Meet the Candidates

Meet the GCA Board Candidates

By Laura Doman

The election of new members to the Board will be the primary focus of the 2017 annual meeting of the Georgia Chess Association (GCA), which will be held on Sunday, April 30 at 2:30 pm in Cox Hall of Emory University, 569 Ashbury Circle, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.  As in previous years, the meeting will take place during the last day of the Georgia State Championship, which will be held between rounds 4 and 5 and at the same location.

Four candidates are running for three elected offices:  President, 1st Vice President, Secretary, and 1st Member-at-Large.  All members in good standing are invited to attend and cast their votes.  To be in “good standing,” GCA members must be 18 years of age or older with a current, paid membership.  Those with family memberships receive a maximum two votes, assuming that two adults are included as registered family members.  To join the GCA or renew a membership, please visit

Absentee ballots are available, but must be requested from the GCA secretary ( by April 14.  Once completed, the ballot should be mailed to the GCA at P.O. Box 133162, Atlanta, GA 30333 in time for it to be received by the deadline of April 27.  After that date, members who would like to cast their vote and who had not voted absentee must now cast their ballots in person.

Two of the three open positions are uncontested.  Incumbent Dr. Fun Fong is running for re-election to the office of President.  Incumbent Michael Muzquiz is running unopposed for Secretary and Parnell Watkins is without a challenger for the position of 1st Member at Large. Current Treasurer Amrita Kumar and Thad Rogers are both running for the 1st Vice President position. Please note that each of these positions is for a WORKING BOARD, meaning that each GCA board member has hands-on responsibilities to run an aspect of the organization and is expected to be actively involved on an on-going basis.  The detailed descriptions are available under the About tab of the GCA homepage,   Each elected office serves a two year term.



The President serves as chief executive officer and, subject to the control of the Executive Board, has general charge and supervision of the Georgia Chess Association and is responsible for its general welfare. The President is an ex-officio member of all committees and appoints the representatives of the GCA in all affairs of the United States Chess Federation.


Dr. Fun Fong

Fun Fong image

I am Fun Fong, MD FACEP, a candidate for President of the Georgia Chess Association.

Chess became an organizational interest when I became president of my high-school chess club.  Our large club played in our first simul in the 70s and played in our first high school team chess that year.

My interest in chess was rekindled in 2001 as a camper at Castle Chess camp.  I have been a counselor since 2002, and have been on the Castle Chess Board since 2007.  I joined the Georgia Chess Association Board in 2009 and became its leader in 2011.

In 2011, The Georgia Chess Association was more like a club, with little institutional organization experience remaining and no active Senior TD.  We had to learn quickly, encouraging volunteers, expanding infrastructure to the point that we now have three major standing committees: Scholastics, Open Events, and Outreach.  It has not been an easy climb to develop and nurture these committees.  My philosophy has been to encourage innovation, that it is necessary to allow people the opportunity to make occasional mistakes in order to improve events for the long term.  It is not easy, since our chess-playing community is a demanding audience. In 2013, we had our first 900+ player scholastic tournament in Georgia.

In 2016, in its mission to promote chess, the GCA realized that extensive partnerships and collaborative projects would be an attempt to unify the divided chess community.  We have had working arrangements with the Georgia Chess club, the Emory Chess club, the American Chess Promotions, Atlanta Area Chess, the Georgia Tech Chess club, and Central Atlanta Progress.  We plan to continue these relationships as possible.  We have had both personal and corporate sponsors, with benefactor Phillip Taylor and Dhiren Mishra bringing LexisNexis to the table during my tenure.

Former USCF President Ruth Haring identified critical demographics and, under my leadership, the GCA has developed initiatives for 10 chess sub-groups to be supported.  We are rolling out a series of smaller tournaments through our Outreach committee to support these groups.  So far, we have scheduled an “Expert Norm,” and a Middle School / High School, and “21 and over” tourneys.  If we can identify a champion for each group, we will have these events for these 10 subgroups on a quarterly basis through our organization or others.


1st Vice President

The 1st Vice President is the person who steps in for the Chief Volunteer Officer (President) when that person is unable to complete the overall governance responsibilities.  The 1st Vice President is a liaison to at least two board committees and completes any necessary tasks that are required to benefit the stability and growth of the organization.


Amrita Kumar, Ph.D., MPH

Amrita image

 Family: Husband (Anil), Son (Anish)

Occupation: Research Scientist, CDC


Chess Volunteering ActivitiesTreasurer- GCA, November 2014-Present

  • Chess parent
  • Club TD certification
  • GCA Volunteer, 2013- Present
  • Druid Hills Middle School Chess Parent
  • USCF Georgia Delegate, 2015



Other Volunteering Activities

  • Member, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of Atlanta
  • BalVihar Hindi School Teacher, 2012- present
  • Clifton School, PTA Parent Member, 2004-2006

My son, Anish, has been playing chess since he was in second grade. Over the years, I’ve seen how chess has positively impacted his academic, social, and emotional learning.  The Georgia Chess Association and its many volunteers have been instrumental in supporting and providing him with these positive experiences. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to give back, originally as a tournament volunteer and currently as the organization’s treasurer, and contribute to the growth of the GCA.  I believe in GCA’s vitally important role to empower fellow Georgians through chess.

As the GCA Treasurer, I have diligently organized and maintained the GCA’s books to ensure that it remains a financially healthy organization.  I have paid all bills on time, kept orderly and accurate records, filed federal and state taxes on a timely basis, and renewed the GCA’s operating licenses.

As a current board member, I have been actively promoting chess in the state of Georgia and will continue to do so throughout my next term.  The GCA is involved in hosting and supporting tournaments that benefit so many people.  It is my sincere wish to be an integral part of that effort, helping to make competitions even more enjoyable for the players.  Positive experiences create wonderful memories that I hope will stay with them and contribute to their everyday lives. In my mind, that’s what chess is all about!


Thad Rogers

Thad image

 I am Thad Rogers, and I am running for the office of Georgia Chess Association first vice president. I am the only candidate or board member that doesn’t live in or around Atlanta. In my 42 years of involvement in organized chess I have developed a solid reputation as an honest workhorse for chess. That is because of my dedication and perseverance.

My wife Janet and I have been married for almost 45 years, and we have one son. Janet is in the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame as a Chess Mate of the Year.





Some of the highlights of my chess accomplishments and awards include:

State and local level

Former GCA president, vice president, member-at-large, immediate past president

Tournament organizer in Georgia and around the Southeast for more than 35 years

Began the Georgia Class Championship tournament

Began the Georgia K-12 Grade School Championship

Many times a Georgia Delegate to the USCF

Assisted in obtaining nonprofit corporation status for the GCA years ago before the current iteration

With Nick Paleveda’s help, began the GCA staggered terms years ago

Brought former world championship challenger David Bronstein to Atlanta for simultaneous exhibition

Life member of the Georgia Chess Association

Proprietor of the former Atlanta Chess Center for 20 years, holding about 3,700 tournaments there. It won National Chess Club of the Year Award in 2007. A generation of local experts and masters grew up there. The center won five national titles, and participants won about 15 national titles.

Owner of the Atlanta Kings  the past three years

National level

Life USCF member

Former member of USCF Policy Board

Alternate USCF delegate the last three years

National Tournament Director since 1979

Organized the Pan-Americans twice, U.S. Class three times, U.S. Open once, a National High School once,

1996 K-12 Championship, U.S. Amateur Team South twice, and the 1999 National Junior High School in Columbus, Ohio, which still holds the participation record of 1405 players.

Member of the Tournament Certification Committee the past three years

Member of the FIDE Certification Committee the past three years

FIDE Activities

International Arbiter since 1981

International Organizer since 2012

Oversaw getting the minutes, motions, etc., translated for the delegates of the 1981 FIDE Congress and General Assembly in Atlanta


USCF Special Service Award

USCF Distinguished Volunteer Award

Organizer of the Decade Award for the South

Chess City of the Year Award for Atlanta

USCF Lifetime Achievement Award

USCF Outstanding Career Award

Inductee No. 7 in 2014 into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame for Tournament Director Lifetime Achievement

Received “In Grateful Appreciation for Your Many Years of Outstanding Service and Dedication to the Georgia Chess Community” award last year from the Georgia Chess Association


I have become a candidate in this race only after many members of the Georgia chess community urged to me to run. Although I can and have contributed on all issues affecting our community, my main strength is tournaments. Three of my past four weekend tournaments have had over 100 participants, and after I was given the right to organize the 2016 Georgia Chess Association State Championship it set the all-time participation record of 145 in the main tournament and 30 in the scholastic section for 175 total players.

My chess CV speaks for itself. If the GCA members will see fit to elect me and let me use my experience on their behalf they will get a GCA first vice president who always will put the interests of Georgia chess players — all players — first in everything.



The Secretary records and maintains records of all proceedings of the members and Executive Board.


Michael Muzquiz

Michael image


  • Editor of Georgia Chess News since April 1, 2015
  • Appointed Secretary of GCA board on May 24, 2016.

Other Activity with GCA

  • Occasionally volunteer as assistant TD

Other Volunteer Activities

  • Certified dog handler with Canine Assistants; puppy nursery volunteer

It has been my honor to work with the Georgia Chess Association, both as editor of Georgia Chess News and as Secretary of the GCA board.   My introduction to the game of chess came later in life (I started playing about 7 years ago), but I would contend that my love for the game is no less than that of a lifelong player.  I love to play, but perhaps equally, I love working with an organization that works tirelessly to promote the game, and provides chess players of all ages opportunities to compete.

I look forward to continuing my work with the GCA in whatever capacity that I am needed, or in any way that I can be useful.  I will continue to be honored to be a part of this great organization.


1st Member-At-Large

The two Members-At-Large on the Board are each responsible for a committee that best fits the needs of the GCA, as well as their individuals skill sets.  Parnell Watkins is the candidate for the open 1st Member-At-Large position.


Parnell Watkins

Parnell image

I, Parnell Watkins, am running for the office of 1st Member at Large on the GCA board this year, and would like to take a moment of your time to introduce myself.

I retired in 2011 after 20+ years in computers.  I started in 1983 doing tests and simulations in microwave tests and simulations for beam forming networks and other applications in physics but in the early 90’s began consulting and gradually migrated to more business oriented applications.  I’ve worked for large consulting firms (PriceWaterhouseCoopers), large corporations (Porsche Cars), and as an independent consultant.

Upon retiring I took up teaching and playing chess seriously again, after a 30 year absence.  In that time I have been an active volunteer for the GCA, have organized over 20 USCF rated tournaments, directed more than 60 tournaments, and have been teaching both group and individual chess classes for scholastic students.

My vision for the GCA is simple.  To improve chess in Georgia we need to improve the variety of chess tournaments in Georgia.  Geography, price, time control, number of days, facilities, all are factors that influence when and where people play chess.  We need to support our tournament organizers so that they can meet the needs of their various communities and audience.  The GCA in the past has helped several organizers get started.  It is my intention to continue this trend, focusing particularly on reaching out to underserved areas, different formats and venues.

Thank you for your consideration.


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