Business Meeting Secretary's Notes

2016 LCA BUSINESS MEETING SECRETARY’S NOTES

1. Call to Order

The meeting was called to order.


2. President’s Address

President James Rousselle apologized for the second round of the tournament being played during the LSU game.  (Had he already known the result of that game, he might not have done this.)  President Rousselle noted that upon request from players, FIDE rated events and national tournaments had been brought to Louisiana.  He noted that he wants more communication between those involved in Louisiana chess to avoid conflicts and other issues.  He suggested a monthly, short e-bulletin to help facilitate communication.  The need for a new bulletin editor was detailed.  President Rousselle concluded by announcing that a $25 upset prize for the tournament, counting only games through the fifth round, the $25 being a gift certificate for use at Cajun Chess book and equipment sales on the last day of the tournament.


3. Treasurer’s Report 

Secretary/Treasurer Adam Caveney briefly presented the Treasurer’s Report.  The report is in writing separately.


4. Louisiana USCF Delegate Report 

USCF Delegate Leila D’Aquin noted that her report was included in the previous bulletin.  She provided a few copies of the USCF Annual Report.  She stated that two proposals at the delegates meeting could affect Louisiana chess: a proposal that all small states get at least two delegates (Louisiana currently has only one) and a proposal that a tournament of senior state champions be included at the U.S. Open along with the tournaments of high school, middle school (or younger), and girls state champions.


5. Scholastic Coordinator’s Report 

Scholastic Coordinator Ken Ferguson presented his report on scholastic chess from the previous year.  He noted that the Louisiana Scholastic Chess League (LSCL) ran as usual this year and that teams from four different schools won the different grade categories.  Scholastic Coordinator Ferguson lamented that when there were disputes in scholastic tournaments, those disputes tended to get belligerent quickly.  He stated that there were four issues during the LSCL and that three of them were not based in fact and the fourth was resolved quickly.  

At this point, Scholastic Coordinator Ferguson noted that there was a philosophical movement within scholastic chess with which he did not agree: that we should try to get all the scholastic players to play rated chess.  He stated that he was glad that the LSCL was not rated, and he opined that not all kids want to play rated chess; some just want to have fun with their friends, usually players who played on boards 3-6 in team tournaments.  He noted that of 64 kids from two teams he coached four years ago, only seven or eight of them still play chess.  Scholastic Coordinator Ferguson asserted that the schools that wanted everything to be rated tended to be the richer schools and that some schools primarily had players who could not afford all the fees.  

Scholastic Coordinator Ferguson stated that it was not realistic for Louisiana to be like Texas, California, and Florida in scholastic chess matters.  He opined that it was not a good thing for Louisiana to try to do this because the ultra-intense environment of USCF rated chess was not a good thing for everyone and that making everything rated was not feasible.  He opined that it was a mistake to try to force this issue as it would cause a rift in Louisiana scholastic chess. 

Rex Williams asked Scholastic Coordinator Ferguson how much local support was received at the U.S. Junior Open that was held in New Orleans in June. Scholastic Coordinator Ferguson noted that the support was small and that most of the schools that had pushed for more rated chess had not sent any players to the U.S. Junior Open (which was a rated event).  Scholastic Coordinator Ferguson further noted that extra tournaments had been added to the schedule at the last minute and that he only heard about one 2.5 days before the tournament.  He stated that more communication was needed. 


6. Board Member Reports 

Given the length of the meeting to this point, no further board member reports were given.


7. Old Business:  

A. By-law Amendment Vote 1 

The by-laws currently provide that all questions regarding whether a player is a Louisiana resident shall be determined by the membership.  This amendment clarified that this requirement applied only to questions of state residency for the purposes of the adult state championship when the membership meeting is held.  The author of the amendment, Secretary/Treasurer Adam Caveney explained that the amendment was necessary because there had been a question of Louisiana residency involving a scholastic player that almost required the calling of an emergency membership meeting this summer.  He explained that the original by-law requirement (which he also wrote) was only intended to apply to the adult state championship and that he had only included it in the by-law re-write in 2007 because of the issue that had occurred in 1992.  USCF Delegate Leila D’Aquin asked what had happened in 1992, forcing many members to hear for the thousandth time why Secretary/Treasurer Caveney believes that he was a state resident (and the rightful state champion) as a freshman at Tulane in 1992. 

Subsequently, the amendment was passed by a unanimous vote of the membership.

B. By-law Amendment Vote 2 

The second proposed by-law amendment modified the by-laws to provide that the scholastic coordinator would chair the scholastic committee, thereby creating a scholastic committee to run scholastic chess in Louisiana.  The amendment’s author, USCF Delegate Leila D’Aquin, presented an amendment and provided a different vision for scholastic chess than the vision presented by Scholastic Coordinator Ken Ferguson in his report.  In favor of the amendment, USCF Delegate D’Aquin and others made the following arguments: (1) more coordination is needed in scholastic chess and a committee will help facilitate this; (2) more thorough scholastic rules, like other states have, are needed, and a committee can help draft them; (3) a couple of years ago the state scholastic championship was held in Baton Rouge at the same time as another scholastic tournament in Baton Rouge and we need more communication to prevent issues like this; (4) the LCA has a board but not all of the members are involved in scholastic chess; scholastic chess needs its own board; and (5) at worst, the committee would be advisory and do nothing, which would not be a change from the status quo.  Those opposed to the proposed by-law amendment made the following arguments: (1) there is no need for a committee to be written into the by-laws, a scholastic coordinator can take advice from whomever he or she wants; (2) committees are a mess; if you put three or four different people in the mix, you get three or four different opinions; (3) a committee authorized by the membership last year was never formed and never met; and (4) to facilitate communication, the scholastic coordinator should stay in touch with others in the scholastic chess community and vice versa. 

During the discussion of this proposed amendment, it was noted that there was almost certainly going to be a contested election for the scholastic coordinator position.  It was suggested that the vote on the amendment be tabled until the winner of that contested election was known so that members would know whether the winner wanted the committee or not.  After initially continuing further discussion, the membership later voted 20-2 to table consideration of this proposed amendment until new business, after the elections.


8. Officer Elections: 

Most of the officer elections went normally.  President James Rousselle, Vice-President Bob Ballard, and Secretary/Treasurer Adam Caveney were all re-elected without opposition, as were USCF Delegate Leila D’Aquin and alternate USCF Delegate Mario Rodriguez.  Ronald Squires was elected New Orleans board representative without opposition after being nominated by his predecessor Mitchell Constanza.  Similarly, Mark Morreale was elected Baton Rouge board representative without opposition after being nominated by his predecessor Stuart Collins.  Tommy LeBlanc was elected Lafayette board representative in absentia; outgoing Lafayette board representative Ben Bailey was ineligible to continue to serve in that capacity as he had moved to New Orleans.  As the only member from North Louisiana present, David Gaston nominated, seconded, and unanimously reelected himself as North Louisiana board representative.  The Lake Charles board representative position remained vacant because there were no Lake Charles residents present.  

The race for the Scholastic Coordinator position, as expected, led to the first contested LCA Election in a decade.  What was unexpected, however, was that the race would be a very competitive election with three good candidates.  Rex Williams nominated Scholastic Coordinator Ken Ferguson for reelection.  USCF Delegate Leila D’Aquin nominated Nick Matta.  Someone I could not see nominated Michael Porcelli of Baton Rouge.  All three candidates teach chess at numerous schools and are well experienced in the scholastic chess scene.  

Matta stated that he supported the idea of a scholastic committee but thought that it should be advisory.  Ferguson noted that he was about to start teaching at his seventh school, and he stated that he had worked with a broad array of parents, teachers, and students, knowing the limits of what we can get out of all three.  Porcelli stated that he taught chess full-time for a charter school system in Baton Rouge.  He asserted that Louisiana could be like California or Texas in scholastic chess, and he stated that he knew it would happen in Baton Rouge.  He stated that he preferred having both rated and non-rated sections at tournaments. 

With no rules on how to handle a three-way election, the membership agreed that it would be a run-off system between the top two finishers if nobody received a majority in the first round.  The first round was excruciating close: Matta led with 13 votes, and Porcelli edged out Ferguson for second by a single vote—10-9.  With no candidate receiving anything close to a majority, a run-off election was held between Matta and Porcelli.  The first count of that vote was 14-14.  The second count of the vote was 15-15.  (Note, this was not necessarily poor counting—some members abstained and then voted to try to break the tie.)  On the third count, Porcelli prevailed 17-15.    

  • President:  James Rousselle 
  • Vice-President:  Bob Ballard 
  • Sec./Treas.:  Adam Caveney 
  • Scholastic Coordinator:  Michael Porcelli 
  • USCF Delegate:  Leila D’Aquin
  • USCF Alternate Delegate:  Mario Rodriguez
  • New Orleans Area Board Rep.:  Ronald Squires 
  • Baton Rouge Area Board Rep.:  Mark Morreale
  • Lafayette Area Board Rep.:   Tommy LeBlanc
  • North Louisiana Board Rep.:  David Gaston
  • Lake Charles Area Board Rep.:  Vacant


9. New Business:

At this point, the meeting had already greatly exceeded its allotted time.  The membership quickly and unanimously passed the second proposed by-law amendment on the recommendation of the new scholastic coordinator.  The membership then, again on the recommendation of the scholastic coordinator, passed a rule making the committee advisory.  President Rousselle then requested a renewal of a previous year’s vote allowing the board to spend $1,000 to promote chess in Louisiana, and stated that he wished to travel around the state to get everyone on the same page, especially in regards to scholastic chess.  The motion passed unanimously.  The meeting was then adjourned.




2015 LCA BUSINESS MEETING SECRETARY’S NOTES

 

1.       Call to Order

          The meeting was called to order.  It was agreed that LCA members who had not yet paid, but were paying at the tournament could participate.

2.       President’s Address

          LCA President James Rousselle gave a brief address.  He asked for (and received) a moment of silence for Jim MacManus, the longtime Louisiana chess player and LCA board member who recently passed away.  He thanked the hotel for the parking management that made the tight squeeze in the lot very easy.  He noted that the state championship was FIDE rated.  He announced that Cajun Chess was bringing two national events to Louisiana in 2016—the US Junior Open and US Senior Open, and that they were bidding on a third, the Pam Am Intercollegiate Championships.

3.       Treasurer’s Report

          Secretary/Treasurer Adam Caveney presented the annual Treasurer’s Report.  That document is available separately on the website.

4.       Louisiana USCF Delegate Report

          Louisiana USCF Delegate Leila D’Aquin gave a summary of the USCF annual meetings held at the U.S. Open, and noted that it was a good meeting.  Focus was on scholastic chess as more than half of USCF members are now scholastic players; the median age of USCF members is 10.  It was reported that if a child plays in five rated events by the age of 16, the child is much more likely to continue to be a USCF member as an adult.  She also noted an increasing USCF emphasis on serving the general public as well as members because they had receive charitable tax status.

5.       Scholastic Coordinator’s Report

          It was reported that Scholastic Coordinator Cheryl Webster was stepping down and was not present.

6.       Board Member Reports

          A.  Stuart Collins (Baton Rouge):

          Stuart Collins reported that the Baton Rouge Chess Club is still playing rated chess.  They play at 10 AM on Saturday mornings at the main library.  There is no entry fee or prizes.  He noted that there was a new player from Pittsburgh who had also started a chess club at a school.

Although Lafayette Board Member Tommy LeBlanc was not present, it was announced that the Lafayette Open/Jim MacManus Memorial would be held on Oct. 17-18 in Lafayette.

7.       Officer Elections:

          Officer elections were held for the upcoming years.  All ran unopposed.  There were no players from North Louisiana or Lake Charles.  The Lake Charles board position remains vacant.  Ken Wyzywany was appointed the North Louisiana board member in absentia without dissent.

President: James Rousselle                   

Vice-President:   Bob Ballard                

Sec./Treas.:  Adam Caveney                           

Scholastic Coordinator:  Ken Ferguson          

USCF Delegate:  Leila D’Aquin

USCF Alternate Delegate:  Mario Rodriguez

New Orleans Area Board Rep.:  Mitch Costanza     

Baton Rouge Area Board Rep.:  Stuart Collins       

Lafayette Area Board Rep.:           Tommy LeBlanc

North Louisiana Board Rep.:  Vacant (no one present)

Lake Charles Area Board Rep.: Vacant (no one present)

8.       New Business:

          President James Rousselle opened the discussion by asking what the membership wanted to do eventually with the larger amounts of money in the treasury.  Asked how much was enough for the treasury?  There was discussion of trying to bid for a national tournament as the LCA (with or without participation from Cajun Chess).  It was noted that it would be a few years before we had that kind of money.  It was suggested by a new member that cities in the Northeast all had their own big city opens, maybe we could.  The New Orleans Open was noted as already existing.  Members discussed having an invitation for strong grandmasters.  It was suggested that a committee be appointed to investigate options and report back next year.  Jean Troendle also reported the upcoming Cajun Chess national events in New Orleans.  She said that the bidding for the Pan Am was between Cajun Chess and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).  President Rousselle gave his story from attending the US Masters, and commended on how nice the event was, but noted that it cost the organizers $50,000.  (We won’t ever have that kind of money.)

          At this time, Secretary/Treasurer Caveney moved to adjourn the meeting.  This proposal passed by acclamation.




2014 LCA BUSINESS MEETING SECRETARY’S NOTES

 

1.       Call to Order

          The meeting was called to order.

2.       President’s Address

          LCA President James Rousselle gave a brief address.  He apologized for not playing in the State Championship due to illness.  He thanked the board members for their work over the past year and warned any possible new board members that he would put them to work.  He also commended the good turnout at the State Championship.

3.       Treasurer’s Report

          Secretary/Treasurer Adam Caveney presented the annual Treasurer’s Report.  That document is available separately on the website.

4.       Louisiana USCF Delegate Report

          Louisiana USCF Delegate Leila D’Aquin gave a summary of the USCF annual meetings held at the U.S. Open, and noted the following items:

A.      The USCF has finally been approved for § 501(c)(3) status as a charity.  This will allow more chess promotion and possibly grants for USCF memberships for scholastic players.

B.      The USCF membership, after being in decline for several years, has been rising since 2011.  Louisiana is one of the fastest growing states, with an increase of 10% in USCF members since 2011.

C.      USCF goals for the upcoming years include increasing scholastic members and girls and women, especially after college age.  A new video has been produced to encourage chess for all girls schools.

D.      New USCF Executive Director Jean Hoffman seeks to increase scholastic affiliates by 20%.  Part of the incentive for affiliate membership will be to allow schools to buy a block of USCF memberships for students at a discount.

E.      The USCF will strive to achieve consistency in scholastic ratings.  Areas are currently allowed to use alternative rating systems, but this led to a team from the Pacific Northwest all being allowed to compete in the Under 600 section at nationals, where they all won all of their games, leading to belief that they really should not have been under 600.

F.      Effective January 1, 2015, the USCF will make castling a king move, meaning castling is not allowed if a player touches the rook first.  The move is made to make USCF rules consistent with FIDE rules.

G.      The new USCF Rulebook is now official and available.

5.       Scholastic Coordinator’s Report

          Scholastic Coordinator Cheryl Webster gave her report.  The main points were the following.

A.      Lots of teams are now participating with 47 teams from 16 different schools competing at the scholastic state championship.

B.      The Susan Polgar New Orleans tournament was a success with over 150 scholastic players from 18 different states.

C.      Louisiana sent many players to the national scholastic tournaments with 15 students at the elementary tournament, 9 at the junior high tournament, and 1 at the high school tournament.

D.      The second tournament run by the Foundation for East Baton Rouge Parish had about 120 students.  The third tournament will be held September 6, 2014.

E.      A new system of charter schools, the Solarity Charter Schools, with three schools in Baton Rouge and one in Harvey, has chess as part of the school curriculum. 

6.       Board Member Reports

          A.  Stuart Collins (Baton Rouge):

          Stuart Collins reported that the Baton Rouge Chess Club is again playing rated chess.  They play at 10 AM on Saturday mornings at the main library.  There is no entry fee or prizes.  The tournaments tend to be small, with about 12 players, but very strong.

7.       Officer Elections:

          Officer elections were held for the upcoming years.  All ran unopposed.  There were no players from North Louisiana or Lake Charles.  The Lake Charles board position remains vacant.  Ken Wyzywany was appointed the North Louisiana board member in absentia without dissent.

President: James Rousselle                   

Vice-President:   Bob Ballard                

Sec./Treas.:  Adam Caveney                           

Scholastic Coordinator:  Cheryl Webster                 

USCF Delegate:  Leila D’Aquin

USCF Alternate Delegate:  Eli Karp

New Orleans Area Board Rep.:  Mitch Costanza     

Baton Rouge Area Board Rep.:  Stuart Collins       

Lafayette Area Board Rep.:           Tommy LeBlanc

North Louisiana Board Rep.:  Ken Wyzywany (appointed)       

Lake Charles Area Board Rep.: Vacant

8.       New Business:

          A free lifetime family membership for an anonymous donor who has contributed generously to the LCA for many years was passed unanimously.

          President James Rousselle stated that he planned to introduce the FIDE time control of G/90 with 30 second increment in future state championships with the goal of getting tournaments FIDE rated and more players with FIDE ratings in the state.  He stated that he would encourage tournament organizers of other tournaments to do the same.  There was not significant dissent.  Sec/Treas Adam Caveney, who runs two of the bigger tournaments in Louisiana each year was on board with the idea although he worried he would be perpetually in time trouble for hours in all games.

          Two members raised objections to out-of-state masters receiving free entries into tournaments with the entry fee taken out of any prize won, thinking that all players should be treated equally.  It was noted that for state championships, Louisiana masters could not receive the same benefit because of a by-law provision prohibiting any Louisiana player from gaining any advantage at state championship.  It was also noted that for tournaments other than the state championship, this was an organizer’s decision, not the decision of the LCA, so the issue was whether to prohibit the practice at future state championships.  A vote was held, and the membership voted overwhelmingly, but not unanimously to prohibit the practice at future state championships.  An objection was made to procedure, requesting more discussion and the matter was reopened.  Scholastic Coordinator Cheryl Webster noted that the LCA was contradicting itself by encouraging FIDE time controls to get stronger players and prohibiting this practice which does the same.  Another vote was held.  This time, the prohibition was passed unanimously, but several members abstained.

          At this time, Secretary/Treasurer Caveney moved to adjourn the meeting.  This proposal passed unanimously.

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