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War Diary

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I have engaged myself into too many ICCF official games. These days, with most opponents armed to the teeth with programs, databases etc ,one can see that new “features” have crop up. Let’s see some of them:

In the past, when we had to use postcards and stamps, only a few diehards continued playing in clearly lost positions. Today, playing through the server, I have games where my opponents keep on playing with a lot of material down and no compensation, even whole Rooks and Queens… Why?… Because rating points have become absolutely valuable and nobody wants to lose a single one (after all, your opponent may die in the process of trying to beat you -or at least some of my opponents may believe this idea…).

Games keep on being won, lost and drawn, with perhaps a growing number of drawn games and a lot of people complaining because “they are stronger and now even rivals with less ratings than them manage to make a draw”. Yeah! : in CC many people make a funny mistake taking “rating points” (a relative and changing value) for “chess strength” ( perhaps a more permanent value). I suppose their process of reasoning is: “since I have 100 more points than my rival he must  lose against me, forgetting  that in Chess, as in any other sport, you must beat your opponents because they will surely fight for their lives trying to spoil your fun. In any case, in today’s games  you must be ready to accept they are likely to be very long…

Today everybody is very dangerous, with the changing ratings indicating nothing: in one game you beat an opponent 100 points above you and in another one, you lose to another opponent 100 points below you. Be more careful (I can tell you from sad experience… The ICCF produce rating list every three months. A bit too often??.- I don’t know.

With the wonderful invention of the webservers /play through the Internet you may -if you and your opponent follows suit exchange many moves a day. Or not. In my ICCF events, with 50 days for 10 moves and some specifications to make the players send their moves on a regular basis (the system has different controls to do so) I usually play the first ten moves relatively quickly and then I usually slow down a bit.

My last results show that I have just won a tournament, have another one in my pocket but I have sheepishly lost a game because I fell in a theoretical hole: I was following the book, but the line was wrong in the database, I did not check it out and lost. Shame on me. Another sin of mine is trying to employ openings I do not usually play “for the sake of changing”. A capital sin if you have too many games. The Grünfeld Defence was my last “Waterloo” . 

I began to play CC in 1986. CC may become terrible since the games may last for many months. Everything is OK if you get hold of the “right” end of the stick… If you end up on the “wrong” end the pains and sufferings awaiting you may be unbearable.

Apart from many other considerations, I suppose people play Chess perhaps not professionally, but on a serious basis because, in the end, we tend to think that the joy provided by winning may compensates the pains of losing. And everybody believes s/he is going to win “the next game I am going to play“.  The question is : is the feeling left by the victory the same as the feeling creates by the loss???. If your answer is in the affirmative, tend apply it to real life, to the good and the bad moments you have been through …: are they still the same?.- Over to you!.

Now a problem for this ugly, cold, grey November days:

mate in 3

E.B. Cook 1856. Mate in three moves.

(This blog is approaching the 4,000 visits. Thank you very much indeed. I don’t know how long I will be writing it, but any comment will be welcome.- It would be great if the readers decided to express their views too. )



Written by QChess

November 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Thoughtful writing on the difficulties of correspondence chess. It is definitely a brutal arena. I thought you might enjoy my blog as well:
    Let me know what you think. I play on the ICCF as well so, who knows, we may play someday.


    November 7, 2013 at 7:16 am

    • Thank you very much for your comment. I have followed suit and as I told you in one comment your blog is excellent. My congratulations and the rest of readers will use the link to visit your blog too.
      P.S. I would like to meet you at the ICCF too 🙂


      November 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm

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