The following was replaced by vote
of the CJA membership on 1 November 2006

Constitution of the Chess Journalists of America

Adopted August 11th, 1980 as amended August 12th, 1993


  • 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 international bodies;
  • to influence policies affecting the promotion of chess;
  • for each and all of the purposes, an association is formed pursuant to these Bylaws.


The name of the association shall be Chess Journalists of America, abbreviated CJA.


There are four classes of membership. Regular Members and Honorary Members 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 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 associate's annual awards program.

All members pledge to uphold the purposes and ideals of the association and to abide by its Code of Ethics.

Regular Membership: Any United States citizen or resident who is active in chess in a professional or quasi-professional capacity as a journalist, writer, editor, or publisher may become a Regular Member upon payment of $10 dues 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 $15 dues for each year of membership. Foreign Members may not hold office and may not vote.

Associate Membership: Any resident of the United States may become an Associate Member of the CJA upon payment of $10 dues per year of membership. Associate Members may not hold office and may not vote.

Honorary Membership: Honorary Members are elected by unanimous vote of the Executive Committee, with no abstentions. Candidates for Honorary Membership must first be nominated by at least five Regular Members, not including Officers. Honorary Members are not required to pay dues, but have all other rights and obligations of Regular Membership, including the right to hold office. 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. No more than two Honorary Members shall be elected in any year.


Any Regular or Honorary Member may hold any office. The officers are President, Vice-President, Secretary/Treasurer, and the Editor, who together constitute the Executive Committee 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 Committee as a group are subject to the authority of the membership.

President: The President calls and presides at meetings of the membership and of the Executive Committee and is responsible for the overall operation of the association in accordance with these Bylaws and the will of the membership. As Chairman of the Executive Committee, the President reports its activities to the membership. The President appoints the Editor in the event of a vacancy. The President has one vote on the Executive Committee 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 Committee, 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 Committee and the membership, 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 Committee.

Editor: The Editor is responsible for the editing and production of the association's publication. The Editor has one vote on the Execute Committee.

Executive Committee: In addition to the other duties specified in these Bylaws, the Executive Committee shall: (1) appoint Permanent Committee Chairpeople; (2) select representatives to appropriate bodies; (3) elect 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.


If it is alleged that an elected Officer has committed gross malfeasance that may warrant his removal from office, a petition stating full particulars and signed by at least fifteen voting members shall be submitted to the full membership, together with a defense by the said Officer, if one is offered. The removal of an Officer requires a two-thirds majority of the mail ballots cast by Regular and Honorary Members.


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; if an orderly succession is unfeasible, the Executive Committee may, by majority vote, appoint a Regular or Honorary Member to complete the unexpired term.


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 ten members present in person.

The Executive Committee shall meet prior to the annual membership meeting to discuss the budget, the agenda, and other matters it may wish to bring before the membership.

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.


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 above.

The Chess Journalist shall be available to non-members of the Association at a price to be determined by the Executive Committee.


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.


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 Committee 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 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 Committee for the counting of the ballots. At that time and place, and in public view, the envelopes shall be unsealed and the ballots counted. Winners are determined by a majority or plurality of valid votes. Upon verification of the vote totals by the Executive Committee, the election is officially certified and the Officers installed at the close of the meeting.

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 elect a candidate to fill that office.


There are three Permanent Committees, whose Permanent Chairmen are appointed by a majority vote of the Executive Committee. In general, Permanent Chairmen shall not be members of the Executive Committee. Each Permanent Chairman shall establish his committee's procedures, appoint its members, and report its activities to the membership. Ad Hoc committees may be appointed by the Executive Committee or by the voting members in attendance at a membership meeting.

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.

Ethics: Allegations that a member has violated the Association'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.

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This Page Last Updated on 24 February 2001

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