We had our first conference call on October 22nd and other than some voice quality issues it went better than I expected. (The minutes of the conference call are available on the TCA website.) The major topic was background checks and after a long discussion a suggestion to establish a com-mittee to research and make recommendations was made, and quickly agreed to. David Ortiz, David Cantu and Troy Gillespie agree to be on that committee and I am grateful for their willingness to serve. My objective is to have the committee’s recommendation(s) and the TCA By-Law updates ready to present at State March of 2019. In the mean time we will have our second conference call December 10th at 8:00 PM CST, 7:00 PM MST. Information on how to access the call via our provider (ZOOM) is available via the TCA web site. My continued vision is to give TCA members an opportuni-ty to express their opinion(s) on issues important to them via this forum.

The State Grades Championship was competed in Houston November 2-4, 2018 and 446 players participated. As usual the Dallas Chess Club did an exemplary job planning for, orchestrating, coordinating and facilitating the event. “As usual”, what a statement. The Dallas Chess Club has done these events for so long that the TCA community takes it for granted that events like Grades and State and the SW Open and the Texas State and Amateur will be run, and they are again and again and again year over year over year. To say the planning and running of these large events is no small feat is an understatement of galactic proportion. In my opinion, we as members should thank Luis Salinas, Barb Swafford and the members like Lori Riley who shows up in the back room at every event for the tireless hours they have spent, and continue to spend putting on high quality events. From the President of TCA, this commitment over a long and sustained period is recognized, appre-ciated, and most importantly, Thank You!!

Membership – I for the longest time asked myself “what’s the value proposition of being a TCA member for me”? Finally, the answer came, you’re supporting chess in the state of Texas, it’s that simple. The USCF has over 9000 active members in the State of Texas and less than 400 are TCA members. I am going to ask TCA to consider some new and different membership options to help improve this, and this will be a major discussion topic on the December 10th conference call. But you current members can help, re-new your membership when it’s time and don’t wait for a TCA event and the Oh yeah moment of I must re-new to play this event comes up. To use one of my fa-vorite quips, this is not hard. Of course, the number one thing you can do to support chess is to play in and/or run tournaments as you can. I hope to see as many of you as I can at an event soon.

— Tom Crane