CORRESPONDENCE CHESS

Written and analysed by Jan van Reek

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World Correspondence Final 13 (1989-98)

The thirteenth final lasted from 1989 until 1998. Mikhail Umansky had started the ¾ final in 1984. So the participation took him 15 years! When the final began, he lived in Pyatigorsk, near the Caucasian states. He had a small income as chess trainer and finalist Usually, Mikhail plays solid chess, but he provokes the opponent if nothing happens. He won by a score of 13/16 before Bang (11½) and Penrose (11). The former champs Palciauskas and Baumbach became sixth and tenth. 

Mikhail Umansky

Rittner, Palciauskas, Baumbach, Oim and Sanakoev

(a photograph from Vytas' website)

NBC-25 years jubilee (1991-1994)

The NBC (Dutch Federation of Correspondence players) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a big tournament. Mostert planned the jubilee. It became an Open Dutch Super Championship of fourteen Dutch and seven foreign players and lasted from 26 xi 1991 until 15 v 1994. Bouwmeester withdrew and scored twenty defeats, a big zero. I analysed the games by Timmerman and Van Oosterom. 

The scores at the top were Timmerman (17½), Van Oosterom (16), Soltau (14½), Ekebjaerg (14), Wibe (13½) and Hovde (13½). Van Oosterom, Soltau, Wibe and Hovde became Correspondence Grandmaster. 

 

NPSF-50 years jubilee (1994-1998)

The NPSF (Norwegian Correspondence Chess Federation) celebrated its 50th anniversary on 1 September 1995. A great tournament started on 15 October 1994 and lasted until 1998. Over-the-board Grandmaster Ulf Andersson and the best postal players of Northern and Western Europe took part. I have analysed the games by Andersson and the wins by Timmerman, Van Oosterom and Elwert. 

Andersson made a magnificent debut in correspondence chess. He won the super tournament (11½/14). His games as White were spectacular, because his opponents chose risky openings and Ulf crushed them like beginners. Timmerman (10½), Van Oosterom (10) and Elwert (9½) followed and would stay at the top during the next years. 

World Correspondence Final 15 (1996-2002)

Qualification for the fifteenth world championship of the ICCF (International Correspondence Chess Federation) had started in 1984. The final round began eight years later on i xi 1996. Gert Jan Timmerman (1956) got a wild card. Seventeen players kicked off. A Russian participant died the next year. The time limit per game was ten moves in thirty days, excluding the postal periods. Games by the top seven have been analysed. Timmerman became world champion, Van Oosterom second, Poulsen third and Gottardi fourth. 

15th WCh 1996-2002

                1 2 3 4 5 6 7   Others

1 Timmerman     * 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 4   8   12   I

2 van Oosterom  0 * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 3½  7½  11   II

3 Poulsen       0 ½ * ½ ½ 1 1 3½  7½  11   III

4 Gottardi      ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ 3   8   11   IV

5 Maes          ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ 3   7½  10½

6 Barlow        ½ 0 0 ½ ½ * ½ 2   8   10

7 Finocchiaro   ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ * 2   8   10

Von Massow Memorial (1996-2001)

Hans-Werner von Massow (1912 - 1988) was a chief organiser and author in correspondence chess. He edited Fernschach from 1928 until 1939 and thereafter from 1951. His memorial began in November 1996. This coincided with 50 years’ Deutscher Fernschachbund. The German Chess Federation contributed DM 20,000. It would be the strongest tournament ever. Anton and Timmerman scored 10/14. Anton became the winner on SB-score. Sanakoev followed by one point. I have analysed four games to wet your appetite. The fine tournament book & CD by Anton and Baumback can be bought on: 

www.anton-baumbach.de

 

Peter Korning Memorial (1998-2001)

Peter Korning (1902-1995) was a player and sponsor in correspondence and over-the-board chess. He mailed his last cards a week before his death. A correspondence tournament could be organised from his legacy. Fifteen players began the memorial in 1998. They lived in Nordic and Western European countries. The last games ended in 2001. Van Oosterom and Hansen had scored 11½/14. Joop triumphed on tie-break. Elwert became third by a score of 9 points and Hector made 8 points. 
Until now, few games have been published with analyses. Therefore, I had to make a hard effort. An effect of the application of chess engines could be recognised, because few tactical errors were made. The lesser players still made strategic blunders. 

CAPA X Jubilee (1999-2002)

An Argentine club for correspondence chess has the name of CAPA. The tenth anniversary was celebrated with an elite tournament of three Argentines and three foreigners. They played double rounds from December 1999 until February 2002. The event was played in the early days of email chess. Contemplation time was ten moves in forty days. Everything went smoothly until Rubén Berdichesky stopped responding. He forfeited many games in 2001 and his rating of dropped from 2633 to 1843. Olita Rause won the tournament. She has been a top ten player in correspondence chess for many years. 

 

               1  2  3  4  5  6
1 Rause       ** ½1 ½½ 1½ 1½ 11 7½
2 Alvarez     ½0 ** ½½ ½½ 1½ 11 6
3 Morgado     ½½ ½½ ** 11 0½ ½½ 5½
4 Sanakoev    0½ ½½ 00 ** 1½ 11 5
5 Elwert      0½ 0½ 1½ 0½ ** ½1 4½
6 Berdichesky 00 00 ½½ 00 ½0 ** 1½


Olita Rause

Alvarez

Morgado

Elwert

Sanakoev and Berdichesky

Millennium Email Chess Tournament (2000-02)

The tournament was organised at the occasion of 35 years NBC (the Dutch federation for correspondence chess). A meeting of Nol van ‘t Riet with Joop van Oosterom and his staff resulted in a design for the Millennium Email Chess Tournament (MECT). Six top players should participate in a double rounded event. A large prize fund of 105,000 Guilders was made available. Five invited players agreed to play: Ulf Andersson (rating = 2805; nr. 1), Gert Timmerman (2738; nr. 3), Joop van Oosterom (2684; nr. 4), Hans-Marcus Elwert (2681; nr. 5) and Harald Tarnowiecki (2674; nr. 7). Korchnoi appeared to be only interested in over-the-board games. His place was taken by Erik Bang (2661; nr. 10). So six top ten correspondence players took part. Most games began in November 1999. The official start was on 1 January 2000. ICCF President Alan Borwell made the brilliant suggestion to present the ongoing games on the ICCF Website. The publication started in May 2000, when all games were different. A delay of three moves was applied. Each month one thousand spectators watched the games. 

Elwert triumphed! Tarnowiecki did well but he was defeated by the winner. Van Oosterom had a great result by beating Timmerman twice. Gert became world champion during the tournament but he was also hampered by a personal tragedy. Andersson lost a game in correspondence chess for the first time. He missed chances in two endings. His last game continued after the other games had ended in October 2001. A year later he had to resign to a draw. The superiority of over-the-board players in correspondence chess had ended! I looked into all games. Chess Mail 2/2002 and the report by Nol van ‘t Riet have been most helpful. 

 

                 1  2  3  4  5  6

1 Elwert        ** 1½ 1½ 1½ 1½ ½½  7

2 Tarnowiecki   0½ ** ½1 ½½ 1½ 1½  6

3 van Oosterom  0½ ½0 ** ½½ 11 ½1  5½

4 Andersson     0½ ½½ ½½ ** ½½ ½½  4½

5 Timmerman     0½ 0½ 00 ½½ ** 11  4

6 Bang          ½½ 0½ ½0 ½½ 00 **  3

World Champions Jubilee Tournament (2001-04)

The International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2001. A special Jubilee event started on 1 vii 2001. All living world champions took part in an email tournament. If the champ had no computer, it was made available. Van Oosterom donated 25,000 euro as prize money. The nine participants were Hans Berliner (5th champion; born in 1929), Horst Rittner (6th; 1930), Jorn Sloth (8th; 1944), Tonu Oim (9th and 14th; 1941), Vytas Palciauskas (10th; 1941), Fritz Baumbach (11th; 1935), Grigory Sanakoev (12th; 1935), Mikhail Umansky (13th; 1952) and Gert Jan Timmerman (15th; 1956). Tournament director was Nol van ‘t Riet. The last fight ended on 24 xii 2004. Some games lasted more than three years. 

Umansky showed a superior positional style, but some moves came as a big surprise. He won the tournament within two years and scored 7/8! Palciauskas, Timmerman and Baumbach shared the second place. Palciauskas scored wins by two intense attacks. The mysterious Timmerman held a prophylactic grip on his opponents. He won twice and drew by a perpetual six times. Players were great friends of Fritz (Baumbach). Berliner had not played correspondence chess since 1968. His two losses were a sensation. A lack of analyses by the players hampered my work but I did my best. 

 

                1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

1 Umansky    * ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1  7

2 Palciauskas  ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1  5

3 Timmerman    ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1  5

4 Baumbach     0 ½ ½ * 1 ½ ½ 1 1  5

5 Oim          0 ½ ½ 0 * ½ ½ 1 1  4

6 Berliner     0 0 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 1 ½  3½

7 Rittner      0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ * 0 1  3

8 Sloth        0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 1 * ½  2½

9 Sanakoev     0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ *  1

 

ICCF Elite Grandmasters Jubilee (2002-04)

 

Eight players, who had not become world champion, participated in the ICCF Elite Grandmasters Jubilee. They started to play double rounds on 15 i 2002. Nol van ‘t Riet was the director. Ove Ekebjaerg had to stop in 2003. The tournament ended on 10 iv 2004. The final standings were: van Oosterom and Elwert 10/14, Anton 8, Tarnowiecki 7, Rause 6½, Hamarat 5½, Bang 5 and Ekebjaerg 4. 

 

World Correspondence Final 18 (2003-05)

 

The 18th final of the correspondence chess world championship began on 1 vi 2003. Joop van Oosterom was announced as winner on 9 ii 2005. I have analysed his eight wins and six draws. The games have a rich content. Positional sacrifices inducing an attack are a special feature. The encounters are even harder to analyse than Kasparov’s. I had to revise lines after seeing Joop's perusal, a rare event. Elwert and Schön won silver and bronze. 

 

World Correspondence Final 21 (2005-07)

 

The 21st final of the correspondence chess world championship began on 1 viii 2005. Joop van Oosterom was declared to be the winner in 2007. I have analysed six wins, one draw and one loss. The notation of six draws was not available. 

 

World Correspondence Final 26 (2010-13)

 

The 26th world championship of correspondence chess started in June 2010. Seventeen players participated in the final. Although a few games were not finished, Ron Langeveld was proclaimed champion in October 2012. The standings at the top became: Langeveld 11/16, Serban 10, Leitão 9½.
World champions of correspondence chess used to be strong over-the-board players. However, Langeveld has a strength of circa 2000 in practical chess. The ability to utilise chess engines has become more important for correspondence chess. Results are dominated by the 3200+ analytical power of the engines. So, it is hard to avoid a draw.


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