Chess Journalists of America Announce Awards
By Jonathan Hilton   
August 21, 2008
Macauley Peterson, 2008 Chess Journalist of the Year

2008 Chess Journalist of the Year Announcement

The Chess Journalists of America (CJA) is proud to announce that Macauley Peterson is the 2008 Chess Journalist of the Year! Macauley was voted the honor by the members of the CJA, and took approximately 53.6% of the vote with a whopping 15 of all 28 votes cast. The runner up was Alexandra Kosteniuk , who took 21.4% of the votes with 6 votes total. Check out the full list of candidates and supporting statements.

  Many who voted for Peterson said they enjoyed both his writing style and his videos. According to the Internet Chess Club, which nominated him for the competition, his best work in 2007-2008 included "...[H]is daily reports from the Amber tournament in Nice, France , Linares   and a special ‘Bobby Fischer Remembered' tribute from Corus the day after the former World Champion died."

Full Awards followed by report by Jonathan Hilton, the Chief Judge 

2: Best Chess Column   "Chess to Enjoy" by GM Andy Soltis, Chess Life Magazine
Honorable Mention (HM): "Novice Nook" by NM Dan Heisman
HM: "Chess" by David Sands The Washington Times

3: Best State Magazine: Georgia Chess by David Woolf and Mark N. Taylor    
HM: Chess Horizons by Mark Donlan 

4: Most Notable Achievement In Correspondence Chess: "Team USA Makes Olympiad Finals" by FM Alex Dunne,January 2008 Chess Life Magazine

5: Best Layout: Chess Life for Kids by Frankie Butler  

6: Best Chess Art "Chess is Cool Comic Series" by Rene Duret and Alexandra Kosteniuk  

7: Best Photograph: "Chess Photo of Maryam Mansur" by Diego Garces, July 2007 Black & White Magazine
HM: October Chess Life Cover by Jeff Weiss and Frankie Butler, October 2007 Chess Life Magazine

8: Best Tournament Report: "US Championship" by IM John Watson, August 2007 Chess Life Magazine
HM: "Akobian Continues Stellar" by Jerry Hanken, October 2007 Chess Life Magazine
HM: "Gold for Naroditsky" by Aviv Friedman, February 2008 Chess Life Magazine
HM: "2007 Closed & Class Champs" by Tim McEntee and Mark Capron, Iowa Chess News En Passant, Volume 47, Issue 3

9: Best Regular Newspaper Column:
"Chess" by Lubomir Kavalek, The Washington Post
HM: "Chess: A Knight's Tour" by Bill Cornwall, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
HM: "Chess" by David Sands, The Washington Times
10: Best Regular Newspaper Column of Local Interest
  "Chess: A Knight's Tour" by Bill CornwallFt. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

11: Best State Website "The Massachusetts Chess Association" by Tiffany Wang,

12: Best General Website "USCF - United States Chess Federation" by Jennifer Shahade

13: Best Video/Podcast: "Free ChessVideo Podcasts" by Kosteniuk
Best Blog: "The Kenilworthian" by Michael Goeller:

14: Best Historical Article:  "Chess Expert Jailed" by Olimpiu G. Urcan       July 2007 Chess Life Magazine

15: Best Interview
  "E.Vicary on Chess, Girls, and Genius" by Jennifer Shahade      Chess Life Online (June 26, 2007)
HM: "Interview with Robert Hess" by Jerry Hanken      June 2008 Chess Life Magazine

16: Best Editorial
"Greg on Chess: The Swiss is Terrible" by Greg Shahade           Chess Life Online (September 10, 2007)

17: Best Review
           "Watson: The Sequel" by Pete Tamburro ,  November 2007 Chess Life Magazine
HM: "Tactically Toothless" by Jonathan Hilton   February 2008 Chess Life Magazine
HM: "Matchless Match Book" by Joel Benjamin           May 2008 Chess Life Magazine
18: Best Analysis
          "Deep Analysis Lecture" by Alexandra Kosteniuk          Swiss Chess Review
HM: "Korchnoi Explains the French" by Harald Fietz    September 2007 Chess Life Magazine
HM: "Crow-Karagianis" by Pete Karagianis      Iowa Chess News En Passant, Volume 47, Issue 4
HM: Crushing the Dragon by Jason Juett           Iowa Chess News En Passant, Volume 47, Issue 4

19: Best Instructive Lesson
       "How Wojo Won: The Sicilian" by Jonathan Hilton        Chess Life Online (September 27, 2007)
HM: "How Wojo Won: Part VI, the King's Indian Defense" by Jonathan Hilton Chess Life Online (April 30, 2008)
HM: "Hook and Ladder" by Dana Mackenzie   July 2007 Chess Life Magazine
HM: "Implode" by Dana Mackenzie     May 2008 Chess Life Magazine
HM: "Beginner Misconceptions" by Dan Heisman
HM: "Getting the Edge" by Dan Heisman
HM: "Trading When Ahead or Behind" by Dan Heisman
HM: "Don't Allow the Flooby" by Dan Heisman  

20: Best Humorous Contribution
"Diary of a Samford Scholar: European Fall Part II " by GM Josh Friedel            Chess Life Online (December 19, 2007)
HM: "East and West" by Jerry Hanken   May 2008 Chess Life Magazine

21: Special Recognition Award
"Get Ready for the Next Generation" by Macauley Peterson      June 2007 Chess Life Magazine
HM: "64 Square Tour" by Bart Gibbons            Chess Life Online (December 17, 2007)

23: Best Human Interest
            "Sunday in the Park" by C. K. Damrosch          December 2007 Chess Life Magazine
"In Memoriam: Gilbert F. Gosselin" by George Mirijanian          Chess Horizons, July - September 2007
"Farewell to Boris" by Jerry Hanken       May 2008 Chess Life Magazine

A few words from Jonathan Hilton on the Past, Present and Future of CJA.

This year I had both the honor and the burden of being the new Chief Judge of the CJA Awards. I'd been drafted as a volunteer judge by Pete Tamburro two years prior, and had enjoyed the work so much that I stayed on the next year. I loved getting the huge stack of articles in the mail and critiquing them from the comfort of my easy chair. When Pete stepped down and a new Chief Judge was needed, I eagerly volunteered for the job with the support of CJA President Jerry Hanken.

 No sooner had my appointment been confirmed by the CJA Board than I started receiving myriads of e-mails asking what my plans were to modernize the Awards Program. Although I didn't immediately swoop into action by slashing categories, lobbying the major media outlets in America to submit articles, and doing away with self-nominations, as several people recommended, I did make some important changes this year towards improving the Awards system, all of which were discussed at the CJA Meeting in Dallas during the U.S. Open.

First of all, I published a list of all entries to the CJA Awards. ( To my knowledge, this has never been done before. It is an exciting development for the Awards Program because for the first time ever, we can actually see which of our Categories are not highly competitive. Several of the most important categories, such as Best Tournament Report, flourished; others, such as Best Magazine Layout, only had two entries.

  Second, I personally ensured that no category had less than three judges. In fact, almost all of the categories had four judges-more than ever before. The judges were all credible writers, most with significant experience, though I did add in some up-and-coming writers such as Joe Fogarty to shake things up.

Lastly, I allowed for the scores of the winning articles to be published. This allows us to gauge the level of competitiveness in each category, and adds excitement to the competition.

  Next year, now that I have some experience under my belt, I will be hoping to implement the five-step plan I outlined at the CJA Meeting for improving the Awards. (The plan was approved unanimously subject to further discussion by the CJA Board.) Part of the plan does involve greatly decreasing the number of categories and honing in on the most key areas of chess journalism. However, we will keep recognition for smaller publications at the same time; for instance, although we will combine Best Regular Newspaper Column and Best Regular Newspaper of Local Interest, we will give an award of recognition to the top-scoring entry of local interest. This will cut down on judges' workloads, mailing costs, and the need for duplicate submissions while creating a single, more-competitive category.

  1. Increase Competitiveness

  • Combine or eliminate categories with under 5 entries
  • Focus on categories that are the most contested
  • Have only categories that will produce role-model articles of interest to the bulk of American chess journalists
2. Add Prestige

  • Profile winners in The Chess Journalist
  • Arrange a group photo
  • Add a "Grand Prix" event for state and other chess magazines-combine the scores of a magazine's top article in each category for a total GP score
3. Reverse Negative Perceptions

  • Make the judging process as transparent as possible
  • Ensure that the Awards process is explained in our annual Awards Announcement
  • Be consistent in following our judging procedures
4. Encourage Participation

  • Create a $49 Package Deal to smaller publications, which includes 3 CJA memberships (one for editor, two for writers), 5 entries to the competition, and entry into Best State Magazine and Best State Website (if applicable)
  • Send out a flier to remind CJA members to nominate articles
I would like to thank CJA President Jerry Hanken, along with the CJA Board, for giving me the opportunity to serve as the Chief Judge this year. It was a tremendous undertaking, but also an honor and privilege. Finally, I would like to thank all of the volunteer judges: R. A. Hernandez, Betsy Dynako, Mark Capron, Myron Lieberman, Ira Lee Riddle, Dan Heisman, Rachel Lieberman, Joe Fogarty, Franklin Campbell, H. Lerman, Glenn Peterson, Eric Johnson, Robert Karch, Eric Schiller, John Donaldson, Mark Donlan, Hal Bogner, Nigel Eddis, Bill Cornwall, Tim Just, Alan Kantor, Fred Wilson, Michael Goeller, and Daren Dillinger.