Constitution and Bylaws of the
Chess Journalists of America
Originally adopted August 11th, 1980
as amended August 12th, 1993
as amended August 12th, 2006
- To encourage chess journalists, writers, editors, and publishers to
exchange information and ideas for their mutual benefit;
- to promote the highest standards of ethics in chess journalism;
- to represent United States chess journalists in appropriate national and
- to influence policies affecting the promotion of chess;
- for each and all of the purposes, an association is formed pursuant to
ARTICLE I - NAME
The name of the association shall be Chess Journalists of America,
ARTICLE II - MEMBERS
There are four types of membership. Regular Members and Honorary Members, who
may vote and are responsible for the approval of Bylaws, the election
of officers, and the formulation of association policies; Associate
Members and Foreign Members who are invited to participate in all association
activities but may not vote or hold office. All members are entitled
to receive the Association's official publication and to participate
in the association's annual awards program. All members pledge to uphold
the purposes and ideals of the association and to abide by its Code
Regular Membership: Any United States citizen or resident
who is active in chess in a professional or quasiprofessional capacity
as a journalist, writer, editor, or publisher may become a Regular
Member upon payment of dues as established by the Executive Board
and approved by the membership at an Annual Business Meeting for each
year or membership. The writing or publishing of reports as a function
of elected or appointed office, or the writing or publishing of brief
tournament reports by a tournament organizer, shall not in itself
be sufficient qualification for Regular Membership. Questionable cases
shall be decided by the Executive Committee, subject to appeal to
the Annual Meeting.
Foreign Membership: Any practicing chess journalist who is not a resident
of the United States may become a Foreign Member upon payment of dues
at the rate of 1.5 times the dues for Regular Membership for each
year of membership. Foreign Members may not hold office and may not
Associate Membership: Any resident of the United States may become an
Associate Member of the CJA upon payment of the Regular Membership
dues per year of membership. Associate Members may not hold office
and may not vote.
Honorary Membership: (A) Honorary Members are awarded Life membership
in the CJA. (B) The Chess Journalist of the Year is awarded an Honorary
Membership unless two members of the Executive Board oppose such awarding.
(C) Honorary Members are nominated by a unanimous vote of the Executive
Board (with no abstentions save an Executive Board member must abstain
if being nominated). The nomination is then presented to the membership
at the Annual Meeting, at which the candidate must receive an 80%
approval vote of those voting. (D) Honorary members are not required
to pay dues, but have all other rights and obligations of Regular
Membership, including the right to hold office. (E) Honorary Membership
is non-revocable; therefore, a candidate must have demonstrated, throughout
a significantly long career in chess journalism, adherence to the
highest ideals of journalistic ethics. (F) No more than two Honorary
Members shall be selected in any year.
ARTICLE III - OFFICERS
Any Regular or Honorary Member may hold any office. The officers are President,
Vice-President, Secretary- Treasurer, Editor of the official publication,
and the Webmaster, who together constitute the Executive Board with
the President as chairman. The Editor is appointed by the President
to a term of unspecified length. The other Officers shall be elected
by the voting membership to concurrent two-year terms. Officers individually
and the Executive Board as a group are subject to the authority of the
President: The President calls and presides at meetings of
the membership and of the Executive Board and is responsible for the
overall operation of the association in accordance with these By-Laws
and the will of the membership. As Chairman of the Executive Board,
the President reports its activities to the membership. The President
appoints the Editor and the Webmaster, subject to approval by a majority
of the remainder of the Executive Board. The President has one vote
on the Executive Board and a second vote to break ties.
Vice President: The Vice-President assumes the duties of the President
when the President is unable to serve. He has one vote on the Executive
Board, even in the President's absence.
Secretary/Treasurer: The Secretary-Treasurer keeps the association's
financial accounts, maintains its bank accounts, submits the annual
budget to the Executive Board and the member-ship, keeps the official
minutes of the Annual Meeting, keeps the official membership records,
and is responsible for renewal mailings, etc. The Secretary-Treasurer
has one vote on the Executive Board.
Editor: The Editor is responsible for the editing, production,
and distribution of the association's publication. The Editor has
one vote on the Executive Board.
Webmaster: The Webmaster shall be responsible for the setting
up and maintaining of the CJA webpage( s). Materials submitted by
members of the Executive Committee (such as minutes, general notices,
etc.) shall be posted in as timely a manner as possible. The Webmaster
must have demonstrated such abilities prior to assuming this position.
The Webmaster shall have one vote on the Executive Committee.
Executive Board: In addition to the other duties specified
in these By-laws, the Executive Board shall: (1) approve the Chairmen
of Permanent Committees named by the President; (2) select representatives
to appropriate bodies; (3) nominate Honorary Members; (4) rule on
questions of membership eligibility; (5) verify election results;
(6) review the annual budget; (7) prepare agendas for membership meetings;
and (8) resolve disputes among members.
ARTICLE IV - REMOVAL OF
An appointed officer (Webmaster, Editor, Chairs of Permanent Committee)
may be removed by a vote in favor of doing so by 2 of the 3 elected
Officers. Should this happen, it should not be considered malfeasance
in any manner.
If it is alleged that an elected or appointed officer has committed
gross malfeasance that may warrant his removal from office, a recall
petition shall adhere to the following requirements:
- The petition shall state full particulars.
- The petition must be approved/signed by at least 10 current CJA members.
- The petition shall include for each member listed in 2B the following: name, home
phone number, e-mail address, and postal address, so that any questions
of authenticity can quickly be handled.
- The Executive Board shall
appoint a chairman and at least two other members of a special Recall
Committee; the member submitting the petition has right of refusal for
the chairman’s appointment.
- The Chairman and each member of the
Recall Committee must satisfy at least one of the following: 1) have
been a CJA member for at least 5 years; 2.) be a current CJA Officer;
or 3.) be a current board member of the Cramer Committee/Chess Trust.
The Officer whose service is being questioned may not be a member of
the Recall Committee, nor may he vote on any matters dealing with the
- The most recent CJA mailing list, whether published in The Chess
Journalist or on the Web, shall serve as the basis for voting.
- The Recall Committee Chairman, along with the Elections Chairman
Committee or the Webmaster or their substitute appointee(s), shall establish
methods for voting, whether electronic or via mail.
- Once the Recall
petition is certified by the Executive Board and the Committee is appointed,
the named officer shall have 15 days to respond to the petition, and
his/her response must be used in all further mailings.
- The Petition
and response shall be sent to all members for voting purposes. Should
this occur within 30 days of the Annual Meeting, then the actual voting
will take place at the meeting. Otherwise, a mail and/or electronic
voting procedure shall be used.
- The Elections Committee shall establish
a means to ensure that the voting is done properly.
- Once a minimum
of 20 votes have been counted by the Chairman of the Elections Committee
or substitute, the results shall be published on the Web, with no method
of identifying which vote is from which member.
- A 2/3 plurality
of the votes cast is needed for the petition to be considered passed.
- If the Recall passes, then the Executive Board is responsible for
electing a replacement Officer, unless it is within 60 days of the Annual
Business Meeting. If this is the case, then the Officer may be replaced
by the Membership at the meeting.
- The recalled Officer may not be
reappointed to the Office just vacated due to the Petition.
- The Secretary/Treasurer may reimburse the Recall Committee for any reasonable
expenses, subject to limits set by the Executive Board.
ARTICLE V - SUCCESSION OF
If an Officer is unable to complete his term of office, those functions may
be assumed by the next Officer in line, in the descending order: President,
Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Editor, Webmaster; if an orderly
succession is not feasible, the Executive Board may, by majority vote,
appoint a Regular or Honorary Member to complete the unexpired term.
ARTICLE VI - ANNUAL MEETING
The membership shall meet once a year, in conjunction with the annual
United States Open Chess Championship, to conduct the formal business
of the association. A quorum shall consist of those members present
The Executive Board shall meet prior to the Annual Meeting to discuss
the budget, the agenda, and other matters it may wish to bring before
The President or another Officer shall arrange for meeting rooms and
all other needed facilities and shall announce, well in advance, the
annual meeting’s date, place, and preliminary agenda.
ARTICLE VII - PUBLICATION
The Association’s official publication shall be The Chess Journalist,
which shall be issued at least four times a year. The Chess Journalist
shall print the minutes of official meetings, either in full or in summary;
official notices to members; results of association elections; summaries
of committee reports; and other items of official business. The Chess
Journalist shall print annually a list of all current members’ names
and addresses; and in each issue, the names and addresses of Officers
and Committee Chairmen. The Editor is solely responsible for the editing,
production, and content of The Chess Journalist, except as specified
The Chess Journalist shall be available to non-members of the
Association at a price to be determined by the Executive Board.
ARTICLE VIII - AWARDS
The Association shall conduct an annual awards program to recognize
achievement in chess journalism. All matters pertaining to the conduct
of the program shall be the responsibility of the Awards Committee.
The President (with the Executive Board having the right to veto any
such appoint by a 2/3 vote) shall, considering the advice of the Awards
Committee Chair, appoint a “Chief Judge,” whose tasks, among others,
shall be to arrange for other CJA members to act as judges as needed,
to distribute the materials submitted to the various judges, to tally
the results and report them to the President/Executive Board, and to
arrange for the list of award winners to be submitted to the CJA Webmaster
as well as any other publications.
ARTICLE IX - ELECTIONS
An election of Officers shall be held every second year. Each candidate,
including incumbents, must be nominated by at least two Regular or Honorary
Members who are not themselves candidates. The deadline for receipt
of nominations shall be set by the Executive Board and published in
The Chess Journalist at least sixty days in advance of the deadline.
Nominations must be mailed to both the Secretary and Editor. The list
of candidates shall be printed in The Chess Journalist together
with the official mail ballot, voting instructions, the deadline for
receipt of the ballots, and a statement of no more than one hundred
words by each candidate. Write-in votes shall be allowed.
The Elections Committee shall establish necessary criteria for voting
electronically, in coordination with the Webmaster. For those who are
voting by US Mail, the instructions shall include:
“After marking your ballot, place it in an envelope, sign your
name on the envelope, print your name and address and the word BALLOT
on the face of the envelope, and send it to the Secretary. Do not place
anything else in the envelope. To be counted, your ballot must be received
by the specified date and the envelope must be signed with your name.
Envelopes containing ballots shall be held unopened by the Secretary,
who shall bring them or otherwise safely transmit them to the place
of the membership meeting at the time set by the Executive Board for
the counting of the ballots. At that time and place, and in public view,
the envelopes shall be unsealed and the ballots counted.
Voters using electronic voting shall submit their votes to both the
Elections Chair and the Webmaster, following the guide-lines provided
by those two.
Winners are determined by a majority or plurality of valid votes.
Upon verification of the vote totals by the Executive Board, the election
is officially certified and the Officers installed at the close of the
In an election year if, by the time of the annual membership meeting,
the mail ballot nomination and election system has failed to fill an
elective office, then the voting members (Regular and Honorary) present
at the annual membership meeting are empowered to nominate and elect
a candidate to fill that office.
ARTICLE X - COMMITTEES
Each Chair of a Permanent Committee shall determine the number of members
needed to carry out the duties of that committee. Members may be added
when necessary at the discretion of the Chair. A Committee may exist
as a Committee-of-one if deemed that no other members are necessary
at that time.
The duties of each committee are listed in the By- Laws.
There are five Permanent Committees, whose Chairs are appointed by
a majority vote of the Executive Board. In general, in order to prevent
the appearance of a conflict of interest, Chairs of Permanent Committees
should not be members of the Executive Board. Each Chair shall establish
that committee’s procedures, appoint its members, and report its activities
to the membership. Ad Hoc committees may be appointed by the Executive
Board or by the voting members in attendance at a membership meeting.
ARTICLE XI - AMENDMENTS
- If there are no contrary provisions in any Federal, State, or other
law applicable to the CJA, or in its Constitution or its By-Laws,
or in any special rules of order that may have been adopted, Robert’s
Rules of Order shall be the authority for all questions of procedures,
committee business, and all other CJA business. The President may
appoint a Parliamentarian at the Business Meeting, if needed. The
most current version shall be the authority.
- Changes/Amendments to this Constitution may be made by either of
two methods: after publishing such proposed changes in The Chess
Journalist and on the web, by a (i) 80% vote in favor by the entire
voting membership or (ii) by a 60% vote in favor at two consecutive
- Changes to these By-Laws may be enacted by a majority vote of those
members present at the membership meeting.
- Dues for regular memberships are set at $10 per
- No officer of this Organization shall profit monetarily
by his actions as an Officer. (This does not preclude
an officer acting as a Judge from keeping any
materials sent to him as part of the voting, or for the
Editor and/or Webmaster to be paid a stipend as set
by the Executive Board.) Any reasonable expenses incurred
by such officers [elected or appointed] acting on
behalf of the CJA may be reimbursed upon approval of
the remainder of the Executive Board.
- Committees duties
Bylaws: The Bylaws Committee considers revision of and
amendments to the Bylaws. The Committee’s recommendations and
any other proposals shall be offered for debate at membership
meetings and, if approved, printed in The Chess Journalist
for adoption or rejection by a majority of the ballots cast by
Regular or Honorary Members. The By-Laws Committee shall undertake
a review of the Constitution and By-Laws whenever deemed necessary.
No more than 5 years may elapse between reviews, even if no changes
Ethics: Allegations that a member has violated the Assoc-iation’s Code
of Ethics shall be investigated by the Ethics Committee, which
shall determine what action, if any, should be taken.
Awards: The Awards Committee is responsible for conducting
the Association’s annual awards program, establishing its categories,
selecting the judges, arranging the displays, filing its report
for publication in The Chess Journalist and elsewhere, and all
other matters pertaining to the Awards program.
Outreach: The Outreach Committee exists to foster communication
between the CJA and mainstream journalists, and to encourage mainstream
journalists to actively participate in CJA activities.
Elections: Elections Committee shall be in charge of any
and all elections. It shall establish any necessary criteria for
allowing electronic voting, in collaboration with the Webmaster.
Should the Secretary/Treasurer be a candidate for an election,
then the Chair of this committee shall be responsible for determining
a satisfactory person to receive the ballots and transmit same
to the Annual Meeting.
The old Constitution/bylaws are still available at: Old
The comparison between the old and new versions is still available
at Proposed Changes.