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The May Check is in the Mail Print E-mail
By Alex Dunne   
May 3, 2011

Carl Siefring has earned the ICCM title which will be awarded to him at the 2011 ICCF Congress in Jarvenpaa, Finland.  Carl learned the game at age 4 or 5 from his father. He played on his chess team in high school, but only got serious about the game in graduate school.  He then discovered email chess and gained some successes – second in the IECG cup tournaments in 1997, 1998, and 1999, another second place in the 2008 IECG cup and a third place finish in the 2004 Electronic Knights Championship.


Carl works as a research physicist studying the upper atmosphere and ionosphere and has built scientific instruments for over 20 sounding rockets and 11 satellites.




There is much beauty in this game.  The opening is macho madness, with both sides hurling haymakers at each other when survival for either side looks doubtful.  And then: an exchange of Queens and we enter into a delicate endgame where with precise calculation Siefring brings home the point.





Where does White go wrong in this game?  I will leave that for 1. e4 fanatics to discover. 

1….c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Be7 9.Qd2 0–0 10.0–0–0 Nbd7 11.g4 b5 12.g5 b4 13.Ne2 Ne8 14.f4 a5 15.f5 a4 16.fxe6 axb3 17.cxb3 fxe6 18.Kb1 Rxa2 19.Bh3 Qa5 20.Bxe6+ Kh8 21.Ng3

Black was slightly better after 21. Bxd7 Ra1+ 22. Kc2 Qc7+ 23. Nc3 Rxd1 24. Qxd1 Qxd7 25. Nd5 Nc7 as in Millstone-Braakhuis, 27th World Championship 2003.

21...Nc5 22.Bc4 Nc7 23.Bxc5

White suffered an acute collapse after 23. Rhf1 Ra8 24. Bxc5 Qxc5 25. Qf2 Qxc4! in Baramidze-Nielsen, Bundesliga 2006

23...Ra1+ 24.Kc2 Rxd1 25.Qxd1 Qxc5 26.g6 Rf2+ 27.Kb1 Qd4

After 27...h6, chances are roughly balanced.  Instead Black seeks the greater promise of the endgame with an active Rook and passed d-Pawn. 

28.Qxd4 exd4 29.gxh7 Bf6 30.Rf1 Rxh2 31.Nf5 Be5

Meeting White's threat of Nxd6 and Bg8.

32.Rd1 Ne8 33.Nxd4 Nf6 34.Nc2 g5 35.Nxb4

White has to seek some activity.  He cannot just leave his pieces bunched on the queenside doing nothing.

35...Rxb2+ 36.Kc1 Rh2 37.Nd5 Nxd5 38.exd5 g4 39.Rg1 g3

The Pawn advances with the threat of 40...g2 and ...Bd4 

40.Bf1 Ra2 41.Kd1 Kxh7 42.Rg2 Ra1+ 43.Ke2 Kh6 44.Rg1 Kg5 45.Kf3 Rb1 46.Ke4 Bf4 47.Rh1 Rxb3 48.Bh3 Re3+ 49.Kd4 Re2 50.Rg1 Kh4 51.Rh1 Be5+ 52.Kd3 Rh2After 53. Rxh2 gxh2 54. Bg2 Kg3 Black plays ...Kf2 and g1, winning the Bishop and the d6 Pawn will eventually queen. 0–1



LEARN CHESS BY MAIL !  Lessons given by mail, telephone, ICC – many different ways.  I specialize in players rated 800-2100 who would like to improve their game.  Contact me for information.  Alex Dunne, 324 West Lockhart St., Sayre, PA 18840 or [email protected] New Booklet– for sale !  $10 postage free.  Contains 90+ games, mostly from the final rounds of the 2004 Golden Knights Championship; some games annotated;  a brief bio of the winner, 35 pages. Send $10 to Alex Dunne 324 West Lockhart St., , Sayre, PA 18840.

 Quote The bane of correspondence chess is the clerical error -- Walter Muir


Mikhail Umansky

Mikhail Umansky who died on the  22 of  December 2010  was arguably the strongest correspondence chess player ever.  He won the 13th World Chess Championship with an undefeated 13-3, a point and a half above his nearest rival.   In the ICCF World Champions Jubilee Tournament in which the nine living World Champions competed, Umansky finished first with a 7-1 score, two points ahead of the field. 

Umansky also announced his intention in 2006 of becoming the first professional correspondence chess player, but heart problems cut short that career. Umansky shows the power of technique in this masterpiece against 6th World Champion Horst Rittner.




Rebecca Ruth

Rebecca Ruth of Springfield, Illinois, member of USCF and CCLA, died at age 43.


Trophy Quad


            Wilbur Tseng       09Q13    5 ½-½

            Carlos Molina    08Q15    4 ½-1 ½

            Scott Sensiba      09Q10    6-0


John Collins


            Jack Shaw        09C43       6-0

            Elsie Lazaro    09C05       4-2

            John Koehler   09C05        4-2

            Larry Rush      10C02       6-0


Walter Muir


            Richard Miller  10W26   5 ½-½

            Ryan Goebel      11W03   5 ½- ½

            Errol Acosta      10W39   5-1


Swift Quad


            Jaun Le Roux     10SQ08   5 ½-½


Palciauskas Tournament


            Joel Levine       08P07     5 ½-½


Starting May 1, 2011, the Walter Muir and later the 2012 Absolute tournaments will be ICCF rated as well as USCF rated.  Here is your chance to gain an international rating --  sign up now !


Top 10 USA International Ratings --


  GM Alik Zilbergerg     2613

  GM Jason Bokar          2584 

  GM Daniel Fleetwood  2578

  GM Stephen Ham        2572

  SM  Tim Murray          2559

  GM Edward Duliba      2539

  SM Jon Edwards          2525

  GM Jon Ostriker          2510

  SM Gary Kubach         2505

  SM Keith Hulzmueller 2504




    Wilbur Tseng



  Who Are the Quitters ?


Correspondence chess has a bad reputation of having too many players quit, withdraw, drop out, or forfeit their games.  I decided to see just how bad it was and so I looked at the number who did so in the last completed major USCF CC tournament, the 2004 Golden Knights.  What follows is not a scientific investigation – it covers only two tournaments – but it revealed an interesting comparison.


In the 2004 Golden Knights there were 308 entries for Round One.  Thirty dropped out of the preliminary round (9.7 %) seven dropped out of the 98 in the semifinal (7.1 %) and two dropped out of the 28 in the final  (7.1 %).  Thus out of the 434 players 39 dropped out or 9 %  of the correspondence players over the course of six and a half years (January 7, 2004 to July 15, 2010)

There were some reasons – death and health reasons were most cited.

Then I took the Open division of the 2010 World Open as a relatively comparable OTB tournament. The Open division had 98 entries and 25 dropped out.  That is a 25.6 % dropout rate over the course of seven days (June 29 to July 5, 2010).  As far as I can tell, none of the reasons for dropping out was death.   And it is the CC community that has the reputation of dropping out.



Go for Boroque

by Jon R. Edwards



It began two years ago. It was an early Spring day. I’m sure the birds were out and the sky was blue. But that’s not the point of the story.

One of my co-workers told me about an interesting chess set in a local gift shop named Go for Baroque. Nice items, high prices. You know the routine. Here in the window was a set that depicted the "Town" against "Gown." On the white side were the officers of the University, the President, some cabinet officers and distinguished members of the faculty, with gothic towers for the rooks and students in assorted garb as pawns. Representing black: the local Mayor and his administration. Pedestrians, local characters, and parking meters (the pawns) filled out the set.


With the board, it was "on sale" for $1,200. Needless to say, at that price, I didn’t buy it. I did something far worse. I made a move. 1.e4, of course. The clerk behind the counter didn’t seem to mind that I had touched the set, and, after a very brief look at the overpriced merchandise, I left. Later that day, my co-worker quizzed me about the set. I gave an honest if somewhat cynical reaction: “Fun set. Very high price. Not the sort of set that I would ever use. Some non-chess player will probably buy it.”


Some of you have already figured out what happened next. After all, this is Princeton, New Jersey, home to the oddest assortment of people you’ll ever find. Two days later, as I passed by the shop, I noticed in the window that someone had played 1...c5. So I went in and played 2.Nf3. And so it went. Within a few weeks, there was a buzz around town. Well, perhaps only a low hum. That I was playing the University side and that someone else had taken command of the “Town.”


This new approach placed a whole new slant on correspondence chess. In all of my experience, this was the first time that I had ever played a game against a totally unknown opponent. The real surprise, for me at least, was that my opponent was a pretty good player. He knew the Dragon to move 18 and then deviated with a really interesting move that seemed to challenge theory. I asked the store clerk if he knew who was playing black, but it turns out the clerk didn’t seem to care enough about the job to pay attention to such details. I thought perhaps that my opponent might have been the clerk himself until I came in one day to discover that he had restored the starting position, and incorrectly at that. Needless to say, I restored the actual position.


By fall, there was scarcely a lunch hour that I didn’t go in to see if my opponent had left a move, or to hang around just in case my opponent finally might happen to drop by. Move by move, the game proceeded, and more and more people were coming in to the store see the current position. The clerk didn’t seem to mind even though none of the observers or I ever bought anything there.

By late summer, my attack had potential, and I was just about to launch into a rather typical Dragon rook sacrifice when the game suddenly ended.

I’ve had correspondence games in which opponents went silent; I’ve played a few in which my opponents died. I recall one opponent who resigned because the position had become "too complicated." But this was the first time that one of my games ended because a store went bankrupt. Go for Boroque did just that. Right around the 23rd move. So the question is... anyone care to adjudicate a game?


When good Pawns beat bad pieces:



The new world champion demonstrates that Rooks can be delicate creatures too.   Watching how they slide back and forth on the first rank brings to mind ballroom dancers.



 Walker finds a smooth ending



Mark Capron, in the Iowa State Championship,  shows a neat tactic everyone should familiarize themselves.




May - Chess Life Online 2011

The Scoop on the World Chess Hall of Fame & Bobby Fischer Against the WorldAlex Battey Earns IM Norm in First Saturday Gareyev Hot in Chicago; Holt Earns GM Norm Get Ready for National Chess Day 2011 World Chess Hall of Fame and HBO Co-Host St. Louis Bobby Fischer Against the World Premiere Chicago Open Photo Gallery Harikrishna & Gelashvili Lead in Chicago Harikrishna on Opening Strong in Chicago Whirlwind Rapid Play Ends International Matches in Saint Louis Chicago Open Spans Memorial Day Weekend Speed Chess Like You've Never Seen Before (Video) Gelfand to Challenge Anand for World Championship! Eagles Partner with ASAP in Thrilling Event for Philly Youth Nakamura Wins Convincingly to Clinch Classical MatchTension Builds in Saint Louis Matches Unusual Chess Problems: Part I Nakamura Evens Score in Saint Louis Ponomariov, Robson Still LeadThe US Chess Scoop with Dr. Frank Brady National Open: A Chess Festival You Don't Want to Miss! Ponomariov, Robson Score Round-One VictoriesEarth vs. Space Match 2011 Launches! Yankovsky and Troff Earn Norms in Reader Memorial World Elite Battle in Saint Louis Kamsky Eliminated in Heart Breaking Playoff Candidates Semifinals Go to Playoff Kamsky-Gelfand Begins With Two Draws Robson Replaces Korchnoi for Match Play in St. LouisWu and Wheeler Among Winners at Elementary NationalsKamsky Defeats Topalov in Match; To Face Gelfand Next 2011 Elementary Nationals Begin in Dallas 2011 Elementary Nationals: A K-1 Preview Kamsky Draws First Blood in Candidates! Summer in Orlando: Details on the US Open, Junior Girls Open, Denker & BarberCandidates Kick Off; All Draws in Round 1 Nicky and Melinda’s Tournament AdventuresThe May Check is in the Mail Greg on Chess: Handicapping the Candidates Rosen Tops High School Nationals Nakamura, Korchnoi Headline Match Play in St. Louis