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The July Check is in the Mail Print E-mail
By Alex Dunne   
July 15, 2013
One of the greats in the history of correspondence chess has died.  Lothar Schmid finished second in the Second World Correspondence Championship a half point behind Viacheslav Ragozin.

In the Dyckhoff Memorial (1954-56) Schmid had an outstanding result against the best postal players of the day, finishing two points ahead of the field which included Alberic O’Kelly, Max Salm, Mario Napolitano and the USA’s C. Fred Tears, with an undefeated 14-1 score.

Lothar had many accomplishments beyond correspondence play including Grandmaster titles in both OTB and correspondence chess.  He was the chief arbiter of the 1972 Fischer-Spassky World Championship and also Karpov-Korchnoi and Kasparov-Karpov matches. 

Schmid also amassed one of the great chess libraries of the world, an estimated 50,000 volumes.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6  5.0–0 Nxe4
The Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez has largely fallen out of favor since the Karpov-Korchnoi World Championship games of 1978.
6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3
Most modern players play 9. Nbd2 first here, and Black's primary response is 9...Be7.  Even when White plays 9. c3, the response 9...Bc5 has become very rare, being almost entirely replaced with 9...Be7, a recent example being Van Embden-Miettinen, ICCF Jubilee 2001: 9...Be7 10. Nbd2 Nc5 11. Bc2 Bg4 12. Re1 d4 13. Nb3 d3 14. Bb1 Nxb3 15. axb3 f5 16. Be3 Qd5 15. Bd4 +=
9...Bc5 10.Nbd2 0–0 11.Bc2
11. Qe2 Bf5 has been known to be equal since Morgado-Toranzo, Internac.Extraord 1966
Black has three other reasonable responses here.  11...Nxd2 may be the weakest.   White responds with 12. Qxd2! and transferring the Queen to f4 with attacking chances.  White scores 62% in that line.11...Bf5 is the safest, though White keeps an edge after 12. Nb3 Bg4 as in Karpov-Korchnoi, World Championship 1978.
11...Nxf2!? is theoretically condemned, but in practice Black scores an excellent 53%.  Remus-Miettinen continued 12. Rxf2 f6 13. exf6 Bxf2_ 14. Kxf2 Qxf6 15. Nf1 Rad8 16. Qe2 Ne5 with complex play.
Taking en passant leads to little after 12.  exf6 Nxf6 13.Nb3 Bb6 14. Re1 Qd6 15. Be3 Bxe3 16. Rxe3 = Ivanchuk-Piket, Amber Rapid 1995.
Rybka prefers 12...Ba7 as in Finocchiaro-Baiocchi, ASIG Corres. 1995
13.a4! b4?  
 Earlier Schmid had faced 13...Rb8 14. axb5 axb5 15. Nfd4 with a slight edge in Schmid-Barda, Dyckhoff Memorial 1954. .Probably best here is 13...Qe7. The problem with 13...b4 is that Black's queenside Pawns become awkwardly jumbled on a6, b4 and c7.
14.a5 Ba7 15.Nfd4 Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Bxd4 17.cxd4 f4
White was better after 17...Qe7 18. f3 Ng5 19. Bxg5 Qxg5 20. Re1 f4 21. Bb3 c6 22. Rc1 Rfc8 23. Ba4 Collion-Rouduansky, Corres. 1952.
18.f3 Ng3!?
Black is committed to his kingside attack, but 18...Ng5 is also playable, though White maintains a distinct edge.
The Knight is forbidden.  Capturing it could lead to 19. hxg3 fxg3 20. f4 Qh4 21. Rf3 Qh2+ 22. Kf1 Qh1+ 23. Ke2 Qxg2+ 24. Ke3 Bg4 25. Bd2 g5! 26. Bxh7+ Kh8 27. Be4 dxe4 28. Qh1+ Qxh1 29. Rxh1+ Kg7 and the Rook on f3 is doomed.
19...Qh4 20.Ra4!
Black's kingside attack looks stronger than it is, and so White turns his attention to Black's disjointed queenside.
Black can't defend the queenside as illustrated in a later game, Kuhnel-Jablonski, Europe Master Class 1964: 20...Rab8 21. Qe1 b3 22. Bd3
21.Rxb4 g4 22.fxg4 Bxg4 23.Qe1 Nh5 24.Qc3! Ng3
A brave but sad Knight returns with a transparent trap of 25. Bxf4? Rxf4 26. Rxf4 Ne2+
25.Bd3 Kh8 26.Bxf4 Nh1 27.Rf1 Bh3 28.Qxc7 Rxf4
If 28. ...Bxg2 29. Rb7 mates shortly.
29.Rb8+ Rxb8 30.Qxb8+ Kg7 31.Qc7+ Kf8
Or 31...Kg8 32. Qxh7+ Qxh7 33. Bxh7+ Kxh7 34. Rxf4 wins easily.
32.Rxf4+ Qxf4 33.Qd8+ Kf7 34.Qf6+ 1–0
Walter Muir
                William Schaffert            12W30   5-1
                Matthew Lasley                12W30     5-1
                Paul Shannon                    12W14   5-1
John Collins
                Thomas Morgan       12C02   6-0
Palciauskas Tournament
                Louis Biasotti             11P01   5-1
            Michael Butler        11P01   5-1
Swift Quad
                Kenneth Lopez       13SQ04 5 ½-½
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]
Chess booklet for sale:  2004 Golden Knights Championship  --  booklet of the 57th USCF CC Championship -- $10.00 postage  paid.  35 pages, 90+ games
is now available at McFarland Publishers and Amazon for $45.00 and also Kindle at $16.49
NEW!  2006 Electronic Knights Championship ebook.  190 games some annotated, all the crosstables, bios of the top three, list of all the finalists, ChessBase format, .pgn notation  and Microsoft .pdf format.   $4.00 postage paid for the disk, $2.00 sent to you via email. Hard copy $10 postage included.

Matthew Lasley submits this win over William Schaffert to even up the score to tie for first place in 12W30.

Quote: I began to play postal chess.  At one point I was playing fifty games at once, using booklets from Chess Review -- pg. 22 of The Stress of Chess and Its Infinite Finesse  by Walter Browne

Thomas Feeney of Racine, Wisconsin was   born October 14, 1947 and died May 13, 2013.  Thomas was a poet, writer, and chessplayer.


This year the 12th North American Invitational Correspondence Chess Championship and the North Atlantic/Pacific Zonal Championship have merged to produce a 17-man Category 6 tournament.  A score of 11 ½- 4 ½ is needed for a Grandmaster norm, 10 points for an IM norm.

The line up for the championship has two Grandmasters – Mark Noble from New Zealand and Sakae Ohtaka from Japan; three Senior International Masters, Brian Anderson from New Zealand and Thomas Biedermann and Kristo Miettinen, both from the US; and seven International Masters,  three from Canada – Alan Pichaud, Richard Labonte, and Valer-Eugen Demian, two from Australia – Clive Murden and John Paul Fenwick, and two from the US – Kenneth Holroyd and John Ballow. 

There are five strong players, hungry for a title, Paul Morley of Canada, Harry Ingersol of the US, Loren Schmidt of Japan, Allan Johnston, of Hong Kong and Juan Gustavo Mercader Martinez of Mexico.
Brent Riggs tells of an opponent he calls Mr. Winatallcosts.  Mr. Winatallcosts was winning the game but Riggs was resisting.  Then came the postcards saying he should resign as he was losing.  Then cards saying Mr. Winatallcosts was ill and please resign before he died.  Then a letter from Mr. Winatallcosts wife saying he had only two weeks to live.  The Misses was prepared to carry on as he gave his moves from beneath the oxygen tent.  His dying wish was Riggs  should resign.  A victory now would push him over the 2200 mark and he could die knowing he was a Master.

But finally Mr. Winatallcosts won the game.  Riggs received a four page letter from Mr. Winatallcosts asking for forgiveness as he had been lying.  He was in good health and had used the illness as a psychological weapon.  He had hoped his opponents would underestimate him and take him for granted.
One of the most original attacking games --- ever !?

At the end the two passed Rook Pawns triumph.

Black plays the French Offense in this game.

The diagram is reminiscent  of  an almost surreal Escher print of birds flying south