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MACA Board Minutes
 MACA Board Meeting, June 19, 2016
 Panera Bread, 174 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02138



President N. Smolensky called the June Board Meeting to order at 2:03 PM at Panera Bread at Fresh Pond Mall in Cambridge.  Nine people were in attendance: President Nathan Smolensky, Treasurer Robert Messenger, Clerk Nicholas Sterling, and Directors Jeffrey Caruso, Paul Arond, Steven Frymer, Edward Chiu, Dmitry Barash (departed approximately 3:08 PM), and Christopher Chase (departed 3:37 PM) .


Minutes of the April Board Meeting and May Annual Membership Meeting were distributed by N. Sterling, who added one correction made from the table.  * * MOTION made by R. Messenger and seconded by C. Chase to approve both Meeting Minutes as amended; with 2 abstentions, the MOTION passed. * *


Elections Commission: (a) * * MOTION made by R. Messenger and seconded by

N. Smolensky to thank the Elections Commission for their excellent work in conducting the MACA Election, online and on paper.  The VOTE was taken; with 1 abstention, the MOTION passed. * * (b) The destruction of the ballots was discussed, and J. Caruso reported that Robert’s Rules calls for a quarterly review period to be set aside in case any Members call for an election recount; hence the ballots should remain intact until 9/1/16.


Treasurer: R. Messenger distributed a corrected copy of the Annual Treasurer’s Report presented at the Annual Meeting; Clerk N. Sterling agreed to incorporate its corrections into the Minutes for the Annual Meeting.


Membership: R. Messenger read the Membership numbers as follows: Adults: 207

(=); Junior 413 (-82); Life 204 (=); Affiliate 9 (+1); Complimentary 1 (=);

D. Library 5 (=); D. Subscriber 14 (+2); Exchange 15 (=); Library 1 (=); Prison 374 (+3); Subscriber 9 (=+2.  Total change in Membership and Subscribers: -75. The steep drop in Junior Memberships was noted; R. Messenger said that he may track the numbers of Junior Memberships back over five years to see if any trends can explain why so many Memberships were lost in this period.




Committee Chair and Coordinator Nominations: [CLERK’s note: All Committee Chairmen and Coordinators listed below were elected without opposition]

            Budget Committee Chairman: Robert Messenger

Tournament Committee Chairman: Robert Messenger

Scholastic Committee Chairman: Steven Frymer

            Bylaws Committee Chairman: Jeffrey Caruso

Education Committee Chairman: Nicholas Sterling

            Promotions Committee Chairman: Edward Chiu

            Web Coordinator: Nicholas Sterling

            Membership Secretary: Robert Messenger

            Parliamentarian: Jeffrey Caruso

            Assistant Clerk: Robert Messenger

            Publications Coordinator: Nathan Smolensky

Club Coordinator: [left vacant]

Volunteer Coordinator: [left vacant]

Fund-Raising Coordinator: [left vacant]

Prison Chess Coordinator: Steven Frymer

LMCF Coordinator: Steven Frymer


Tournament: (a) (i) R. Messenger reported that the 2016 MA Open drew in 253 players (up from 236 last year) and netted a profit of $3031.51 (up from $2555.42 last year).

(ii) Expenses were somewhat higher because the hotel rent was raised and MACA paid out fees to some of the TDs.  (iii) Walter Champion made his annual contribution with the effect of doubling the prizes in the top sections.  Despite these increased prizes, there was little change in attendance numbers. It was noted that publicity had been somewhat less than last year.  (iv) At the MA Open there was a complaint that Advance Entries were not posted until only late the night before the Tournament’s first round.

R. Messenger said that perhaps MACA should pay for an automatic list generator that would enter players into an Advance List automatically as they pre-registered.  This would, however, be expensive.

                        (b) The New England Open this year will be run in Burlington by Alex Relyea, who will settle the profits and losses with NECA after the tournament, by an e-mail vote of the NECA Board.

                        (c) The MA Senior Open will be held on 9/17-9/18/2016 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough. It is restricted to players age 50 and above.


Scholastic:     (a) S. Frymer reported that the first three Spiegel Cup Qualifiers are scheduled for Sundays 10/2/2016, 11/20/2016, and 12/11/2016 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough.

                        (b) Last year’s Fall Team Tournament will be replaced this year with a MA Junior Open, and its date will be a weekend in January TBD, most likely in Marlborough.

                        (c) D. Barash said that the website needs an additional page listing the Spiegel Cup Series tournaments run by MACA Affiliates.

                        (d) The MA Girls Championship held in May at the Boylston Chess Club was successful.

                        (e) The Scholastics Committee will discuss new rules for SCS Affiliate tournament registration and qualification toward the Championship.   Included in the discussion will be: (i) a cap on the number of SCS tournaments that, together with the four Qualifiers, will be counted toward the total number of SCS Points earned for that berth; (ii) a deadline on when SCS Tournaments may be registered (N. Sterling brought up that someone had appealed to him about the pressing need for this deadline).

                        (f) N. Smolensky reported that he is interested in setting up an online Scholastic League on  N. Sterling said that his effort to do this last year had not been successful, and both he and D. Barash pointed out that the fee for a Gold Membership (about $8/month) is prohibitively expensive, in contrast with other online chess-playing and chess-education sites.

                        (g) D. Barash called for there to be a backup Webmaster given that Tiffany Wang’s busy schedule is making it difficult for her to complete MACA duties in a timely manner.  The Scholastic Committee, in particular, requires frequent time-sensitive posting updates during its main season.   N. Smolensky said that a backup Webmaster would have to become conversant with the very complex website design Tiffany has herself created.  N. Sterling agreed to reach out to Tiffany on this subject in his role as Web Coordinator.


Education:     (a) N. Smolensky said that the Education Committee needs to reach out to schools to establish interest in the MEETTI Program that was initiated in 2014 but has not been fully launched yet.   The Education Committee may work together with the Scholastic Committee to help promote curricular chess during the school day.

                        (b) N. Sterling said that he would soon convene an Education Committee Meeting, and that all Board Members interested are welcome to join.

                        (c) N. Sterling said that the Giant Chess Set had been successfully recovered from the New England Sports Academy building, and would soon be relocated to a new home.

                        (d) S. Frymer said that if the Education Committee sponsors a new project that requires significant expenditure, MACA may choose to back it with a fund-raising drive.

Promotions:   (a) E. Chiu reported that there had been a lot of activity with social media and e-mails via MailChimp, and he also would reach out to newspapers to get articles written and published.  It may be helpful to recruit more volunteers to allow this work to proceed more quickly and expansively.

                        (b) N. Sterling reported: (i) There is interest from outside in tracking the successes of MA Scholastic players (such as those who appear on the USCF “age” lists) and reporting those; we may soon have regular reports submitted. (ii) On Facebook is a new group Friends Who Like Massachusetts Chess Association that will now be used to report MA non-MACA chess news.   It needs to be promoted to get a wider readership.

Publications: N. Smolensky reported the next issue of Chess Horizons is targeted to be published by mid-summer.  A MailChimp e-mail went out indicating that the online version of the last Chess Horizons was ready.


Prison Chess: S. Frymer reported that 11,500 magazine copies so far have been mailed.


LMCF: S. Frymer reported that East Bridgewater Junior High School received 40 chess sets and 40 magazines.   The School’s Chess Club sent a beautiful hand-drawn thank-you card in response (it will be published on MACA’s Facebook page).


Old Business: There was discussion about MOTION 416-4 from the April Board Meeting, moved to authorize $100/month to be spent to store potentially useful materials from Stephen Dann’s warehouse, such as ­Chess Horizons back issues and old tournament scores, in a new location by the end of June so that they do not get discarded.  It was agreed that S. Frymer would contact him. 


New Business:          (a) * * MOTION (616-1) made by N. Smolensky and seconded by R. Messenger to authorize that $500 be spent to defray expenses for Ryan Wang to travel to the 2016 World Youth Tournament.  It was pointed out this $500 expenditure had already been voted into the Budget, and that $1500 of discretionary funding is available for other players to other events should they request stipends and the Board approves them.  The VOTE was taken; the MOTION passed UNANIMOUSLY. * *
                                    (b) * * MOTION (616-2) made by R. Messenger and seconded by N. Smolensky to authorize that up to $150/year be spent toward the expense of a P.O. Box to be used as MACA’s official address.  The VOTE was taken; the MOTION passed UNANIMOUSLY. * *   N. Sterling will check whether a P.O. Box may be used in the Annual Report to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


President N. Smolensky adjourned the June Board Meeting at 4:13 PM.   The date, time, and place of the July Board Meeting were set at 7/31/16 at 2:00 PM at the Panera Bread at Fresh Pond Mall in Cambridge.


                                                                        Respectfully submitted,




                                                                        Nicholas Sterling, Clerk