#chess #iccf #ccla .
So here I am playing out the string on a few Correspondence Chess games over at ICCF while I reassess my openings and other aspects of my game... I had finished all but four of my games from various tournaments. In the CCLA event I had two games left against the other co-leader. We were tied for first with no other competition and only our games left to play. Each of us as Black had gained small advantages and my opponent broached the possibility of draws. I agreed and offered draws in both games.
Oops. I misunderstood his offer. He took the draw in the game where I had an advantage but opted to continue the game where he had the advantage. Long story short, I was able to fight to a dead draw and we concluded that event tied for first. That was satisfying.
In a couple ICCF Higher events (here and here) I had concluded all of my games except one in both events against another opponent who employed a very annoying time strategy. This guy allows his time to get down to less than a day left and then tries to play a version of speed chess. This strategy has afforded him little success as he usually times out or otherwise defaults. I have seen him allow his time to get under 30 minutes to make a move.
As I said, this is a very annoying ploy as - at least for me - the flow of the game is interrupted by not seeing any moves for 40+ days at a time. Making the experience even less enjoyable is that no matter how close the guy gets to the time limit, the server gives him an extra 24 hours every time he makes a move until he makes the next control. Then he gets another 50 days (plus however many extra days he gets when his clock goes under 24 hours) to torture his opponent.
Let me clarify... When the guy gets down to hours and minutes left to make a move and then successfully makes the move, the server adds 24 hours time to his clock. So, if he had only 30 minutes left and then made his move instead of having 30 minutes to make his next move he has another 24 hours.
And that repeats every time he makes a move.
I understand that with the way correspondence chess and the servers are set up this is necessary. It's still annoying when someone games it like that and I think it lacks sportsmanship.
A look back in his history on the server will show that this does not win him many games, but he does get the odd draw from others who appear to tire of the ploy. His event history is chock full of games of less than twenty moves where he has a loss with neither side having an appreciable advantage or draws of between ten and twenty moves. In the game he just lost to me he offered a draw on his 13th move.
So here I am the other day stewing a bit over this and wishing I could just conclude the games. I made a move in the early morning and set in to await his reply which - if he makes the control - will give him another 50 days to stretch out the game as it is the 30th move. What I and my opponent did not know was that there was scheduled server update that kept it off line for 12 hours.
I awoke the next day to an email from the server stating my opponent was -7 hours on his clock so I logged on and claimed (and was awarded) the win on time. When I went back later to make a move in another game my opponent had left a message decrying the server outage and demanding extra time to make a move... No, thanks. I'll take the point. That point gives me a tie for second in the event (my best finish in the Higher series to date) one point behind the winner. If he had managed his time just a tad better the outage would have had no effect on him. He had already been awarded 14 extra days by the server, anyway.
Our other game awaits his move and he has 30 or so days on his clock. I hope he makes better use of his time in that one.