Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On The Web

Harvey updates the formation of the New Met League here and here.
He also announced a new website and blog location for the league.


FM Alex Dunne published my blog entry from 28 June 2007 as a letter to the editor in The Check is in the Mail August issue. WooHoo! To be sure, I sent this via email to every USCF official I could find and also posted it on the USCF Forum and ICCF Forum as well as the USCF BINFO system.

FM Dunne also details the many contributions by Max Zavanelli for American correspondence chess and his career over the past twenty years. Among IM Zavanelli's accomplishments are:

  • Eliminating dropouts
  • Using Ratings to determine international team members
  • A surge in titled players, over 50 IMs during Max's tenure

Among the titles Max has held are:

  • ICCF Vice President
  • ICCF Deputy Chairman
  • International Arbiter
  • Zonal Director
  • International Master
  • ICCF Deputy President
  • ICCF Acting President

In conclusion, FM Dunne writes:
For twenty years the name Max Zavanelli has been synonymous with ICCF and US success. And now Max has decided it is time to retire. And who shall replace him?
J. Franklin Campbell has listed some of the problems facing US international players – no international teams, no one to represent US for titles to our players, no nominations to prestigious international events, no input at ICCF congresses, and no access for US players to play internationally. Someone out there needs to consider taking over the help of ICCF/US. And soon. Ruth Ann Fay has announced her retirement as of October of 2007. Ruth is willing to train her replacement. Who out there is
willing (and able) to lead American players to as successful a decade or two
as Max and Ruth?


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Events Update

I've won the first USCF Walter E. Muir E-Quad I have entered with a score of 6-0. This is my first event win outside of ICC in correspondence chess. FM Alex Dunne emailed me this certificate:


There are still other games to go. Once they are finished the participants will be able to publish them. FM Dunne sent the following message along with the certificate:

Hi, Steven !
Congratulations on winning first place in the 2007 Walter Muir section 07W27. Your score of 6-0 was an excellent one. To commemorate your win of this webserver tournament, a certificate is attached. We hope you have enjoyed your games. If there were any games you think of exceptional quality, please send them for possible publication to “The Check Is in the Mail” at chesskinetics@stny.rr.com
Pax, Alex Dunne
USCF CC Director

USCF/WS/07WM27TD Dunne, Alex
1USA514360 Owens, Steve 111111





2USA514306 Evans, William 00..11





3USA514319 Kohler, Dennis 00....





4USA514440 Beeman, Brett 0000..





Latest results from 8/21/2007 are displayed in red.

Over at ICCF, I have one game still going in WS/O/109. Mrs. Karola Kaspschak has nine reflection days left in this time control and has not moved since 28 July 2007. I am White in a Slav and am a complete Rook up after White's twenty-second move. I anticipate four points in this event which assures a top four finish and retains faint hopes for an event win, though Pötz has an advantage of a win in our game and I drew with Kýhos.

WS/O/109TD Millstone, Michael
1AUT10588 Pötz, Florian1800P½1.1.1





2CZE130711 Kýhos, Alois1701½½.1.1D





3USA514360 Owens, Steve1800P0½½1.1D





4POL421419 Deren, Marcin2019F..½½.1D





5USA514348 Thomas, Gerald K1800P000½.1





6GER85582 Kaspschak, Mrs. Karola1800P.....1D





7ITA241236 Barzaghi, Andy1800P00D0D0D00D





XD = result by default
XP = provisional
Latest results from 8/19/2007 are displayed in red.

WS/O/120 and WS/O/138 have had no notable changes since the last update.

I've started a new event on ICC, 2007Quad08.

2007Quad.08 Rating 1 2 3 4
The7thGuest 2065 X X
sdo1 1956 X X
Boromir 1812 X X
Molton 1800 X X

Friday, August 17, 2007


On Thursday USCF President Bill Goichberg wrote the following on the USCF Forums:

The new EB discussed the issue of international correspondence chess at its meeting on August 5. Everyone agreed that unless there is substantial cost (which no one expects), it is appropriate for USCF to represent the correspondence chess players of the US, or to be part of a group that represents them. Subsequently, Bill Hall appointed Joan Dubois to speak to Ruth Ann Fay and work out details.

Bill Goichberg

I also received communication that has been BINFO'd from Joan Dubois on Thursday dated August 15, 2007 stating the facts as presented by President Goichberg as well as the following:

  • Both positions held are still open (ICCF-US Secretary and NAPZ Director).
  • The system is in place and running. All that is needed are interested persons for Ruth Ann Fay to train.
  • Ruth Ann Fay is willing to stay on to make sure the person(s) taking over are properly trained.
  • Joan Dubois is speaking to possible candidates and welcomes suggestions for those best able to fill the positions.
  • "The USCF will take care of the travel expense to send one person to represent us at the Congress..."

If you wish to pursue a position or know someone who would fill the bill please contact Joan Dubois at the USCF office:

Joan DuBois
U.S. Chess Director of:
Communications, Affiliate Relations &
Correspondence Chess
PO Box 3967
Crossville, TN 38557
(931) 787-1234 #123 or #130
(931) 787-1200 (Fax)

The following is a description by Ruth Ann Fay of what both positions entail and what is needed:

Responsibilities Max had which included representing the US at the annual Congress:

Requirements include computers skills in Word, Excel, and DOS databases (both the ICCF Eloquery and the ICCF-US databases are DOS). Since this has been a break even most years type of an operation, ability to pay one's own way to the ICCF Congress is also needed. Historically the ICCF-US Secretary has been the NAPZ Zonal Director, which is a seat on the ICCF Executive Board. Such participation is necessary if we are to provide top service to our players. Language skills are not necessary, but some knowledge of German and Spanish can help.

ICCF-US Secretary

Max Zavanelli has been ICCF-US Secretary since 1987, and I have been helping him for the last 9 of those 19 years. Due to business and personal reasons, we are now ready to retire from these duties. Our hope would be that we could provide a seamless transfer of duties to the next ICCF-US Secretary. Any player interested in this position should send their questions to Ruth Ann Fay and their resume to their domestic chess club with a copy to Ruth Ann Fay at zprchess@aol.com .
The position requires these minimum duties and skills:

Email skills - I have over 5000 emails sorted and "filed" in about 125 folders. OK, I admit, if I had time, a lot could be deleted. I receive 10-50 emails a day, depending on what is happening at the time.

Processing entries: Players, some through the ICCF Webserver, send emails regarding tournament entry. I reply with payment procedures. I then receive PayPal payments or checks. Probably 90% of correspondence is by email, but there are still some players who write and send checks.

Answer other inquiries: I have set up generic responses to cut and paste into the replies or to print out for postal inquiries. Post has greatly diminished over the years, most of what I receive now is from prisoners.

Organize USCCC, historically a bi-annual event. We switched to alternating post and server events.

Form USA teams for the ICCF Olympiads and other zonal team events. Jason Bokar as Deputy Zonal Director has been helping with this.

Organize country matches. I haven't had the time for this job. It could be moved to an assistant. It's great for the player looking for fun rather than titles.

Host Invitationals and team matches for NAPZ and PATT: The best way to get our players into a tournament with title norms is to organize them. I haven't had enough time to do this well.

Find players for Invitational matches. One needs to know the top players and to keep track to some extent of their game load. When we receive an Invitation from another country, we sometimes have very little time to provide a player. These are for players looking for title norms.

Keep Website updated, I haven't been good at this...

Publish "Top 50" list twice a year.

Ability to use DOS databases. Both the ICCF Eloquery database and the USA Database are DOS programs. For the USA database, we use Alpha 4. It is time to move the USA players up to either a newer version or another program, but this would be very time consuming.

Note that with every inquiry and entry, I check the player's contact information. For entries, I verify the ICCF number and rating. I must make certain that the players enter the correct level of event. The players frequently click on "Open Class" through server entry system when they belong in a Higher or Master Class section.

Keep track qualifications: ICCF now has a Qualifications report, but it is not updated often enough. I need to be able to tell players what their result in a certain tournament qualifies them for.

Fairly award the USA federation nominations to the ICCF World Championship Cycle.

Apply for ICCF Titles: The federation must make formal application for titles once the players have earned the correct number of norms. I maintain a log of players who only have 1 norm and try to get them into tournaments in which they can earn the remaining norm(s).

Forward announcements and updated Order Forms to the Webmaster for Posting. For example, World Cups and Champions League start in alternating years.

Recruit, advise, and otherwise help Td's.

Sale of postcards and scoresheets. I plan to stop this activity once the remaining stock is sold. Most players have moved to the server environment and do not require postcards and scoresheets.

Pay ICCF annual dues - only after verifying that we are paying on the correct number of players and entries. The financial object on the above duties has been to mark up tournament entries enough to cover the headcount portion of the ICCF dues. We do not charge separate, annual player dues as all players should be paying USA club dues.

NAPZ Director: The USA has about 75% of the players in the North America/Pacific Zone. This has traditionally been the ICCF-US delegate. This position is a seat on the ICCF Executive Board. This position can only be done properly by attending ICCF Congresses and being active on ICCF Committees. This is the only way to represent and protect USA interests and to keep our players informed of ICCF changes and events. We have been on Statutes, Appeals, and Rules Committees, for example. This could be handled by a second person. This is obviously the expensive portion of the job. The person has to be willing to make his vacation into a working vacation. Most Congresses have been in Europe, but we have also been to Argentina and India and hosted here in Daytona Beach in 2000. The Congresses are usually in the fall.
I cannot properly allocate the time I spend on these duties. I spend 3-4 hours most days, but to do everything, I could easily spend more.

Ruth Ann Fay NAPZ Director

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Calling Crossville, Anyone Awake?

More on ICCF trends in rated games via post, email, and web server:

Year Postal Email Server
2005/1 7981 6907 166
2005/2 7059 8294 2215
2006/1 5921 6974 4040
2006/2 5440 4992 6923
2007/1 4452 3715 8995
2007/2 4046 4143 11850

Rated web server games have gone from 166 on the first 2005 list to 11850 on the second 2007 list. Web server games on ICCF now double the combined rated post and email games. Total rated games rose from 15054 to 20039.

Not only are serious CC players choosing web server over post and email, they are playing more games, an increase of 5000 games over two years.

Mike Nolan posted the following on 19 June this year at the USCF Forum:

Assuming my data is complete, comparing the 2005-06 FY to the 2006-07 FY:

Collins Class registrations are up from 109 to 214

Golden Knights registrations are up from 170 to 277

Electronic Knights registrations are up from 122 to 154

Walter Muir E-Quads are up from 42 to 150

The only events available on web server are the Muirs.

The USCF must do their part to resolve the ICCF-US issues and the USCF must get involved, either with our own server or via another such as ICCF's, in web server correspondence chess. The data is available for those open minded and wishing to evaluate it. In all three events I have entered in ICCF play there has been another USCF player with me. How many entry fees are we losing to ICCF and other servers?

Think about this: Every one of those 11850 games meant about $2 in entry fees for the ICCF. That is roughly $23,700 in entry fees in six months. The USCF charges $7 entry fee for each player in the Muir E-Quads (about $1.16 per game). Part of that goes to the ICCF for use of their server.

The USCF is missing the boat here through inaction.

Oh, yeah: The new ICCF Ratings list (2007/2) is out and available here.

The rated games data above was compiled by Dhanish at the ICCF Forum.

Friday, August 10, 2007

On the Web

  • Over at The Campbell Report is a follow-up from Robert Rizzo on the recent Correspondence Chess workshop at the US Open.

  • Tim Harding is bringing ChessMail.com back and has a new article on the early origins of correspondence chess.

  • Harvey continues to put together a correspondence chess competition involving OTB chess clubs with reports on his blog.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

ICCF EB Elections

iccfFrom the ICCF web site:

The ICCF President informs the CC community that at the expiration date of 31.07.2007, the ICCF Auditor and ICCF M&SD received the following nominations for election to the Executive Board:

* President: Med Samraoui (submitted by BdF on 17.7) .
* General Secretary:
Pedro Hegoburu (submitted by LADAC on 5.7)
Josef Mrkvicka (submitted by Czech CCA on 10.7)
* Finance Director: Hans-Jürgen Isigkeit (submitted by BdF on 17.7)
* Marketing Director: Michael Blake (submitted by BFCC on 27.6)
* Services Director: Gino Figlio (sumbitted by LIPEAD on 29.6)
* World Tournaments Director: Frank Geider (submitted by AJEC on 18.7)

There are two candidates for the position of General Secretary, delegates will therefore be asked to make their choice. Each candidate will provide a personal statement and the campaign will start from 15.08.2007

Best regards,
amici sumus,
Med Samraoui
ICCF President

Only one contested position. This will be interesting to watch in light of the recent USCF election cycle and recent FIDE elections.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Look, There in the Sky, It's BLUNDERMAN!

Blunderman Everything was going fine. Mild mannered Steve was playing a decent game, when lo and behold... Blunderman is here!

I showed the game to Rummy, now that he has retired. Rummy Aw, c'mon. Like you never made a mistake!

It all happened on GameKnot because an idiot a valued correspondent stated that I gave the place short shrift in my recent hit piece review. I signed up for a few more games. I was distracted. That couldn't have been the move I meant to make.


[Event "Let's play chess"]
[Site "http://gameknot.com/"]
[Date "2007.08.03"]
[White "rmanby"]
[Black "sdo1"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1448"]
[BlackElo "1200"]
[TimeControl "1/259200"]
[Mode "ICS"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Bf4 d6 4. d5 e5 5. dxe6 Bxe6 6. e3 Bg7 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. Qa4 Ne4 9. Qb3 O-O 10. Na3 Nc5 11. Qc2 Bxb2?? 12. Qxb2 1-0

Calm Before the Blunder With 11. Qc2 I like my position (understatement alert) as Black. The b pawn is about to fall. His position stinks. White is spectacularly undeveloped with the King in the center. The Knights are about to devastate his Queen-side. 11...Nb4 or 11...Bf5 just ruin his day.

Oh, well... Live and learn.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

USCF Correspondence Workshop Report


Bob Rizzo of the USCF Correspondence Chess Committee relayed several points about the Correspondence Committee workshop at the recent US Open in Cherry Hill.

  • Mike Nolan's report on the USCF CC rating system

    -The new system is now running. The changes primarily involved smoother input by USCF CC Director Alex Dunne and allowing quicker results. Mike Nolan requested that any quirks found with the new system by USCF CC players be reported.

    -The ICCF web server was discussed during Nolan's report. Nolan and others expressed some dissatisfaction with the recent changes to the server interface.

    My personal opinion is that the ICCF server is the best on the web. I did have a bit of discombobulation when the changes were first implemented, but they must have been very minor effects on my usage as I can't remember what I found less desirable than before.

    However, there are complaints from others as seen at the ICCF Forums here.

    -The upshot is that Mike Nolan will soon have a proposal ready for a USCF Correspondence web server. Hurrah!

  • Fund to be used for web server events

    -Bob Rizzo also handed out a proposal to establish a fund to enable primarily invitational events, such as the Absolute, to be held on the ICCF server. If the USCF develops a web server this would be unnecessary. Several interested members have donated monies to seed the fund.

  • ICCF Olympiad XVII Preliminary

    -The USA team has advanced to a spot in the finals.
    Team members are:
    SIM Jason Bokar, SIM-elect Ken Reinhart, IM Keith Rodriguez, IM Robert Rizzo, SIM Michael Millstone and IM Corky Schakel.

    -The web site maintained by Team Captain J. Franklin Campbell is at here.

  • ICCF-US Federation Office

    -The problems presented by the looming lack of representation in the ICCF for America was discussed. Everyone agreed that the ICCF-US office must be maintained, but no solutions were proposed. Bob Rizzo explained the ramifications of this (on Olympiad representation, no one to apply to ICCF for those who qualify for titles, etc...)

    -Brennan T. Price offered to join the Correspondence Committee and committee chair Hal Stenzel accepted the offer.

I've asked Joan DuBois at the USCF office for permission to post the related documents and will do so as soon as I receive it. In the meantime, the documents may be seen on J. Franklin Campbell's The Campbell Report.