2019 Annual Business Meeting Minutes completed
The Board of Directors for the Idaho Chess Association are familiar faces - Barry Eacker, Adam Porth, Jeff Roland, Jay Simonson, Richard Nathan, and Alise Pemsler. Not shown (Jef Lefeiste).
President Adam Porth called the meeting to order at 3pm.
Voting members in attendance:
Tom Booth, Jay Simonson, Jeff Roland, Barry Eacker, Dr. Richard Nathan, Adam Porth, Alise Pemsler, Desmond Porth
Atty Amber Mryick, Oren Krafts, Alexander Beryshanko
Adam asked everyone to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance as is customary for meetings in Northern Idaho, something that hasn’t been done at ICA meetings in the past. Everyone participated; Alise requested that the Pledge not be followed by a prayer. Amber agreed and Jay said it wouldn’t be appropriate for this meeting.
Adam passed out an agenda. Adam thanked the Board members for their work throughout the year, made sure everyone had received an ICA mug, and gave everyone vintage 1974 chess bottles of Avon aftershave that he had found on the internet.
Adam read the ICA mission statement and values and reminded the Board to keep these in mind when making decisions.
2018 Minutes were posted online. Adam moved that they be accepted. Jay seconded the motion. Jeff needed to read the minutes before voting. Adam asked if we could table the vote while Jeff read the minutes and use the time to give the president’s report. Jeff questioned if the minutes from last year had been approved but was reminded that he was working on Northwest Chess and hadn’t attended the meeting. Jay mentioned that we never approved the 2015 minutes and was concerned that we needed minutes from each year for 501c3 compliance. Amber said that we need the annual report but not the minutes. Adam said that all minutes have been posted on the website dating back to 2006. The 2018 minutes were approved unanimously after Jeff looked at them on his new smart phone. All voted to approve the minutes.
Attorney: Adam introduced Amber Myrick as the ICA’s attorney and noted that Amber and Alise were instrumental in obtaining 501c3 status for the ICA. Amber will be taking care of 501c3 compliance for us.
US Chess Award: This past year we won recognition from US Chess as the state having the largest membership increase. Adam went to an awards banquet at the US Chess Annual Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, where he received the award on behalf of the ICA.
Rocky Mountain Rating Database: Desmond Porth has been working with Adam, Jeff and Barry to develop a new program. The ICA invested $100 to develop a beta program to make a Rocky Mountain Rating Database. It is free to use and will give an alternative to the US Chess rating system so that tournaments can rank players without US Chess membership fees. It will create ratings for classical, rapid and blitz games. Barry developed the system using an Excel spreadsheet for the Chess Union and now Desmond has written a computer program to automate it. It is called the Rocky Mountain Chess Rating System and will be run by the ICA.
Anyone can use the url to access it: ICAchessrating.com. Entering game results are password protected. Desmond has access to the database. Passwords will be given out to those who need them. Game results are entered in by name and type of game. The program automatically calculates the ratings. Everyone who has a Rocky Mountain Chess rating is in the database. You can search by name to find anyone’s rating; this is not password protected so anyone can access it. If someone has the same name you will need to use a middle name to make it unique.
Tomorrow morning (Monday, February 18) at 7:30 am Desmond will be giving a session on how to run the Rocky Mountain Rating Database. No more Excel sheets or calculating by hand! As this is a beta program, Desmond will continue to improve it. It will eventually be able to access tournaments from WinTD. Jeff Roland asked if it could show pre and post ratings; Desmond will work on that.
A few months prior, Adam had sent an email to the Board suggesting that the ICA use Oregon’s scholastic rating system but now we have our own scholastic system. Alise asked if other clubs could use the Rocky Mountain Rating system. Desmond replied that at the moment it is just a free system for the ICA to use but if others use it he thought we should charge a fee.
Next on the agenda was the topic of Northwest Chess but Adam asked to talk about that later in the meeting.
2018 Tournament Recap: The ICA held 28 events. We served 693 players in 2018; only 419 players in 2017, so we reached more people in 2018. There were 8 Scholastic events with 470 players. Tournament size is relatively stable but the tournament size doubled for the Southern Idaho Open (SIO) and the Norman Friedman Memorial (NFM). Jeff pointed out that there were no pre-registrations for the NFM and we almost canceled it but then we increased emails to members which resulted in a sizeable turnout.
New developments: This past year we added a Senior Tournament, Ladies Tournament, and in the north region a Northern Idaho Tournament, Northern Regional Scholastic Qualifier for State, Solstice in the North, Friday Blitz Tournaments, Pawn Storm, and 3 free tournaments. We have increased our use of online payments through Eventbrite. Alise commented that it is a great improvement not to have to collect money at the door and that it helps tournaments start on time.
Scholastic: We have close to 100 students qualified for the State Scholastic Tournament as of now. Players who qualify for State have 3 points or more at the Regional Qualifiers; all 12th graders are allowed to play; players who score 1st, 2nd, 3rd in their grade; players can alternatively attend 2 of the ICA rated tournaments or the Idaho Closed. Adam commented that if students are that serious and commit to the 3 days of play at the Idaho Closed, they certainly deserve to play at State.
Secretary/Treasurer position: We created the Secretary board position, separating it from the Treasurer’s duties. Adam gave thanks to Alise for her work during the year, allowing Jay to focus on finances.
Idaho Closed Rumor: Jay asked if we could ever find out who started the rumour that the Idaho Closed was canceled. The Hampton Inn and the Holiday Inn next door called Adam and Barry to tell them that guests were canceling reservations because they had been told the event had been canceled. Only 34 people ended up playing this weekend which is less than our usual turnout. Alise asked if we were able to contact those who canceled hotel reservations but the hotel will not release guest names due to privacy issues.
Website: The website continues to improve. Additions include: club calendar, school club page. We have a game viewer under the Game Archive called Chess MicroBase that Adam still needs PGNs for so that he can upload them. You can search by player name. If a player has played 25 ICA games or more, they have their own link for their personal games. The ICA pays for this program. Adam asked if board members could look on the website to catch editorial mistakes, pointing out that there was a mistake on the flyer for the Idaho Closed which had a different start time.
Adam is working on online newsletter capabilities for the website and a tournament information database so that people can find articles, pgns, ptos. Lastly, the Rocky Mountain Chess Rating Program will be linked on the website.
Community Service: As part of our Mission Statement, we donated 5 boards to veterans; 15 boards to various scholastic players who did not have them; we helped 3 chess clubs get organized. Adam is currently working with a club in Huntington, Oregon, on the Idaho-Oregon border and will be asking for volunteers willing to make the trip to Huntington to help the organization on behalf of the ICA. We gave 20 players free tournament entry and/or ICA memberships over the last year. As of last January or February, we maintained a presence at the Snake River Penitentiary. Adam and Tom Booth have both participated. The penitentiary values our help and we would like to continue with the volunteer program so Adam asked for people to consider taking this on. Tom Booth said it is underestimated how valuable and rewarding prison chess is for both the prisoners and the volunteers. There is also a prison between Burley and Twin Falls that requested our help but Adam turned them down due to lack of volunteers. Jay said he might have time after June 2019. Alise added that we donated 10 boards to a new Boise organization, Y Stem & Chess, run by Devin Nakano that helps underprivileged and underserved youth. Some of their students played at the West Regional State Qualifier. They have a successful program with the Boise Rescue Mission, the women’s City of Lights, and the Boys & Girls Club.
The DGT Tournament Board has been a big hit. Alise hasn’t been reimbursed yet; Jay says she needs to submit a receipt. She has been holding off as there aren’t sufficient funds yet to cover the expense of approximately $200 for the display model. Alise thanked Jef Leifeste for his work on the DGT board. Jef got the DGT board operational and wrote a manual that anyone can follow.
4 changeable sign boards for each region. Alise can get more letters. There are also 4 clear sign holders for advertisements for upcoming tournaments; SwissSys Pairing program for the North (used in the Spokane area). Copies of the program are good as long as they aren’t used at the same time, just like WinTD.
We are working on relationships with the Riverside Hotel (Boise), Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn (Twin Falls), the Coeur d’Alene Chess Club, Inland Chess Acadamy (Spokane), Discount Mugs ($10 per mug). Adam wants to get the ICA logo out into the public so the association becomes more visible. Alise asked if she could look for a better price on mugs. Adam commented that we need to order in bulk to get better prices with Discount Mugs but that she can check other resources. Eventually we can pursue other swag such as hats and shirts.
Tournament Winner Recognition: Adam honored those who worked hard to win our tournaments and wants to make it a regular part of the President’s Report. Winners this past year include: Kevin Xu (K-8), Daniel Duan (9-12), Dylan Porth (Girls), Michael Preschutti (Senior), Alex Machin (State Champion), Forest Zeng (Scholastic State Champion), Michael Abron (Open Champion, from Ohio), Kevin Xu (Blitz), Josef Campanyo (Eastern Idaho Open, from Wyoming), Josef Campanyo and Cody Gorman (Southern Idaho Open), Kenneth Erickson (Northern Idaho Open), Alex Machin (Western Idaho Open), Josef Campanyo (Norman Friedman Memorial), Chris Pentico (Player’s Memorial), Duane Derryberry (Summer Classic), Zachary Fritchen (Hall of Fame), Hans Morrow (Senior Open), Ellen Baumann (Women’s Champion, now required by US Chess), David Lucke (2018 Hall of Fame Inductee).
Comments: Barry noted that there are no women playing at the Idaho Closed this year; Adam commented that was horrifying. Adam needs David Lucke’s address which Barry or Jay said they would try to get.
Membership Report: Currently 115 plus any from this weekend’s tournament. Record membership was 145 this past year. Membership stable but Adam expects the number to go down as we are not requiring ICA memberships for all tournaments now. Our mission is to bring chess to everybody and we don’t want membership fees to be a hindrance to players or for those trying our tournaments for the first time.
Fee Structure: Adam wants to standardize the fees for all our tournaments at $30, giving a discount for preregistration and for ICA membership. Scholastic tournaments will be $15 also with a preregistration discount and membership. There are issues with finances in terms of money going out and money coming in. He investigated all the area states and fees for their state championships; the lowest was $29 in Oregon for members. The majority of state tournaments cost $40, 50, 60, and even $80 for entry so our Idaho Closed should be worth a little bit more than a regular tournament. Our fees are relatively the same as surrounding states. Requiring State membership varies from state to state. (Oregon and Washington do.) Adam proposes charging $15/year for a regular membership which will get you into the titled tournaments; i.e. membership will be required for Blitz Championship, Idaho Closed and Idaho Open knowing that the $15 will potentially be the only membership income we will have. Adam believes that people will want to be members when they start to appreciate what we offer. His goal in the budget is to have 120 memberships. You will still have to have a membership in order to be a voting member per our constitution. Jay pointed out that most attendees at the Annual Meeting are also playing in the tournament which requires membership, and one year later they will be voting members.
Annual Budget: Adam passed out copies of a proposed annual budget. The ICA has not had a budget to follow so he has been “operating in the dark” for the past two years and would like to adhere to a budget from now on.
Any time we run a tournament, even our free ones, the overhead and cost is $81 per tournament to cover notation sheets, printer ink, pens, rating fees, etc.. This doesn’t include prize funds, TD fees, etc. Hotel fees are high in the West Region. The venue at the Hampton Inn is $120/day so the 6 days for the year’s tournaments in Twin Falls is $720. When everything is calculated, statewide ICA operating expenses for the year are $16,000 - $17,000. Expected income is $10,000 through PayPal; Adam estimates onsite income might be $2,000-$3,000. We therefore need 120 members to bring in $1,800. Donations for the Norman Friedman Memorial will be up to about $2000; hopefully we will be able to bring in GM Corrales.
Discussion ensued regarding the benefits of online payments including shorter lines and less chaos onsite, collection of information about the players, less cash handled, etc. Registration is not holding up tournament start times. Current US Chess membership can be checked ahead of time so that they can be renewed prior to the tournament. Jay said that the eastern part of the state is still not accustomed to using Eventbrite.
Motion to amend the Constitution: “President must submit a budget for upcoming year for Board approval at Annual Business Meeting. If budget is not approved by a majority of the Board then it must be resubmitted to the Board each month until it is acceptable by a majority of the Board.” Currently, there is no provision in our constitution to produce a budget but it is clear to Adam that it is necessary to add. He emphasized that if a TD is running a tournament, a financial report must be produced. More important than articles or pictures so that we can be fiscally responsible. Barry seconded it. Discussion ensued. Anything not covered in the budget that is over $500 needs to be approved as already in the constitution. Atty. Amber Myrick asked if it is on a per tournament basis and noted that it would be helpful to know which tournaments are going over budget. Jeff pointed out that Adam has budgeted for each of the tournaments. Amber asked how changes are handled; Adam said changes would be reflected in next year’s budget. If an event expects to go over budget, it needs to be cleared with the president. Amber said it would be helpful to have it broken out by tournament for better analysis; Adam said that was how he put this budget together. Prices of venues in Boise were discussed as they are more expensive. Barry asked if we could use BSU more. Jeff informed him that in order to get the Student Union for free, we need to have a student request the space and have a faculty advisor involved. Adam mentioned that George Lundy has reserved BSU once a month for a few years which locks us out of the venue. Tom Booth asked if those tournaments were part of the ICA as they seem to have effective advertising; they are not. Everyone agreed that it would be better if he worked with the ICA. Discussion ended and the motion regarding budget was approved unanimously.
Inland Chess Academy asked the Idaho Chess Association to change its acronym from ICA to IDCA. The idea was unanimously rejected. Atty Amber Myrick said that we already have DBA ICA (Doing Business As) and that it is not an issue for us.
Treasurer’s Report: Jay Simonson, Treasurer.
$ 2,308.84 Beginning Balance 01/01/18
14,377.25 Total Deposit
142.53 Bank Fees
$ 1,273.00 Ending balance 12/31/18
$1,208.51 Current balance 02/16/19
14.95 Paypal Balance
Note: Paypal account exists to receive payments from Eventbrite and is then transferred to the regular account. We continually have a problem with expenses being greater than income. Jay and Adam have established better communications so hopefully we won’t incur more overdraft expenses. Jay said anyone wanting to assume the treasurer’s position is welcome to take it over!
Northwest Chess Foundation (NWCF):
We thought the ICA received $10 from each membership but that was just for the first year. We only receive $6 per membership and Northwest Chess retains the rest. This miscalculation on membership income combined with prize payouts that are too large given what we are taking in has contributed to our financial issues. Adam raised the question of whether or not we want to continue our relationship with Northwest Chess given most of our membership fees do not remain in Idaho. He has been negotiating with Duane Polich (NWCF Publisher). The best proposal that Adam has come up with is that we charge Premium Memberships of $30; ICA only gets $6 and NW Chess members get a $5 discount per tournament. As it stands, Adam is willing to make the decision that our relationship with NWCF is over and we stick with $15 ICA memberships. Adam explained that although the president is charged with making contracts according to the ICA constitution, he would like to get feedback from those at the Annual Business Meeting. Jay felt that this is the right decision because the way the fee structure is, and that NWCF is not willing to compromise, we are losing money. Jeff asked if there is any fee structure that would be acceptable; he agrees. Dr. Richard Nathan expressed surprise that Jeff agrees with Adam’s decision. Jeff responded that he is emotionally attached to the NW Chess Magazine as he is Editor. Everyone agrees that it is an award winning magazine but the costs to Idaho are high. Jeff wants to try the best offer for a year and see what happens. Adam expressed concern as it is a financial burden to the ICA; a bookkeeping nightmare; it’s caused an enormous amount of confusion; according to people he has talked to and surveys he has sent out he has gotten negative feedback from members. People would not be prevented from getting the magazine as the ICA can promote it and provide a link to NWCF so that they can subscribe on their own. Jeff said he won’t be able to cover Idaho as much if we pull out of NWCF. Adam said that is an acceptable consequence as we have our own website which we have to pay for whether or not we belong to NWCF. Additionally, the ICA cannot advertise in NW Chess without paying advertising fees of $25 ($20 per ad if purchasing 2). It’s not a benefit to the ICA to have this relationship. We are both 501(c)(3) organizations, we run our own tournaments and are handling Idaho business; we are members of an organization where our membership is paying for a subscription and not receiving any benefits. The best offer that NWCF is offering loses us $9 per person per tournament. Members also don’t receive a discount for attending tournaments in other NWCF states although NWCF is proposing a $5 discount for tournaments in participating states. The ICA is essentially subsidizing something we are not benefiting from. Jeff commented that the magazine is looking for ways to cut printing costs, eventually by going online, so the fees will be reduced. Alise suggested we revisit our membership at that time. Jeff feels there must be synergies, with players coming to Idaho because of the affiliation and vice-versa; Adam concludes that we are losing players in our own tournaments because the cost of playing is too high. Jeff had proposed to the NWCF Board that a 3 month free membership be given to all, with magazine, and then people can pay to continue. (This motion was tabled at NWCF due to both Idaho and Oregon wanting to pull out.) Adam said that would be a bookkeeping nightmare and that we end up giving away memberships because of the complexity. We need to keep it simple. Adam reiterated that this isn’t a constitutional issue but he wants to get a consensus from the board. Dr. Richard Nathan asked how much it costs us annually. The December bill was $2000 for the year. Tom Booth added that there really isn’t a choice if we are losing money. Jeff said we are getting the $6 per $30 membership; Alise pointed out that isn’t enough to run our organization. Barry said we should be getting $15 for each membership. Jeff said in the past, the membership was just to pay for incidentals such as postage, not to finance the tournaments. Jeff added that he was the president who got us into the contract and that if Adam wants to take us out, he supports that decision. However, he reminded the board that when Craig Barrett wanted to pull out of the ICA Scholastic State tournament, members from NW Chess were willing to fly out to help us if needed. He says it is a family and doesn’t feel right to withdraw. Adam said it is an economic choice, not and emotional one. Richard asked that we give NW Chess members from other states a discount equivalent to being a senior which everyone agreed would be a nice gesture without costing us much as only a few come per year. Regional trustees can decide to give a discount at local tournaments. Discussion ended. Adam is going to terminate the relationship with NWCF but wants it on the record how the Board thinks. Votes to withdraw from NWCF: Adam Porth, Dr. Richard Nathan, Tom Booth, Jay Simonson, Jeff Roland, Barry Eacker, Alise Pemsler; Votes to Abstain: Desmond Porth.
Donors: Joyce Friedman, Adam Porth, Marc Friedman, Lauren Tucker, Larry Hills, Alise Pemsler, Janos Fuscko, Dian Xu, parents of Andrew Kitterman, Amber Myrick, Desmond Porth, 2 anonymous donors.
Constitutional overhaul with 501(c)(3) application: Additions prior to the Annual Meeting: defining a quorum (⅓ Directors), the allowance to do business via email, removed NW Chess Magazine as official magazine to allow for flexibility. Jay noted that only the officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) can write checks. Otherwise, the content remains the same as the old constitution but it now has the by-laws embedded in it. Atty. Amber Myrick has looked it over and says it is fine from a legal standpoint. The Board has already approved this; Adam asked the 3 non-board voting members (Tom Booth, Dr. Richard Nathan, Desmond Porth) if they approved and they were in agreement.
Delegates: Adam needs to nominate 2 delegates to the US Chess Federation’s annual meeting in Orlando this August. Alise Pemsler and Jay Simonson will be the delegates if they can go (no obligation).
Adam moved that the current Regional Trustees should be confirmed until the next election cycle in 2020 as the Regional Trustees.
North - Adam Porth
East - Jay Simonson
South Central - Barry Eacker
West - Jeff Roland
Second: Desmond Porth
Point of Order: Jay says the Constitution says all elections must be by a secret ballot. This was confirmed this in the constitution. Atty Amber Myrick said that if we agree to voting for an entire slate, we can do so. Adam moved that we do this; Tom Booth seconded; all voted aye for the slate of Regional Trustees.
Board of Directors candidates for 2 year terms:
President -- Adam Porth
Vice President -- Richard Nathan
Treasurer -- Jay Simonson
Secretary -- Alise Pemsler
Desmond, Tom and Richard were asked if they would run for Vice President. Dr. Richard Nathan agreed to run for Vice President although clarified that if something happens to the president, he would want to look for someone else to take the helm. Jay nominated Dr. Richard Nathan for Vice President. Alise seconded the motion.
It was again decided to vote for the slate; Desmond passed out paper for ballots. Tom Booth counted the ballots. All 8 votes were in favor of the slate.
Adam announced the following staff positions he needs to fill:
Social Media Coordinator
PGN Games Editor
Rocky Mountain Rating System (completed);
All Board members to solicit donors and sponsors for tournaments so as to be more fiscally responsible;
Enhance scholastic and school outreach in each region;
Solicit more participation in organizing tournaments;
Investigate incidentals in overhead;
Compile items needed to accomplish yearly (Adam)
Obtain ICA membership perks eg relationship with hotels, restaurants (Perkins in Twin Falls does this)
Rotation of events:
Motion from the floor: Jeff moves to hold the Idaho Closed in Boise next year. Although BSU seems to be a logical venue, the possibility of using another venue should be explored. Jay seconded the motion of rotating the event. Ayes 8; Nays: 1 Motion passed to hold the the 2019 Idaho Closed in Boise. Jeff suggests that if a reasonable site proves impossible to find, it can be voted on to be moved back to Twin Falls.
Motion from the floor: Jay moves to hold the Annual Business Meeting to be held on Saturday next year between Rounds 1 and 2. Discussion: Adam says it would be reasonable considering that a number of people have Sunday commitments. Jay added that he doesn’t play on Sundays for religious reasons and there are others who also don’t play for similar reasons. Jeff seconded the motion. Adam requested that future presidents should see in our minutes that it doesn’t matter if you hold the meeting before or between rounds. Last year we held the meeting in the afternoon thinking more would attend but attendance was similar. The previous constitution used to specify a Sunday morning meeting but the revised constitution allows the Board to schedule the meeting at any time during the Idaho Closed. Motion passed unanimously to hold the 2019 Annual Business Meeting on Saturday.
Atty Amber Myrick will be working with Jay to submit the 990 postcard for 501(c)(3) tax compliance. We can submit Form 990 until we have over $50,000 in annual income. A round of applause was given for all of Amber’s work for the ICA.
Alise announced the opening of the Chess Cafe in the Boise Towne Square Mall. She has contacted the owner, “Yad” to get perks for ICA members.
Alise was contacted by Maureen Grimaud of the US Chess Federation Women’s Committee to put together a regional Women’s tournament, probably in Salt Lake. Our Ladies Tournament last year (mandated by US Chess) only had one player so we combined the event with Girls State. Alise proposes an educational day on how to play chess for women instead of a tournament. Jeff and Adam both pointed out that we are required to have a rated tournament.
Jeff moved to adjourn the meeting. Jay seconded the motion. Motion passed and the meeting was adjourned.