be blended.
If this is the case,
the letter must say which players go to which schools.) Remember, NO
LETTER, NO PLAY.
in the tournament is based on last year's finish, or, if we
have reason to believe that by following that a team would
wrong, we have the authority to adjust the seeding. If your team did not
play in last year's tournament,
but you believe it deserves a seeding
better than "somewhere near the bottom," you should let me know ASAP. We
already aware of the USCF ratings of the South Eugene team, and after
discussion between Steve Hawke, the director of the
Portland League, and
myself, we have placed South Eugene in the #1 seed. We are also aware
that Sunset is new
to the tournament this year, but that as 8th graders
the team was excellent, and we have placed them in the #5 seed.
you have information you would like to have us consider as we seed the
tournament, you need to let me know
as soon as you can.
There may be more. Keep your eyes open for new information as we count
down to the tournament.
look forward to seeing you all at Cottage Grove High School on February
24th and 25th. Please send me any questions
or concerns you may have.
Thanks and best wishes,
FEBRUARY 6, 2006
As you know, my first year as Executive Secretary of the OHSCTA has
demonstrated my desire and willingness to work to spread chess throughout
the high schools of the state.
couple of months ago, I opened the idea of a distinct state tournament
for girls' teams only in 2007. I have talked
with several of the local
coaches about this, and found everything from "Do it!" to "Don't do it!"
The best idea
I heard was that if we do it, it should not happen at the
same time as the OHSCTA state tournament, because that would
require some girls to have to choose between playing in one division or the
other. Thanks to that thought,
the new concept now is a one-day tournament
that would be held on a Saturday in a different weekend than the full-size
The result of that tournament would be to crown an official OHSCTA Girls'
Team. The regular OHSCTA rules would apply. As long as
there were 8 or fewer teams, we would probably have
trophies for the top 3.
Here is my reasoning--despite our best efforts, and despite over 40 years
of being very
hospitable and inviting, our organization has not succeeded
in breaking through the "gender gap" in chess. We all
know that girls can
play chess; some of the best players in our two active leagues are
female. However, for
some reason, chess does not seem to attract anywhere
near the number of girls that could play and play well if they just
a chance. To that end, I'm asking your permission to experiment. I would
like to offer this chance
to girls to compete for an OHSCTA-sanctioned
state championship. Since the OHSCTA tournament is supposed to be held
somewhere in the 5 northern counties next year, I would be willing to host
the girls' event at Cottage Grove, to provide
balance, and then, if it is
successful, and we want to continue to do it, we can alternate it with the
no one HAS to enter this tournament, and no one has to spend money on
it if they don't want to. It is strictly an
experiment to see if by
opening up this type of competition, we are able to get more girls playing
it fails, I will admit it but I won't give up trying to get more
girls into the game. What I do NOT want people
to think is that I'm trying
to be patronizing or condescending, or that I think girls cannot compete on
a level playing
field with boys. I DO think girls can compete; but over 40
years' experience with OHSCTA says that if we keep doing
what we have
always done, we will keep getting what we have always got, so it's time to
try something different.
to our by-laws, this idea does not require a vote of the
membership. However, I very much care what you all think,
so I am asking
for your consent to continue with this experiment.
1--Is it OK with you if we proceed with an experimental
Tournament to be held sometime in 2007?
2--If we do indeed hold the tournament, what would be your
level of interest?
A--Very much interested; if the date is convenient, I would attempt to form
a team and compete
interested; I would need more details before I could get behind
C--Somewhat disinterested; unless a bunch of girls
came to me and begged, I
probably would not be involved
D--Very much disinterested; I'm not at all into this idea
1963, OHSCTA was formed by four schools, and in 1964 the first state
tournament was held, and it was attended by those
same four schools. In
other words, you have to start somewhere, even if it's small. I would like
your permission to proceed with this project for 2007, even if it
starts small, and to see where it goes from there.
let me know if it's OK with you for me to proceed with this, any
reasoning or ideas you might want to share, and whether,
if it happens, you
think you might be interested in taking part.
JANUARY 12, 2006
Each year at this time, various leaders around our nation, from the president
of the United States to the heads of corporations, to the chairers of organizations, issue reports as to the state of things.
These addresses usually contain some indications of a positive nature, and, if necessary, frankly spell out some of the major
challenges faced by the organization.
In that spirit, I would like to offer my "State of the Association" address for
the Oregon High School Chess Team Association as of January, 2006:
The State of the Association is--Very Good!
the past year, the OHSCTA, an organization staffed entirely by volunteers, has had the following major accomplishments:
have established a website that is directly responsible for significant growth in interest and awareness of who we are and
what we are attempting to accomplish.
2--We have re-written and adopted our organization's by-laws, modernizing and
streamlining where necessary to make our rules accessible to all.
3--We have, for the 42nd consecutive season, held
a successful state tournament, this one involving around 200 players.
4--We have begun a cyber league for teams whose
locations or situations make travel impractical or difficult.
5--By adopting a strategy involving repeated contacts
and invitations, emphasizing the opportunity for competition in a friendly environment in which sportsmanship is highly valued,
we have added 20 new schools to the 24 that were on the list one year ago today.
By working together with a common
set of goals, we have achieved much. The organization is, at this time, stronger than it has been in recent memory.
size, however, come challenges. Our organization is a "loose association," of many different types of people. Some are
teachers or school personnel, whose world-view is influenced by concerns related to budget issues, diversity, time commitments,
and so on. Others are different and various types of volunteers, from caring parents, to accomplished chess players
who want to pass their love of the game on to the next generation, to business people and entrepreneurs who have a financial
interest as well as a passion for the game. We have different motives for doing what we do, and we have different goals
for ourselves and for our players as we participate in our Association's events.
For example, this year, we dealt with
questions about rating play and about affiliation with state and national chess organizations. At this time, with so
many coaches and advisors new to the Association, and struggling just to figure out how to build and sustain their programs,
it seemed only predictable that a significant majority of us would choose to postpone these "big picture" kinds of efforts.
However, I believe that there are indeed significant benefits that can accrue as a result of USCF affiliation, and that once
our growth as an organization reaches a plateau, as it eventually must, and as the Association's members begin to grow in
experience and in confidence in their abilities to organize and run successful chess programs, I believe it will be appropriate
to revisit these "quality of play" issues.
As to the future, our Association is limited only by the energy and imagination
we wish to apply. I think we can continue to expand, but at the same time, we need to provide the services that our
current members want.
The OHSCTA is a vibrant, strong, and growing organization, but it is
also fragile. In most school's cases, only one adult makes it possible for there to be a chess organization at all in
any school. We have seen what happened this year when advisors resigned at Thurston, Tigard, Philomath, and Sisters
High Schools, to name a few. With the departure of one individual from each location, those schools no longer have chess
programs. If we impair, inhibit, or intimidate our members with burdensome rules, excessive paperwork, poor service,
or insensitive reactions to their questions or circumstances, we will lose them, and their programs will be lost as well.
OHSCTA needs to keep things simple, while still meeting the needs of the organization and its members for fair play within
the rules and the spirit of friendly competition and good sportsmanship.
All told, I am very proud of OHSCTA's members
for the great strides that we have made in 2005, and I look forward to continuing successful operation this year and beyond.
I thank each and every one of you for the outstanding efforts and sacrifices you are making on behalf of the young people
with whom you work.
Together we are building an organization that will do a great job of serving the needs of its members
and its players well into the future.
With best wishes to all,
NOVEMBER 18, 2005
We can now say it, with the addition of Cleveland High School,
we have now achieved the goal of adding 15 new schools since March 1st.
Thanks to everyone who put out the word and who has been welcoming
encouraging new members. Now, let's continue to keep the welcome mat
out, but concentrate on strengthening our organization.
It is too late to join the Portland League; they are up and running with
an even number of teams. It is NOT too late to join the Midwestern League though; we have not started. Even when we
do start, we have an odd number of teams, so our schedule has BYEs throughout. If a school wants to join our Eugene-area
league, we will just fill them in where there are BYES.
Cleveland and others that cannot participate in face-to-face
still encouraged to take part in the "cyber-league" that is played over the
internet. Contact Kate
Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are
interested in competing from the comfort of your own computer
or classroom, and remember, independent teams, that is, teams that do not
play a league schedule, are
still welcome to compete in our annual tournament.
Thank you again for your quick response and for your support of
kids, chess, and OHSCTA.
OCTOBER 11, 2005
We still need at least two more schools to come forward with
chess teams in
order to form the Valley League. I would be happy to assist you, answer any questions, and so on.
are some hints about finding advisors:
1--Of course, a general announcement to school staff is very helpful.
chess advisors are volunteers.
2--If that doesn't work, have a chess club meeting of students and let them
know that if they can find an advisor, be it a staff member, a parent, or
another volunteer acceptable to the school's
administration, they can
compete in the Valley League.
3--Another way to find an advisor could be to contact the
local adult chess
club. Sometimes there are people there who would like to work with high
schoolers, but who
don't know that there's an opportunity. Depending on
whether you're closer to Corvallis, Albany, or Salem, there
is a local
chess club near you.
Albany and Corvallis folks can check this
site: http://www.nwchess.com/clubs/corvallis.html, and Salem area people
can check http://www.nwchess.com/clubs/salem.html.
4--Yet another way would be to check the nearby colleges and universities
for assistance. Here in the Eugene
area, the University of Oregon chess
program is extremely open to working with young people. I do not know the
of the chess programs at Linn-Benton, OSU, or Willamette
University, but I'll bet that there are people there who would
be happy to
help out with your students.
Anyway, before you determine not to have a program, I hope you will check
with these various resources.
It is almost always possible to build a chess program if there is a will to
it on the part of the administration.
Our Eugene-area league just added its 8th team today. We welcome the
Lancers! Now, how about it, Valley Leaguers? I will be happy to
help you get started if you wish. I
can conduct the first coaches' meeting
and will be happy to provide a sample constitution and help write your
all for free. Just let me know what you need and I will be happy
to provide it.
I remain at your service.
for your consideration,
Executive Secretary, Oregon High School Chess Team Association
SEPTEMBER 28, 2005
The leaves are turning colors, school has started,
and it's time to
re-activate the chess clubs. This year, OHSCTA is doing some exciting
things. Among the
most interesting is the innovative cyber-league that
will start this year for schools that are seeking competition but
physically too far away from other schools to participate in the tradition
"face to face" competitions.
Kate Taylor, leader of the state champion
team from Clatskanie and our organization's webmaster, is the organizer for
the cyber-league. If you are interested in joining, please contact her at
email@example.com to get the information you need.
For those of us not too distant from other teams, the Portland Area League
the Midwestern (Eugene Area) leagues are available. If you want the
challenge of league competition, and could attend
matches once a week in
either the Portland area (at Lincoln High School) or in the Eugene area
(most likely at Lane
Community College,) please contact me and I will get
you the information that you need. Are other leagues forming?
I heard of
possibilties in the mid Willamette Valley and in central Oregon, but my
efforts to contact people in those
places have not been successful. If you
know of something going on in those locations, please tell us!
of new programs is going well. The Midwestern League will add
teams this year from Junction City and Creswell, and
last I heard, Grant is
a possibility for joining the Portland area league. It is still not too
late for teams
to form. We also welcome the program from Hosanna Christian
School in Klamath Falls.
The 2006 OHSCTA state
tournament is still scheduled for February 24 and 25
at Cottage Grove. Earlier I sent a message about lodging.
At that time, I
did not have a response from the Village Green. Now I do, and as I
predicted, the rates there
are about the same as the other places, $69 plus
tax per room. The phone number for reservations is 1-800-343-7666.
regular desk phone number is 541-942-2386.
I also want to note the retirement from coaching on the part of
two of our
friends, Tim Kniser of Benson and Sandra Green of Thurston. We thank you
and appreciate your service
to the young people with whom you have
worked. OHSCTA may be for young people, but we all know that it could not
be successful without adults who are willing to devote time, energy, and
care to make it all work. Thanks, Tim
and Sandra, and best wishes as you
move to other pursuits.
So now it's time to get back to work. Let's make
this a great
season! Please let me know if there's anything you need, and I'll try to
connect you with the appropriate
Executive Secretary, OHSCTA
SEPTEMBER 16, 2005
In the midst of the rush of back-to-school, it is
time to think about
chess. We need to do that now, because if we wait too long, other worthy
pastimes will attract
the attention of prospective players and we will lose
our chance to get their attention.
Please permit me the opportunity
to make the following suggestions:
1--If you do not have a year-round organization, NOW is the right time to
your club. For some ideas on how to get started, please check out the
excellent OHSCTA website at http://ohscta.tripod.com
2--NOW is the time to issue invitations to friends and colleagues you may
have at other high schools to get started.
Last year I established a goal
of adding 15 schools to OHSCTA in one year, and based on what I've heard,
we are approaching
that number already. However, many have not registered
on the OHSCTA website, so we're not really certain what their
is. Please encourage any interested potential coach, advisor, or player to
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help them get started. If
you have not sent your contact information and registered as an OHSCTA
we don't know if you're "in" or "out," so please let us know. You
can do that by contacting Kate Taylor at email@example.com and she
will get you registered.
3--If you have just recently formed a team and are looking to get into a
NOW is the time to contact the nearest league director (Steve Hawke
in the Portland area, myself in the Eugene area, Kate
cyber-league activity) and let him/her know you want to participate. It is
very tough, and often,
not feasible, to include teams once the schedule is
written and the competition has started. The Portland league
Thanksgiving, and the Eugene league starts the week after Thanksgiving, but
the schedules are written
quite a bit before that.
4--NOW is the time to pencil into your schedule the OHSCTA state tournament
It will be February 24 and 25, a Friday and Saturday, at Cottage
Grove High School, about 25 miles south of Eugene.
information will be out later, I would recommend that you consider
"googling" Cottage Grove and getting
room reservations as soon as
possible. It is an open tournament (see the by-laws on the website for all
particulars regarding qualifications, age/grade/attendance of players,
and so on) so no matter where your team might be
in terms of competitive
play, we have a division that will be right for you!
5--NOW may be a little soon for the
next few items, but in keeping with the
theme, NOW is the time to begin considering whether you would be
in becoming the Executive Secretary-elect for the
2006-2007 season, which carries with it the responsibility of becoming
Executive Secretary for the 2007-09 biennium, and NOW would be a good time
to start thinking about hosting the
2007 state tournament, if your school
is in one of the five counties that is named in our by-laws as "northern
I think they are Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Yamhill, and
So, welcome back, let's get started,
and please let me know if I can be of
any assistance to you.
It is an honor to work with such outstanding people!
MAY 24, 2005
May has been a productive month for OHSCTA.
A--To provide an annual State Chess Team Tournament. I ran into Neil Dale in Eugene and hired him to be our Tournament Director
for the 2006 tournament. He agreed to a fee of $200, and although I offered to cover his motel bill as well, he said he would
handle it. Also, it appears that CGHS will close for the day on February 24th so that we can be all set up and ready to go
on the day of the tournament. This is a big deal for our school and community!
Goal B--To encourage new teams to form
and leagues to continue. There are some really good prospects out there. Most recently, I heard from Mark Keel at Sisters,
who tells me that his work has resulted in the apparent formation of teams at Bend and at LaPine. Great job, Mark! Next Thursday,
I will travel to Creswell High School to meet with players and adults who are interested in getting started there. There are
other prospects and we are working on them.
Under Article IV, Subsection 4 (h), I am supposed to be the spokesperson
for the organization to other chess organizations. On May 7, I addressed the board of directors of the Oregon Chess Federation.
In that presentation, I asked OCF to officially recognize our organization, which is an oversight that has not been dealt
with for decades. I cited to them that our organization deserves their recognition for several reasons:
We have gone over 40 years without ever missing holding a tournament.
2--Legitimacy. On a de facto basis, we have been
recognized by every major chess organization in the state. They schedule their events around ours, but it's just not official
3--Dynamic Growth. Our organization is very active and growing rapidly. We are not in danger of losing what we have
4--History of Integrity. To the best of my knowledge, I do not know of any instances in the history of the organization
in which we have had to deal with malfeasance of any kind. There has never been a schism in our organization, nor has there
every been even a hint of accusation that we are, as an organization, unfair in any way. OHSCTA has much to be proud of!
OCF board received this well, with a few clarifying questions. They told me they as a board could not act except to make a
recommendation to their general membership, which next meets at the Oregon Open over Labor Day weekend. However, they were
very positive and I believe that before we have our next tournament, we will have OCF certification.
Why, some might
ask, would we seek this? For a number of reasons. First, it is a measure for our protection. Imagine that a group in, let's
say, Grants Pass and Medford, decided to form teams and name a state champion. This OCF certification nullifies their claim
and reinforces ours. Second, by acting in this way, OCF is stepping up as the official organization in Oregon that controls
what a state championship is and what it is not. By submitting to OCF, we are preserving order, so that as new organizations
rise up, they will know exactly where they need to go to receive their legitimacy.
High school chess continues to
grow. I believe we are on the verge of an explosion in the number of high school chess teams. In March, I expressed a goal
of adding 15 teams this year. I still believe that can be done, with your help. By working hard in central Oregon, Mark Keel
has already apparently added 2 teams. We have also identified a few other new programs, so I think we are well on our way.
Let's keep up the effort!
That's it for May. Unless something significant happens, there will be minimal communication
during the summer months. However, stay tuned; you never know when something big will come the way of the OHSCTA!!
best wishes to all for an intriguing, interesting, relaxing, or whatever you want summer,
It seems appropriate that from time to time I inform you as to
what I am doing regarding OHSCTA, so here is my report for April, 2005:
Constitution Goal One--Our tournament--The
tournament for 2006 is still scheduled at Cottage Grove High School for Friday, February 24 and Saturday, February 25.
Arrangements are being made to have school released early that day so as not to interfere with the arrival of our guests.
Goal Two--Recruitment and support of teams and leagues--I have worked tirelessly on this, contacting students and chess clubs
all over the state. This is a long, slow process. Last week I was invited to the Eugene Chess Club to give a short
speech and invitation. That meeting was fruitful; out of it came one person willing to help establish a chess team at
Willamette High School, one person willing to assist the team at Sheldon, and a potential challenge match for our teams for
next year by members of the ECC. Additionally, I am happy to let you know that we have broken into the mid-valley with
the formation of a club at Philomath High School, and just today I have heard from someone ready to help get things
at South Salem. Also, I have heard from a teacher at David Douglas who is interested in forming a program, but is having
some trouble recruiting players there.
In addition, under Article IV, Section 4, subsection h, I'm working
on two other projects--one, the securing of sponsorship for our organization. That one is briefly on hold as I deal
with some major responsibilities at my school. I am the senior project coordinator and that is taking most of my time
Number two, I am in contact with the Oregon Chess Federation, attempting to secure from that organization
its official endorsement that we are the one and only organization authorized to do what we do. It occurred to me that
although we have operated just fine for a long time, we have never actually received the authorization of OCF to do what we
do. I am hoping that this is just a formality, and will lead to more dialogue between the two organizations. OCF
may ask what's in it for them, and my answer will be that OHSCTA recognizes them as the official organization that oversees
all chess in Oregon, and that by seeking this recognition, we are acknowledging their authority. What they get, then,
is recognition from our organization, and what we get is an endorsement from theirs. Please understand that at this
point I will not enter into any discussion requiring OCF membership (or USCF membership) for our players without prolonged
discussion with the OHSCTA membership. I am asking simply for a mutual recognition. We recognize their authority;
they recognize our tournament as the official high school team state championship, and our "all-state" awards as the official
"all-state" awards. Anything more than that will require discussion with the membership before we go forward.
is the resolution I have forwarded to them for their consideration:
"Be it resolved by the Board of Directors of the Oregon
Chess Federation that:
1) The Oregon High School Chess Team Association is the official and only recognized organization
authorized to hold state championship tournaments for high school chess teams in Oregon.
2) The Oregon High School
Chess Team Association is the only organization in the state authorized to name a high school chess team state champion, to
award other placements to high school chess teams, and to award 'all-state' awards to individual players.
3) This resolution
shall remain in effect until either the Oregon Chess Federation or the Oregon High School Chess Team Association, with due
notice of at least one year, shall withdraw from the agreement."
Of course, I would welcome the input and assistance
of all on any one of the items listed above. There is a special need for people to be in touch with other schools, inviting
them and showing them how they could set up chess programs.
Of all the things that have happened so far, I am most
excited about getting our foot in the door in Philomath and in Salem. Our organization's growth continues to be a sign
of its vitality. In Lane County, we have excellent prospects of adding teams from Creswell and Willamette, and possibly
Our organization is only as vital as the members choose to make it. Again, I want to encourage everyone
to find ways to invite and include more schools. We are on the way; let's keep it going!
APRIL 5, 2005
Just a note to let you know
that efforts to expand our organization are beginning to bear some fruit. A phone call last evening indicates that West Albany
High School intends to form a club and team, the person I spoke to, a student at West, says he has friends who attend other
high schools in Albany and Corvallis and he intends to challenge them to get started as well.
We also have a new team forming in Philomath, so at least the southern part of the mid-valley is being responsive
to our invitation. I continue to believe that if we can just make invitations, many will respond. There are chess players
in every high school in the state, and many have never heard about us. There is much work to be done, especially in Salem
and in places on the east side of the Portland Metro Area and into Gresham.
I hope the news about Philomath and Albany
encourages you. Please join me in actively spreading the word about OHSCTA to non-member schools.
Thanks, and best
MARCH 27, 2005
Now that about a month has gone by, and people
have had a chance either to bask in glory or heal their wounds, I would like to de-brief the 2005 tournament. I want everyone
to know that what follows is not meant to be a criticism of any specific or individual person(s); rather, I want us to take
an already-excellent tournament and make it even better. If others choose to participate in this thread, I hope they will
also remember to criticize events rather than people, and to remember that it is never going to be perfect. When I speak of
"tournament organization" below, I
am referring to the way the tournament was set up and run, the rules that govern it
(aside from the rules of chess, which we cannot change!) and so on.
Please answer these questions:
the strongest aspect of the tournament's organization for you and your players? In other words, what are we doing well that
we need to continue to do?
2--What was the weakest aspect of the tournament's organization for you and your players?
In other words, what needs to change, immediately?
3--What is something that we are NOT doing, but you would like to
Here are my answers, just to get the discussion started:
1--While there were many really great things
going on, the thing I liked best about the tournament organization was the formation of a division just for middle school
teams. Thanks again to Alan for bringing the trophies. I also appreciated that we started each round as nearly to on time
as we could.
2--The biggest concern I had was with distracting behaviors:
2a--One concern I had about the 2005
tournament was there was too much talking in the tournament hall during the matches. I even heard about one team doing analysis
of a position while the match was still being played, within earshot of the players! This is totally illegal and if we hear
it, it must be stopped immediately. But it's also illegal to talk at all, aside from the customary exchanges. Inside the tournament
hall, there should be no sounds but chess pieces moving, clocks clicking, and the like. Please remind your players that they
are not to talk at in the
tournament hall. While I very much like and endorse the relationships that grow out of chess
events, the conversations must be carried on outside.
2b--We have had problems at our tournament the past two years
with electronic devices in the tournament room.
Cell phones are banned from the tournament room by FIDE, the international
establishment that rules chess. According to FIDE rules, a player whose cell phone rings during a match shall forfeit the
match. After examining the board, the arbiter then assigns the opponent either 1/2 point or a full point depending on the
In addition, the following items could give a player illegal assistance:
Hand held video
games (could have analysis software)
Palm pilots (same)
Finally, the following can be just plain obnoxious to those
CD players, MP3 players, and the like
It will be my position as Executive Secretary and as Tournament
Host for 2006 that players should not be in possession of these devices inside the tournament hall. Advisors/coaches can assume
responsibility for collecting and holding on to cell phones and other electronic devices. I realize we can't control what
someone brings in in his backpack, but I hope coaches will join me in attempting to rid the tournament hall of these items
which are distracting at best, and against the rules of chess at worst.
3--How about a coaches' clinic put on by one
or more of our more experienced coaches? If we have as many new teams next year as I hope we will, there should be several
coaches hungry for assistance. It could be an organized thing with a program, or just a time and place set aside for a question-and-answer
So, that's my initial input. Our tournaments have been great, and they can continue to improve each year.
If you have things to share, please chime in!
Thanks, and best wishes,
FEBRUARY 28, 2005
I have a challenge for each and every OHSCTA member school out there...call
someone you know at another high school that doesn't have a chess program and issue a personal invitation to them to get one
started. A map of our state's Programs would show vast empty spaces between Eugene and Portland, up and down much of
the coast, south of Eugene on I-5 all the way to the California border, and only a few programs in central and eastern Oregon.
The odds are that almost everyone knows someone who works in or has kids or contacts in a school without a chess club.
free equipment to schools that are starting up. (Call the US Chess Federation at 1-800-388-KING and ask for their
Of course, you can promise them support in the form of advice and friendly
consultation from all OHSCTA members as well!
The fact that the past two championships have been won by 2A schools
shows that you don't have to be a big school to have a great program.
Also, because you have seen the good things that happen, you already
know the selling points, but for everyone's sake, let's build a document that can be circulated called something like "Why
YOUR School Should Have a Chess Program" If Someone with excellent writing and research skills would like to take this
on, please let me know, and we will post it on the web and probably send it out to as many schools as we can. Give us the
talking points we can use as we discuss this with others.
We all know that personal invitations work the best.
Please, accept my challenge. Call a friend who works at or has a child or other contact at a high school without a chess
program, and let's just see how many programs we can get going.
My goal is that by this time next year, there are at least 15 new programs
out there. My goal for the end of my two-year term is 30. I especially want to see something happen on the I-5
corridor between Eugene and Portland. Do we really believe there's no interest in Albany, Corvallis, Salem, or the surrounding
With best wishes to you all, please, make those contacts, and report your successes to encourage the rest of
I know you already do a lot for scholastic chess. I'm just asking for one more call.