Cooperative Effort Leads to New ICA Committees
- Created on Wednesday, 09 December 2009 15:36
- Written by Tom Sprandel
Joint efforts by dedicated people from the Illinois Chess Association and CoChess led to the establishment on November 11th of two new standing committees in the ICA. The Youth Committee will focus on building youth chess in the state. The Bid Committee will manage the procurement of bids and awarding of contracts for ICA events, both youth and adult.
The two new committees are the result of recommendations from two temporary task forces set up by the two groups in early September.
Jerry Neugarten has agreed to chair the Youth Committee, which is charged with implementing the recommendations of a Youth Task Force chaired by Mike Zacate. Jerry is a retired lawyer who has been active in community-based scholastic chess in Highland Park and has been facilitating the two task forces from which the new ICA committees have sprung. Jerry is originally from Chicago but moved east and was active for a dozen years in scholastic chess in New York. He moved back to Illinois three years ago and became active here.
Youth Committee members as of today are Brad Rosen, Mark Nibbelin, Paul Kash, Lou Fogel, Zack Fishman, Jay Dembsky, Phillip Yontez, Colley Kitson, Andi Rosen, Mike Cardinale, Betsy Dynako, Tom Panelas, Maret Thorpe, Joe Splinter and Steve Froehlich. Neugarten plans to add additional members in coming weeks.
Garrett Scott has agreed to chair the Bid Committee, which is charged with implementing comprehensive new bid guidelines, being completed this week. The guidelines were proposed by a Bid Task Force chaired by Jeff Wiewel. Kevin Bachler served as draftsman.
Garrett has impeccable chess credentials. He has been a chess coach for more than 21 years, was a founder of CoChess, and has served as both Downstate VP and President of the ICA. He has also been the chair of the USCF Scholastic Committee, a member of the USCF Executive Board, and an 18-year member of the Normal City Council.
As of today, Bid Committee members include Jeff Wiewel, Bill Brock, Blair Machaj, Chris Merli, Murrel Rhodes and Tom Doan. Additional members are expected to be added.
In August, we conducted a telephone survey of roughly 25 prominent members of the state’s youth chess community, most of whom had been active in the ICA or CoChess. The survey revealed broad support for the notion that the two organizations should try to work together in overhauling bid procedures and fostering new program development. A detailed summary of the survey was prepared and distributed to survey participants and others.
I then joined with Sandra Machaj, the president of CoChess, in inviting a number of people to a meeting in Oak Brook on September 5th during the Illinois Open. Attendees included officers and board members of ICA and CoChess and a number of others. There was consensus that we ought to explore working together and that the conclusions of the phone survey were a good place to start.
The group set up two temporary task forces, one to deal with developing new programs for youth chess and another to deal with bid procedures.
Task Force on Youth
This Task Force was asked to make specific proposals for building youth chess in the state. Mike Zacate agreed to chair this group, which also included Paul Raso, Paul Kash, Bill Barton, Jeff Wiewel, Kevin Bachler, Jerry Neugarten, Chris Merli and Colley Kitson. The task force completed its work and submitted a report at the ICA's Annual Meeting last November 1st.
- The report makes five recommendations:
- Increase communication on existing programs
- Increase uniformity and clarity of information about tournaments
- Work to reduce the costs of youth tournaments
- Establish a permanent Youth Committee and make the chair an elected officer of the ICA
- Establish endowment funds
The full content of that report is available on the ICA website at: http://il-chess.org/index.php?option=com_weblinks&view=category&id=42&Itemid=91
Task Force on Bidding Procedures
This Task Force was asked to formulate detailed guidelines for future bids for both youth and adult events. Among the issues to be addressed were conflicts of interest, and all agreed that the guidelines needed to be fair, permanent, and transparent. Jeff Wiewel agreed to chair this group, which also included Kevin Bachler, Maret Thorpe, Tom Doan, Glenn Panner, Tom Sprandel, Bill Barton, Blair Machaj, Jerry Neugarten, and Chris Merli. Bachler agreed to serve as a draftsman for the Task Force.
The debate in this Task Force proved to be lively. More than 250 emails were generated and comments were posted on an online version of the guidelines prepared and monitored by Bachler. An indexed version of those emails was also prepared and distributed to Task Force members. A draft of the guidelines was completed and recently sent to the two Boards of Directors for final review.
The development of youth chess and use of transparent, stable bid procedures will serve all chess players in Illinois. Children will have more opportunities to discover our wonderful game, to develop into club players, and perhaps even to become titled players. Good bid procedures will encourage organizers to submit bids and make it easier for both clubs and professional organizers to provide better events for everyone.
I am particularly pleased that so many people have come forward to participate in these efforts and am confident that they will bear fruit. My thanks to everyone who participated.
Tom Sprandel, President
Illinois Chess Association