2010 - 2011 U.S.C.L. Group Blog Contest
Hello U.S.C.L. fans, we would like to present to you our second Group contest; a bi-monthly blogging competition! This particular contest will run from December 2010 through July 2011. Each of the four rounds of this group activity will run for two months at a time. During each round, participants will be given a topic to write about. Individual criteria for each of the four blog contests will be given by the administration (In a contest thread created in the group forums). Participants will then have a set amount of time (roughly six weeks) to create a personal blog on their profile relating to the subject given. After the deadline has past, the administration will use the remaining time of the two month period (roughly two weeks) to judge the blogs; announce the winner(s); arrange the prize(s); and then prepare for the next contest.
Who can participate?
This contest is open to all United States Chess League Group members. Since the administration will be the judges for this activity, they will not be eligible to participate for prizes (although they may write blogs to be involved with the fun). The group administration would like to encourage ALL members to participate in this contest. Also, it is hoped that the contest will attract new members to the group, encouraging more Chess.com members to learn more about the league.
The administration has taken into consideration that group members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and circumstances. Prior knowledge about the league is NOT necessary! The contest has been set up to give contestants more than enough time to research the topics to be written about. Also, a high level of chess knowledge and/or skill will NOT be necessary in order to participate. The first two subjects have been selected specifically to allow a chess novice to feel just as confident about their material as a Master level player would. The judges will take into consideration that participants will have different levels of writing skill based on many factors (age, level of education, and even English as a non-native language); so all participants should feel comfortable with the idea that they will be judged more for the “spirit” and “passion” expressed in their material than they will be on technical writing skills.
What are the participants required to do?
Every subject in this contest will have a thread created for it in the group forums. In each of these threads, the subject of the blog will be indicated. Along with the subject, any specific criteria that the judges will be looking for will also be listed. Since there will be a two month period for each blog contest, deadlines for each blog entry will be listed. Any material created after the specific deadline will not be accepted for purposes of the contest. All members who wish to participate will "sign up" for the contest by making a post in the thread indicating that they wish to be involved. Then, once the blog has been made, these members will post again to let us know that they are finished. These steps will allow the judges to know who is participating as well as letting the judges know when a blog is finished and ready to be looked at.
As long as all criteria for each subject are met, participants will have complete freedom to create their entries. The format (and content) of the blog will be up to each author. If they wish, participants can include: Pictures; diagrams; puzzles; or games. As long as these things serve a clear purpose, contestants should feel free to be as creative as they want (or do not want) to be! Also, participants should feel free to include material from other sources, as long as those sources are identified. The amount of research and detail that are put into the blogs will be up to each author. This activity is designed to get everyone involved in the group, and expand their knowledge of the league and its players!
Who are the judges, and what will be some of their criteria?
There will be three judges for the contests: David Pruess; Daniel Rensch; and William Smitham. One of the things that the judges will look for with each blog is original content. Entries that are simply copied from other sources (or re-worded from other sources) will not be considered as possible winners. We want to hear from you! Entries will also be judged on how well they followed the criteria listed in the contest thread. If an entry does not follow the criteria listed for the contest, it will not be considered as a possible winner. Also, entries that are submitted after the deadline will not be considered as a possible winner. Outside of this, the judges will discuss among themselves the ability of the author to communicate the subject; how well the author stayed (or strayed) off of the topic; and how well the author was able to express their passion or opinion in the blog (were contestants able to explain to their audience their passion and/or opinion of the subject in an understandable way?). There are no set rules for this; that is the reason there will be multiple judges. It is also the reason that there will be up to two weeks given in order to decide the winner(s).
What are the prizes?
For the first contest, there will be one winner. That winner will receive a one month Diamond Membership for free. In the event that the winner is a titled player (who have free memberships based on their titled status), they will instead receive a Chess.com or U.S.C.L. gift that is equal in value to a one month membership. Based on how many participants there are for the first topic, it may be decided to offer more than one prize for future rounds of the blog contest. So, in an indirect way, you as the contest participants will be able to help us determine if future rounds will include more than one prize! So, make sure you participate!
Also, the administration will find ways to include the winning blogs (and perhaps others as well), into the group content. We hope to showcase the work that you, as members, have done. We also want to give you recognition in helping spread awareness about the league! We hope that this contest helps to encourage you all to make future forum topics in the group. No matter what your level of knowledge is, your input is important to us! This group activity is designed to just add a bit of fun (and prizes) to this idea! We wish you success; and remember to have fun!