Friday, June 18, 2010

A second second chance

  After all the grief over getting not getting $8 off my $19.99 oil change at Des Moines Imports last week, I got an email yesterday offering a $15 oil change with the entire $15 going to Hope Ministries to help the hungry and homeless in Central Iowa. I just got my oil changed at local Ben’s Tires on Saturday, but even if I hadn’t I still would stay away from this place. They’ve probably figured out to take the oil out of my car and then shake me down.

  I did give another organization a second chance last week. In 2006, I submitted a ‘Scholastic Side’ column I wrote for the Iowa State Chess Association for the Chess Journalists of America ‘Best Chess Column’ award. I knew it was a long shot, but my column on preparing young players for their first tournament was very well received by parents and had been copied to a number of other web sites, so I thought it was worth a shot. I sent in my $15 for a combined CJA membership and entry fee. I was hoping for an honorable mention and the awards would be given out at the 2006 US Open in Chicago, where my sons and I were going to be playing, so maybe I could get some constructive criticism or pointers from some real chess journalists.

  I was supposed to receive word that my entry was received but after 3 weeks I had heard no word about my entries after numerous e-mail inquiries. I eventually sent a hard copy of my columns directly to the head judge Priority Mail, whereupon he told me he had received my entry, but had been too busy with other matters to acknowledge it. At the US Open, a room was set up for the CJA award winners. I went over to the room and all I saw was a bunch of tables with Chess Life magazines. I didn’t realize that the Chess Life (published by the US Chess Federation) magazine generally wins all the prizes from the CJA. I happened to meet one of the judges for my category and casually asked what he thought of my entry, but he had never heard of it. I guess the pointer I needed to know was to make sure your column gets in Chess Life and then apply for the CJA awards.

  I let my membership to the CJA expire and had not given it another thought until I noticed an article about the 2010 CJA awards. I went to their internet site and saw there was a category for the ‘Best Humorous Contribution’. The fever of fame having struck again, I entered my blog post about the 2010 Okoboji Open. I am not going to the US Open this year, so I if I don’t win any recognition, I can blissfully pretend that I was a whisker away from my well deserved place as the Dave Barry of chess. At any rate, last Friday I received an email from the head judge that my entry was received so I’m already way ahead of my 2006 pace.