The IT Factor, Part 2: Bringing (Nearly) All of IT Together

One of the primary goals for US Chess in this membership database project has been to reduce the number of logins and access points you, as a member, will need to get around the site.  This blog will discuss the redesigned login area for members.  There have been several changes that we hope will make it easier for you to conduct business on our site. 

First, a note:  there is still testing and bug fixing taking place as of the date of this blog.  The images you see below may change slightly between now and the launch of the new database as a result.  We will update these images to reflect the most up-to-date screens, so you should be able to follow step-by-step.

We will cover the specifics of how to manage your profile and personal information in a separate article.

Associate A Unique Email Address with Your Membership

As you know, US Chess does not require you to have a unique email address on file to become a member.  However, to use this new system, you will need to have an email address associated with your membership.  If you do not already have an associated email address, you may email feedback@uschess.org with your name, US Chess ID number, and preferred email address.  Please note, an email address can only be associated with one membership record for the purpose of accessing this system.

If you already have an email address in your member record, you should not need to take this step, as that information will be imported into the new membership database.

How to Log In

When you access USChess.org after launch, you will see the link below, to the right of the big blue “DONATE” button at the top of the page.  It is what you see now, so the text will not change.

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Current Login

However, when you click on the login link, you will see this page:

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Login Page

 

This will be the portal that gives you access to almost everything you are authorized to reach in USChess.org. 

On your first visit, you’ll need to set up a new login and password.  Click the “Reset Your Password” button, and enter the email address associated with your member record on the form that appears.  You’ll receive an automated email with a one-time link that will allow you to set up a new login and password.  Once your new login is confirmed, you may return to the above screen and log in.

(Please note:  your existing login and password will still be needed to access the digital version of Chess Life, as well as the US Chess Forums.  Those systems will be integrated as part of Phase 2 of this project, which is currently on hold.)

Getting Around

When you successfully log in to the new system, you will see this user dashboard.

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Dashboard

 

The first thing you may notice is that there are lots of options on this screen.  The screen will combine access to various parts of the TD/Affiliate Area (TD/A), Member Services Area (MSA), and new Governance functionality.  (Executive Director Carol Meyer will be writing an article that introduces the new features related to governance business.)  If you are a tournament director, you will see the list of affiliates for which you are an authorized TD. 

Player Search

The “Find A Member” button leads to this new member search screen:

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

Here, you can search for members by US Chess ID number, full or partial name, and by state (especially useful if you are looking for a fairly common name). 

Notice the “Search by Ratings” text, right above the Search button.  You can click that text, and it expands as you see below.

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Player Search Expanded

You will have the ability to search for players by rating ranges in all seven US Chess rating systems.  Of course, the rating searches can be combined with a given state.  You can see an example of this below.

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Player Search Example

 

This is a search for all players in the state of Pennsylvania with OTB regular ratings between 2400 and 2700.  (Please note, the rating boundaries are inclusive.)  You can see the results of this search below.  Search results will appear under the Search and Reset buttons.

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Player Search Results

The players are listed in last-name alphabetical order.  Names are given in first-middle-last format.  You can see the ID number, the rating in each system (if applicable), the state, and the expiration date.  As in the current system, each name is a hyperlink.  Clicking it will take you to that player’s current MSA page.  (Please note, the existing MSA detail pages will remain in their current home until the implementation of Phase 2.)

Find Tournaments

From the Dashboard, clicking the “Find Tournaments” button will take you to this page.

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Upcoming Tournaments

This search page is the result of a massive overhaul of our Tournament Life Announcement (TLA) system.  There will be a separate blog article written about this new TLA system, geared toward organizers looking to publish ads for their events.

Due to the improvements in the TLA system, you will be able to search for events by all the features you see above.  There will also be a geosearch option, whereby you can search within a specified radius of a given ZIP code.  (Please note, this screen shot will be updated.)  The reason we can offer this functionality is because TLAs will be entered with much more information broken out into separate fields.  Those separate fields can be used as search criteria.  Be on the lookout for the TLA article later this week.  Email communication will also be sent to TDs and organizers.

So, is all the old stuff gone?

A number of our legacy systems are still up and running (particularly those regarding functions such as the US Chess rating server, submission of tournament reports, the US Chess Forums, and digital access to Chess Life).  Those functions are scheduled to be merged with this new interface as part of Phase 2.  We had to get the new membership database, and the ability to control access by individual user, set up.  Now, we will be able to bring the rest of those functions under one roof.

Managing Expectations

Many staff and stakeholders have spent the last year working to deliver an upgraded experience for you.  This includes hundreds of hours of testing, both by our great development partners at Skvare and by US Chess staff.   Even with all that testing and fixing, though, there will be things that don’t go perfectly.  There will be things that we have to fix and get right.  With your help and patience, we will continuously improve and expand the services available to you.

At the bottom of every page, there is a “Share Your Feedback” section, that includes a link where you can send comments or issue reports for anything you find that is not working properly.  Please do share information about any errors or problems you have on a page, using that link.

What’s next?

Please see “The IT Factor, Part 3”  for a walkthrough on how to manage your user information and communication preferences in the new membership database.

 

Comments

This message says "legacy systems are still up and running (particularly those regarding functions such as the US Chess rating server, submission of tournament reports, "

Wonderful!!!  WHERE can I submit a tournament?

 

Jim Liptrap  jim@jliptrap.us

 

Despite following the instruction to reset password, my username and email address is still not recognized by US Chess.

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