Our Player of the Month is an exceptional parent. His children developed an interest in soccer. So, he also became interested in soccer. He sought opportunities to support their sports passion. He set the example and served as a role model. For ten years he served as a commissioner, coach, and whatever else was needed in the Denton Soccer Association. And then his kids became interested in chess.
On Tuesday evenings they made the long one-hour drive to play in the old Watauga Chess Club. He quickly became a driving force in the club’s organization and management structure. In January 2005 he volunteered as Chief TD for a 34-player section. He eagerly sought experience and six tournaments later, in July 2005, he capably served as Chief TD of a 39-player Dallas Chess Club tournament. He was elected to office as the Club’s Chief Tournament Director with responsibility for recruiting and developing tournament directors. At peak he increased the number of TDs to 23.
Life happens. The old Watauga Chess Club moved and changed its name. The leadership changed. He and his children returned to Denton and founded the Denton Chess Club. He became an accomplished chess coach and Chief Tournament Director for many clubs and schools. He volunteered and was appointed as Region III Director even though he lived in Region II. He is a Texas Chess Team member and served as Texas Team Captain three years. He organized and directed the annual team match between the most fanatical chess players in Oklahoma and Texas, three times. He is a Senior Tournament Director with credit for an incredible 1,970 tournaments as Chief Director. He has mentored, coached, and tutored students from beginner to grandmaster. He is passionate about women’s chess, girl’s chess, veteran’s chess, and scholastic chess. He knows people and uses his connections to help worthy proteges advance to National competitions. He has no shortage of ideas for bringing Texas chess to center stage in many arenas.
When the pandemic arrived, rather than throw up his hands in despair, he analyzed and calculated the possibilities for returning chess in Texas to primetime. He became an innovator and sparkplug for online chess in Texas. He reached out to online chess vendors, like ChessKid, and paved the way for last fall’s phenomenally successful 733-player Texas State/ChessKid Online Scholastic Chess Championships. On October 26, 2020 he was appointed to the position of Chair, TCA Online Chess Committee. Most recently he co-organized and directed the 227-player Combined Region I, II, and III Championships. He persuaded the organizers and staff to budget for 100 percent online junior memberships. This resulted in 207 new online junior memberships and the biggest TCA membership increase in history (37.2 percent). Today, his Region III boasts two-out-of-every-five TCA memberships (250 of 605). When that last story needed to be told, he insisted on making sure all the heroes of the Combined Region I, II, and III Championships were recognized by name.
And they were.
Texas chess is a better place because of him. He mentors, leads, and inspires. He advocates for others. His scope of influence transcends far beyond normal boundaries. His pursuit of new and better ways is boundless. For all these reasons we at Texas Chess Association proudly salute Rob Jones as our March 2021 Player of the Month.
Photo by Jim Hollingsworth.