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MACA Board Minutes
 MACA Board Meeting, February 14, 2016
 Panera Bread, 174 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02138



President N. Smolensky called the February Board Meeting to order at 1:06 PM at Panera Bread in Fresh Pond Mall in Cambridge.  Nine people were in attendance: President Nathan Smolensky, Vice-President John Sadoff, Treasurer Robert Messenger, Clerk Nicholas Sterling, and Directors Jeffrey Caruso, Paul Arond, Steven Frymer, Stephen Dann (arrived 1:28 PM), and Dmitry Barash.


N. Sterling made a personal statement thanking the MACA Board for their support of New England Sports Academy in Westwood, which closed unexpectedly in December.  He informed them that the giant chess set that was donated to NESA by the Winchester Chess Club is locked up in the building and currently inaccessible.


Minutes of the November Board Meeting were distributed by N. Sterling, with one Clerk’s NOTE to be added, and some previously requested changes already incorporated.  * * MOTION made by R. Messenger and seconded by N. Smolensky to approve the November Board Meeting Minutes; with 2 abstentions, the MOTION passed. * *


Treasurer’s report, covering the period November 2015-January 2016, was read by

R. Messenger:

            (a) (i) (1) Net income of the General Fund this period: $2428.85.  (2) Net income of the General Fund year-to-date: $5669.51. (ii) (1) Special Fund income this period: $7350.63, with $214.44 dividends. (2) Special Fund income year-to-date: $11516.60, with $471.52 dividends. (iii) (1) Special Fund expenses this period: $4994.58. (2) Special Fund expenses year-to-date: $7017.01. (iv) (1) Special Fund net income this period: $2356.05. (2) Special Fund net income year-to-date: $4499.59.

(v) (1) January 2016 Changes in Fund Balances this period: $4784.90, minus $372.00 market value decline. (2) January 2016 Changes in Fund Balances year-to-date: $10169.10, minus $372.00 market value decline. (vi) Total Assets as of January 2016: $78785.72. (vii) Unearned Tournament Revenue: $80.00. (ix) General Fund Long-Term Investment market value: $9628.00, down from $10000 after a $372.00 value decline. (x) Total Long-Term Investment Market Value: $22668.08.  (xi) Annuity market value: $20040.27, up from $20000 after a $40.27 value increase.

                        (b) R. Messenger made the following observations from the Treasurer’s Report: (i) LMCF received a $5000 donation from Marilyn Franklin to be used to support chess programs; its future use is currently undetermined; (ii) the report shows the annual charges from LMCF and Prison Funds to the General Fund; (iii) $870.58 was additionally spent from the Prison Chess Fund in mailings of Chess Horizons to prisons, leaving $235.69 as the Prison Chess Fund balance.


Membership: R. Messenger read the Membership numbers as follows: Adults: 204

(+4); Junior 448 (+8); Life 204 (-1); Affiliate 8 (+5); Complimentary 1 (=);

D. Library 5 (=); D. Subscriber 9 (-3); Exchange 15 (=); Library 1 (=); Prison 367 (+3); Subscriber 7 (-1).  Total change in Membership and Subscribers: +15.


Tournament:  (a) R. Messenger reported that the Pillsbury Memorial held on 12/6/2015 had 73 players this year (up from 63 last year) and made a profit of $3.25 (down from $101.49 last year).

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

                        (c) R. Messenger will ask for an e-mail vote from NECA about whether MACA or NECA will run the NE Open.  This question had been voted upon at the NECA Annual Meeting last September, but there had been controversy since than concerning the vote that was passed.


Scholastic:    (a) S. Frymer submitted the following report in advance of the Meeting:


Qualifier #3 was a success and finished in the black. [see treasurer's report]

The Winter Team tm't was a success and finished in the black. [see treasurer's report]

The SCS has drawn additional affiliates and the tournaments outdraw the affiliates'
usual events.

Q #4 is scheduled for 6 March.

The official Spiegel Cup ratings will be out this coming week.

The Spiegel Cup championship is scheduled for 20 March.

The Hurvitz Cup is scheduled for 3 April.

The Massachusetts Girls Championship is scheduled for 1 May at the Boylston CC.

steve frymer
scholastic chair


                        (b) R. Messenger reported: (i) The Fall Team Tournament held on 11/22/2015 had 44 players (down from 48 last year) and took a loss of $512.90 (down from a loss of $320.00 last year).  It is likely that this relatively new tournament will be replaced with a MA Junior Open that D. Barash is proposing, based on a model from MD Scholastic Chess.  (ii) The Gus Gosselin Grade Championship held on 1/3/2016 had 60 players this year (down from 90 last year) and took a loss of $299.79 (down from a profit of $628 last year).   This was definitely a disappointing attendance, and it will be necessary to consider changing the time (to a later on in the winter) and the place (away from Brockton, which was too far for some potential attendees) in 2017.   One possible addition next year will be overall team prizes.


Promotions:   (a) Edward Chiu submitted the following report in advance of the Meeting:


1. The Promotions Committee worked with Bob and Tiffany to find an e-mail marketing solution. We previously reached the upper limit for the number of e-mail addresses (2,000 e-mail addresses) within the free version of MailChimp. As a result, the Committee researched a few options in case we needed to switch to a paid e-mail platform. Nicholas helped research Constant Contact as a possible alternative.


We also discovered why we reached the upper limit: we had imported multiple distribution lists that contained many duplicate e-mail addresses. We decided to segment our e-mail lists into smaller, unique lists (e.g. scholastic, adult, outside MA, etc) so that paying for an e-mail vendor is not necessary. If our e-mail address list approaches two thousand, this is an option MACA will need to consider.


2. Chris Chase brought up an idea to promote chess locally that was discussed during the 2014-2015 term: chess master playing simuls in a public area (e.g. Davis Square) or visiting smaller chess clubs to play a simul (potential condition that participants join MACA). We have agreed that this idea in principal would be great once Chris' calendar frees up or we identify a local chess master who is willing to volunteer.


3. We made a successful placement in the January edition of Sampan, a bilingual Chinese-English newspaper, about Eric Feng after his 2nd place finish in the National K-12 Championship. Eric and his dad were happy to speak to Sampan. MACA's social media accounts amplified this story upon its release. The print newspaper could also be found in Chinatown.


4. The topic of a MACA blog was also discussed as another option to help disseminate general chess news happening around MA. MACA's blogspot account was resuscitated and cleaned up by the Committee last year. In addition to MACA members crowdsourcing news via Facebook Groups, the potential MACA blog could be a viable alternative. Due to resource constraints, this project is still in the preliminary planning stages.



                        (b) (i) N. Sterling and R. Messenger commented further on the decision to keep MailChimp as MACA’s e-mail provider [CLERK'S Note: these comments restated orally the decision described above in the second paragraph of the Promotions Report].  (ii) N. Sterling briefly mentioned the Blog that is in progress and, when completed, is intended to help with the dissemination of chess news (to avoid needing to mount it on the Chess News window on the website).


Education: N. Sterling reported: (a) There was an inquiry about the Early Education Initiative through the portal. (b) N. Sterling will soon convene another Education Committee Meeting. (c) N. Sterling has two new Newton classes and has procured LMCF donations for all three of his current Newton classes.

Publications: (i) N. Smolensky reported that the Holidays 2015 Chess Horizons Issue had been published, and the next issue to come out will be Winter 2016.  N. Smolensky plans to resume the quarterly CH schedule from before. (ii) The delay in the publication of the Holidays 2015 issue was that the chosen printer went out of business before the issue could be completed, and a new one, Fleming Printer, was hurriedly found.   In an effort to conserve cost, the total number of printed copies was mistakenly trimmed back to 800 from the previous 900, and as a result there were insufficient copies to meet all the needs.  For the next issue, 900 copies will once again be printed.


LMCF: S. Frymer submitted the following written report in advance of the Meeting, and R. Messenger reminded everyone again of the $5000 donation from Marilyn Franklin.   S. Frymer said that the exact numbers of donated sets are on the website.


1. The chess club at the Mattapoisett Public Library received some additional sets because of increased activity.

2. The Day Middle school of Newton received some sets.

3. Agawam Junior High School will receive some sets on Tuesday
when I'm scheduled to meet w/ the monitor/instructor at the Metrowest CC.

steve frymer
LMCF coordinato


Prison Chess: S. Frymer submitted the following written report in advance of the Meeting:


““Since June 2015 we've mailed 8950 chess magazines to prisons nationwide.
They are very appreciative and i have even received some thank you notes
which I'll share at the board meeting.

This is money well-spent for a very good cause.

If anyone would like to donate old Chess Horizons or Chess Lifes to a worthy cause
feel free to bring a box of them to the meeting and I'll take them off your hands.

steve frymer
prison chess coordinator


Elections Commission: (a) J. Caruso submitted the following written report in advance of the Meeting.  [CLERK'S Note: A modification to it was made after the Meeting.]


Report of the Elections Commission



As previously minuted, a new Elections Commission was elected by the Board on 11/15/2015. All commission members have accepted election.


The new commission has taken over the account which we use for online voting.  At the recommendation of the outgoing chairman Edward Chiu, the password has been changed so that only current commission members have access.  The Membership Secretary has agreed to provide us with the lists of online and paper-ballot voters.


The Webmaster has configured the email account to forward to the commissioners and the Membership Secretary.


At the commission's request the Elections FAQ was updated on the website on 1/5/16, including a new paragraph on voting registration.


A voting registration reminder was mailed to all MACA members via postcard on 1/8/16, 7 weeks before the registration deadline.  Expenses for the postcard mailing have been reported to the Treasurer.


We conducted a spot-check and out of a dozen voters who answered, all have received their cards.  Out of the 829 cards mailed, 10 were returned by the post office including 3 changed addresses, 2 temporarily away and not receiving, 5 undeliverable and unable to forward.  These have been reported to the Membership Secretary.  So far, 11 new online voting registrations have been received, as well as 1 new paper-ballot registration.


At the commission's request a Call for Nominations was posted in the Current Chess News on the website on 1/18/16, 4 weeks before the deadline for nominations.  Also the Elections FAQ has an item covering nominations, and an electronic mailing went out to all members on 2/10/16.   Several nominations have been received.


We thank the Webmaster, Membership Secretary, and Promotions Chairman for their assistance.



The projected timeline for the election is as follows:


February 15: close of nominations


February 15 - March 8:  resolve any MACA membership issues for candidates


February 29: deadline for voter registration


March 15: deadline for candidates' statements 


April 5: publication of candidates' statements


April 25: mail out paper ballots


May 1: send out electronic ballots


May 25: voting deadline for online ballots


May 27: voting deadline for mailed paper ballots


May 28: voting deadline for hand-delivered paper ballots


May 29-30: publication of results



Respectfully Submitted,

  Jeffrey Caruso, Chair of the Elections Commission


                                         (b) There were ten postcards that bounced back in the mail out of 829 mailed altogether.

                                         (c) Altogether there were four Officer nominations all with uncontested elections, and six Director nominations, leaving two vacancies.

                                         (d) N. Smolensky brought up the question of whether the nomination deadline should be extended, but after discussion it was decided to leave it unchanged.

                                         (e) S. Dann nominated himself and G. Mirijanian to fill the two vacancies.

                                         (f) The ballots will be printed after 3/8/2016 to give time for the settlement of Membership questions and the collection of Candidate Statements.


Club Coordinator: S. Dann described some of the work he has done with library chess classes, and emphasized that successful library programs are one of the most important bases for successful Club creation and maintenance.


Old Business:            (a) R. Messenger said that he would check with the Commonwealth of MA about the legality of using a P.O. Box for MACA mailings.

N. Sterling said that he would research the matter on the MA State Filing website.

(b) S. Dann said that MACA should research its written description



New Business: none


President N. Smolensky adjourned the February Board Meeting at 3:10 PM.  The date, time, and place of the April Board Meeting were set at Sunday 4/17/16 at 1:00 PM at Panera Bread at Fresh Pond Mall in Cambridge. [CLERK’S Note: The location was subsequently changed to Papa Gino’s in Natick.]


                                                                        Respectfully submitted,




                                                                        Nicholas Sterling, Clerk