Facts, Games and World Champions of Correspondence Chess

 Craig Sadler  6/13/2004  12 comments 

An article on the History of the World Champions of Correspondence Games including pictures and games.

Correspondence Chess

Waiting for the postcard/letter/email. Getting the move, analyzing it for hours until you find the perfect refutation. Sending it back. These are the joys of correspondence chess. I first started playing correspondence chess in 1998 and I loved it then, and I still love it today. At one time, I was playing 50 games at once, but for time's sake I have trimmed it down to 2 games now and I enjoy it extremely. Originally, it was played between European cities and chess clubs in the 1800s. Listed below is a game between London and Paris where in reply to 1.e4, Paris replied 1. ... e6, a move to stop all those romantic swashbuckling attacks on f7, the King's Pawn sneak one, or as it came to be called because of that game, the French Defence. Nowadays, some people feel that correspondence chess has been ruined by computers, and potentially it has, but the greats of correspondence chess were no slouches over the board. For instance, 5th Correspondence champion American Hans Berliner (1967-1971) once drew Bobby Fischer in the 1957 U.S. Championship (see below). And of course, everyone remembers the recent Kasparov vs. the World! As opposed to the standard match-play for the World Championship that is employed by FIDE, the Correspondence Chess Championship cycle is a little bit different. There are Candidates' tournaments, etc. but because of the length of games (they can take over a year to complete) they have a giant round-robin tournament (ranging from 10-14 players) from the winners of the Candidates' tournament and the winner is the World Champion.

The first Correspondence World Champion was

Cecil Purdy


Purdy captured the first Correspondence World Championship with a score of 10½/13 in 1953. Here is one of his victories from the Championship with some light annotations from your humble author

Purdy - Napolitano

1st World Correspondence Championship 1950

E26 Nimzo-Indian (Samisch Variation)

1.c4 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 The Samisch variation of the Nimzo-Indian in which White acquires the bishop pair in exchange for doubled c-pawns. More popular today at top-level chess is 4.Qc2 the classical variation, preventing the doubled pawns. 4. ... Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 c5 6.e3 Nc6 7.Bd3 e5 8.Ne2 d6 9.e4 Nh5 10.0-0 g5 11.Bc2 Nf4 12.Ba4 Bd7 13.Ng3 cxd4 14.Bxc6 bxc6 15.cxd4 Qf6 16.Be3 h5 17.dxe5 dxe5 18.Rb1 Rd8 19.Qc2 h4 20.Nf5 Bxf5 21.exf5 0-0 22.Rfd1 Nh5 23.Bxa7

Click here for diagram

That passed a-pawn is going to turn into a monster

23. ... Ng7 24.a4 Nxf5 25.a5 h3 26.a6 Ra8 27.Bc5 Rfe8 28.a7 e4 29.Rb7 Nh4 30.Qb3 Qf5 31.Rdd7 Nf3+ 32.gxf3 exf3 33.Kf1 Qxc5 34.Qc3 Rf8 35.Qd3 Qe5 36.Qxf3 Rae8 37.Rb1 Qxh2 38.Rb3 Qe5 39.Qxh3 Qf4 40.c5 Qc4+ 41.Kg2 Re4 42.Qf5 Qxb3 43.Qxe4 Kg7 44.Qf5 g4 45.Qxg4+ 1-0

The second Correspondence World Champion was

Viacheslav Ragozin


In addition to being the Correspondence Champion, he was a training partner for former World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik in the 1940s. (He never did beat Botvinnik and he had a -30 score against him in 44 games). He also had a line of the Queen's Gambit Declined named after him - the Ragozin Variation 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bb4. Here is one of his games from the Second Correspondence World Championship in 1956, a victory vs. Lothar Schmid, who was the arbiter for the Spassky-Fischer Championship match in 1972

Ragozin - Schmid

2nd World Correspondence Championship 1956

B29 Sicilian (Nimzowitsch Variation)

1. d4 c5 2. e4 cxd4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. Bc4 Nb6 6. Bb3 d5 7. exd6 e6 8. Qxd4 Qxd6 9. Nc3 Qxd4 10. Nxd4 a6 11. Be3 N8d7 12. O-O-O Nc5 13. Rhe1 Bd7 14. Nf5 O-O-O 15. Bxc5 Bxc5 16. Ne4 exf5 17. Nxc5 Bc6 18. Bxf7 Bxg2 19. Rxd8+ Rxd8 20. Ne6 Rd6 21. Nxg7 Rh6 22. Re6 Rxh2 23. Rxb6 Be4 24. f3 Bxf3 25. Nxf5 Be4 26. Nd4 h5 27. Rh6 h4 28. Bh5 1-0

The third Correspondence World Champion was

Alberic O'Kelly de Galway


Alberic O'Kelly de Galway was the first player to become both an OTB Grandmaster and a Correspondence Grandmaster. He was also an openings pioneer having variations named after him in both the Sicilian defence 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 and the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 c6 (which I realised after I looked it up just transposes to mainline Caro-Kann 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4). Here is a stunning victory of his vs. Hungary's Janos Balogh in his triumphant run to the Correspondence World Championship in 1959

Balogh - O'Kelly de Galway

3rd World Correspondence Championship 1959

B08 Modern Defence

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bc4 c6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Qe2 O-O 7. Bg5 b5 8. Bd3 Qc7 9. e5 dxe5 10. Qxe5 Qd8 11. Qf4 Na6 12. a3 Nc7 13. Ne2 c5 14. dxc5 Ne6 15. Qe3 Nd5 16. Qd2 Nxc5 17. Rd1 Bb7 18. O-O Nxd3 19. Qxd3 Qb6 20. Rfe1 a6 21. Ned4 Rfe8 22. Qd2 e5 23. Nb3 Rac8 24. Re2 f6 25. Be3 Qc7 26. c3 Bf8 27. Qe1 Bd6 28. Bc1 Kf7 29. h3 e4 30. Nfd4 f5 31. Bg5 Qb6 32. f3 exf3 33. Rxe8 Rxe8 34. Qh4 h5 35. gxf3 Qc7 36. Nxf5 Re2 37. Nbd4 Bc5 38. Kf1 Qh2 39. Nh6+ Kg7 40. Nxe2 Qh1+ 41. Ng1 Bxg1 42. Ke2 Qg2+ 43. Ke1 Bh2 44. Rxd5 Bg3+ 45. Kd1 Qxf3+ 46. Kc1 Bxd5 47. Qd4+ Kh7 48. Be3 Bd6 49. Qa7+ Bb7 50. Qb6 Bf4 0-1

The fourth Correspondence World Champion was

Vladimir Zagorovsky


In addition to being the fourth Correspondence World Champion, he was also the leader of the Russian Olympic Correspondence Team for many years. In World Championships, his participation and results were unmatched. In the fourth World Championship he won clear first place with 9½/12. In the fifth World Championship, he finished 4th with 10/16. In the sixth World Championship, he finished 2nd with 12/15. In the seventh World Championship, he was 3rd with 11/16. In the eighth World Championship, he tied for first with Sloth from Denmark with 11/14. In the eleventh World Championship, he was fifth with 9/14. In addition from 1975-1991, he was vice president of the International Correspondence Chess Federation. Here is a game between Zagorovsky and Paul Diaconescu in the Europe Echecs 20 years tournament in 1988

Zagorovsky - Diaconescu

Europe Echecs 20 Years 1988

C95 Ruy Lopez (Breyer Variation)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 c5 13. Nf1 Re8 14. Ng3 Bf8 15. d5 g6 16. a4 c4 17. Bg5 h6 18. Be3 Nc5 19. Qd2 Kh7 20. Nh2 Bg7 21. Rf1 h5 22. Nf3 Nfd7 23. Ng5+ Kg8 24. f4 f6

Click here for diagram

Now Zagorovsky sacrifices a piece to break open the kingside

25. f5 fxg5 26. fxg6 Rf8 27. Bxg5 Qe8 28. Nf5 Rxf5 29. exf5 Nf6 30. Bxf6 Bxf6 31. Qh6 Qe7 32. Qxh5 bxa4 33. g4 1-0

The fifth Correspondence World Champion was

Hans Berliner


As already mentioned, Berliner was quite a good OTB player, drawing Fischer in 1957. He played on the 1952 American FIDE Olympiad team in Helsinki, only playing one game, drawing Franticez Zita. In the fifth Correspondence World Championship, he set a record that will probably never be broken, he won with a score of 14/16. The following game against future Correspondence Champion Yakov Estrin, from the fifth World Championship was voted by the readers of www.chessmail.com as the "greatest Correspondence game ever played". I couldn't do this game justice, so the notes are taken from www.chessmail.com.

Estrin - Berliner

5th World Correspondence Championship 1967

C57 Two Knights Defence

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 b5 6. Bf1 Nd4 7. c3 Nxd5 8. Ne4 Qh4 9. Ng3 Bg4 10. f3 e4 Berliner prepared this innovation in the extremely sharp Ulvestad variation and the subsequent complications especially for Estrin who was a known expert in the Two Knights Defence. 11. cxd4 Bd6 12. Bxb5+ Kd8 13. O-O exf3 14. Rxf3 In a later CC World Championship Estrin tried to improve by 14. Qb3 and won a game with that move, but neither he nor his opponent Nielsen found the brilliant refutation 14...Nb4!!which Berliner had prepared against that move, guaranteeing Black at least a draw. This analysis is now published in Berliner's monograph From the Deathbed of the Two Knights Defence. 14. ... Rb8 15. Be2 Berliner considered 15. Bf1 to be White's best though it was later overshadowed by 15. a4, which leads to great complications which Berliner had investigated in depth. 15. a4 was explored by other players in subsequent games. 15. ... Bxf3 16. Bxf3 Qxd4+ 17. Kh1 Bxg3 18. hxg3 Rb6 19. d3 Ne3 20. Bxe3 Qxe3 21. Bg4 h5 22. Bh3 g5

Click here for diagram

CS : Even if you've never played over a game ever before, play over this game up to this point! It is incredible! Everything is hanging! EXTREMELY sharp play. Don't try this at home, kids! At this point it is clear that Black has won the opening and early middle game and he now looks for a way to convert his initiative to victory. Estrin fights hard to reach an endgame which many opponents would not have been able to win.

23. Nd2 g4 24. Nc4 Qxg3 25. Nxb6 gxh3 26. Qf3 hxg2+ 27. Qxg2 Qxg2+ 28. Kxg2 cxb6 Black needs to penetrate the queenside with his king without allowing White to reduce the number of pawns by a4-a5. 29. Rf1 Ke7 30. Re1+ Kd6 31. Rf1 Rc8 32. Rxf7 Rc7 33. Rf2 Ke5 34. a4 Not the best but Berliner's analysis demonstrated a win in all variations. The main line he considered ran 34 Kg3! Kd4! 35 Kh4 Kxd3 36 Kxh5 Rc2! 37 Rf7 Rc5+! 38 Kg4 Ra5 39 Rf3+! Kd2!! (39...Kc2 40 Rf2+ is not so clear) 40 a3! (If 40 Rf2+ Ke1 or 40 b3 Ra3! stopping a4) 40...Kc2 41 Rf2+ Kb3 42 Kf4 Rb5! 43 Ke4 Ka2! 44 Rf7 a6! 45 Ra7 Ra5! 46 Rb7 b5 and Black wins. 34. ... Kd4 35. a5 Kxd3 36. Rf3+ Kc2 37. b4 b5 38. a6 Rc4 39. Rf7 Rxb4 40. Rb7 Rg4+ 41. Kf3 b4 42. Rxa7 b3 0-1

Wow! This would be a good place to mention that I am going to do a future article on the Greatest Games of All Time. If anyone would like to contribute a game (either from themselves :) or has a candidate game), please email me

The sixth World Correspondence Champion was

Horst Rittner


German Horst Rittner captured the Sixth World Correspondence Champion ahead of past and future champions Zagorovsky, Estrin and Sanakoev. For the most part, Rittner opened 1.e4 and responded to 1.d4 with a Nimzo/Queen's Indian setup and responded to 1.e4 with 1. ... e6. Here's a miniature from his World Championship run v. Sverre Aarseth from Norway.

Aarseth - Rittner

6th World Correspondence Championship 1971

C17 French Defense (Winawer Variation)

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. Qg4 Ne7 6. dxc5 Nbc6 7. Nf3 d4 8. Bb5 Qa5 9. Bxc6+ bxc6 10. Qxg7 Rg8 11. Qxh7 Ba6 12. Ng5 Bxc3+ 13. Kd1 O-O-O 14. Nxf7 d3 0-1

The seventh World Correspondence Champion was

Yacov Estrin


Not only was Yacov Estrin the seventh World Correspondence Champion, but he was also quite a good OTB player in Russia and throughout his career he locked horns (sometimes successfully) with such Russian stars as Keres, Bronstein, Korchnoi, Spassky, Taimanov, Nezhmetdinov, Smyslov, Petrosian, Tal, and Karpov. Do any readers know why he never played internationally? Here is the game that effectively won the World Championship for him, as his opponent finished half a point behind him.

Boey - Estrin

7th World Correspondence Championship 1972

C82 Ruy Lopez (Open)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. c3 Bc5 10. Nbd2 O-O 11. Bc2 f5 12. Nb3 Ba7 13. Nfd4 Nxd4 14. cxd4 f4 15. f3 Ng3 16. hxg3 fxg3 17. Qd3 Bf5 18. Qxf5 Rxf5 19. Bxf5 Qh4 20. Be6+ Kh8 21. Bh3 Bxd4+ 22. Kh1 Bxe5 23. f4 Rf8 24. Nc5 g5 25. Nd7 Bg7 26. Nxf8 g4 27. Be3 gxh3 28. Bc5 d4 29. Rae1 d3 30. Ne6 Qh5 31. Ng5 h6 32. Nxh3 Qxc5 33. Re8+ Kh7 34. Rd8 Bd4 35. f5 d2 36. Rd7+ Kh8 37. Rd8+ Kg7 38. f6+ Kf7 39. Rd7+ Ke6 40. Rxd4 Qxd4 41. f7 Qd8 0-1

The eighth World Correspondence Champion was

Joern Sloth

Joern Sloth, of Denmark, was a surprise winner of the 8th World Correspondence Championship, tying with former champion Zagorovsky but becoming the champion on the tiebreak. Sloth's steady positional style, superb endgame technique and sound opening choices were seen at their best in this event. The following game is his dismantling of Canadian Siklos in the 8th World Correspondence Championship

Sloth - Siklos

8th World Correspondence Championship 1975

D20 Queen's Gambit Accepted

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 Nc6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. Be3 e6 6. Nc3 a6 7. Bxc4 Nf6 8. O-O Be7 9. Be2 Qd7 10. Qa4 O-O 11. Rfd1 Rfd8 12. Rac1 Rac8 13. a3 Qe8 14. Qb3 Rb8 15. Qa2 h6 16. h3 Bh5 17. g4 1-0

The ninth (and fourteenth) World Correspondence Champion was

Tonu Oim


Estonian Tonu Oim first won the World Correspondence Championship in 1982 and then won the Championship again in 1999 becoming the only man to win the World Correspondence Championship twice. Here is a theoretical game between Jorge Aldrete Lobo and Oim in the 14th World Correspondence Championship

Aldrete Lobo - Oim

14th World Correspondence Championship 1999

C55 Two Knight's Defence

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 6. e5 d5 7. exf6 dxc4 8. Re1+ Be6 9. Ng5 Bf8 10. Rxe6+ fxe6 11. Nxe6 Qxf6 12. Nxc7+ Kd7 13. Nxa8 Bd6 14. Qg4+ Qe6 15. Qxg7+ Be7 16. Bd2 Rg8 17. Qxh7 Qg4 18.g3 Ne5 19. Be1 Rg7 20. Qh6 Rg6 21. Qh8 Nf3+ 22. Kf1 Nh4 23. Nc7 Kxc7 24. Qe5+ Kc6 0-1

The tenth World Correspondence Champion was

Victor "Vytas" Palciauskas

The story of American Vytas Palciauskas' road to the World Correspondence Championship is found on his webpage. Here is an annotated game from that website, from the 10th World Correspondence Championship against former champion Yakov Estrin

Estrin - Palciauskas

10th World Correspondence Championship 1978

C52 Evan's Gambit

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Facing the former World Champion who is noted for his attacking style and his extensive knowledge of e4 openings was a challenge. I was not going to be foolish and play the two Knights defence, a defence on which he has written extensively. Besides, I had a feeling he would play the Evan's Gambit against me. 3. ...Bc5 4.b4 Ah! I guessed correctly. 4. ...Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 d6 7.Qb3 Qd7 8.dxe5 Bb6 My knowledge of the Evan's being somewhat limited, I head for the simpler lines that return the pawn and offer equality. 9.Nbd2 Keres' suggestion, but as the game shows, it leads to a slightly better game for Black. 9...Na5 10.Qc2 Nxc4 11.Nxc4 d5!

Click here for diagram

With this move Black gains control of the light squares.

12.Nxb6 axb6 13.0-0 dxe4 14.Qxe4 Qg4 A psychological move. Exchanging Queens give Black a very comfortable ending where he might even stand better. So I was not very surprised that Estrin plays for the attack. 15.Qe3 Ne7 16.Nd4 0-0 17.h3 Qg6 18.f4 The only hope for the attack is the advance of the Kingside pawn majority. But, this doesn't turn out well because I will have a firm control of the square f5. The objective of the next few moves is to exchange White's best piece, the Knight, and then capiture control of the Q-file. 18...c5! 19.Nb5 Rd8 20.Nd6 Nf5 21.Nxc8 If 21.Nxf5 Bxf5 and White is helpless against the Rook invasion on d3. Now 21. ...Nxe3 losses to 22.Ne7+ 21. ...Raxc8 22.Qf3 h5!

Click here for diagram

At the minor expense of a pawn, I eliminate any possibility of g4, which makes the development of White's Bishop problematic. If White contests the d-file with 23.Rd1, 23. ...Nh4 leads to a winning position.

23.Qxb7 Rc6 24.Qa6 c4 Keeping the Queen out of play and further dominating d3 25.Qa4 Rd3 26.Rb1 There was no way to save the h-pawn. If 26.Kh2 Rxh3+! 27.gxh3 Qg3+ 28.Kh1 leads to mate. 26...Rxh3 27.e6 Rxe6 28.Qxc4 Qg3 Mate is threatened by 29. ...Qh2+ 30.Kf2 Rf3+! 31.Kxf3 Qg3 mate. On 29.Qd5 Re2 leads to mate. So White resigned. 0-1

The eleventh World Correspondence champion was

Fritz Baumbach


German Fritz Baumbach finished in a 3-way tie for first place in the 11th World Correspondence Championship, tied with Nesis and Michalov from the USSR but won the tournament thanks to wins over both Nesis and Michalov. OTB, he played for the German Olympic team in Siegen, scoring a draw with former World OTB Champion Vassily Smyslov. In an interview at chessmail.com, Baumbach stated that "The most important duel and maybe one of my best games was against Nesis in the 11th World Championship. Only a win could ensure me the title". Here is that game

Baumbach - Nesis

11th World Correspondence Championship 1981

D86 Grunfeld Defense

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 O-O 8. Ne2 Qd7 9. O-O b6 10. Be3 Bb7 11. f3 Nc6 12. Bb5 Qd6 13. e5 Qd5 14. Rb1 e6 15. Qd2 Na5 16. Bg5 c6 17. Bd3 f6 18. exf6 Bxf6 19. Bxf6 Rxf6 20. Ng3 Raf8 21. Rfe1 c5 22. Ne4 Rf5 23. dxc5 Qd8 24. cxb6 Bxe4 25. fxe4 Rf2 26. Re2 R2f7 27. Qe3 axb6 28. Ree1 Rd7 29. Be2 Rd6 30. Red1 Rxd1+ 31. Rxd1 Qc7 32. Rb1 Rb8 33. Rb5 Nc4 34. Qd4 Rd8 35. Qf6 Re8 36. h3 Ne3 37. Qe5 Qd8 38. Qd4 Qxd4 39. cxd4 Nc2 40. Rxb6 Nxd4 41. Ba6 Kg7 42. a4 Kf6 43. Bb7 Re7 44. a5 Rc7 45. a6 Rc1+ 46. Kf2 Ra1 47. Ke3 Ke5 48. Kd3 Ra4 49. Kc3 Ne2+ 50. Kb3 Ra1 51. Rb4 Nd4+ 52. Kc3 Ra3+ 53. Kc4 Nc2 54. Rb3 Kd6 55. Rxa3 Nxa3+ 56. Kb4 1-0

The twelfth World Correspondence champion was

Grigorij Sanakoev


Russian Grigorij Sanakoev is a great attacking player who participated in many Correspondence Championships and finally made it over the hump in the Twelfth Championship. On the CCCA webpage, Sanakoev has a series of articles for the Correspondence Chess player, ranging from Openings to Endings to "The Importance of Choosing a Plan". Check it out! Here's a game from the Twelfth Championship against Gennady Nesis

Nesis - Sanakoev

12th World Correspondence Championship

E15 Queen's Indian Defence

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. Nbd2 Bb4 6. Qb3 c5 7. a3 Bxd2+ 8. Bxd2 Nc6 9. Bg2 cxd4 10. Qa4 Qc8 11. O-O Bb7 12. b4 Ne4 13. Bf4 O-O 14. Qd1 Nc3 15. Qd3 d5 16. Ng5 g6 17. Rfe1 Ba6 18. b5 dxc4 19. Qf3 Bxb5 20. a4 Bxa4 21. Rxa4 Nxa4 22. Bd6 Nc5 23. Bxf8 Qxf8 24. Qxc6 Rc8 25. Qb5 Qd8 26. Nf3 Nb3 27. Rd1 Rc5 28. Qa4 a5 29. Nd2 b5 30. Qa2 Nxd2 31. Qxd2 b4 32. Be4 e5 33. g4 b3 0-1

the thirteenth World Correspondence Champion was

Mikhail Umansky

Mikhail Umansky won the 13th World Correspondence Chess Championship in 1995. He finished 4th in the Russian OTB Championship in 1989, has participated in many CC Olympaid represeting Russia and became an ICCF GM in 1995. Here is a spectacular victory for him on the White side of a King's Indian Defense in the 13th USSR CC Championship in 1977

Umansky - Balendo

13th USSR CC Championship 1977

E82 King's Indian Defense (Samisch Variation)

1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. d4 Nf6 4. e4 d6 5. f3 0-0 6. Be3 b6 7. Bd3 a6 8. Nge2 c5 9. d5 e6 10. 0-0 exd5 11. cxd5 Nbd7 12. b3 b5 13. Rc1 Re8 14. Qd2 Ne5 15. Bb1 b4 16. Nd1 Bd7 17. Nb2 Bb5 18. Nc4 Bxc4 19. bxc4 Qa5 20. Bg5 Qa4 21. f4 Ned7 22. Ng3 h6 23. Bxf6 Nxf6 24. Rce1 Nd7 25. e5 dxe5 26. f5 g5 27. f6 Nxf6 28. h4 Nh7 29. Rxf7 Kxf7 30. Bxh7 Bf8 31. Qf2+ Kg7 32. Qf5 Kh8 33. Qf7 Bg7 34. Nh5 Rg8 35. Be4 1-0

Also Umansky won the 50th World Champions Jubilee Tournament held between 2001 and 2003. Other participants included all living former world champions - Baumbach, Rittner, Sloth, Berliner, Sanakoev, Oim, Timmerman, and Palciasuskas.

And anyone who made it this far I salute you :) A special thanks to Hugh Brodie and Grayling Hill for game scores.

Supplementary Games

London Chess Club - Paris Chess Club

Correspondence 1836

C01 French Defence (Exchange Variation)

This game is the game that the French Defence was named after

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 c5 6.Qe2+ Be7 7.dxc5 O-O 8.Be3 Re8 9.Bb5 Nc6 10.Nd4 Bxc5 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.c3 Bxd4 13.cxd4 c5 14.Qd3 Qb6 15.O-O Ba6 16.Qb3 Qxb3 17.axb3 Bxf1 18.Kxf1 Ng4 19.dxc5 Nxe3+ 20.fxe3 Rxe3 21.Nd2 Rae8 22.b4 Rd3 23.Rxa7 Rxd2 24.b5 Rxb2 25.b6 d4 26.b7 d3 27.Ra8 Kf8 0-1

Berliner - Fischer

US Championship New York(6) 1957

E88 King's Indian (Samisch Variation)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 e5 6. Nge2 O-O 7. Be3 c6 8. d5 cxd5 9. cxd5 Ne8 10. Qd2 f5 11. O-O-O Nd7 12. Kb1 Nef6 13. Nc1 fxe4 14. fxe4 Ng4 15. Bg1 Bh6 16. Qe1 Nc5 17. Nd3 Nxd3 18. Bxd3 Bd7 19. Bb5 Bxb5 20. Nxb5 a6 21. Na3 Rc8 22. h3 Nf6 23. Be3 Bxe3 24. Qxe3 Qa5 25. Rhe1 b5 26. Rc1 Qa4 27. Nc2 Rf7 28. a3 Rfc7 29. Nb4 Rxc1+ 30. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 31. Qxc1 a5 32. Qc8+ Kg7 33. Qc7+ Kh6 34. Qc1+ g5 35. h4 Nxe4 36. Nc6 b4 37. Qe1 bxa3 38. hxg5+ Kg7 39. Nxa5 a2+ 40. Ka1 Nc5 41. b4 Nb3+ 42. Nxb3 Qxb3 43. Qe4 Kg8 44. g6 h6 45. Qf5 Qxd5 46. Qd7 Kf8 47. b5 Qd1+ 48. Kxa2 Qa4+ 49. Kb2 Qb4+ 50. Kc2 Qc5+ 51. Kb3 Qd5+ 52. Ka3 e4 53. Qh7 Qd3+ 54. Ka4 Qd4+ 55. Ka5 Qa1+ 56. Kb6 Qf6 57. Kc7 Qg7+ 1/2-1/2

Kasparov - The World


B52 Sicilian Defence

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. c4 Nc6 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. 0-0 g6 8. d4 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Bg7 10. Nde2 Qe6 11. Nd5 Qxe4 12. Nc7+ Kd7 13. Nxa8 Qxc4 14. Nb6+ axb6 15. Nc3 Ra8 16. a4 Ne4 17. Nxe4 Qxe4 18. Qb3 f5 19. Bg5 Qb4 20. Qf7 Be5 21. h3 Rxa4 22. Rxa4 Qxa4 23. Qxh7 Bxb2 24. Qxg6 Qe4 25. Qf7 Bd4 26. Qb3 f4 27. Qf7 Be5 28. h4 b5 29. h5 Qc4 30. Qf5+ Qe6 31. Qxe6+ Kxe6 32. g3 fxg3 33. fxg3 b4 34. Bf4 Bd4+ 35. Kh1 b3 36. g4 Kd5 37. g5 e6 38. h6 Ne7 39. Rd1 e5 40. Be3 Kc4 41. Bxd4 exd4 42. Kg2 b2 43. Kf3 Kc3 44. h7 Ng6 45. Ke4 Kc2 46. Rh1 d3 47. Kf5 b1=Q 48. Rxb1 Kxb1 49. Kxg6 d2 50. h8=Q d1=Q 51. Qh7 b5 52. Kf6+ Kb2 53. Qh2+ Ka1 54. Qf4 b4 55. Qxb4 Qf3+ 56. Kg7 d5 57. Qd4+ Kb1 58. g6 Qe4 59. Qg1+ Kb2 60. Qf2+ Kc1 61. Kf6 d4 62. g7 1-0

Kramnik - Kasparov

World Championship (8) London 2000

E32 Nimzo-Indian (Classical System)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 O-O 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 b6 7.Bg5 Bb7 8.f3 h6 9.Bh4 d5 10.e3 Nbd7 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.Bxd8 Nxc3 13.Bh4 Nd5 14.Bf2 c5 15.Bb5 Rfd8 16.e4 Nc7 17.Bxd7 Rxd7 18.dxc5 f5 19.cxb6 axb6 20.Ne2 fxe4 21.fxe4 Bxe4 22.O-O Rd2 23.Nc3 Bb7 24.b4 Rf8 25.Ra2 Rxa2 26.Nxa2 Nd5 27.Bd4 Ra8 28.Nc3 Nxc3 29.Bxc3 Rxa3 30.Bd4 b5 31.Rf4 Rd3 32.Rg4 g5 33.h4 Kf7 34.hxg5 hxg5 35.Kf2 Rd2+ 36.Ke3 Rxg2 37.Rxg2 Bxg2 38.Be5 1/2-1/2

Botvinnik - Ragozin


D38 Queen's Gambit Declined (Ragozin Variation)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 d5 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 Qd6 7. Nd2 Nbd7 8. e3 c6 9. Bd3 O-O 10. O-O Re8 11. a3 Ba5 12. b4 Bd8 13. Bf4 Qe7 14. e4 dxe4 15. Ndxe4 Nxe4 16. Nxe4 Nf6 17. Nd6 Nd5 18. Be5 Rf8 19. Nxc8 Rxc8 20. Qg4 f5 21. Bxf5 Ra8 22. Rae1 Qg5 23. Be6+ Kh8 24. Qxg5 Bxg5 25. Bxd5 cxd5 26. f4 Bd8 27. Bd6 Rg8 28. Re6 Bf6 29. Be5 Rge8 30. Rxe8+ Rxe8 31. Rc1 1-0

Topalov - Kurajica

Sarajevo (7) 2001

B28 Sicilian (O'Kelly Variation)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 a6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Be2 cxd4 7. cxd4 e6 8. Nc3 Qd6 9. Ne5 Nc6 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Bf3 Be7 12. Bf4 Qd7 13. O-O Nd5 14. Be5 O-O 15. Na4 Qa7 16. Rc1 Bd7 17. Be4 Be8 18. Re1 f6 19. Bxd5 fxe5 20. Bxc6 Rd8 21. Bxe8 Rxd4 22. Qb3 Rxe8 23. Rxe5 Kh8 24. Rxe6 Rf8 25. Qe3 Bh4 26. g3 Qd7 27. Nc5 Qd8 28. gxh4 Rg4+ 29. Kf1 Rgf4 30. Ne4 Qxh4 31. h3 h6 32. Rc3 Qh5 33. Rc5 Qf7 34. Rce5 Rf3 35. Qc5 Kh7 36. Kg2 Qb7 37. Rxh6+ Kg8 38. Qc4+ R3f7 39. Rc6 Qxb2 40. Rf5 1-0

Zita - Berliner

Helsinki Olympiad 1952

E60 King's Indian Defence

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. b3 g6 3. Bb2 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 c5 6. c4 Nc6 7. O-O d6 8. d4 Ne4 9. Nbd2 f5 10. e3 e6 11. a3 Qe7 12. Qc2 Nxd2 13. Qxd2 e5 14. dxe5 dxe5 15. Rfd1 Rd8 16. Qc2 Be6 17. Ne1 e4 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. f3 exf3 20. Nxf3 Rxd1+ 21. Rxd1 Rd8 22. Rxd8 Qxd8 23. Qc3+ Qf6 24. Qxf6+ Kxf6 25. Nd2 Na5 26. Kf2 b5 27. Bf1 bxc4 28. bxc4 Ke5 29. Bd3 1/2-1/2

Keres - Estrin

Moscow 1941

C32 King's Gambit (Falkbeer Counter Gambit)

1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 e4 4. d3 Nf6 5. Nd2 Bf5 6. dxe4 Nxe4 7. Qe2 Bb4 8. c3 O-O 9. cxb4 Re8 10. Nxe4 Rxe4 11. Be3 Qe7 12. Kf2 Nd7 13. Re1 Nf6 14. h3 Re8 15. Qd2 Rxb4 16. Bd3 Bxd3 17. Qxd3 Rxb2+ 18. Re2 Ne4+ 19. Kf3 Qh4 20. Bf2 Qxf2+ 21. Rxf2 Rxf2+ 22. Kg4 Rxg2+ 23. Kh4 Rg6 24. Rh2 f5 25. Qf3 Rh6+ 26. Qh5 Rxh5+ 27. Kxh5 Rd8 0-1

Korchnoi - Estrin

Leningrad 1951

C78 Ruy Lopez

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 d6 7. Ng5 d5 8. exd5 Nd4 9. Re1 Bc5 10. Rxe5+ Kf8 11. Nc3 Ng4 12. Nge4 Qh4 13. Rh5 Qxh5 14. h3 Qh4 15. Nxc5 Qxf2+ 16. Kh1 Qg3 17. hxg4 Bxg4 18. Qf1 Nf3 19. gxf3 Bxf3+ 20. Qxf3 Qxf3+ 0-1

Smyslov - Baumbach

Siegen Olympiad(7) 1970

D11 Slav Defence

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nbd2 Bf5 5. Nh4 Bc8 6. e3 e6 7. Be2 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Qc2 Na6 10. Rd1 c5 11. dxc5 Nxc5 12. b3 Bd7 13. Bb2 Rc8 14. Rac1 b5 15. Nhf3 bxc4 16. bxc4 Qb6 17. Bd4 Ba4 18. Qxa4 1/2-1/2

Leko - Adams

Dortmund 1999

C89 Ruy Lopez (Marshall Attack)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 15.g3 Qh3 16.Re4 Bb7 15.Rh4 Qe6 17.Nd2 f5 18.Qh5 h6 19.Nf3 Be7 20.Rh3 c5 21.dxc5 Bxc5 22.Bf4 Rae8 23.Rd1 Re7 24.Bg5 Rd7 25.Re1 Qb6 26.Re2 Kh7 27.Rh4 a5 28.Bxh6 Qxh6 29.Qg5 a4 30.Re6 1-0


 Austin Lockwood 6/13/2004

A very interesting and informative first article! - thanks Craig

 Philip 6/13/2004 

hey that's purdy cool

 MiguelVilla 6/13/2004

A very informative article Craig, really another world that of correspondence chess. One encounters with surpraise names as Ragozin and O Kelly de Gallway. After reading it I reviewed the Palciauskas site and the Sakaev articles which are especially full of valuable advises for the CC player.

 nasmichael 6/13/2004 

The variety of information close at hand is helpful. The writing style feels warm and personable, a great aid in bringing the average chess player to know some bit of chess culture. The links are also a plus; the Canadian CC magazine CHECK! (with a nice article from 1992 by G. Sanakoev)was outside of my knowledge until reading this article. A solid first entry for the SchemingMind Journal, and a good article on its own at any rate. Sets the standards high, it does.

 cleverman 6/13/2004 

This is awesome!

 karelen 6/13/2004 

really nice!

 Quux 6/14/2004

It would be cool if one could follow the moves in the article on a board attached to it. I guess this might not be so easy to set up, but it could be used in other articles as well. I am usually too lazy to follow the games on my own board. And doing it in my head lasts for maybe 4 or 5 moves:)

Anyway I look forward to more articles like this

 Austin Lockwood 6/15/2004

It is possible, but it's a bore to do (try the 'click here for diagram' links) - I'll try and set up something a bit more automatic for authors.

 ReyFeroz 6/21/2004 

Felicidades !!!

 knightthree 6/24/2004 

thanks craig lots of information on cc will come in handy. love the french defence......

 Henry Winter 12/11/2004 

Very well done! We appreciate the effort, Craig. Thanks.

 raleighgranprix 4/15/2005

A fine article, however, one of the all time great Correspondence players is William Ritson-Morry. He was England's correspondence champion in 1942 with the war raging I may add & the Midland Chess Open 3 times. I found a used book he co-authored "Chess, the elememts of play" along with W. Melville Mitchell. It is an above average chess book if not being another one that covers some basics of the game, more pertinent areas such as the middle game are especially well written. He was the champion a number of times of the Warwick Chess Association (see ref. http://www.goodwin126.freeserve.co.uk/history.html ). And apparently a Ritson-Morry trophy is now awarded in one correspondence tournament ( http://home.clara.net/collett/chess/postal/pm02.htm ). Surely there are more accolades of which could be stated.

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