MACA Vision Discussion

Harvey Reed




Our last Board meeting exceeded my expectations! Yes, we certainly aired differing viewpoints, but this is the point of an open democratic process. The process is messy, but everyone participates. I thank you all for your patience as we discuss core MACA Vision, issues, and resolve conflicts!


What have we done so far?


  1. The Board produced a concise MACA Vision statement:
    1. Promote and encourage and perpetuate chess in MA and provide and publicize opportunities to play chess and to fulfill USCF obligations as a state Affiliate
  2. The Board produced a list of prioritized MACA deliverables:
    1. Tournaments (Adult & Scholastic incl. State Championship)
    2. Organ (Chess Horizons)
    3. Charitable Outreach (Player Fund, Scholastic Support)
  3. The Board produced a list of MACA Member Values and reminded itself that value to members is less than the total value of what we deliver. For example our charitable efforts are not directly a MACA member value (except maybe feel-good stuff):
    1. Tournaments
    2. CH
    3. Voting rights
    4. Feel Good
  4. We then used a 4 quad diagram to categorize MACA programs/activities against “Make $$”vs. “Uses $$”, and “Core Vision”vs. “not Core Vision”
    1. Core Vision – Makes $$ (at least doesn’t lose money)

                                                               i.      Adult Tournaments

                                                             ii.      Scholastic Tournaments

                                                            iii.      LMCF

                                                           iv.      Prison

    1. Core Vision – Uses $$

                                                               i.      Chess Horizons

                                                             ii.      Player Fund

                                                            iii.      School Support

                                                           iv.      Promotion

                                                             v.      Newbie discount

                                                           vi.      Free or subsidized USCF memberships

                                                          vii.      Free or subsidized Club memberships

                                                        viii.      Free or subsidized Maca memberships

                                                           ix.      Free Issues of Chess Horizons

                                                             x.      Free Lessons / Lectures to general public

                                                           xi.      Instruction to Adults new to rated chess

                                                          xii.      Radio promoting Chess

                                                        xiii.      Newspapers promoting Chess

                                                        xiv.      Local Cable Presence

    1. Off-Vision – Makes $$ (we could do much more here)

                                                               i.      Merchandise

                                                             ii.      Fundraising

    1. Off-Vision – Uses $$

                                                               i.      –none-


At the heart of the discussion of the quadrant that “Uses $$” and is “Core Vision” is the long list of programs/activities/support that the Board would like to support, and can’t support all of them. Since these programs/activities/support all use $$, there is competition for $$. Indeed, only the top item, Chess Horizons, gets any appreciable $$.


We started the resource discussion by “running the numbers” of Chess Horizons, since that is the biggest consumer of $$. We first noted that we are obliged to publish an “organ” as part of our USCF State Affiliate responsibilities, but there is no contractual obligation for any particular format.


The CH numbers are:


CH Allocates $$
Member Dues income             $6,000

Investment Dividends             $1,300

Investment Interest                         $150

Projected Ad Revenue             $2,500 as a safe number

Magazine sales                         $250

Total                                        $9050


CH Uses $$                                $14,000 total

Shortfall                                   $4000  approximately


What this means is that after allocating all member dues and investment income, we have to use $4000 in profits from other programs to fund CH. This causes conflict, not just because of the resource allocations, but because we do not know what degrees of freedom we have to make the CH format more economical.


Of course all of the above assumes that it is indeed ok to use 100% of member dues and investment income for CH. This assumption is also being questioned. It was also noted that CH started out with heavy subsidy from generous benefactors, at a time when MACA had 2000 members. We now have 550 dues paying regular members (Adult and Scholastic). So we are running with only a quarter of the membership base, and no subsidy.


After discussion of the numbers, a MOTION passed to investigate what options, flexibility, and degrees of freedom we have with the format of CH. Most of the Board members are not in the printing business, so we need to review concrete examples of what we get for various levels of expenditure. The MOTION is: “Move that the publications coordinator investigate four alternative budget/production formats, namely 10 K per annum with a four and with a six issue run and 7.5K per annum with a four and six issue and report back at the next meeting.


Passage of this MOTION means that we are investigating options. It is a good, democratic, and open process to investigate and get facts. We have not made any decisions to change the format. If we do ultimately decide to change the format, there are many additional considerations and questions as to timing, &etc. All of this is happening within the open process of Board meetings, MOTIONs, &etc.


Additional discussion


In addition to the above, which is straightforward, we should keep in mind additional assertions, claims, beliefs, &etc that are held by various Board members. Only by trying to understand each other’s viewpoints can we ultimately embrace a single course of action, and put our full energy and endorsement into it. In no particular order we have:

  1. If we change the CH format we will (in effect) be killing it.
  2. If we change the CH format, people will be upset, and MACA will implode.
  3. We must continue the MACA traditions and Chess Horizons is part of it.
  4. The Scholastics are not represented in CH as the 40% constituency they are.
  5. Less than half of the content is local to MA
  6. If we change CH format, we will lose out-of-state members
  7. Catering to out-of-state members is not in the MACA charter
  8. If we mail CH only to dues paying (Adult/Scholastic), Life and Prison members only, we are not promoting MACA to newbies
  9. Another organization has smaller mailers sent out to a readership of 10,000 5 or 6 times a year for about the same cost. 10,000 is more eyeballs than 1000.
  10. We are not obligated to win CJA awards every year for CH
  11. We should considering raising dues to cover the cost of CH
  12. We should raise more money (seek benefactors?) to cover the cost of CH


Thank you,

Harvey Reed

President, MACA