This month the spotlight falls on one of our newest International Correspondence Chess Masters, Wayne Ballantyne. Wayne, age 45, lives in south Florida where he works for Motorola as an engineer developing cellular phones and two-way radios.

Wayne has played in postal events since 1972, and though he has used computers in ICCF play where they are legal, he is against the use of computers for postal chess analysis as he believes this will ultimately lead to the elimination of the human factor from the process. Therefore, Wayne notes, he plans to concentrate on USCF Golden Knights (where computers are banned for move analysis) and over-the-board play. Wayne notes, however, that for aspiring serious postal players, a computer program such as ChessBase and a database such as Mega or the Informants is a must.


Wayne earned his ICCM title with games like the following. It is a "computer-free" game played early in the tournament. After declining a dubious pawn sacrifice, Wayne develops an attack to force a trade of queens and a winning endgame.

W: Arne Dahl (2310)
B: Wayne Ballantyne (2424)
ICCF Semifinal, 1995

1. Nf3 f5 2. e4 fxe4 3. Ng5 Nf6 4. d3 Nc6 5. dxe4 h6 6. Nf3 e5

This novelty takes a lot of the fun out of White's game. Black's solid center formation offers defensive strength.

7. Nc3 Bc5 8. Be2 0-0 9. 0-0 d6 10. Qd3 Be6 11. a3 a5 12. Be3 Bxe3 13. Qxe3 Qe8 14. Rad1 Qf7 15. b3 Ne7 16. Nh4 g5

Black stakes out space on the kingside while White has little scope for counterplay.

17. Nf3 Kg7 18. h4 g4 19. Nd2 Nc6 20. g3 Nd4 21. Bd3 Nh5 22. Nb5 Nf3+ 23. Nxf3 gxf3 24. Bc4?!

This is the dubious pawn sacrifice. Wayne declines in order to pursue his attack and Dahl has to sacrifice the knight to get at the f3 pawn.

24. ... Bxc4 25. bxc4 Qd7!

Wayne focuses his attention on the weak light squares around the White king. White does his best to confuse the issue, but Wayne is tenacious.

26. Kh2 Kh7 27. Nxd6 cxd6 28. c5 Rf4!

Of course there is no defense after 29. gxf4 Qg4. This active rook on f4 allows Black to force the exchange of queens with a winning endgame.

29. Rxd6 Qg4 30. Qb3

Avoiding the threat of 30. ... Qxh4+!

30. ... Rg8 31. Qe6 Qxh4+! 32. Qh3 Qxh3+ 33. Kxh3 Rxe4 34. Rb1

There is still some danger in the position for Black. Wayne now takes steps to protect h6.

34. ... Rg6 35. Rxb7+ Ng7 36. Rd3 Rc4 37. Rxf3 Rxc5 38. Re7 Re6 39. Rd7 Kg6 40. Rff7 Ne8 41. Ra7 e4 42. Rf4 Nf6 43. c4 h5 44. Ra8 Rg5, White resigns.

Swedish Super-GM Ulf Andersson has achieved a provisional CC rating of 2805 based on 14 games. Thirty games are necessary for an official rating. Here are the top 10 ICCF rated players:

G. Timmerman, Netherlands 2747
J. van Oosterom, Netherlands 2713
Elwert Hans-Marcus, Germany 2685
Olita Rause, Latvia 2684
Luis Santos, Portugal 2680
Joachim Neumann, Germany 2677
H. Tarnowiecki, Austria 2676
Erik Bang, Denmark 2670
Gottardo Gottardi, Switzerland 2661
D. van Geet, Netherlands 2659

The top internationally rated U.S. player is ICCM Rene duCret at 2613, Number 42 in the world.

If in some games the play flows like easy listening music, the following game is heavy metal. Rock on, John!

W: George Sprott (2320)
B: John Timm (2537)
13th Olympiad, 2000

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. Qb3 Nc6 6. Nh3 b6 7. Nf4 Bb7 8. Qa4 0-0 9. h4 Qc8 10. h5 g5 11. h6 Bh8 12. Nh3 g4 13. Nf4 Nd8 14. f3 Nf7 15. Qb3 Re8 16. Na3 a5 17. Bd2 a4 18. Qc2 d6 19. fxg4 Bxg2 20. Nxg2 Nxg4 21. d5 e6 22. dxe6 Qxe6 23. Nf4 Qd7 24. Rh5 Nfxh6 25. 0-0-0 Bg7 26. Rdh1 d5 27. Kb1 Re4 28. Nd3 Rxe2 29. Qc1 d4 30. c4 Qe7 31. Bxh6 Nxh6 32. Nc2 Ng4 33. Qf4 Nf6 34. Qxf5 Qe4 35. Qxe4 Nxe4 36. Rxh7 Rd2 37. Nce1 a3 38. R7h2 Rd1+ 39. Kc2 Ra1 40. Kb3 Nc5+ 41. Nxc5 axb2 42. Rxb2 bxc5 43. a4 Rb8+, White resigns.

Throughout the entire game, a sword hangs over Black's head. One misstep and his king will be decapitated. Instead, Frank Camaratta shows that even at e-mail speed, he is a force to be reckoned with.

W: Heinz-Erich van Kempen (2550)
B: Frank Camaratta (2480)
1st E-mail Championship

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. c4 Ba6 9. b3 0-0-0 10. Bb2 f6 11. g3 fxe5 12. Bg2 Nf6 13. 0-0 e4 14. Nd2 d5 15. b4 h5 16. a4 Qe6 17. b5 Bb7 18. Nb3 c5 19. Na5 d4 20. f3 e3 21. Nxb7 Kxb7 22. f4+ Kc8 23. Qf3 c6 24. f5 Qd6 25. b6 axb6 26. Rfd1 Ng4 27. Ra3 Kb7 28. Bc1 Re8 29. h3 Ne5 30. Qe2 Qh6 31. a5 g5 32. Bxe3 dxe3 33. Rxe3 Bg7 34. Re4 Qf6 35. Rf1 g4 36. h4 Rd8 37. Kh1 Rd4 38. Re1 Rxe4 White resigns.

White tries an unusual opening with the usual results. The final blunder only makes White's pain less.

W: Arthur Stobbe (1835)
B: David Hillery (2274)
1999 Golden Knights

1. Nh3 e5 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. f4 e4 5. Nf2 Bc5 6. e3 h5 7. d4 exd3 e.p. 8. Nxd3 Bb6 9. Nc3 Bg4 10. Bf3 d4 11. Na4 Nc6 12. Nxb6 axb6 13. e4 Nxe4 14. Bxg4 hxg4 15. Qxg4 Qf6 16. 0-0 Kf8 17. b3 Qh6 18. Qe2 Nxg3 19. Qg2 Nxf1 20. Kxf1 Qxh2 21. Bb2 Ra5 22. a4 Rah5 23. c3 Rh3 24. Nf2 Qxf4 25. Qxh3 Rxh3, White resigns.