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MACA Board Minutes
 MACA Board Meeting, November 15, 2015
 New England Sports Academy, 345 University Avenue, Westwood, MA 02090



President N. Smolensky called the November Board Meeting to order at 4:32 PM at New England Sports Academy in Westwood.  Seven people were in attendance: President Nathan Smolensky, Treasurer Robert Messenger, Clerk Nicholas Sterling, and Directors Jeffrey Caruso, Paul Arond, Stephen Dann (arrived 4:52 PM), and Dmitry Barash (departed 5:45 PM).


Minutes of the September Board Meeting were distributed by N. Sterling, and a couple of minor corrections requested.  * * MOTION made by N. Smolensky and seconded by R. Messenger to approve the September Board Meeting Minutes; with 1 abstention, the MOTION passed. * *


Treasurer’s report, covering the period August-October 2015, was read by

R. Messenger:

            (a) (i) (1) Net income of the General Fund this period: $872.69 net loss.  (2) Net income of the General Fund year-to-date: $3240.66. (ii) (1) Special Fund income this period: $3850.27, with $129.05 dividends. (2) Special Fund income year-to-date: $4165.97, with $257.08 dividends. (iii) (1) Special Fund expenses this period: $1713.60. (2) Special Fund expenses year-to-date: $2022.43. (iv) (1) Special Fund net income this period: $2136.67. (2) Special Fund net income year-to-date: $2143.54.

(v) (1) November 2015 Changes in Fund Balances this period: $1263.98.

(2) November 2015 Changes in Fund Balances year-to-date: $5384.20. (vi) Total Assets as of November 2015: $77706.82. (vii) Reserve for Chess Horizons: $3090.00.

(viii) Unearned Tournament Revenue: $324.00. (ix) Long-Term Investment Market Value: $22601.83.

                        (b) R. Messenger reported that when he went to Citizens Bank at the end of October to set up the new Annuities, he found that the 5-year Annuity rate had dropped to 2.55% (from 2.75%), and therefore felt it necessary to inquire of the Board whether he should still set up the investments according to the original plan voted at the July Board Meeting (MOTION 715-1).   After some discussion it was agreed to keep the original plan.   The investments will be: (i) $10000 in a 5-year Annuity at 2.55%;

(ii) $10000 in a 3-year Annuity at 1.95%; (iii) $10000 in a 4.5-year market-linked Annuity with a one-year 5% Participation Rate.  (These rates could be susceptible to change before Bob returns to the Bank.)


Tournament: (a) R. Messenger reported that the 82nd Greater Boston Open held on 10/18/2015 had 110 players this year (up from 103 last year) and made a profit of $577.92 (down from $766.91 last year).  Matt Phelps helped to direct and was paid a TD Fee of $100.  The prizes were increased, and the site rental went up slightly and covered 5 rooms this year (up from 4 last year).

                        (b) Upcoming Tournaments: (i) Pillsbury Memorial, 12/6/2015, at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough; (ii) G/60 Championship, 4/10/2016, likely at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough; (iii) MA Open, Memorial Day weekend, likely at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough.


Scholastic:    (a) Steve Frymer submitted the following report by e-mail in advance of the Meeting.  In it he stressed MACA’s ongoing need for additional TD staff for its events:


“MACA organized another successful Qualifier on 8 November,
our second scholastic event this season w/ 100+ attendance.
Our next event is historically the much smaller 'Fall Team Tournament'.
Then in December it's Qualifier #3.

We need staff for both 22 November and 13 December. If one feels that some
remuneration would make one feel a little more appreciated, please let me know
and we can discuss it. [Note: there is also the Pillsbury Memorial on 6 December.
Talk to Bob directly about joining staff for this event.]”


                        (b) R. Messenger reported: (i) The 1st Spiegel Cup Qualifier held on 10/4/2015 had 110 players (down from 123 last year) and made a profit of $895.66 (down from $1207.83 last year).  The site rental went up from last year. (ii) The 2nd Spiegel Cup Qualifier held on 11/8/2015 had 112 players this year (up from 98 last year) and made a profit of $829.32 (up from $802.25 last year).   The site rental went up from last year.

                        (c) The 3rd Spiegel Cup Qualifier will have a new Booster U1200 Section.  The purpose is to allow low-rated players who are too high-rated to qualify for the current U800 and U400 to have their own Section away from the higher-rated 14U, 11U, and 8U Sections (especially 11U).  It is possible some players will choose to “play up”, but that is their choice.

                        (d) The Scholastic Committee plans again to run the MA Girls’ Championship, and will choose the date and location.


Membership: (a) R. Messenger read the Membership numbers as follows: Adults: 200

(-13); Junior 440 (-10); Life 205 (=); Affiliate 3 (-4); Complimentary 1 (-10);

D. Library 5 (=); D. Subscriber 12 (-2); Exchange 15 (=); Library 1 (=); Prison 364 (+19); Subscriber 8 (-1).  Total change in Membership and Subscribers: -11.

                        (b) The drop in Membership total occurred because some Memberships expired from when they were paid for at a tournament last year; they will likely be renewed at the next tournament this year.

Publications: N. Smolensky reported that the next issue of CH was in progress and that he was aiming to get it finished by the end of this month and in print by December.  It will be a double issue.


Promotions:   Edward Chiu submitted the following report in advance of the Meeting.   The answer to question #2 was modified, on request by R. Messenger, to say “Web Coordinator”, not the original answer “Webmaster.”

“The Promotions Committee received the 4 questions from S. Dann.  These topics were discussed and here is the Committee’s response:

(i) Will other vendors besides Hubspot be used or considered?

A: Hubspot and other social media monitoring vendors were brought up was because Johnny brought it up at a previous meeting.  The purpose of the discussion was to help illuminate the products and services offered by these companies.  Since MACA only manages 2 social media accounts, the Committee does not recommend spending money on these services.

(ii) Will Tiffany research and release the figures of how often the MACA website is read (an impression exists that the MACA website is hardly ever consulted)? 

A: This question should be directed to the Web Coordinator, not the Promotions Committee.

(iii) Were photos actually submitted and published, and has credit been provided for those photos? 

A: Submissions were shared throughout the summer on MACA's Twitter and Facebook accounts. People who made submissions included a brief write-up with photos, and MACA shared their stories.

(iv) Will links be published either on the website or on Facebook of MA-player-related news events, such as about Sam Sevian or the Zhou brothers?

A: The USCF announced the World Youth qualifiers in May, and MACA’s Twitter and Facebook accounts shared that news release.  If MACA receives relevant information, we'll share it on social media.


Separately, Nicholas brought up the topic of general MA chess news dissemination for discussion. Currently members of the chess community is sending chess news to Nicholas to publish, and is seeking help to facilitate the dissemination of the news items he receives. The Committee discussed leveraging Facebook groups so that members of the MA chess community can crowdsource and share news directly with each other.

Prior to the start of the World Youth championships, Tony put together appealing images highlighting Winston Zhao, Maxwell Zhao and Carissa Yip.  MACA’s social media accounts shared these images, with a good luck message.

The Promotions Committee is also researching and evaluating a few e-mail marketing solutions for MACA to use over the long term. In the past year MACA has been using a free version of MailChimp to send out tournament and election information. The contact list has recently outgrown the limits of the free version. The Committee is in the preliminary phase of vetting paid versions of a few vendors, including, but not limited to, Constant Contact, MailChimp and iContact.”

Education:     (a) N. Sterling submitted in advance of the Meeting the contents of the Education Committee Meeting on 10/6/15.  These will be published in a separate document due to their length.

                        (b) (i) In response to a question from S. Dann about a prospective Education Expo at the Boston Chess Congress, N. Sterling said that he would await direct word from Bill Goichberg, or other organizers of the Congress as to whether they would help set up and promote the Expo, perhaps for 2017 (as it is now late to set up for 2016).  (ii) Danny Kopec may be willing to lend his services toward this project.

(iii) S. Dann reported that CCA has three more years left on its contract with the hotel.


LMCF: Steve Frymer submitted the following written report.   N. Sterling asked that Ward School of Newton be added to the list of schools receiving equipment (7 sets) from LMCF:


“Recent grants:

1. St. Agatha's [via David Vigorito] in Milton rec'd 14 sets, 4 of them paid for.

2. The Andover Chess Club [via Mike Henroid] rec'd 10 additional sets, all paid for.

3. The Academy of Creative Arts [via Anil Ahuja] in Burlington rec'd 5 sets.

I've just rec'd a grant application from the Mass. Correctional Inst. in Concord,
something new for us.

Our program is on-going.”


Prison Chess: Steve Frymer submitted the following written report:


“Since June 2015 we've mailed 6000 chess magazines to about 100 prison facilities.
The goal is 9000 magazines to 160 facilities.
There have been some donations to help w/ postage, but we need more.
MACA made a generous donation early on, but note:
MACA made $12,000 in net profit over the last two years, and only committed
$2000 of it.”


Budget: R. Messenger reported that he will start working on the FY17 Budget, and plans to get it approved by the current-term Board so that it is ready for the next Board to use.


Old Business:            (a) N. Smolensky said that he could arrange for the P.O. Box in Harvard Square to be available at $100/year.   Harvard Square is preferable to other locations because at least four Directors will have convenient access to it.

                                    (b) * * MOTION 915-7a, POSTPONED from the September Board Meeting, was brought back to the table, regarding the MA Senior Open.    R. Messenger reported that the plan by the Tournament Committee is to hold it in late September over a 2-day weekend, with a relatively slow time control, such as G/90 d5 or G/120 d5.  The tournament would be open to all players at least 50 years of age, but only a MA player could win the MA Senior Championship.   The Sections and general organization could be modelled after the US Senior Open.   N. Smolensky said that it was important for the Tournament Committee to assess staffing requirements to be sure the tournament would be worthwhile to organize.  The VOTE was taken; the MOTION passed UNANIMOUSLY. * *


New Business:          (a) * * MOTION (1115-1) made by N. Smolensky and seconded by P. Arond to appoint Ken Ballou and Robert Messenger as 1st and 2nd Delegates to the US Open on 7/30/2016-8/7/2016 in Indianapolis, and Nathan Smolensky and Stephen Dann as 1st and 2nd Alternate Delegates.  The VOTE was taken; the MOTION passed UNANIMOUSLY. * *

                                    (b) (i) * * MOTION (1115-2) made by R. Messenger and seconded by N. Smolensky to appoint Jeffrey Caruso Chair of the Elections Commission, and Paul Arond and Tiffany Wang Elections Commissioners. The VOTE was taken; with 2 abstentions, the MOTION passed. * * (ii) The Commission can use the online Election setup that was established last year. (iii) The deadline to register to vote will be 2/29/16.  S. Dann said that a postcard mailing should be circulated to remind voters to register.

                                 † (c) EXECUTIVE SESSION: (i) * * MOTION (1115-3a) made by

R. Messenger and seconded by S. Dann to enter Executive Session at 6:24 PM.  The VOTE was taken; the MOTION passed UNANIMOUSLY. (ii) * * MOTION (1115-3b) made by J. Caruso and seconded by N. Smolensky to leave Executive Session at 6:45 PM.  The VOTE was taken; the MOTION passed UNANIMOUSLY. * *

                                    (d) * * MOTIONS 1115-3c and 1115-3d listed below were discussed and passed during Executive Session. (i) * * MOTION (1115-3c) made by

N. Smolensky and seconded by R. Messenger to propose a Code of Conduct for intra-Board communication and designate a committee to write the proposal of said Code. The VOTE was taken; with 1 abstention, the MOTION passed. (ii) * * MOTION (1115-3d) made by R. Messenger and seconded by J. Caruso to appoint N. Sterling Chair of the Code of Conduct Committee and P. Arond as a Member of this Committee.   The VOTE was taken; with 2 abstentions, the MOTION passed. * *


President N. Smolensky adjourned the November Board Meeting at 6:54 PM.  The date, time, and place of the February Board Meeting were set at Sunday 2/14/16 at 1:00 PM at New England Sports Academy in Westwood.  [Clerk’s NOTE: The location was subsequently changed to Panera Bread in Fresh Pond Mall in Cambridge.]


                                                                        Respectfully submitted,




                                                                        Nicholas Sterling, Clerk