Welsh Correspondence Chess Federation

Rydym yn Ffrindiau - Amici Sumus

Follow WCCF on Twitter

The 300th follower of the WCCF Twitter account signed up this weekend (not bad, as we still have fewer than 100 members!).

For anyone with an interest in the articles published on this website, Twitter is a great way of keeping up to date - sign up here:

https://twitter.com/WCCF_Official

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Copycat

"Success leaves clues......" - Brad Thor

A couple of years ago I produced a list of players with rapidly growing ratings - even a cursory examination can give clues and a close examination can give significant insights which can be used to aid advancement. Over the next couple of months, I will publish some in-depth reviews of specific players but for now, the list below identifies the "hot prospects". What is new that some are new to CC but others are established players who improved

21265 ARG Souto, Esteban 40 2406
30069 AUS Barnett, Clive 234 2386
780057 AUS Champion, Chris 181 2378
86235 AUT Komaromi, Gabor 37 2482
10803 AUT Steinbacher, Thomas 36 2394
40558 BEL Van Assche, Jeroen 47 2429
40593 BEL Verhaeren, Gertjan 125 2375
70166 BRA Amorim, Gladstone Sabóia 94 2458
71494 BRA Caron, Sérgio Valladares 300 2436
50588 BUL Kurtenkova, Anka 37 2450
50616 BUL Todorov, Dimitar 100 2429
50637 BUL Zhekov, Zhivko 144 2382
90742 CAN MacTilstra, Ian 228 2410
120101 COL Bernal Varela, Nelson 279 2407
120051 COL Angulo, Ariolfo 129 2388
900195 CRO Piacun, Eduard 183 2418
900185 CRO Juras, Zvonko 227 2391
900213 CRO Grbac, Boris 58 2375
690425 CUB Santana Peñate, Guillermo 280 2515
690557 CUB Pérez López, Alberto 812 2441
690564 CUB Rodríguez Fraga, Yoandy 190 2439
690587 CUB Fernández Martínez, Juan Carlos 83 2403
690345 CUB Pérez Pérez, Armando Alexis 252 2394
690507 CUB Vertíz Gutiérrez, Pedro 247 2387
690537 CUB Pérez Rodríguez, Rubén 70 2387
690606 CUB Powers Roibal, Frank 38 2387
131239 CZE Cvak, Rudolf 1971 2461
131230 CZE Jarabinský, Martin 449 2406
151013 DEN Jensen, Tommy 54 2403
212704 ENG Rallabandi, Praveen Kumar 243 2472
212651 ENG James, Angus 135 2393
161524 ESP Moreto Quintana, Alex 197 2452
930244 FIN Purga, Oleg 44 2485
460511 FIN Sopanen, Pekka 98 2413
460697 FIN Huuskonen, Matti 572 2390
180532 FRA Thirion, Patrick 88 2439
86758 GER Lembeck, Karl-Heinz 32 2464
86059 GER Büßing, Olaf 254 2449
85013 GER Philipps, Ralf 56 2443
85545 GER Lobner, Winfried 71 2410
86041 GER Schmidt, Jörg (* 1954) 58 2399
86776 GER Winter, Leopold 36 2388
80895 GER Ochs, Manfred 38 2384
87984 GER Krüger, Wolfgang 37 2376
873015 INA Margana, Adhy 109 2434
873066 INA Sitorus, Yosua 402 2431
280286 IND Sastry, KVS 42 2443
280895 IND Hegde, Ranjeet 40 2409
280465 IND Dutta, Amit 40 2397
300220 ISL Guðmundsson, Elvar 58 2485
270112 ISR Elyoseph, Harel 257 2437
249243 ITA Emanuelli Simoncini, Renato 106 2438
240644 ITA Cimmino, Pietro 137 2425
241718 ITA Rombaldoni, Denis 44 2405
241809 ITA De Blasio, Alessandro 40 2399
241366 ITA Gatterer, Florian 72 2375
370255 NED Compagnie, Luc G. 191 2409
371343 NED Werten, Tony 58 2391
370677 NED Stuart, Antoon J. 389 2390
410065 PAK Idrees, Muhammad 55 2383
421664 POL Gorzkiewicz, Łukasz 74 2435
421665 POL Tomczak, Jacek 69 2405
421483 POL Duszyński, Jerzy 89 2389
421012 POL Maliszewski, Grzegorz 200 2380
429154 POL Tritt, Maciej 753 2380
390096 POR Salvador Marques, João Luís 91 2443
390667 POR Vasconcellos, Renato 80 2418
440417 ROU Duţu, Florin 125 2503
440425 ROU Ciucurel, Sorin-Marius 409 2418
440797 ROU Pepene, Ionut 32 2411
440814 ROU Stanila, Elena 120 2407
440626 ROU Bucsa, Ioan 787 2398
142898 RUS Kornev, Aleksey Nikolaevich 39 2535
142554 RUS Matveeva, Maria Aleksandrovna 58 2497
142169 RUS Rybin, Anton Sergeevich 34 2494
142955 RUS Parkaev, Andrey Vitalievich 41 2493
142338 RUS Artemyev, Dmitry Aleksandrovich 40 2485
142370 RUS Mikhailov, Stepan Fedorovich 36 2482
142235 RUS Chesakov, Leonid Anatolievich 47 2478
142220 RUS Bukarin, Mikhail Yurievich 59 2469
142798 RUS Varkentin, Wilgelm Wilgelmovich 271 2423
142792 RUS Barkov, Kirill Gennadievich 226 2421
142983 RUS Agaltsov, Igor Pavel 56 2417
142481 RUS Malin, Denis Sergeevich 282 2415
142597 RUS Filin, Evgeny Konstantinovich 137 2410
142230 RUS Mannanov, Rinat Rafikovich 76 2402
142021 RUS Dvoinikov, Andrey Nikolaevich 34 2401
620426 SCO Cumming, David R. 1514 2408
480333 SLO Coklin, Marko 86 2453
480335 SLO Praznik, Niko 171 2451
480320 SLO Pokrivač, Izidor 45 2407
100095 SUI Issler, Christian 114 2567
100506 SUI Schmid, Pablo 84 2524
950477 SVK Jakubčin, Miloš 102 2407
451268 SWE Berg, Emanuel 45 2534
450459 SWE Eriksson, Anders 91 2519
450619 SWE Lagerborg, Krister 70 2415
451520 SWE Bergmanolson, Michael 123 2385
490203 TUR Pekin, Tolgay 516 2404
941004 UKR Mashchenko, Vladimir 53 2477
941222 UKR Kagansky, Mikhail 30 2435
941140 UKR Khanas, Valeriy 290 2387
941048 UKR Aveskulov, Valeriy 44 2377
516299 USA Stein, Kurt W. 57 2528
516375 USA Kulick, Neil 176 2455
514877 USA Biedermann, Kyle 383 2433
514001 USA Smith, Brian D. 32 2399
511517 USA Divanbaigyzand, Mehran 92 2397
515808 USA Muljadi, Paul 159 2397
970017 UZB Yunusov, Adkham 68 2446
810209 WLS Yeo, Gareth 284 2454
810243 WLS Evans, Craig 151 2394
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IM TItle

Congratulations go to Gareth Yeo on achieving thee ICCF IM Title with a fine Norm in WS/GMN/64  

Gareth took the hard route to the title, achieving three Norms to gather the necessary games. In achieving the Title, Gaeth took the Welsh IM count to six!

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States and Regions Correspondence Chess Championship

Season Two of The States and Regions Correspondence Chess Championship has now started.

https://www.iccf.com/event?id=79694

https://www.iccf.com/event?id=79693

There are two divisions, with 15 teams being in each division; title norms are available on all boards, ranging from Category Six on Board One of the First Division to Minor Category B on Board Four of the Second Divison, so we do hope to see plenty of title norms emerging from this event.

There are nine Welsh teams, four each from England, Cuba and USA, two from Austria and Slovenia, and one each from Denmark, Spain, Germany, Italy and Panama; so this really is an international event!

Of the 120 players participating, we have 1 GM, 5 SIMs, 6 IMs, 29 CCM/LGMs and 24 CCE/LIMs.

WCCF wish all teams and players the best of luck, and hope that everyone enjoys their games.

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New Directions

This I write this feeling probably the best I have done for around a month – it's quite a strange virus that removes almost all energy and motivation and gives mild flu symptoms which last for weeks. Even more so when it affects more than one person! I can tell you its not fun when is coincides with a surge at work as well!

 Still, time to crack on and clear all the backlog!

Anyway back to Correspondence Chess. The last few months have generated quite a few interesting developments with regard to CC and Engines. These developments are, I believe, quite positive as well as having the potential to be quite disruptive to use Marketing speak.

I believe most people will have heard of Alpha-Zero and the advances this has delivered. This is covered in the excellent book “Game Changer” (In an in-depth review from a CC perspective will follow in April – let me clear the backlog first!).

Whilst AZ is very interesting and as I will cover next month, gives a number of insights very useful to the CC player, it is in itself not going to have a direct impact on CC for a number of years, it at all – why: because until the software and hardware become readily available it will not be within the realms of the ordinary CC player.

So discounting AZ, what is changing that is going to disrupt CC? If we consider a year or two ago the situation was, in a nut-shell a choice of Stockfish, Houdini or Komodo, with Stockfish the choice of the majority and the main difference between players being a combination of Hardware, Engine-wrangling skills and Chess knowledge, pessimistically probably in that order.

However, the situation has changed over the last year…..

  • LCZero: The development of the AZ inspired open-source engine and crowd-powered Networks has been truly amazing, with LCZero now being on par with Stockfish in typical engine tests.
  • Komodo MCTS: Whilst not as strong as Stockish, the Komodo teams efforts to bring an effective Monte-Carlo Tree Search to an AB engine have generated an excellent tool for the CC player.
  • Monte Carlo Tree Search: For many years the AB engine has ruled the roost (and still does in very rapid time controls) but the use of MCTS has flourished in the last year giving a previously unseen level of variety in move possibilities
  • New Engines such as Ethereal
  • Stockfish derivatives: A number of developments have taken place over the last year which are of interest to the CC player. Examples of this are:
    • The excellent Raubfisch , which continues to tweak its results upwards
    • Stockfish Cluster – an attempt to allow the running on massive hardware
    • ShashChess – A very interesting offshoot which adapts itself based on the type of position.
    • Sugar MCTS – a powerful implementation utilising a version of MCTS but also including a learning function.
    • Thothfish – a very new kid on the block but bringing two new very interesting features of a “Magic Tactic Solver” and more interestingly a way to manipulate analysis to swap or not swap certain pieces.

 

  • 7 Piece TB: These are now coming available for download. In reality, I don’t see anyone downloading the full set, due to speed and memory limitations but the downloading of specific ones can aid enormously.

Putting this together (and other advances I have not mentioned) we are now seeing a situation develop where there is more than “one horse in town” in the form of Stockfish, where these different approaches all have very similar performance in traditional testing (The flaws in this for CC I will cover another day!) but often give different suggestions in the same position.

The outcome of this is two-fold: Human input will become more important, the decision to take path A instead of path B, C or D and that this will lead to a reduction of the draw rate or rather more hard-fought draws at a minimum!

So a positive picture for CC? I believe so.

Anyway back to the backlog clearance, then onto launching EARG, writing the Engine and Introduction to CC Guidebooks!

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Tournament Start

Good Luck to Paul Keevil in WS/MN/B/5 and Marc Wakeham in WS/CCE/B/2

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States and Regions: Confirmed Entries

Team Country Average Rating Notes
Windy City USA 2414  
Matanzas All Star CUB 2373  
Las Villas Chess Masters CUB 2372  
Celtic Warriors A WLS 2369  
Menorca Talaiòtics ESP 2358  
Tirol AUT 2339  
US West USA 2335 Season One D1 Winners *
Pawn Sacrifice Bremen GER 2325  
Štajerska SLO 2312 Season One D2 Winners *
Lancashire Roses ENG 2307  
USA East USA 2305 Season One D1 Runners Up *
Quattro Torri Lazio ITA 2304  
Salzburg AUT 2283  
Herts and Minds (Hertfordshire) ENG 2278  
West Wales Dragons WLS 2241  
Moja dežela SLO 2237  
The Cubans East Rookies CUB 2172  
Habana Blue CUB 2162  
Red Rose A (Yorkshire) ENG 2161  
Red Rose B (Yorkshire) ENG 1615  

* Qualify for Division One

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Is it NORMal?

With the latest Norm being achieved today, it was interesting to note that the WCCF series of Invitational events has now generated 62 Title Norms.

Not bad for one of the youngest members of the ICCF Family!

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BCCC Rules Update

The rules for the British Correspondence Chess Championship have been updated, following long discussions between representatives of the English, Scottish and Welsh CC Federations. Whilst the rules will be of no interest to 99% of players! they have been uploaded  here

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Norm Watch

Good news for Glyn Sinnett, achieving a CCM Norm in WCCF 6th Invitational

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George D. Pyrich Memorial Team Tournament Preliminaries


On behalf of the ICCF, I’m pleased to announce the II. ICCF Team Tournament for player rated <2300 – here in memoriam George D. Pyrich.
All ICCF Member Federations (that are not currently suspended) are invited to enter their team to this event, which will be played on the ICCF webserver on two rounds: Preliminaries and Final.


Each Federation may enter two teams. All players on the Team must be rated at <2300 on the ICCF Rating list 2019/2 or on the current FIDE List. In addition, all players must be full members of the Federation they represent or be registered on the ICCF server for the county of the
Federation they represent for the duration of the tournament. The Preliminaries will start on 
June 1st, 2019.


There will be 6 players in each team. A maximum of 3 players may be replaced during the tournament. The right to be promoted from the preliminaries shall be determined by the ICCF Non-Title Tournaments Commissioner and approved by the Executive Board at the start of the tournament.


The intention will be for a 13 Team Final.
The entry fee will be at the rate of € 6 per player, i.e. € 36 per team. There will be no further entry fee for the Final.


The time control will be Triple Block (Duration of Tournament: 700 days; Initial Clock: 50 days; Initial Bank: 50 days; Increment: 5 days).


Team entries have to be sent by the National Federations to the Non-Title Tournament Commissioner Jörg Kracht([email protected]) not later than May 10th, 2019.


No replacement or board change will be allowed after that date unless exceptional circumstances occur. All entries should include the following details:
- board order
- name, ICCF code and e-mail address of the players
- name, ICCF code and e-mail address of the Team Captain
FIDE Ratings will be treated as „unfixed“ for title norm purposes. Players who have no ICCF fixed
rating nor FIDE rating will be allocated with a provisional rating of 2100.

 

Eligible Welsh players will be contacted over the coming week.

 

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A.O. Jones Rapidplay

Congratulations to Ian Jones for (joint) winning the A.O. Jones Rapidplay

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States and Regions Correspondence Chess Championship, Season Two

The second season of the States and Regions Correspondence Chess Championship will start on 15th April 2019.

This year, the format will be slightly different, instead of the Hutton pairing format, we will be using a more conventional all-play-all format. Each section will be made up of 13 or 15 teams (so each player will play 12 or 14 games), and teams will consist of four players.

More details are available on the WCCF website, here:

https://welshccf.org.uk/content/148

ICCF title norms may be available on some boards, depending on the range of ratings.

Once again, the Triple Block time control system will be used, with all games ending within 350 days.

The entry fee will be £20.00 GBP, however this will be reduced to £10.00 for WCCF International and Premium members. Membership of WCCF is open to international players at £10.00 and to Welsh players at £5.00, please see our website for details of membership:

https://welshccf.org.uk/content/147

(Only the TC is required to be a member in order to benefit from the discounted rate)

Please send entries to the WCCF Secretary ([email protected]) by 8th April. Teams should represent a particular county, state, city, region, etc. of your country, however there are no particular qualification criteria; membership of the team is at the captain’s discretion.

Entries should state:

  1. The name of the region the team represents
  2. The country the region is in
  3. The ICCF ID and name of the team captain (the TC need not be a player)
  4. The ICCF IDs and names of each of the four team members, in board order

Please do not hesitate to email me for further information.

Best wishes,

Austin Lockwood, WCCF Secretary

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Tournament Update: WCCF 7

WCCF 7th Invitational

With Craig Evan's nice win we now reach a crucial point in the event. With Steven Cade (ENG) already having completed his games, with an IM Norm to boot, we find  the pleasing situation of all Welsh players being still in the hunt for IM Norms.

 
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Rule Clarification

ICCF issued a rule clarification today. In simple terms, it reaffirms that a player may not consult other players during a live game, regardless of it being an Individual or Team Event. By consult, it is meant shared analysis or assessment of the position. 

The use of typical tools such as Databases, Opening books, Engines etc is acceptable, consulting other players on a specific position in a live game is not.. It is worth noting that collaboration prior to the start of an event is acceptable.

The WCCF have never encouraged our players to use these methods and is not aware of any of our players utilising them but please be cognizant of this clarification. If you are unsure of the validity of any behaviour please get in touch with the WCCF Executive Committee

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Tournament Update: Wales-Italy Friendly

Interesting results in this friendly match - currently we trail 16.5-45.5, although with the significant rating differential (Well over 100 elo!)  we still have a reasonable chance of achieving our pre-match performance target of 31.5

Kudos to Maurice Macarthy, David Guy, Sean Denton for securing wins under challenging circumstances!

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Tournament Update: 11th European Team Championship - Semifinal 2

A quiet month with only two results but important ones for Welsh Qualification chance 11th European Team Championship - Semifinal 2

Equally as important for Welsh qualification chances are the results from 10th European Team Championship - Final  On an interesting note all the results went into Wales long term favour!

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WCCC Preliminaries

Good Luck to Mark Adams in WCCC43PR 9

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ICCF Proposals

Every year ICCF rules are updated, based on the outcome of successful proposals made to Congress by member Federations and Officers. As an open, democratic National Federation the WCCF encourage our players to contribute to this process.

If you have any ideas on processes or rules that could be better get in touch with the WCCF Committee and if viable, we will look to develop these into proposals.

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Bill Flew Memorial Tournament

This tournament has now started on the ICCF webserver.

https://www.iccf.com/event?id=79186

Good luck to all players, and a warm welcome to Bill's sons, Nick and Paul Flew.

 

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Bill Flew Memorial Tournament

There is still time to enter the Bill Flew Memorial Tournament (see attached flier); any player who knew Bill or played against him (correspondence or OTB) is very welcome to sign up, please email [email protected] 

The following players have signed up so far:

810272 Nick Flew
810273 Paul Flew
810233 Paul Scott
810248 Bob Hurn
810259 Sean Denton
810183 Ian Jones
810202 Helen Sherwood
810212 Alex Sherwood
810197 Vaughan Thomas
810133 Adam May
810102 David Guy
810075 Marc Wakeham
810177 Arthur Wilding
810187 Mark Wilson
810268 Maurice McCarthy
810209 Gareth Yeo
810161 Russell Sherwood
810251 Tim Soar
810162 David Roberts

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IM Norm and Title for Austin Lockwood

Austin Lockwood picks up his final IM Norm and pending approval, the IM Title in 11th European Team Championship - Semifinal 2 Board 2

The win put the Welsh team in this event in a strong postion for qualification for the finals.

Here is the win that completed the Norm

 

 
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