|This article was originally printed in New York's Empire Chess earlier in 1999. It was reprinted in The Chess Journalist, Vol. XXVIII, No. 3, Consecutive No. 93, September 1999. One-time only publication rights have been obtained from the contributor. All other rights are hereby assigned to the author. Articles do not necessarily represent the opinions of the CJA, its offices or members. Copyright 1999 by the Chess Journalists of America.|
by Bill Townsend
Have you seen the New York State Chess Association web site? Wow! It's got a list of the top 50 New York players, a list of upcoming tournaments, results from recent events, hundreds of games to download, biographies of past state champions, a list of chess clubs throughout the state and ...
Okay, I'm lying. There is not NYSCA web site.
Well, I wondered, why not? This led me to a pretty lengthy exploration of chess sites on the Web. Dang it all, there sure are a lot of them. I mainly focused on the websites of other state associations. While I was searching, I had a couple of goals: to see what was desirable in a website, and to see just how useful the sites were. Before I present my data (a list of the sites I looked at), I'd like to give you the conclusions I reached.
First of all, it is obvious that a state association website is not necessary. As well as New York, neither Pennsylvania, Florida, Washington nor Louisiana have them. And it's also apparent that a state can have a killer magazine without having much of a website -- consider New Jersey and Illinois. It should be obvious that a state can have a thriving chess culture without being represented on the Web. For example, I've heard good things recently about chess in Arizona, but they barely have a presence on the Web at all.
I've recently heard a couple of people expressing the opinion that the Internet is a craze, like the hula-hoop. This doesn't seem like a terribly informed opinion. The Web is a very powerful communication tool with many applications, and I think that it is now a permanent part of modern life.
This being said, I think that people also tend to overestimate the power of the Internet. In some ways, it is a craze. There are many chess sites that look as if they were set up with great fanfare some time in the past, and then totally ignored. Their list of "coming events" happened a year ago or more. Obviously, once they had some sort of Web presence, the people who set it up lost interest. Perhaps they didn't find it useful, or maybe they simply didn't know what to do with it.
It should not be forgotten that a Web page is nothing more than an electronic bulletin board, or an e-mail newsletter. If you have no use for a newsletter, then a Web page will probably not be that useful either.
When it comes to quality chess Web sites, small is beautiful. The best Web sites cover a small area, or follow the work of one or two tournament directors or promoters. And it's also obvious that the best Web sites are a labor of love, created by just one person.
So, without further delay, here is the list of state association Web sites. Of course, I may have missed one or two, and my own prejudices are obvious. I like Web sites with an historical focus and games to download. So shoot me.
Alabama: The Alabama Chess Federation as a very simple page. They have listings of upcoming events and results of recent tourneys, but no games. http://www.cis.uab.edu/info/faculty/sloan/ACF/
Alaska: Up in the frozen north, there is an Alaska Chess Page.
Arizona: The main link for the Arizona State Chess Federation is http://www.no-outlet.com/
This site seems to be just getting of the ground so you might want to see the link for the Southern Arizona Chess Association, which was fairly nice. It has links to local clubs and tournament results, but no games to download. A little indication of the ever-changing nature of the Web: in between the first and second versions of this article this site moved and had a major upgrade. http://www.sazchess.org/
Arkansas: This Web page is about as simple as you can get, but it does what it's supposed to. http://home.earthlink.net/~cniggel/index.html
California: The Golden State is so big that the USCF has officially divided it in two. "CalChess" is the Northern California affiliate. Information on chess clubs, upcoming events, and a large part of their quarterly magazine The California Chess Journal is available online. Naturally, this includes a fair amount of games, but they are in (sigh) text format. This is one of the bigger state Web sites. http://calchess.webjump.com/
The official site of the SCCF (Southern California Chess Federation) is not nearly so large. Their magazine is called Rank & File, but no samples are available online. [Ed Note: a sample is now available on-line at http://www.members.tripod.com/rfeditor]. http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Field/8184
Colorado: The Colorado Chess Informant, the magazine of the Colorado State Chess Association has a big ol' site with lots of links. They also have a pretty complete list of tournament crosstables. There's some good news and some bad news here. The good news is that they have a whole lot of games from local tournaments you can download. The sort-of bad news is that many of these games are played by sub-1500 players. Unfortunately, the really bad news is that these games are in HTML format, not PGN or Chessbase, so you have to convert them to PGN by hand, a laborious process. Groan. Who but me would bother. [The proliferation of specialized and proprietary formats is certainly a nuisance (You have version 7? Sorry, it can't read version 8.) I don't like downloading anything but a clean ASCII text file. An interesting subject for another article. -- ed] This complaint aside, this is one of the best state sites on the Web, and you can get a real feel for what the local chess scene is like in Colorado. http://www.colorado-chess.com/
Connecticut: The Connecticut State Chess Association Web site seems be fairly new. It is fairly basic, with a list of officers, coming events, etc. http://pages.cthome.net/chessfinders/Csca.htm
Of much more interest, from the news/history point of view, is Rob Roy's CountChess site. He has an online newsletter, too. http://www.geocities.com/~robroy54/conn.htm
District of Columbia: D.C. has not chess Web site, but there is the U.S. Chess Center, which is headquartered there. http://www.chessctr.org/
Georgia: The Georgia Chess Association newsletter has a Web site, but it's not updated very often. The latest news there involved the 1998 Georgia State Championship, played about a year ago. However, the state association Web site as a list of upcoming tournaments, etc. http://pw1.netcom.com/~m.a.rome/gca.html
Hawaii: The Hawaii Chess Federation, which hosted the 1998 U.S. Open, has probably the most technically impressive of all the State Web pages. It looks like it was put together by a professional eb page designer, something that few of the other states can claim. However, for all its bells and whistles, there is not that much information there. Furthermore, some of the bells and whistles make my Web browser go bonkers. There are no games to download, boo hoo. http://members.xoom.com/hawaiichess/
Idaho: The Idaho chess Web site is called Treasure Valley Chess, and I believe it's the name of their state magazine, too. Issues are available online, which is always nice. http://home.rmci.net/tvchess/
Illinois: The Illinois Chess Association Web site is no great shakes (no games, no crosstables) but their state magazine, the Illinois Chess Bulletin, is excellent. They sent me a free magazine, and I was so impressed that I subscribed. This seems like an excellent way for state magazines to increase their out-of-state subscriber base (hint, hint). http://www.64.com/ica/
Indiana: The Indiana State Web Site is a bare-bones entry level page, but at least they have some sort of Web presence. http://www.concentric.net/~Joepye/isca
Iowa: The Iowa State Chess Association Web site is fairly low-level, but they do have a list of state champions that goes back to 1900. http://mum.edu/IASCA/
However, there's plenty of information on Iowa chess at Iowa master Mark
Willey's page. http://www.clinton.net/~mewilley/chess.html
Maine: The site of the Maine Chess Association is pretty simple, but they have some interesting ideas for promoting chess in that state. http://mainetoday.koz.com/maine/mca
Maryland: The Maryland Chess Web site seems nice, but it does not
appear to have been updated recently. http://www.serve.com/mdchess.htm
Massachusetts: MACA, the Massachusetts Chess Association, is the home of the New England Chess Archive, a huge database of games played by New England masters. There are also an impressive number of crosstables and links to chess clubs in Massachusetts. Their state magazine is Chess Horizons, one of the best of the state publications. http://www.masschess.org/index.htm
By the way, there are a couple of impressive Web sites for clubs in the Boston area. There is the Metro West Chess Club, http://www.metrowestchess.org/
And the Boylston Chess Club, which has a large number of club games available for download, http://world.std.com/~boylston
The Western Mass. Chess Association Web page is not as ambitious as their competitors'. http://www.the-spa.com/chess/
Michigan: The Michigan Chess Association has one of the better state chess Web pages. They have an online magazine with games, results and articles. http://www.michess.org/
There is also the Lake Superior Chess Association which concerns itself with chess activities on Michigan's upper peninsula. They have a newsletter with results and games. http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/2951/
Minnesota: The Minnesota State Chess Association site is loaded with all sorts of interesting graphics: flying words, creeping banner text, and so on. Frankly, this stuff drives me crazy. Their online magazine is Northern Chess News. It seems to be strictly results, club news and coming events, no games or articles. http://www.rocs-egg.com/mnchess/
Missouri: This site is attractive, but fairly low level and hasn't been updated in nine months. http://widgetware.com/MOChess/
Nebraska: The Nebraska Chess Homepage of Jim Jirousek has an amazing wealth of information on the history of Nebraska chess. and Midwest chess in general. He has biographies of local players, along with samples of their games. A wonderful site for a history buff like me; I even sent Mr. Jirousek rapturous e-mail after I discovered it. The page mainly focuses on chess in the Omaha area, but the U.S. Open was there twice, in 1949 and 1959. http://www.huntel.net/jjirous/jjirous.htm
The official Nebraska site is http://www.tssi.com/nsca/
New Hampshire: When I last saw it, the New Hampshire State Chess
Association was a rather sleepy affair, and now it seems to have disappeared
completely. Its old address: http://www.concentric.net/~igcray/NHCA.html
New Jersey: The New Jersey State Chess Federation Web site is pretty basic, but their state magazine, Atlantic Chess News, is one of the best there is. http://www.websong.com/njscf/
New Mexico: New Mexico has a pretty impressive page. Their state magazine is The Desert Knight, most of which is available online. There are crosstables and games from the last three years available to download. http://www.concentric.net/~williams/NMCO/index.html
North Carolina: The North Carolina Chess Association Web page is low grade, but functional. It doesn't seem to be updated very regularly, though. http://www.ncchess.org/
North Dakota: The North Dakota chess site is attractive, but
something of a mess. There seems to be little information there and I found a
number of links that simply didn't work. Also, there are those annoying
Geocities pop-ups ...
Ohio: The Ohio Chess Association Web site is okay, I guess. No games, darn it all. http://www.owu.edu/~tagreen/OCA/oca.htm
South Carolina: The South Carolina Chess Association has a cool home page. There are crosstables, an extensive article on chess history, and more. http://www.scchess.org/
The Charleston Chess Club has an impressive list of tournament crosstables,
including nearly every event run in the area in the last three decades. No
games, however, and their chess club meets in a McDonalds (!?)
South Dakota: Considering its low population, South Dakota has a pretty impressive home page, and also an archive of their state magazine, the SDCA Bulletin. Many, many games but most are in text format. http://www.sdchess.org/
Tennessee: The Web site for the Tennessee Chess Association is relatively new, and it looks like they are still adding links to it. There is a fairly large historical selection, but no games. http://tnchess.org/
The Web site for the Nashville Chess Center has a sizable home page. They have some game scores but good luck trying to make sense of them, since you can't even download them in text format. http://darkstar.dickson.net/ncc/
Texas: The Texas Chess Association is everything that a Web page
should be and they have an extensive library of recent Texas games you can
The Houston Chess Club has a pretty cool site as well. http://www.nf3.com/hcm/
Utah: This requires a bit of an explanation. I don't believe that Utah has a chess site, per se, but there is something called Utah Chess Online, which seems to be a site where you can post chess news yourself. They seem to have a page for every state in the union with links to the state home page, if there is one. While this is a fine idea, in practice it doesn't work so well. Apparently the submissions are by the viewers (you and me), but the quality is inconsistent and the quantity is sparse. Right now there is one posting about an event in Kentucky ... and that seems to be about it. Can be useful in finding links to state home pages, but sometimes the links are wrong. For instance, click on the state site for New York and you will be sent to the University of Buffalo Chess Club Web site. Nice try, guys. http://www.xmission.com/~vote/utah.htm
Virginia: The Virginia Chess Federation site is impressive, with lots of links and a good deal of history. http://www.vachess.org/
The Arlington Chess Club has a cool site as well, and they had Garry Kasparov there for a simul in 1997. http://www.wizard.net/~matkins/
West Virginia: The West Virginia Chess Association Web page is one of my very favorites. They have an almost complete history of their state championships, going back to its beginnings in the 1930's. Everything is in text, but nobody's perfect. Very carefully researches, with anecdotes and many annotated games. http://www.msys.net/tlabue/wvca.html
Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Chess page is crude, but effective. Basic
info is there and some tournament results, but no games.
Wyoming: The Wyoming Chess Association seems to be very closely associated with the Colorado Chess Association, and their Web page seems to be merely an addition to the latter's. http://members.aol.com/DDDJon/wyoming-chess.html
[This article originally appeared in New York's Empire Chess earlier this year. We hope to publish the second part, concerning other chess Web sites, in the next issue. Note that the editor makes no guarantees as to the accessibility of any of these Web sites. An old typesetter's adage says "Follow the spec even if it flies out the window." -- John Hillery, ed]
[For this on-line version I've checked the links and added comments concerning the links. For additional information, check links pages at some of these sites. The Colorado site appears to have an extensive listing. -- J. Franklin Campbell, Webmaster Nov. 1999]