Jeff Roland CJA Bio

Jeffrey Roland of Boise, Idaho, was recently elected Interim Vice President for Chess Journalists of America (CJA), filling a vacant position on the CJA Board until the upcoming elections at the 2013 U.S. Open in Madison, Wisconsin. He is currently the editor of Northwest Chess magazine and President of the Idaho Chess Association.

CJA VP Jeff Roland
VP Jeff Roland

Jeff played his first chess tournament at the age of 17 in 1980. Shortly thereafter, his career as a chess journalist began when he prepared a bulletin for the 1981 Boise State University Invitational. He bought a new typewriter for the purpose of typing each of the games from the October 1981 Boise Open, when he meticulously typed every game of every player in English Descriptive notation in order to save them for posterity.

As a result, ICA President John Letterman asked Jeff to serve as contributing editor to the first few issues of the new state publication, Idaho Chess News, in 1982. He soon became the main editor and remained in that position until 1989. Additionally, he edited and published a special Annual issue in 1999. Jeff was a protégée of well known chess player and organizer, Dick Vandenberg, who was himself a Regional Vice President of the U. S. Chess Federation and long time tournament director of Correspondence Chess League of America. Mr. Roland was elected president of ICA for the first time in 1984 and has served multiple terms over the years. His present term expires in March, 2015.

Jeff recently completed a project to scan all of the old Idaho Chess Bulletins from the 1950s and 60s. He initiated the first ICA web site in 1999 and still maintains the current site today. He has remained an energetic catalyst for preserving Idaho’s rich chess history and presently holds the papers of Dick Vandenberg as well as of former Idaho state champion Glen Buckendorf, who was the strongest player in Idaho for many years. Both are now deceased but, thanks to Jeff, their results and activities can be researched and enjoyed forever.

“Writing down and documenting tournament results, games and personalities so that they are available to future generations is what has motivated me to volunteer as an organizer and officer,” Roland said. “This urge is entwined in my being and continues as a motivating force. The record needs to be preserved!”

At present, Jeff is a participant in the massive project to scan old issues of Northwest Chess, a regional publication that has been in circulation since November 1947. He is also retyping old Idaho publications into HTML so, for example, names can be searched online. In the process, obvious typos have been corrected to make the search process more meaningful. He hopes to remain in his current role as Northwest Chess editor for many years to come now that he has successfully climbed the learning curve of the Adobe InDesign software.

As a Board member of CJA, Jeff seeks to promote a spirit of record preservation, including an effort to collect game scores at all chess tournaments and the creation of an archive of CJA award winning articles and other examples of good writing to assist aspiring chess journalists. He believes that a formal back-up plan should be developed so that if USCF records become unavailable, as has happened in the past, there is a guarantee that the historical record will be maintained.

“Everything we do today is the history of tomorrow,” Jeff said. “We, as journalists, have a responsibility to maintain an accurate account and not modify or interpret the historical record through a political filter. It is critical that CJA not become a political organization.”

Jeff anticipates working with Interim President Frank Niro, a good friend whom he has worked with on other projects such as the reunification of Idaho with Washington and Oregon into NWC, the publication of Northwest Chess magazine online in both black & white and color editions, and as co-tournament directors at various chess tournaments including the 2011 Portland Centennial. They have already made a commitment to work together to assist in the cataloguing of the USCF library in Crossville, Tennessee, to transition the CJA web site in support of education and research, and to develop a Strategic Plan for the organization in order to position CJA for the future.

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