|How Does CC Work?|
USCF Correspondence Chess (CC) is a great way to improve your game and have fun. You don't even have to leave home! You can play CC either by sending moves through the post office or through an electronic network. Since the majority of newcomers to CC choose to play by mail, let's concentrate on explaining how that format works.
HOW DO I GET AN OFFICIAL CC RATING?
When you receive your pairing sheet (as described below), regardless of which Class you noted, your rating will appear as "0000," When your first game is finished, we calculate your rating based on your result. If you're interested in the details of how the CC rating formula works, see our Correspondence Chess Ratings Explanation.
You now have a chess rating! Each Correspondence Chess game is rated as soon as it's finished. You may wish to enter more CC events, so having a chess rating will be helpful in matching you with new opponents.
As explained in the ratings explanation page, there are two rating formulas. If you have 25 or fewer games rated, you have a provisional rating. If you have more than 25 games rated, you have an established rating. Master level is achieved through performance.
GETTING STARTED IS EASY!
For example, let's assume you're already a USCF member and you want to enter a Class Tournament in which you play against three opponents. (That's the maximum we recommend for beginners.) Once you submit your entry fee (currently $10), we pair you with three other players with the same playing strength, according to the approximate strength you indicated on your entry form.
All four of you are sent a copy of the same pairing sheet. Players are given numbers 1 through 4, and playing assignments are noted accordingly. The pairing sheet includes the name and addresses of your three opponents, as well as a tournament crosstable (explanation below). You will play a total of six games -- two against each of your three opponents, once as White and once as Black. After receiving the pairing sheet, note what player number you are assigned. Refer to the pairing chart and see whether or not you have to mail your first White moves to any of your opponents.
It's possible that you are assigned Black for all three first games. In that case, wait to receive a White move for Game A from your three opponents. After you receive each opponent's first White move, respond with your Black move. At the same time, send your first White move for Game B on the same postcard. After the first moves have been exchanged, you will be sending two moves each time; one move for Game A and another for Game B.
Along with your pairing sheet, you will receive information regarding CC rules, chess notation, rating calculation, and game-result reporting slips.
Please read the rule booklet as soon as you receive the pairing sheet. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Alex Dunne, USCF Correspondence Chess Director, PO Box 367, Sayre, PA 18840 or email Alex at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you receive a move from your opponent today and you get your reply move postmarked the same day, you used zero days of reflection time. If your reply is posted the next day, you used one day, etc.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
HOW TO COMPLETE A CARD
You may be asking, "Why so many blank boxes to write just one move for each game?" Once you receive your opponent's move, you're required to note what your opponent's move was, along with your reply. This enables your opponent to be sure you understood and noted his move correctly.
"If" moves are also an option. These are moves you offer based on your opponent's acceptance of certain moves. Newcomers are not advised to use "if" moves.
Once your move-mailing card is filled in, write the names and addresses, put on the correct postage, and pop the card in the mail!
HOW DO I FILL IN A TOURNAMENT CROSSTABLE?
You'll recall that in Class tournaments, you play two games with each opponent.
The top four lines of the crosstable are for Game A results and the lower four lines are for Game B results. Let's say you're player number 2 and you beat player number 1 in both games. Refer to the player numbers to locate the appropriate result boxes in which to write the game result. A win is noted by a "1." A loss is a "0" and a draw is "1/2."
READY TO PLAY CC?
Well, that about covers it! We suggest you read through all of the information you've received. We're more than happy to answer any questions. Just give us a call! Now, let's play some chess by mail!
USCF has expanded our correspondence chess tournament offerings, check the events page for a list of what is available. Please visit our Online Store to purchase entries and supplies. Please feel free to e-mail the Correspondence Chess Director, Alex Dunne using email@example.com to receive a free information packet on Correspondence Chess.