Category Archives: chess politics

Eighty percent of success is showing up

After a few days detoxing from my descent into US Open madness, I’m back in the saddle.  A new review should be up by the weekend, and a retrospective and diagnostic of my games from the Open shortly thereafter.

I thought that some backlash might be coming from my winning the CJA ‘Best Chess Blog’ award, given the nature of the blogosphere and my candor regarding its occurrence.  But even I was a little surprised at the speed with which the backlash came.

Enter Mark Weeks, a prolific chess blogger based in Belgium.

Weeks is peeved, it would seem, because there were originally no entries in the blog category as of July.  I relate the story of how I met Niro and Roland (thanks for reminding me to fix the typos, Mark) and how they came to know of my blog in a post I wrote mid-event.  I also describe my surprise and embarrassment upon learning of my win; my audible response was, I believe, “you’ve got to be kidding me.”

Here’s the thing about Weeks’ post that irks me.  It’s based on a lot of innuendo and conjecture.  He thinks it odd that I reviewed a book that won the CJA award, hinting at some vast conspiracy while lacking any evidence whatsoever.  (Is he the first ‘booker,’ a new variant on truthers and birthers?)  He links to my ‘About’ page without a word as to its content or lack of spelling mistakes.  He says nothing about the quality of anything I’ve written, save to point out typographical errors.  His remarks regarding my blog are nothing but potshots, and his consummatory congratulations ring tinny and hollow.

The CJA board read my work from stem to stern, and they deemed it worthy of an award.  Is it possible that there were more deserving blogs out there?  Absolutely – but none entered.  I ran into some people who read my work, judged it, and rewarded it.  Eighty percent of success, as Woody Allen (maybe) said, is showing up.  I showed up.  I’m proud of the award, and I’m proud of my work on this blog.

There are certainly problems with the CJA as it stands.  The organization is moribund, and the Awards process needs a dramatic overhaul.  Here again, I’m showing up.  I’ve joined the CJA and have offered to join the Awards Committee to help fix what’s broken about the process.  I’ll also be nominating my blog for the 2014 Best Chess Blog award as soon as nominations open, because I’m convinced that my work here stacks up against anything else in the chess blogosphere, American or otherwise.

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