Thursday, January 3, 2008

Blogger of the Year Award

When the Blogger of the Year Award was announced, it was initially intended to be a tribute to David Glickman at the Boylston Blog. He did a tremendous job of reporting on the League in 2005 and 2006, and it was expected that he would continue to dominate the USCL Blogosphere. Things changed in 2007 however as the number of bloggers multiplied, and in the end there were three main contenders for the prize: Boylston Chess Club Blog,, and

Because of's cutting edge video interviews and coverage, along with many nice reports and previews, they seemed to be the likely winner with a few weeks left in the season. Things took a major change once the playoffs began though as became very quiet while lizzyknowsall brought dozens of interviews that shed light into the players that most knew nothing about. Elizabeth Vicary's blog was close to outright receiving the award because during the most important time of the year, the postseason, her blog dwarfed the competitors in terms of content. It seemed as if every single day there was at least one new interview posted on her blog. In fact in the month of November, she posted 14 interviews including one with nearly every key member of the USCL Champion Dallas Destiny and at least two interviews from every other Semifinal team.

On top of this she generated a lot of controversy with what is likely the most popular blog entry in the history of the USCL: when she responded to Mark LaRocca's analysis of one of her moves. While some of the commentary in the thread may have been a bit over the edge, it was also entertaining and garnered over 80 responses.

At the same time though, we had to look at the overall professionalism of the boston-blitz site and the high quality and entertainment value of their videos. These attributes combined with Mark LaRocca's match recaps, the large photo galleries, and the chance to be a "Blitz Buddy" were impressive features which were hard to ignore.

In the end, given how much trouble we were having in making the decision, we elected to put it in the fans' hands (well sort of). We decided to let the team managers (other than Boston and New York's) each cast one vote between and to decide the winner, and they wound up choosing in favor of

In regards to David Glickman at the Boylston Blog, I will say that Glickman's individual reports are probably the best out there, but without the excellent video coverage, it was hard for him to measure up to the boston-blitz website. He still should be given a lot of credit for his detailed reports along with really being the pioneer of USCL Blogging back in the 2005 Season.

In other good news to those who want to compete for the 2008 award, Elizabeth Vicary has agreed for her blog to no longer be eligible as she will become the official interviewer for the USCL.

In all it was a great season for the USCL Blogosphere. Congratulations to Elizabeth Vicary at and also thanks to all of the other contenders and the many other bloggers that I didn't mention here. Your predictions, power rankings, stories, and interviews were a big part of making the 2007 USCL season fantastic for everyone involved!


Anonymous said...


In my biased opinion, since it was almost all those interviews, all of which were, by her own admission, just emailing questions and then posting, verbatim, the answers; I don't see how Liz's blog was better than all the original content on

I'm in a pissy mood right now, and will probably regret saying this, but I'm getting tired of the FROGs (Friends and Relatives Of Greg) dominating this league.

So there.


Elizabeth Vicary said...

It's not easy being green....
But seriously, Matt, it wasn't Greg's decision. And you can't fault him for having awesome friends.

Tom Panelas said...

I think this is fair. All three are excellent blogs, and it's a tough call.

I don't agree that BCC is any poorer simply for not having video. The written word is still the most supple medium of communication, and DG wields it well. His coverage and analyses were superb.

I'd also give Paul Hoffman honorable mention for his creative rationalizations for Knights' losses.

Regardless of who got the hundred bucks, I think the mean quality of USCL blogging was pretty high this year. I hope we in the Chicago Blaze contingent can rise to that level. Good blogging is important for the league's success, considering the mainstream media don't show much interest in chess.

Congratulations, Elizabeth.

Anonymous said...

How can it be fair that the person who didn't write 80% of the League related material on her blog wins the prize? She didn't even transcribe, or edit the stuff. She just cut-and-pasted it from her email straight to the blog (as evidenced by the Chris Williams interview)!!

I know I'm claiming sour grapes here, but c'mon, this is ridiculous.

Who were the "judges" who nominated her blog in the first place?


Anonymous said...

Elizabeth totally deserves this award. She has done a fantastic job, and I'm glad she won it. She is absolutely great for the chess community, as well as just being a wonderful person.

AQ said...

Elizabeth does a great service to the chess community, and I'm very glad she has won this prestigious award! You go girl! =o]

Anonymous said...

I second that opinion, Mrs. Vicray has provided a lot of exiting entertainment to the league, and has done a great job in her interviews. Also, the boylston blog is very good too. I hope we will see more of them next year ! Congrats to both, and go LIZ!!!!


Anonymous said...

All right, all right. I've slept on it and realize I was being a complete ass.

I apologize. Congratulations Elizabeth.


Anonymous said...

I will, however, leave you all with this quote from Elizabeths Nov. 13, 2007 post:

"The interviews are of course absolutely easy-- I don't do anything except write the questions and email them out.... people actually thank me for asking them to essentially write my blog for me."


Anonymous said...

Elizabeth definetely deserves this award. She has done an amazing job, and its no surprise she won it. She is absolutely terrific for the chess community.

Anonymous said...

Who are all these anonymous posters praising Elizabeth??

I wonder...

I may be an ass, but at least I have the decency to reveal myself.


Eve said...

Elizabeth won because she deserved it. She did a great job!

Anonymous said...

Did you read the quote I put up there? By her own admission, she didn't do the work!! What kind of "job" is that??

I'm not blindly accusing her her; she admitted this herself. I don't think someone who just posts words written by others deserves this award. I'm not accusing her of being a bad person, or not doing anything for the chess community; I'm sure she does, but her blog, specifically it's coverage of the USCL, was self admittedly not her work and in my opinion doesn't deserve to even be eligible for this award.


Anonymous said...

Elizabeth is an awesome person who deserves chess blogger of the year of all the world and universe! She should run the USCF and without her US Chess would crumble to the ground. Shes very deserving of this award!

abby said...

it appears that globular's comments don't merely challenge, but they ignore it completely! where else on earth can readers find:
1. pictures of greg in paris
2. hypothetical situations involving kasparov and shabalov
3. hilarious raps
4. profund wisdom ("Stand up, unite, and defend our children!"
"You belong to jail, not to the executive board!")
5. movie reviews
6. and adorable puppet shows!

this is a chess blog? no way! it's time to capitulate buddy. you just can't compete with the greatest.

btw, the anonymous comments were not written by paul troung, if that's what you were wondering.

Anonymous said...


The award is for coverage in the blog of the USCL. Much of what you mentioned has nothing to do with the league.

(I like her original stuff, honestly, there just wasn't much of it related to the USCL).

I just remembered something else while posting a reply to the Boylston blog; for the final Greg instructed us to provide email addresses for all our team members so Elizabeth could interview them for her blog.

One of the reasons quoted in the article why she won is because of the plethora of material posted during the playoffs.

The reason she got all this material was a direct result of the League Commissioner making it so.

Remembering this has convinced me even more that, not only is she not deserving of this award, but she should not be eligible for it as she was already the de-facto League sanctioned interviewer.

Sure, this is only a silly $100 blog prize, but awarding it to a friend of the league founder, who didn't author most of the content, and got help from said league founder, just doesn't look good.


Anonymous said...

By the way, I was not in a spot to personally gain if had won the prize.

The esteemed Chris Bird is responsible for how good it is.


Greg Shahade said...

Matt, this is why I didn't allow myself to directly decide the winner. We decided the two finalists, and the managers decided who the winner would be. I got no objections to her inclusion from anyone, not even you.

Also it's kind of silly to blame me because you should know very well that I try to go out of my way to get content for the website. We would have done exactly the same thing for anyone who came to me with the intention of interviewing many league players. It just so happened that it was Elizabeth Vicary who asked me to do so and so I sent a completely standard email to the league in order to facilitate more content. For her to be disqualified from the contest because I made her job easier, as I would have for anyone else, is ridiculous. In fact it was probably this contest that drove her to send out as many interviews as possible.

She was by no means the league sanctioned interviewer. We welcomed any and all interviews from anyone.

Braden Bournival said...

I don't have any qualms with Liz being picked as blogger of the year. I thought BCC was excellent too, and I may have picked them over Liz, but Liz certainly did a great job.

I don't think was even close to as good as Liz's Blog and BCC. The pictures and stuff were cool (kudos to Chris Bird), but there weren't that many actual Blogs/Articles on the site.

Lastly, I want to thank Greg for running the league. I don't think it's a good idea to accuse him of false conspiracys when he's put so much hard work into the league.

Anonymous said...


You didn't ask for opinions on the nominees; in fact all you asked for was a vote, you even said, "Please participate by sending me a message with your preferred winner. No explanation at all is needed and just one vote per team." Of course neither Boston (me) or NY were allowed to vote (rightly so). I took this to mean I couldn't (or shouldn't) offer anything up about the vote, so I didn't. I wonder where all the reasons for her winning put forth in the original article here came from?

Your email to John Bartholemew and me asking for email addresses for the interviews said nothing about it being a request from Elizabeth, we were just told to " Elizabeth with a list of emails of your team members." It sure sounded like an obligation, not as a request.

Regardless, it is still true that her blog contained little original content relating to the League and it makes me angry that she won it with so little effort.

Chris bought a domain name, he uses his chess company's web server space which he pays for. He spent hours and hours posting photos, converting videos, etc. and we even had a friggin webcam for the final match!

Elizabeth, by her own words, "(didn't) do anything except write the questions and email them out... people... essentially write my blog for me."

Again, she shouldn't have been a finalist in the first place. I can only think she got there because you and she are friends.


Anonymous said...


The final choice was between and Elizabeth's blog. The BCC blog didn't make the final. I think it should have.

I agree that may not technically be a blog, but of the two choices for the award, I though it was clearly the better web site, and much more deserving of recognition as that's the kind of dedication we should try to encourage.

But I guess flippancy and cutting and pasting other people's words onto a free blog are better if you are friends with USCL Tsar.

(BTW, I don't know where this visceral reaction of mine came from. I'm not usually like this! Honest :) )


Anonymous said...

Matt, why not ask greg to make a poll about this? Like, which blog do you think should won the blogger of the year award? Mabye that would clam you down after you see the results.


Anonymous said...


I commented to this on the Boylston blog.

I don't think a popularity contest should determine who gets a "Best" type award. It should be a judge of quality.


Elizabeth Vicary said...

This is all extremely funny, of course, but I'd just like to make the basic point that the interviewer isn't supposed to write the content of the interviews. That's just how the genre works, isn't it? Wouldn't it be much weirder if I had changed things people wrote? (Maybe next year??!)

And Matt, since you actually didn't supply me with any list of emails, I don't think you can now claim you thought it was obligatory.

But no hard feelings, however you currently feel. My blog is and was always intended to be a big, silly joke. I hope some people have found it funny. Thanks to all my anonymous fans! How I wonder what the last four digits of your USCF IDs are.... It would be absolutely awesome if they all turned out to be Paul Truong, but I suspect they may all be Abby's friends. :)

Anonymous said...


I did email you the addresses on 11/23/07 at 7:03 PM.

I don't suggest you change what people write, I heartily enjoyed all the interviews (mine especially is a masterpiece). I just don't feel like you should get the award for it, that's all.

It's like going to a buffet at a restaurant; you may like the food, but you don't tip the waiter as much because he didn't serve it to you.

Would you have been offended if Greg didn't choose you for the final because of my reasoning?

You're feelings about your blog being a big silly joke kind of prove my point, don't you think?


Elizabeth Vicary said...

Matt, my apologies; you are completely right. You did send me the emails.

In answer to your question, no, I don't think being funny or jokey is a bad thing or should disqualify a person from, well, really anything. Why do you? Don't people read blogs primarily for their entertainment value?

Anonymous said...

When you said your blog was a joke, I took it to mean that you don't take it seriously and don't put any effort into it. Obviously, that's not what you meant upon my rereading your comment. Sorry.

No, I don't think being funny is a negative factor; quite the opposite.

I've said many times, I liked the interviews, I like your blog, I just don't think USCL coverage that consists of almost all interviews should get the prize. You're doing game analysis now, why didn't you do some more of it about USCL games? The only analysis we got from you was on the one game you played. Our web site had at least something on every game our team played. I don't see any original pictures from the Knight's games. That would have been nice. We had dozens of shots from the playing site almost every week. etc. etc.

My beef isn't with you, I blame the nominating process (such as it is).


Anonymous said...


Elizabeth Vicary said...

I'm sorry. I will try to do better in the future.

Anonymous said...

Where the hell is Krasik??


Judge Hilton said...

Dear Matthew Phelps,

Would you please state the purpose of your posts? You have already stated your points, and all of your comments are reruns.

I would invite you to enter articles from your blogs in the Chess Journalists of America Awards. You might find some of them will do well there. For one thing, although as the Committee Chairman of the Awards Category I am always seeking new, inexperienced recruits as judges, for the most part judging is done by experienced journalists. Since most of your complaints have been regarding Miss Vicary's blog content and its quality, the CJA Awards are certainly a fertile ground for you to till.

Meanwhile, I support the decision to award the blogging prize to Miss Vicary. Although your accusations that she did not edit content may be correct, they are silly because the point of an interview is to hear what is going on in the players' own words. Thus, the author's decision not to abridge interviews was correct considering the medium was blog and not print.

In addition, the point of a blog is to attract readers and inform and entertain them, not necessary
to provide a particular kind of content. Thus, your accusations regarding unoriginal photographic content, et cetra, are essentially non sequitur. You cannot disqualify a blog for not having a particular kind of content unless so stipulated by prior rules. These points should have been - and, I believe, were - evaluated by the actual judges. Continuing to attack the content in Miss Vicary's blog will not in any way disqualify her. The competition is already over.

It must further be brought to attention that the reason Miss Vicary's blog won is simple and clear. When put to a vote, more team managers voted for her site than for yours. The criteria? Undoubtedly, which site did they actually visit the most during the 2007 United States Chess League! I am among those who visited "lizzyknowsall" more than any other blog. Why? Because it was by far the most entertaining. I visited other sites, certainly, including yours - particularly for the web cam, which was a nice touch. However, I would also have voted for Miss Vicary's blog had the choice been put to me: its content was sufficiently interesting to gain my readership. Thus, the ability to gain readership is the crux of the matter, the deciding factor in which Miss Vicary sufficiently trounced her competition.

I do not usually respond to blog posts, since I dislike the intellectual stimulating conversation that occurs in such. If you wish to reach me regarding the CJA Awards or any of the content in this post, I can be reached best via the telephone. You can find my number in the CJA officer's directory.


Jonathan Hilton
Editor, Ohio Chess Connection

Anonymous said...


The purpose of my posts is to go on a tirade about the outcome of this contest.

I feel I have admirably accomplished that goal.

Your points are all well taken, and I agree with them. I guess I'm just disappointed that this became primarily a popularity contest.

We chessplayers (and I barely qualify as one) are used to judging a position solely on it's merits. Somehow, I had hoped the judges here would do the same.


Chris said...

Unfortunately the Boston Blitz site was never going to win "blog" of the year.

The site was handicapped by the fact that we had to be at least semi-conscious of any potential sponsors reading it and hence we couldn't put some of the humor into it that some of the blogs had a free reign to do so.

Another feature of blogs is that sometimes people can vote on the fact of the replies and comments, as stated by one of the judges when he said that one of her blogs achieved 80 replies. (The Boston Blitz site did not have the ability for people to comment on their articles otherwise the Mark LaRocca article would probably had got the 80 replies on the Blitz site rather than the competing blog.)

Also, the downtime around the play-offs was because a) I was on vacation for a week and b) the Blitz had a bye week, secured by winning the Eastern Division so there wasn't much to report.

I felt that both Liz's (whoops, Elizabeth's) blog and the BCC blog provided entertaining insights into the league, while having the freedom to say whatever they wanted, which they used to their advantage.

However, I feel that Elizabeth could certainly have improved on her interviews by just changing up the questions a little rather than them all being "generic" and the same for every interview.

I honestly didn't create the Boston Blitz website to try to win some blog of the year contest but to try and give the Blitz fans a central place to obtain Blitz related information. Also, it was a chance to place some professionalism into the Boston Blitz with the hope of providing something to potential team and league sponsors.

Hopefully more teams will do something similar in the future, although please note that if you don't have a blog, then you probably won't win any prizes for blog of the year! :)

Irrespective of all this, I had a blast doing the Blitz site, the interviews, reports and such. Next year's site will contain numerous improvements and so I just hope it continues to be as popular as this year.

Best wishes and my hearty congratulations to Elizabeth on winning USCL Blogger of the Year.

Ilya said...

Krasik, was away from home and therefore didnt realize what a storm has been happening here... WOW, Matt you arent recognizable. At first I thought it was an imposter posting. For those who dont know Matt, this is totally out of character for him, this has really hit a nerve I guess. Ive already posted what I think about this shamful contest at BCC blog and dont want to repeat myself here, however if Greg thinks that leting managers decided somehow lets him pretend that this was fair, he is gravely mistaken. First of all two of those managers from Queens and NJ are gonna vote for Vicary automatically out of a sense of loyalty/friendship/proximity and perhaps dislike of Boston Blitz, and then you have to add Dallas manager who was quite active himself at Vicary's blog.
I realize that there isnt a perfect system and that the league is still very small, I admire Greg for what he has done and I have strived to do my little part, that includes always speaking honestly about issues that need to be addressed.

Ilya said...

Lets ask ourselves this question


KMc said...

Elizabeth won it fair and square. Why don't all of you who are upset redirect your anger toward writing your own killer blog so that YOU can win next year??
Great job, Elizabeth. You're amazing!

Anonymous said...

The point is that there wasnt anything fair and nothing square in this voting, and have you ever heard of freedom of speech mr pathetic sycophant. BTW why does this blog attract so many sycophants as well as so many stalkers and weirdos?

Ilya said...

If I were in Vicary's shoes I would probably just shut my mouth and the enjoy the shampagne instead of bothering to answer the criticism. She already admited she never did anything, never cared and got all the interviews because Greg decided to use her blog as the official interview channel in the playoffs. But then came the big momemnt... lets have the drums please... she defeated in a popular vote of the USCL managers...Uraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa btw GReg, curioisity has the best of me, what was the score of that vote??

dvigorito said...

matt, I do not understand how you can say you were "being an ass" and apologize and then keep bitching and moaning til kingdom come. you keep harping on how much work elizabeth did, but I fail to see how that is all relevant. it was not a "hardest worker" award. elizabeth's frog status may not sit well with you, but the damn thing was voted on by team managers, not handed out by greg. give it a rest - isn't it just a subjective $100 blogging award for a for-fun amateur chess league?

Arun Sharma said...

I really was hoping I could avoid getting involved in this mess for obvious reasons (I'm still fairly shocked how much people seem to care about this award, I never would have envisioned this much discussion about it). Since everyone seems to be going nuts about it, I suppose I don't have a choice but to weigh in on the matter. Now I could comment on Elizabeth's Blog vs. vs. BCC, but I already did that in this article, and it's been beaten to death in the comments anyway so I don't think there is a need.

What I will note though is that Greg asked my opinion about who should win (as he does about basically everything in the league), and I told him I thought it would be a fair travesty if *I* didn't win (perhaps why he decided that I couldn't have a voice in this and that he had to go to the managers?). After all, so many of you are commenting about who did the most work etc., and between my Power Rankings, Predictions, Game of the Week Articles, and random other things (Pre-season Articles, Wilcard Games, All Stars, etc.), it seems clear to me that I probably did more work than all of the other three sites combined so how can I not win (or at least be in contention)?? Maybe being a FROG of Greg's worked against me somehow??

Maybe you should all dwell on that for awhile!

Anonymous said...

Clearly these managers are just envious of the awesome site Boston has.

Anonymous said...


I had decided to just shut up and leave it alone after my freak out session, but I want to address one thing in your comment. You said, "- isn't it just a subjective $100 blogging award for a for-fun amateur chess league?"

I don't believe so. My point is that the USCL is not an amateur league. There is sponsorship money and the players are paid. Admittedly it is not much, but the hope is that by establishing itself and demonstrating a certain amount of professionalism (which was admittedly not there in my tirade) more corporate sponsorship could be obtained and a long term league where professional chess players could eventually earn some well deserved money. Someday we'd like this to be something like the Bundesliga in Germany where strong players can actually use it to help make a living.

I flipped out (I admit that I went too far, and for that I'm sorry everyone) because I actually care deeply about the League, and making that vision succeed.

Despite what you may think, I work really, really hard at managing the Blitz, and so do others (Chris Bird, Mark LaRocca, Philip Nutzman particularly). Many others around the league work really really hard too, and I think they do it because they want it to succeed also.

Right or wrong, my reaction to this decision has been anger because I don't think it promotes that kind of image.

If the USCL is going to be just a bunch of buddies doing something for the fun of it, that's fine; I just need to know so I can stop putting in so much time, money, and effort.

Elizabeth's blog is great; it's funny, fun to read, and I enjoy it. If the award is indeed supposed to be for the "Most Popular", or "Most Entertaining" blog I'm all for her getting it. I just didin't think that was the intent of the award. It is worded as "Blogger of the year." My interpretation was that it should reward the most hard working, dedicated, *person* (or people) who worked on the web sites. My critisism of Elizabeth was only that there were others that did more than she, not that her blog was bad. I know and she are friends, and I know you are defending her which is a good thing. I tried to keep my points to just her blog and it's USCL coverage.

Again, I'm sorry I freaked out.


dvigorito said...


the prize was only 100 bucks, it is just a blogging award, and for now I would say the the USCL is an amateur league. this is not a slight, but without sponsorsip that allows all players to be played, I can't really consider it a professional league. hopefully it will be someday, but my point remains the same - it's not worth freaking out over a blogger award.

I would expect "blogger of the year" to be very subjective. some may find a well designed site (like Bournival's) to be the "best"; some may find one that clearly was the result of hard work (Boston Blitz) and other may find a fun little site that does not take itself too seriously(Elizabeth)to be the "best".

in any case, it is CLEARLY subjective, so there is no use complaining about it. your interpretation of what the award should stand for is just that - YOUR interpretation. I am not even defending Liz per se - if any other site won I would still think you were being ridiculous...

Anonymous said...

OK. Point taken. I'll stop complaining.

I just wanted to explain where I was coming from.

(FWIW, I do pay all the players something, even if it ends up being essentially gas money for the board 4 player.)


Anonymous said...

I think Liz deliberately asked the same questions over and over again of different players and then pointed out that she didn't really do anything except print their answers because she knew it would create controversy!! She did admit to being a yellow journalist after all!! She's trying to fashion a career out of being like a female Montel Williams or Geraldo Rivera!!

Anonymous said...

why are commenting this now Gregory, almost a month after the last comment was posted??!