Gert Timmerman of the Netherlands has clinched first place in the XV World Correspondence Chess Championship. None of the remaining contestants can overtake him, with his 12-3. Born April 15, 1956, Timmerman has packed a lot of success into his 45 years. Champion of the Netherlands, victor in the Superchampionship of the Netherlands, a first-place tie in the V World Cup, shared second place in the 1987 von Maslow Memorial, now correspondence champion of the world, and, if he wins his last remaining game in the Hans-Werner von Massow Memorial, tied for first in the strongest-ever correspondence tournament, Timmerman has remained at the top of the ratings since 1995.


Horst Rittner is a formidable opponent. The sixth World Correspondence Chess Champion, possessor of 10 grandmaster norms - the record! - falls to Timmerman's relentless pressure.

W: Horst Rittner (2577)
B: Gert Timmerman (2744)
Finland 30 Jubilee Tournament

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 b5 6. Bb3 Bb7 7. d3

White seeks solidity and is content with a small opening edge.

7. ... Bd6

With the center locked, Black can afford this unusual placement of his king bishop. More usual is 7. ... Be7, but this eventually transposes.

8. c3 0-0 9. Nbd2 h6 10. Re1 Re8 11. d4 Bf8 12. d5 Nb8 13. a4 c6

Black's concept is global in its scope: Black is playing for the superior center based on the conquest of d5.

14. axb5 axb5 15. Rxa8 Bxa8 16. Nf1 Na6 17. dxc6 Bxc6!

Black can put almost all his pieces toward the conquest of d5. When Black achieves this advance, he will have the better chances.

18. Ng3 Qa8 19. Qe2 Nc5 20. Bc2 g6 21. b4 Na4 22. Bd2 d5

Having achieved the central break, Timmerman now simplifies into a won endgame. It is all so easy in the hands of a genius! With the simplest of means he defeats one of the giants of the game.

23. h3 Bg7 24. Bd3 dxe4 25. Nxe4 Nxe4 26. Bxe4 Bxe4 27. Qxe4 Qxe4 28. Rxe4 f5 29. Re3 Rd8 30. Be1 Rd1 31. Kf1 f4 32. Re2 Nxc3

Now all that is needed is perfect technique. Black will reduce White's bishop to an observer.

33. Rd2 Rxd2 34. Bxd2 Nd5 35. Ne1 e4 36. Nc2 Bb2 37. Ke2 Kf7 38. f3

It is easy to criticize this move as losing outright, but what can White do? Black's plan is to post his king on f5, advance the pawn to g4, recapture with the king and play ... f4-f3+ to set up an unbeatable passed pawn.

38. ...e3 39. Be1 Ke6 40. Kd3 Ke5 41. Ke2 Ne7 42. Bh4 g5 43. Be1 Nf5

With the e1-bishop having no good moves, Black will exchange knights, after which the ending is easily won.

44. Kd3 Nd4 45. Nxd4 Bxd4 46. g3 Ba1 47. Ke2 Kf5 48. Kf1 h5 49. Ke2 Bf6 50. Kd3 h4 51. gxh4 gxh4, White resigns.

The United States has clinched first place in the Afrotain Cup with a 66-22 score. Scoring IM norms on the U.S. team were second board Anthony Albano, third board Daniel Fleetwood, fourth board Spencer Kell, and fifth board Alan Watson. Congratulations, guys!

Congratulations to Rene du Cret who has won a 15-man ICCF Master tournament.

Tony Albano is fearless. He espouses the maligned Morra Gambit to prove that it can be played at the highest levels.

W: Tony Albano (2415)
B: C. Figueiras (2510)
Afrotain Cup, 1995

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. 0-0 Nf6 8. Qe2 a6 9. Rd1 Qc7 10. Bf4 Be7 11. Rac1 0-0 12. Bb3 Qb8 13. h3 h6 14. e5 Ne8 15. Na4 Qc7 16. Bc2 dxe5 17. Bxe5 Qa5 18. Qe3 Nxe5 19. Nxe5 Nf6 20. Nb6 Bc5 21. Bh7+ Kxh7 22. Qxc5 Qxc5 23. Rxc5 Rb8 24. Rdc1 Nd5 25. Nxc8 Ra8 26. Nd7 Re8 27. Ndb6 Nxb6 28. Nxb6 Rad8 29. Rc7 Kg6 30. Nd7 f6 31. R1c3 h5 32. Rxb7 Kh6 33. Rcc7 e5 34. Nc5, Black resigns.

Beware: Ted Brandhorst reports that he has retired to Florida and for the first time in his life has enough time to give postal chess its due. Here is the old Brandhorst, demonstrating his endgame prowess.

W: Ted Brandhorst (2110)
B: Julius Simon (2160)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 0-0 6. Be2 e5 7. 0-0 Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Nd2 a5 10. a3 Nd7 11. Rb1 f5 12. b4 Kh8 13. f3 Ng8 14. Nb3 axb4 15. axb4 Qh4 16. exf5 Rxf5 17. Qe1 Qxe1 18. Rxe1 Rf7 19. Bd2 Bh6 20. Ra1 Rxa1 21. Rxa1 Bxd2 22. Nxd2 Ngf6 23. Ra7 Kg7 24. Nb3 Nh5 25. g3 Ndf6 26. Na5 b6 27. Nc6 Ne8 28. Nd8 Rf8 29. Ra8 Bd7 30. Ne6+ Bxe6 31. dxe6 Nhf6 32. Ra7 Kg8 33. Kg2 Nh5 34. e7 Rf7 35. Nd5 Nhg7 36. c5 bxc5 37. Bb5, Black resigns.

Claude Bloodgood died in prison on August 4, 2001. He was one of the most colorful of all postal players, his life an odd mixture of crime and chess. Claude was the author of The Tactical Grob.

W: Claude Bloodgood
B: Hugh Erwin
Virginia CC, 1973

1. g4 d5 2. Bg2 e5 3. c4 c6 4. cxd5 cxd5 5. Qb3 Ne7 6. Nc3 e4 7. d3 exd3 8. Bf4 a6 9. Rd1 d4 10. Rxd3 Nbc6 11. e3 Ng6 12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. Rxd4 Qa5 14. Re4+ Be6 15. Rxe6+ fxe6 16. Qxe6+ Ne7 17. Nge2 Rd8 18. Nd4 Qb6 19. 0-0 Qxb2 20. Ne4 Rxd4 21. exd4 Qxd4 22. Nd6+ Kd8 23. Nf7+ Ke8 24. Bc7 Qd7 25. Nd6+, Black resigns.