I try to keep up with players and people through social media. I am very active and respond to any chess player that contacts me. I am always open to listen and discuss GCA matters.
There are a number of misconceptions about the Georgia Chess Association. Some people think it is a club. Others think it is a regulatory organization. It is neither. The first and most important mission of GCA is that it exists to promote the game of chess in the state of Georgia. We do have other reference documents, the GCA Charter and the By-Laws, both of which can be found on the www.georgiachess.org website. We are working this summer on refining and being more specific about the exact mission statement. From a completed mission statement, we will craft a new five-year plan of further development. Charlie Hayslett, avid chess player and CEO of the PR firm the Hayslett Group, has kindly agreed to chair and re-activate the Long-Range Planning Committee.
One skill that we must continue to preserve, nurture, and develop is the ability to run tournaments of all sizes. Currently, we are able to run tournaments from a dozen players to over a thousand players. We develop this skill for two primary purposes: first, we want to improve the general state-of-the-art in tournament planning and execution; and, secondly, we want to share our knowledge with other chess organizations to assist them in planning and running tournaments as well.
We are continually working to expand the infrastructure at GCA so that GCA event success is not dependent on only one or two people. We continue to broaden the experience of those working tournaments. I have found that it takes a LONG time to train a TD. Training a TD does not seem to be a quick process; however, we are always looking at ways to simulate tournaments and ways to decrease the learning curve to become a good official. We had a TD training seminar on 22 March, featuring NTDs David Hater and Scott Parker. We plan to maintain an ongoing TD training program, open to anyone would like to become a Tournament Director. Contact Suhasini Sundar at email@example.com for further information.
In the process of expanding infrastructure, we are always exposing volunteers to increased responsibilities on a regular basis. This practice will inevitably entail a misstep or two on occasion, but the overall long-term result will be a more robust and knowledgeable GCA going forward. Previously, all institutional knowledge at GCA was invested in the previous President and had to be rediscovered (despite help from the previous President) over a long time.
In keeping with our mission statement, our strategy is to promote chess first by supporting chess clubs and organizations throughout Georgia. We support them by providing knowledge in running chess events and to provide organizational support. Many clubs in Georgia are one-person coordinated clubs and everyone needs a break now and then. The GCA would like to provide support for those clubs that need occasional help and to give assistance to ensure that such a club remains vibrant for its members. We are in the beginning stages of developing an affiliate scheme for a GCA-local club relationship throughout Georgia. We will need feedback from clubs as to what they would want from an affiliate relationship with the GCA.
We have two main working Committees at the GCA: the Scholastic Committee and the Open Events Committee. Over the past two years, we have been developing the Scholastic Committee and it is very close to being able to plan and manage its designated events autonomously. We have also tried over the last two years to develop the Open Events Committee. Even though Open Events has a simpler schedule than the Scholastic schedule, we have had difficulty finding leaders and organizers for the Open Events Committee. We think that we may now have a functional Open Events Committee. WIM Carolina Blanco has been recently appointed as Chair of that committee and brings a knowledgeable and friendly dynamic for planning. We have had a hard time finding adult players that want to help with the planning. Such was the difficulty that I still entertain the idea of transferring Scholastic Committee personnel to the Open Events Committee to share their experience. I am optimistic that the Open Events Committee will be a fully self-supporting committee within a year. If anyone would like to be part of the Scholastic Committee, please contact Tricia Hill at TriciaHillChess@gmail.com and if anyone would like to assist with Open Events Committee planning, please contact WIM Carolina Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both committees will start soliciting surveys for feedback to help determine future directions. Scholastic Committee needs to know if there is a need to expand or refine the tournament schedule. Open Events Committee plans to increase Open events to every other month initially. Please give your feedback to let these committees know what you would like to see in the type and quality of events planned.
We are planning on starting a third major standing committee, the Outreach Programs Committee. This committee would provide the main way that GCA would provide assistance and support to clubs and organizations throughout the State of Georgia. We openly want to collaborate with local Georgia clubs to have tournaments around the state, perfecting this event planning and execution during 2014-2015. We do not have a committee chair chosen as of yet. Of course, we will be assigning a Board member to assist. If you are interested, please contact Fun Fong at email@example.com.
We have a new Director of Communications, Laura Doman, who will be helping ensure that we are getting information out to our members and audience. She will be coordinating all aspects of our communications. Laura has started initiatives with the creation of GCA t-shirts and helping to launch the new online magazine (www.georgiachessnews.com). She will assist us in acquiring distinctive polo shirts for our tournament directors and find creative way to promote Georgia chess.
We have a new Editor of Georgia Chess News, Tricia Hill. This online publication began April 1st and new articles will be published on this site the first of each month and tournament updates and results will be posted weekly. She has proven her organizational skills from the Scholastic arena! She will be assisted from a technical standpoint by IM Carlos Perdomo, who will be serving as Assistant Editor. We suspect that readership will increase from this arrangement from social media sharing. Interested contributors should contact Editor Tricia Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are working with interested editors who would like to volunteer to consolidate Georgia Chess News articles to put out an annual printed issue.
We have a new lead photographer, Amrita Kumar. She is ably assisted by Usha Ragavan and Kavitha Kumaresan. This group is just now beginning to consider ways to improve photography associated with chess events. Our objective is to cover as many events as possible. They could use more photographers, especially those with some professional experience. If you are interested in photographing at events, please contact Amrita at email@example.com.
We still have big dreams. We need someone with accounting and budgeting experience to help our Treasurer, Pam Little. We also need someone dedicated to looking at our money transactions and investigating ways to improve it. Contact Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to explore membership and how to make membership a valuable resource for GCA. My first thought is that GCA membership should be a door for chess networking. We need people to develop this idea further. If you are interested, contact Parnell Watkins at email@example.com.
We also have a Volunteer Coordinator, Frank Johnson, who can help discover where one’s talents could be best used. Contact Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering for GCA work. We will do everything to make your experience rewarding while working with the GCA.
We also want to explore sponsorship and scholarship opportunities. Sponsorship could take the organization in another major direction. Our Long-Range Planning Committee should look at directions that GCA should go in the event that we find a big-time sponsor. Contact Fun Fong at email@example.com.
GCA still continues to be a work in progress, but has been making visible improvement. You can see the addition of a number of new volunteers in our midst. Our personnel are getting better at planning events, our TDs are becoming more knowledgeable, and we are creating an environment where more organizers outside of GCA are developing their skills and trying their hand at organizing events. Some will succeed and some may fail, but the overall trend will be continued innovation and more chess events for everyone. Other established organizers and vendors are also learning from our progress as they plan their events.
I see that chess can be more popular and that the chess community has a great opportunity to be larger and appeal to a broader audience. There is no reason why chess cannot be as locally popular as golf or tennis. GCA wants to create a pleasant, fair environment for play that will be enjoyed by a growing, larger number of people.