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Chess Scotland Player of the Year

(The James G McDonald Memorial Award)

The Scottish Chess Association (SCA) inaugurated this award in 1991, and Chess Scotland (CS) continued it following the merger and change of name. The background is contained in the following special announcement made at the time:

SCA Special announcement

The SCA is pleased to announce the inauguration of a "Player of the Year" award, for the player whose talents and/or achievements are judged to have made the greatest contribution to Scottish chess over the 12 months preceding the annual Scottish Congress.

This award is made possible by the generosity of the family and colleagues of the late James G McDonald, who tragically died when the Oil Drill ship "Sea Crest" capsized in the Gulf of Thailand, during Typhoon "Gay" on 3 November 1989. His colleagues of Exlog Singapore subscribed generously to honour his memory, and his family (brother Dr John N. McDonald of Frimley and parents Mr and Mrs McDonald of Ayr) most kindly offered the money to the SCA to establish a suitable memorial award.

The "James G. McDonald Memorial Award" for the "SCA PLAYER OF THE YEAR" resulted from discussions between the SCA and the McDonald family, and the format and rules are described below.

Before James moved to the Far East (and Dr John to Frimley) they both played regularly in the Glasgow League, for Anchor and Paisley Chess Club, and in numerous tournaments.

Mrs McDonald also, in due course, presented the award to its first recipient, Andrew Muir, and a photograph of the presentation appears in the November 1991 issue of Scottish Chess.

Chess Scotland (formerly SCA) Player of the Year - format and rules

(The James G. McDonald Memorial Award)

1 The Award

The generous donation, described above, from the colleagues and family of the late James G McDonald, has been used to provide a permanent trophy, and to fund an annual monetary award to the "SCA (now Chess Scotland) Player of the Year". This award is intended to acknowledge Scottish chess-playing talents and achievements, in the context of their perceived contributions to the well-being of chess in Scotland.

2 Selection of the Award winner

Each year, the award winner will be determined by postal vote: all voters, candidates and winners must be SCA (now Chess Scotland) members, a pre-requisite "perceived contribution to the well-being of chess in Scotland"! The SCA (CS) will publish, in the May issue of Scottish Chess, an advisory short list of candidates, with brief supporting notes, but will state that voting is not restricted exclusively to this list. The closing date for receipt of postal votes will also be stated, to allow presentation of the award to be made at the Closing Ceremony of the Scottish Congress.

3 Repetitive winners

The SCA (CS) recommends that no player should (normally) win more than ONE award in any 3-year period, and the advisory list will note the names of previous winners in this category. However, there can clearly be exceptional circumstances, where a major achievement by a recent winner clamours for recognition, and the SCA (CS) advisory list will recognise such situations.


Council Minutes of September 2003 refer to a change of method in the selection of POY candidates. Chess Scotland members are invited to make nominations rather than vote on a list prepared by CS officials.


Player of the year winner list.