Chess News Welsh Correspondence Chess Federation

Rydym yn Ffrindiau - Amici Sumus
ICCF Interzonal Team Tournament (IZTT).

ICCF is delighted to announce an Interzonal Team Tournament (IZTT).

The IZTTs are held every two years as a team event among the different geographical zones of ICCF. Each team consists of eight players playing at least eight games to make it possible to qualify for title norms. The purpose of these events is to play in the spirit of "amici sumus" (we are friends) and to give players in remote and less developed regions more exposure to competitive correspondence chess. Start date is March 31, 2021.

Zone 1 (Europa) is allowed to play with 4 teams. That is we have to nominate 32 players to complete the teams.

Each member federation may nominate 1 player plus 1 reserve player. Be aware that reserve players will be in only in case some federations do not send their nominees.

The second point is that all players will be ordered by boards according to the TO rating requirements (see below). In case there are more players than it is needed in one rating gap, those entries which were sent first would be accepted.

Board NumberRating Requirement
8less than 2100


Any Welsh Flagged WCCF member interested in taking part should contact me by 7am Monday 8th March.  Selection will take place by the WCCF Executive committee.

#Chess #Correspondencechess #Iccf #InternzonalTeamTournament #Wccf

CCM Norm and CCE Title for Rhys Jones

Rhys has achieved a CCM Norm in Carlos Flores Gutiérrez Team Tournament SF1 Board 1 and in doing so has over-scored enough to finalize his CCE Title!

#7Thintpolishchess #CceTitle #CcmNorm #Correspondencechess

Engine Room : Special Fat Edition

Disclaimer: Any opinions given are my own and not necessarily representative of any group or body I am associated with.

I had intended to give a run down on the latest in Engine development but instead, based on the number of contacts I have had over the weekend, will focus on one – Fat Fritz 2

Fat Fritz 2 was recently released in a swathe of advertising by Chessbase. They claimed this engine was the new number 1 and so on……

Without going into detail, this release caused great consternation within the Stockfish and wider engine development community, over copyleft (yes left – look it up!), naming, charges and claims.

I will not go into much depth on the Copyleft issue but in simple terms, under the Stockfish GPL License the full code, including the network if embedded, has to be published. Initially the engine was published without the network, then with a different network to that being sold. 

Whilst this may or may not be still breaking the rules, it is still causing some major arguments.  In the defence of Chessbase  there are several other Stockfish variants which refuse to publish source code – Eman, Zeus, AI and Killifish come to mind, although the key difference is that none of these engines are Commerical

The reality is that the original part of Fat Fritz 2 is a larger network and (less originally) that this network is based on Neural Net Evaluations rather than Stockfish. From this, the issue caused is that the engine should be really called Stockfish + Fat Fritz 2 Network.


Putting all this aside (We are here to play Correspondence Chess after all) – how strong is Fat Fritz 2 and is it worth buying?

Chessbase claim this is the new number 1 – having beaten Stockfish 12 is a match. There are a number of issues with this claim……

  1. The match size was tiny – to prove actual decisive superiority requires a much larger match with hundreds or preferably thousands of games involved.
  2. Stockfish 12 was used , whereas FF2 is based on a Stockfish Dev(1). This would mean that the engine, ignoring the network, would be around 30 elo stronger. In practice, we are comparing apples with oranges!

This means that the results of the match are inconclusive and not really indicative of a clear new number 1.  Independent testing has shown that FF2 is around the same strength as Stockfish rather than being any stronger. For example

To complicate matters there are two versions of Fat Fritz – The Commercial Version and the Stockfish Github Version. The network released with the Free version is around 45 elo weaker than the commercial one.

Practically the Correspondence player is not really interested in the results of those matches as they are played at, for us, very rapid time controls. I undertook some soft testing of the Free version over the weekend – running it on a few threads alongside my main engine. Most of the time it suggested the same moves but on occasion it did provide some interesting alternatives. 

It is worth commenting that the similar results are  seen if Stockfish and LC0 are run in parallel.

Looking from a wider perspective: Is this engine likely to be stronger for Correspondence Chess. I suspect the answer is yes, as the more knowledge embedded in the network, the better the overall moves should be. The same is true for LC0 networks – a well-trained large network should give better suggestions than a smaller well-trained network, if time is not a factor.

Is it worth the money – my gut feel is if, you want an edge for 1-2 month and consider 80 euros a reasonable price then yes, otherwise use the Free version (WCCF members get in touch if you want a copy) to generate ideas and alternative lines.

Over the next few months, I would expect that:

  1. Unless Chessbase release regular updates, FF2 will become weaker than Stockfish.
  2. New networks, based on either the CB Network, Free Network or developed from scratch will appear., which will be stronger than the FF2 Commercial network.
  3. Other network structures for NNUE will be developed which may eclipse the current standard or FF2 structures.

Of course Ceres may also upset this apple cart but more on that next time.

(1)As a reminder Stockfish do a major release every so often – For example Stockfish 11 and Stockfish 12. In between these major releases minor improvements are released, almost daily. These minor releases (Stockfish Dev) tend to add an elo or two to Stockfish at a time. When enough of an overall gain is made, a new Major release is made





#EngineRoom #Engines #FatFritz2

Tournament Invites

Keep your eyes open for an ICCF mailing.

We have been invited to propose players for a number of events, including fairly unique ones with cash prizes. If interested in gaining our nomination please get in touch.

Note: The nominations are only open to Welsh flagged players and preference will be given to those with premium membership


#Correspondencechess #Tournaments

WCCF Invitationals

Dear players,

If you registered for the WCCF Invitational events 2021 and have not received a mail in the next 24 hours please get in touch. 

If you are rated above 1950 and interested in these events, there is still time to get involved! If Interested please get in touch ASAP

Russell Sherwood

WCCF International Secretary


#7Thintpolishchess #CorrespondenceChess #WccfInvitationals

CCE Norm and Title for Aytaç Yüce

Congratulations to Aytaç Yüce on picking up his 2nd and final norm in Esko Nuutilainen Memorial Team Tournament Final Board 4  

qualifying him for the title!


#CceNorm #CceTitle #Correspondencechess

CCE Norm for Alex Bullen

Congratulations to Alex on picking up CCE Norm with two games to spare in  British Reserves A 2020/22 

Although this is his 2nd Norm, the title requires 24 qualifying games, so a third will be required.

#AlexBullen #CceNorm #CorrespondenceChess #Wccf

CCCA-100 International Open

To celebrate the CCCA’s (Canadian Correspondence Chess Association) 100th Anniversary this year, 2021, the CCCA is proud to announce the CCCA-100 International Open.

To read a brief on-line history article on correspondence chess in Canada and of the CCCA please go to

This event will be a server event played on the ICCF webserver. It is open to all players from all countries around the world regardless of rating.

Structure: There will be two rounds, the Preliminaries, and the Final. The format will be either a round-robin with multiple sections or a Silli depending upon the number of entries; if the number of entries exceeds 165, then there will be one Silli section.

Preliminaries: Round Robin Format: The number of players expected per section will be 11. Sections winners advance to the Final round. Baumbach tie-break system to determine first place.

Silli format: Top 15 advancing to the Final. Buchholz tie-break system used.

Official Start Date: Expected 1 June 2021.

Final: Expected number of players will be 15.

Official Start date: Expected 1 September 2022.

Time Control: 10/50
Tablebase: 7 piece claims allowed

Conditionals will be allowed

Vacation Time: 45 Days per calendar year

Live viewing of Games, with 5 move delay.

Prize Fund
A total prize fund of $2,000 in Canadian dollars will be guaranteed as follows in the Final round:

1st place: $600

2nd place: $500

3rd place: $400

There will be additional prizes for the lowest-rated player with the best result, $250. And the best game played prize of $250. The best game prize will be split 50-50 between White and Black. Submissions for this prize should be done by the participating players. The limit is one game (the best one) per player.

Entry fee per section: $25 for CCCA members. $40 for all other players. In Canadian funds. Players can enter more than one preliminary round section, but can only advance to the Final from 1 preliminary section.

How to enter (Registration): By Paypal to Manny Migicovsky using the email address: [email protected] Please add $1 (minimum) if you are a CCCA member paying $25.

All others, please add $1.60 (minimum). So the entries fees will be $26 for CCCA members for one section. $41.60 for all others for one section entry. For multiple entries add 4% Exp. For CCCA members, 2 sections: $25 x 2 = $50; additional fee $2. Total $52. For all others, 2 sections: $40 x 2 = $80; additional fee $3.20. Total $83.20. And so on.

(For reference $41.60 is around £24-£25 - Russell)


* Please include your full name and ICCF ID#.  And send to Ralph Marconi, [email protected]

The closing date for entry into the preliminaries is 20 April 2021

Tournament Organizer

Ralph Marconi

#7Thintpolishchess #Ccla #Correspondencechess #LockdownOpen

T. Martyn Whiteside 1947-2020

WCCF are saddened to learn of the passing of Martyn Whiteside; our sincere condolences go to Martyn's family and friends.

The following obituary was provided by Martyn Griffiths.

Writing a series of chess club histories for the WCU website I was well aware that Martyn Whiteside was the go-to man in relation to Aberystwyth but tracking him down was another matter.  Thankfully I spoke to him by e-mail last October and much of the town’s chess history came from him.  He told me that he had not been involved with over-the-board chess for the past 30 years due to the banning of smoking in the 1980s.  He carried on playing postal chess but gave that up when he became a single-parent father in 1996.

Martyn was a Yorkshireman and arrived in Aberystwyth in 1966 joining the University chess team and playing for their club for the next three years.  Postgraduate he joined the Aberystwyth town club playing in the Mid Wales Chess League.  The League degenerated due the withdrawal of  teams because of the cost of travel and other difficulties.  The club however found some serious competition in the British Club Championships where they were led by George Botterill and Martyn recalled matches against Oxford University and Lerwick! (by phone).

The decline of the league meant local players were mostly bereft of competitive matches so Martyn started an Aberystwyth Chess League for three-man teams.  He single-handedly drove this league forward and one article in a national newspaper by George Botterill reckoned that about 10% of the local population was playing chess in the league.  At its peak the Aber League had several Divisions of ten teams each and included schools, pubs, colleges etc…

In 1982 Martyn was involved in trying to start a Commonwealth Chess Association.  He sent out the invitations for the first Conference in Nigeria but had to personally withdraw as the conference date clashed with the date of his wedding.  In his email to me Martyn sounded amazed that his future wife objected even though there was an all expenses paid week in Lagos on offer!!

Martyn was a fine over-the-board player winning the town championship about six times and you only have to read the Club History to see the high standard of opposition.  He also organized a Lightning Tournament for the league (which he won twice).

He excelled at postal chess, playing in friendly matches for BCCA and BPCF.  Around 1986 he topped the BCCA International Players’ table with a 95% record.  He also played for Mid Wales in the Welsh Interzone Postal Chess Championships and, as a result, was selected to play for Wales in a European Team Championships,  the preliminaries of the X1 Chess Olympiad (1987) and on Board 2 for the X11Olympiad (1992) ,.  In the latter he scored 6/11, a high enough rating to gain the title of Welsh Master and half International Master.  He started play in the World Individual Championships but ‘unexpectedly’ became a father in 1996 and his attentions were somewhat diverted.  He finished with a score of about 50% which did include the biggest win of his career against World No. 28 Valentinas Normantas of Lithuania (Martyn was at the time rated 503rd).  (The game can be seen on )

After his retirement from chess he became much involved in running a local quiz league and a Fantasy Football League.  He became a single parent again to a son born 2011 and as a result retired from his quizzing activities.

Friendly Match with Spain

We are looking to play a Friendly match with Spain  starting February 2021. If you are interested in taking part please get in touch ASAP


Andrew Smith

#CorrespondenceChess #FriendlyMatch

CCE Norm for Gareth Jones

Gareth picked up his first CCE Norm in Carlos Flores Gutiérrez Team Tournament SF4 Board 6

#CceNorm #CorrespondenceChess

IM Norm for Russell Sherwood

Russell picked up his first IM Norm in III Celso Sanchez Pouso IM y VII FEDAPVEN Grupo A5

#CorrespondenceChess #ImNorm

3rd States and Regions

WCCF are proud to commence the 3rd States and Regions Correspondence Team Chess Championship. In what is now the premier cc team event hosted in the UK, involving players from 33 Counties (MEX, CZE, USA, POL, PER, ESP, WLS, RUS, ENG, SUI, GER, ITA, AUT, BRA, DEN, PAN, CUB, BUL, LAT, CAN, SWE, SCO, PHI, FRA, UKR, GUM, TUN, NED, FED, FIN, BEL, SLO and AUS). 

Taking part  are: 1 GM, 10 SIM, 21 IM, 67 CCM/LGM and 40 CCE.

We are happy that half of the boards have achieved Norm Category 1 or higher, allowing the pursuit of IM, SIM and GM Norms. Overall 77% of players are able to pursue meaningful norm opportunities.  The excellent response has forced the creation of four divisions. This excellent response has also required the activation of the Board ordering rule in a few cases to avoid players being disadvantaged.

Beyond the teams already qualified into the 1st Division the margin between the average team ratings is very tight, averaging typically 100 elo.

Norm Categories



States and Regions CCC 2021 Division One

An interesting field with defending champions Tirol being only the 6th strongest team (on paper). Strength in depth is seen with Board 4 achieving an average rating of 2323/Category 3


States and Regions CCC 2021 Division Two

The overall strength of the event is evident with Boards 1 and 2 achieving Category 5 and 4. Top seeds Western Ukraine and Mantanzas All stars must be favourite here, both being unlucky to just miss out on Division 1. 


States and Regions CCC 2021 Division Three

An interesting mix of established and rookie players should lead to fireworks in this division.

States and Regions CCC 2021 Division Four

This Division includes a wide mix of players and teams. Many emerging talents are here – is this their chance to shine?

#Correspondencechess #TournamentStart #Wccf

Winning #1 – Increasing Computing Resource

Here we will get an obvious one out the way. I initially thought of this as hardware but, on reflection, it is not as simple as that.

Chess Engines dominate modern cc, and it is assumed that the player with the bigger hardware will prevail and upgrading hardware is a path to success. However, it is not as simple as this.

Any computer has a given level of processing power, so upgrading hardware will increase processing power. However, what really matters is overall computing resource. In its most simple sense this is processing power x analysis time. Sin theory improved analysis can be achieved by increased processing power or increase analysis time. 

In practice this equation would have a number of other inputs, including effectiveness of analysis and creativity of analysis, but we will look at these at a later point.

So, we can increase our processing power as a path to winning but what tends to happen is that is can become an “arms race” with other players with diminishing returns. 

For players, unable or unwilling, to increase their computing resource the option of increasing their Analysis time is an option but this comes with its own set of issues, primarily the significant reduction in the number of games which can be played concurrently. 

So what hardware should the player look to obtain. This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer and much depends on your choice of supporting engine and analysis methods. For a period of time High-end graphics cards were a must as LC0 achieved a level of dominance. Then when Stockfish NNUE came on the scene, CPUs became more relevant again. Now Ceres is coming the needs to change again.

For the aspiring player there are a few key choices

Intel or Ryzen (as a general rule Intel chips will have fewer but more powerful threads) – which of these is most useful depends on your approach to analysis – which will be covered in a future article.

As far as a high-end Graphics card goes – much depends on your view of the value of MCTS engines. Personally I believe they are worth having, if you can afford them. In not then alternatives such as Fat Fritz and online LC0 offering exist.

#CorrespondenceChess #Hardware #Improvement #Winning


This is the first of a series of articles around winning in correspondence chess. It will almost certainly contradict itself and meander at times!

As you climb the ratings ladder in correspondence chess, winning becomes much harder, relatively speaking that “over the board” chess. Some of these reasons are related to the increasing strength of chess engines but many other reasons are also relevant.

 It is the intention of these articles to provide “food for thought” rather than a blueprint!

#CorrespondenceChess #Improvement #Winning

3rd EU Amateur Cup 

The International Correspondence Chess Federation

Zone 1 Europa

3rd EU Amateur Cup  

A new multi-stage tournament for players rated not higher than 2000. It is expected that the tournament will be organized annually.

The tournament will be organized in three stages, played by server. Usually each group consists of 7-11 players in the preliminary round, 9-13 in the semifinal round and 11-15 in the final round. Each player plays one game with every opponent of his group simultaneously.

The event will be rated with title norms, which are possible at the semifinal and final stages.


Only players rated 1000 to 2000 in current rating-list (2021/1) are eligible to play the tournament. Unrated players are not allowed to play.

Only players from National Federations who are members of Zone 1 (Europe) are eligible to play the tournament. Players from other National Federations who are not members of Zone 1 are not allowed to play.

Players may enter in the usual way through their National Federations or, where eligible, via the ICCF Direct Entry system.

Entry fee is 5 Euros. 

Registration will begin immediately and will close on January,31 2021 to allow for pairings.

Allocation of players to the preliminary and semifinal groups will be made as random as possible; however, geographical distribution as well as an achievement of reasonable equality of the average rating will be taken in consideration.

Tournament Organization

The tournament starts on February,202021. Triple Block system for a 350 days event, with 75 days initial bank and 1 day increment for the first 50 moves is used, no leave. All groups will finish on February,1 2022 at the latest.

The semi-finals are expected to start on March,1 2022 at the latest. Triple Block system for a 350 days event, with 75 days initial bank and 1 day increment for the first 50 moves is used, no leave. All groups will finish on February,15 2023 at the latest.

The final is expected to start on March,15 2023 at the latest. Triple Block system for a 400 days event, with 50 days initial bank and 2 days increment for the first 50 moves is used, no leave. The tournament will finish on May,1 2024 at the latest.


In the Final medals and certificates will be awarded to the top 3 players (if necessary tie-breaks will be applied). The winner of the Final receives a special Cup Trophy.

Top three scorers in the Final may enter directly a European Individual Championship Semifinal regardless of their ratings.



The number of promotions depends on total entries received, but it is initially assumed that the top two players of each preliminary section will qualify for the semifinal stage. The winner of each semifinal section will qualify for the Final.

Although the number of preliminary groups which each player may enter is unlimited, no player will qualify for more than two semifinal groups or more than one place in the final.

Member Federations are asked to give the tournament wide publicity to all their players.

We wish all participants many interesting games and new connections with CC friends in other countries, based on the spirit of friendship and the ICCF motto:


Andrey Pavlikov, 

Zonal Director for Europe, Central Tournament Leader

#Chess #CorrespondenceChess #Zone1

2nd CCE Norm for Rhys Jones

Rhys Jones has picked up a 2nd CCE Norm in Carlos Flores Gutiérrez Team Tournament SF1 Board 1

Although this is his 2nd Norm as both events are fewer than 13 players, this is currently inadequate to achieve the title. (As a reminder to all 24 qualifying games are required NOT two Norms)


Rating based Oppotunities

I've been asked by a few players about what events they can enter - below is a list of standard events, with entry based solely on rating. Other qualifications for these events based on a combination of rating & Title can and do exist but are not shown here.






Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Happy New Year! 

Counties and Districts 2021 Clearing House

The 2021 edition of the Tournament is expected to start in January. 

This tournament follows the unusual Hutton tournament where teams of 8 player two games (one as Black and one as white against the same opponent) with the cycling of pairings meaning that each team players each other team.

As in the past we will operate a clearing house - Teams in the past have been fielded for players representing West Wales, East Wales, and we hope again this year to organize a team representing North Wales.

The event is played over 3 divisions, which means that there are games to suit all strengths of player

C & DCCC 2020 Division 1 - Ward-Higgs

C & DCCC 2020 Division 2 - Sinclair

C & DCCC 2020 Division 3 - Butler Thomas

With only two games the CDCCC is a great way to get involved in representative correspondence chess.

If you are interested or wish to know more get in touch with Russell Sherwood  

Note: This event is only open to players flagged as English, Scotland, Wales or isolated.

#Cdccc #Clearinghouse

ICCF World Correspondence Chess Championship

The next cycle of the ICCF World Correspondence Chess Championship has been announced at

The WCCF have a limited number of nominations available for this Preliminary round and the Semi-Final round which will be announced later in 2021.

If you wish to be considered for one of these nominations please get in touch with Russell Sherwood to discuss. Note a minimum rating of 2300 on 2021/1 rating list is required

#Nominations #Wccc

States and Regions Clearing House

All players have been found teams on the clearing list!



CCM Norm for Rhys Jones

Following on from a CCE Norm in the same event, Rhys has now secured a CCM Norm in III TORNEO PABLO ATARS IM 2020 GRUPO 7A



#CcmNorm #RhysJones

Survey Results

The GUI and Engine Survey game some interesting results, most as expected but with a few surprises. This has given me ideas for a number of articles and videos!





A few observations

  • Consolidating the data we see that the average person probably uses two different GUI but a significant number only use one. As none of the GUI has "All the best bits" this represents an opportunity area!
  • That Chessbase came out on top was not a surprise but Hiarcs and Aquarium's share was somewhat higher than expected, so material will be added to the list for these 
  • Fritz's position I believe being down to its cost positioning as an entry point into Chessbase products


Engine Use

The average person is probably using a mix of 3-4 Engines. The results here were a little more surprising



Stockfish dominates the market as expected, although the portion utilizing classical Stockfish was much higher than expected (Although classical stockfish does some things better than NNUE, it is generally inferior to NNUE versions (if you dont know the difference that is an article in itself!)

Otherwise, Komodo, LCZero and Stockfish Variants are utilized at the same level.

As I said these has given me some ideas for new content!




#Engineuse #Guiuse #Surveyresults

LC0: Technical Set Up

A quick tip here. If you use these engines consider the following:

  • Make sure you have the latest GeForce drivers and GeForce Experience utility. Within  this is a performance tuning tool. When used this has generated reporting performance increases from 10-20% Nodes per second.



  • The second are more important tip is to ensure that you set the RAMLimitmb,. If not set, then LCZero can however up all your available RAM and slow the system down (and it will be using much more than the amount it shows you on the taskmaster!). What should it be set to? Experimentation will be the key here. They key below shown in default install in Aquarium is set to 1000mb (1 Gb) as a starting point. From here I would increase upwards to the point the system started to slow down.



#Engine #Lczero

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