Infrastructure Upgrade Update

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As you know by now, US Chess undertook a major upgrade to its technology infrastructure within the past month after a year of development work. While the launch has not been as smooth as we wanted, we are seeing many positive benefits from the system since its launch. We are aware that the site sometimes runs too slow. Fortunately, that problem seems to have been resolved. 

This article will update you on some key features that are being worked on to minimize the concerns raised by our members, affiliates, and staff.  

Batch Membership Processing. This is a feature that affiliates use to process many memberships all at once. We have tested this feature and uncovered some issues related to syncing membership with the corresponding age ranges. Once this has been corrected and fully tested, we expect this feature to be released soon.

Group Membership (Voucher) Redemption. The Group Membership module was custom developed for US Chess. It is in active testing and we expect to release this feature very soon. Its availability will be announced through a new blog post in The IT Factor series of articles on CLO.

TLA Submission by Affiliates. The TLA system is in active testing. It is reasonable to expect the member-facing TLA module to be available soon.

Affiliate Email Blasts. Again, the new affiliate email blast system is in testing. As was the case with our prior system, Affiliates may still send information directly to our staff (Joan Dubois) who can continue to process these manually.

Other features that are coming:

  • An automated tool for Affiliates who run US Chess events online to assist with membership validation.
  • Reducing the lag time of syncing our membership data with MSA.
  • Additional governance features that will support US Chess committees are expected to be released in the Fall.

We very much appreciate your patience with us as we effect this transition. Even with all the bumps during the past month, we see the power of this new system. We can easily access member data, generate reports on our own and access parts of our system that were previously unavailable to us. All of this has come at a time when US Chess is also experimenting with increased online play, including five successful invitationals events that ran over the past two weekends. We have our own version of a perfect storm and I am confident we will weather it.

Our membership staff has been working extra hours to process your memberships as quickly as they are able, and we appreciate your continued understanding with the lag. In addition, Boyd Reed, serving as our Infrastructure Project Manager, has been working to keep ahead of the issues, testing new releases and helping our internal teamwork through the challenges of learning a new system. If you have a reason to communicate with Boyd, please thank him for all of us. His role has been invisible to most everyone, but he has done the heavy lifting for US Chess on this project. We would never have gotten this far without his leadership.