Judges for Annual CJA Awards Program (2017)


Welcome to the judges page.  Many of our judges take time from their own busy lives and interesting projects to help us judge the Awards Program.  As a thank you for their help, we wanted to give them an opportunity to publicize their current work and projects.
-- Joshua Anderson, Awards Chairman and CJA President

For an announcement of the awards program for 2017 see: 2017 Chess Journalists of America Awards.

List of Judges:

 

Joshua Anderson
John Barroso
IM Tom Bartell
FM Matt Bengtson
J. Franklin Campbell
Mark Capron
Bethany Carson
Michael Ciamarra
Bill Cornwall
IM John Donaldson
Bill Feldman
Dr. Robert Ferguson
NM Erick Garcia

Howard Goldowsky
FM Dov Gorman
John Hartmann
Dan Heisman
Jim Hollingsworth
Randall Hough
Eric C. Johnson
FM Mike Klein
Al Lawrence
Myron and Rachel Lieberman
Dan Lucas

Melinda J. Matthews
Peter Minear
FM Rodion Rubenchik
David Sands
Phil Simpkins
GM Andy Soltis
Pete Tamburro
Edward Tassinari
Mark Taylor
Jennifer Vallens
Vanessa West

Joshua Anderson
Joshua Anderson

Joshua Anderson

Current President of the CJA and Coordinating Judge.  He has written for Chess Life (Calls for Submissions/Result reports) and Chess Life Online - http://www.uschess.org/content/view/11984/688/ "Dancing Around Chess at the Philadelphia Art Museum."

Joshua has taught classes/camps for Silver Knights/Shining Knights for almost 9 years and in that capacity taught thousands of students, several of whom have made top 100 lists.  He has also taught numerous private students, including two who have made top 100 lists and won state scholastic titles.   He is a Senior Tournament Director who has directed over 150 tournaments, including the Holly Heisman Memorial charity event for the last seven years.

He is currently involved with three projects for McFarland: researching the Byrne brothers, editing a volume about the Best of Chess Life, and contributing to a work on the 1958 Baltimore Colts.  Joshua lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his lovely and patient wife and small menagerie of 1 cat, 5 rabbits, 3 turtles, 1 bird, and some fish.

John Barroso
John Barroso

John Barroso

Statistics Professor, Pittsburgh Chess Club Board of Directors, En Passant Newsletter Editor, former Amateur Photographer. 

Matthew Bengtson
FM Matthew Bengtson
(photo by Stacey Fitzlpatrick)

FM Matthew Bengtson

FM Matthew Bengtson, a retired FIDE master, wrote numerous articles for Chess Horizons, including a sprawling analysis over many pages of a minor-piece endgame that won a CJA award for Best Analysis. As a teacher and coach he has taught in the Masters of the 21st Century program, and in summer camps in the Philadelphia area. As a private coach, has worked with some talented junior players. Recently highlighted on My Best Move column, Mr. Bengtson is a renowned concert pianist who has performed internationally, including two appearances at the US Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis. He is an Assistant Professor of Piano Literature at the University of Michigan.

J. Franklin Campbell, CJA Webmaster
J. Franklin Campbell

J. Franklin Campbell

Created the CJA Web Site in 1999 and has been the only webmaster of this site since then.

Member of CJA starting in 1987.

Wrote the column "The Campbell Report" for the APCT News Bulletin (American Postal Chess Tournaments magazine) for 18 years. Many of the columns can be seen at http://jfcampbell.us/CampbellReport/apctcol/apct.htm.

Maintained a personal correspondence chess web site for many years. See: http://jfcampbell.us/CampbellReport.

Numerous other articles and photos have been published.

Mark Capron
Mark Capron

Mark Capron

When I was about 5 years old I was at my Grandmother’s house and my Uncle had a game of chess set up in the basement.  I asked him to show me how to play.  He said it was too complicated for me.  I pestered and pestered him the rest of the day.  Finally he gave in, but said that he was only going to show me one time how the pieces moved and if I forgot after that it was my own fault.  I am not sure if I really remembered all the moves or he helped some, but from then on the game became a lifelong passion.  Soon after I received as a birthday present my first two books on Chess: Lasker’s Manual of Chess and Mason’s Art of Chess.  That was it, I was hooked on Chess Literature.  I began collecting any and all books, articles, etc. I have a Chess Library of about 1000 volumes (now I just need the time to read them all).  About 15 years ago I took over as the editor of the Iowa Chess News En Passant and have been doing it ever since.  The En Passant has won a few CJA Awards over the years.  I have had articles in Chess Life, Chess Life Online and one of my correspondence games appeared in a book called Thinkers’ Chess by Stephan Gerzadowicz.  I served as judge in the CJA Awards about 5 years ago and am very happy to be doing it again.

Bethany Carson
Bethany Carson

Bethany Carson

Bethany Carson is the current CJA Webmaster. She also serves as webmaster for the Iowa State Chess Association. She is a USCF TD, an IASCA board member, an administrator at the Free Internet Chess Server and a lifelong chess player.

Carson works as news editor for the Clarksville Star and Butler County Tribune-Journal. In her spare time she enjoys blogging, running, Bible study, photography, music, travelling, practicing the Sicilian Dragon, and spending time with family and friends.

Michael Ciamarra
Michael Ciamarra

Michael Ciamarra

Michael Ciamarra is a FIDE Instructor and United States Chess Federation certified Advanced Coach.  He is the chess columnist for The Birmingham News, Huntsville Times, and Mobile Press Register (AL.COM).  He writes on international and local events, annotates games, reviews books and publishes chess puzzles.

Michael mentors and coaches chess teachers on best practices, chess technique and how to build community coalitions for scholastic chess. Michael serves as chess coach to older, low vision and blind Veterans in a volunteer program he developed for the United States Veterans Medical Center called Brain Games For Healthy Living – Checkmating Alzheimer’s.

He developed the partnership between the Alabama Chess Federation and the Alabama State Department of Education. This unique collaboration resulted in one of the first of its kind in the nation – a fully funded, statewide Chess in the Schools Initiative.

Professionally he works on legislative matters for the State of Alabama. He has six children and lives in Trussville, Alabama, where he spends many a quiet evening working through countless endgame studies!

Bill Cornwall
Bill Cornwall

Bill Cornwall

CHESSPLAYER: Bill began playing chess at age eight. By 1972, he had become a Master. His accolades include: Florida State Champion, U.S. Army Championship co-winner, Philadelphia Open Champion, Washington D.C. Champion, World Open Expert Champion, U.S. Expert Champion, U.S. Open Expert Champion, and National Open Expert Champion. TEACHER: After having served as a U.S. Army Specialist teacher (Avionics Repair), he started teaching chess. About 30 years ago, he created Cornwall Chess Services (CCS) providing training to over a dozen schools. His students' accolades included: U.S. Open Junior Champion, U.S. Elementary Champion (team and individual), #1 rated in U.S. by age, representative of the U.S at World Youth Championships, and dozens of Florida Scholastic titles. Since 2014, Bill has been helping the National Scholastic Chess Foundation to run seminars training 100s of teachers to teach chess. WRITER: Bill first took an interest in writing when he was the editor of his High School's literary magazine. As an adult, he created and edited the Florida State chess magazine, Checkmate! His Tribune network's "Chess: A Knight's Tour" column began appearing in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel in 1993 and in the Los Angeles Times in 2010. Amongst its many CJA certificates is "The Best Newspaper Chess Column" in the U.S.

Dr. Robert Ferguson
Dr. Robert Ferguson

Dr. Robert Ferguson

A former member of the USCF Executive Board and Scholastic Council, Bob has been organizing and running chess clubs and tournaments for nearly 50 years. He is the founder of the Castle Chess Camp, the American Chess School, and the USA Junior Chess Olympics. He is also one of the members of editorial board for the Journal of Chess Research.

Ferguson has written a number of chess articles and served as editor for Bradford Chess and the Scholastic Update. He is perhaps best known for his more than seven years of research on the educational benefits of chess and his articles published on numerous websites, as well as a variety of magazines and books. Dr. Tim Redman awarded Bob the accolade of “Dean of Chess and Education” in 2002 and acknowledged him as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the educational benefits of chess.

In addition, Dr. Ferguson served as the Pennsylvania State Scholastic Director from 1989 through 2000 and has served as chief or assistant TD at the Pennsylvania state scholastic championships and some national events. 

Howard Goldowsky
Howard Goldowsky

Howard Goldowsky

"Howard Goldowsky has been writing long-form profiles of chess players and chess personalities for 20 years. His first major piece was a profile of Mig Greengard for the once great and now defunct Chess Cafe website. His latest major piece, in 2014, was "How to Catch a Chess Cheater," a profile of IM and Computer Science Professor Ken Regan, for Chess Life. Goldowsky's work from the first decade of his writing career has been collected in Engaging Pieces (Daowood & Brighton, 2007), and in 2010 Goldowsky edited the chess short story anthology Masters of Technique (Mongoose Press). The title of his next chess book will be something like Man Over Board: Enjoying Chess with the Fish. "

John Hartmann
John Hartmann

John Hartmann

John Hartmann is Chess Life’s review columnist and has also written for the British Chess Magazine. He is a chess teacher and organizer in Omaha, Nebraska, where he also serves as the President of the Nebraska State Chess Association. John moonlights as a stay-at-home dad to an adorable toddler.

Jim Hollingsworth
Jim Hollingsworth

Jim Hollingsworth

Jim directed his first tournament while in the Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1978. He achieved an expert rating (2004) while serving in Korea in 1988 ("Once an expert, always an expert!" L. Evans). He played in the All Army Chess Championship five times and made the All Army Chess Team once. After retiring he used the remainder of his G.I. Bill benefits to attend the Fort Worth Art Institute and learn webdesign. Since it was an art school, he was required to take art courses and was quickly surprised to discover he enjoys art! Two of his art works are copyrighted. His living room has much of his art displayed, including some 30" by 40" oil on canvas works. For every art class, students displayed their work and both students and instructors critiqued all in a round robin forum. Jim calls it both a humbling and highly educational experience. Jim also excelled in photography and courses on evaluating art. He still directs chess tournaments and creates websites in his home.

Randall Hough
Randall Hough

Randall Hough

Former Master, USCF Executive Board six years, CJA Secretary/Treasurer 1996-2015, two-time prize winner.

Eric C. Johnson
Eric C. Johnson

Eric C. Johnson

Eric C. Johnson has played or been involved in chess for over 35 years. He first began playing in US Chess Federation-rated tournaments in 1980. His peak rating of 2227 makes him a USCF National Master. Johnson worked for the US Chess Federation as an Assistant Director of National Events from 1994 to 1999. He is the organizer and one of the founding members of the Allentown Center City Chess Club. He holds a Master's Degree in Psychology from Lehigh University.

FM Mike Klein
FM Mike Klein

FM Mike Klein

FM Mike Klein is a two-time Chess Journalist of the Year. He currently works as the Director of Content for Chess.com and ChessKid.com, recording instructional videos and providing on-site tournament report. He also occasionally contributes to Chess Life. He has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was a past national scholastic champion. He coached chess full time for 15 years and he currently aspires to be the world number one in "3-checks."

Myron and Rachel Lieberman 2015
Myron and Rachel Lieberman

Myron and Rachel Lieberman

Myron was on the USCF Policy Board from 1978-1987 holding the positions of Secretary, Treasurer and Vice President. He is currently the Chair of the US Chess Outreach Committee. He is a National Tournament Director, International Arbiter, chess organizer, promoter and teacher. He was President of the Arizona Chess Association for over 20 years.  He has been a writer and editor for a number of chess publications and is a columnist for a local music publication.

Rachel was on the USCF Executive Board as Secretary from 1993 to 1999 and is the founder and project leader for the US Chess Outreach Committee's CAPA (Chess as a Positive Alternative) project. Both were officers of the Tempe Chess Club for over 40 years. They are both US Chess Delegates at Large and currently do what they can to involve today's youth with chess and firmly believe that chess is a good solution to many of the ills of today's society.

Daniel Lucas
Daniel Lucas

Daniel Lucas
US Chess Director of Publications; Editor, Chess Life

Dan has served as the Director of Publications for the US Chess Federation since 2005. His main job duty is editing Chess Life magazine, which is celebrating its 70th year as a publication in 2016. As Director of Publications, he also oversees Chess Life for Kids and a laundry list of in-house publications while managing a telecommuting staff that ranges from California to the United Kingdom.

Melinda Matthews
Melinda Matthews

Melinda Matthews

Melinda J. Matthews joined US Chess as its Assistant Editor in April 2017. She has been a writer and blogger for US Chess since 2010, when she began chronicling her son's scholastic chess adventures for Chess Life Online. Her work earned several Best of CLO wins for what 2011's judging article called her “personal and lyrical accounts” of their chess trips. Melinda also contributed the feature story and sidebar articles for Chess Life's 2013 SuperNationals coverage. She holds a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Trinity University (San Antonio, TX) and a master's degree in urban and regional planning from The George Washington University (Washington, DC).

David Sands

David R. Sands is foreign news editor and chess columnist at The Washington Times, having worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times. He has covered numerous beats, including international trade, labor banking, politics and Capitol Hill, and spent eight years as senior diplomatic correspondent. He has authored The Times' weekly chess column since 1993. He is also senior writer for Washington GolfStyles, a monthly publication covering the Mid-Atlantic golf scene.

Phil Simpkins

Phil Simpkins is a retired attorney and arbitrator. Currently, he runs New Castle Chess, a local chess club in Historic New Castle, DE. In 2003, he was awarded Organizer of the Year by US Chess. Phil is a life member of both US Chess and DE Chess, a USCF Local Tournament Director, and has served as the Tournament Clearinghouse for DE since 2002. He helped create the Delaware Chess Association in 1985, and served as its president from 2002-2005. Phil is also responsible for creating the DE chess website, writing and editing articles, as well as analyzing games for the DE Chess Journal. Additionally, Phil was the legislation editor, editor-in-chief and editor emeritus of "Law Forum." Today, he sits on two US Chess governance committees (Accessibility and Special Needs, and States).

Peter Tamburro
Peter Tamburro

Peter Tamburro

A past president of the CJA and Journalist of the Year, Pete Tamburro has won over 20 CJA awards in over 10 different categories. He has written for Chess Life since 1973,  Chess Life (for) Kids since its inception in 2006 and British Chess Magazine for the last three years. He co-founded the Atlantic Chess News with Glenn Petersen in 1973 and is currently the editor of the ACN Annual. He has run a three times a week puzzle column at www.arcamax.com since 2006 and runs a message board on the openings on the NJSCF website.

He has also had published two books, Learn Chess from the Greats (Dover, 2000) and Openings for Amateurs (Mongoose, 2014). He also was the editor of the Kasparov Chess Foundation’s multi-volume Teaching Chess Step by Step which was directed toward elementary school teachers for their programs. He has also published one on one interviews with Tal, Karpov and Kasparov as well as other notable chess players and authors. His interview with Frank Brady on Fischer and other reminiscences, originally published in the September 1999 issue of The Chess Journalist, is available on the CJA site (see Interview: Frank Brady). Pete is a retired teacher of US history and has been published on his local history work in a book and magazines. He has three sons of whom he is quite proud and lives in Morristown, NJ.

Edward Tassinari

I teach at the New York State Maritime College in Fort Schuyler, Bronx, New York. I was a rated expert when I last played USCF events (1998), and I won the CJA Award for best historical article in the same year, I believe. It was entitled Henry Chadwick, Father of Baseball, Friend of Chess

Jennifer Vallens
Jennifer Vallens

Jennifer Vallens

Jennifer Vallens is the founder of OFF da ROOK Entertainment www.offdarook.com. She is a Level 1 US Chess certified coach and runs scholastic tournaments and organizes special chess events. Jennifer represents GM Timur Gareyev and organized the Las Vegas event where he set the new Guinness World Record for blindfold chess.

Jennifer has written articles for ChessBase, Chess Life and New In Chess magazine. She has served as a judge for US Chess “Best Of” for three years and is a longstanding board member of the Karpov International Chess School.

Jennifer is an avid Yoga practitioner and certified Yoga instructor. She enjoys hiking and spending quality time with her family.


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This Page Last Updated on 7 June 2017
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