The April Check is in the Mail
By Alex Dunne   
April 1, 2011
A new Magnus Carlsen instructional video has been released.  Adding to his successes OTB and as a fashion model, Carlsen has released "Dress for Chess" instructing OTB players how to be properly clothed (haute couture) for tournament play.  And as a sop to CC players there is an included special feature "Addressed for Chess" which details how to properly address a postcard for CC play.

The video is featured on Norwegian TV channel 64 and is available at your nearest Chess King clothing store.

Pertti Lehikoinen - 20th World Champion

Pertti Lehikoinen charted his CC progress on his website,

He began playing in many CC tournaments with some success eventually qualifying for the 1976 Finnish championship as the lowest rated player. On the starting date he made his decision to some day become World Correspondence Chess Champion. He also decided to work in such a way to achieve that goal, no matter what it demanded!  He won the  Finnish championship, and that qualified him for the Eino Heilimo Memorial Tournament.  His result there was 7/14 gaining him the IM title (1980).

Thanks to the IM title he could take place in the Yugoslav-50 Tournament, a GM event.  He finished in fifth place with 8 ½ out of 13, and the GM title.  At that time (1985) he was the second youngest GM among the 90 in the world.

On October 25, 2004, he began play in the 20th World Correspondence Championship and finished his last game on May 30, 2008.  When his main competition could not win his final game, Pertti Lehikoinen fulfilled his quest to become World Champion.  The 20th Championship was the last to be played by postal.    

The new World Champion shows his mastery throughout in this difficult game from the World Championship.  Thanks to Carlos Flores Gutierrez for supplying the game.


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Bg7 10.h3 Ne5 11.Nf5 Bxf5 12.exf5 Nbc6 13.Nd5 e6 14.fxe6 fxe6 15.Ne3
An unusual variation of the Sicilian: White has the two Bishops and a sound position.  Black has a lead in development and recessed hanging center Pawns.  Chances are dynamically balanced, though White has done all the scoring from this position.
15...0-0 16.Be2 d5 17.0-0 Qb6 18.Ng4
This just drives the Knight to a more aggressive post.  Possible was 18. Bh5 first and then 19. Ng4.
18...Ng6 19.Rb1 Nf4 20.c3 Qc7 21.Bxf4 gxf4!?
Black foresees the recessed center becoming very active after ...e6-e5-e4
22.Qb3 Rad8 23.Rfd1 Na5 24.Qc2 e5 25.b4 Nc6 26.c4?!
White is desperate for counterplay.  Maybe 26. Qg6 Rd6 27. Qh5 offers more hope.
26...Nd4 27.Rxd4!?
White shatters the Black center, but the cost of an exchange proves too high.
27...exd4 28.c5 Qe7 29.Nh2 a5 30.a3 Ra8 31.Nf3 axb4 32.axb4 Ra3 33.Bd3 Rfa8 34.Qd2 Qf6 35.Qd1 Kh8 36.Ne1 Qf7 37.Nf3 Qf6 38.Ne1 Qf7 39.Nf3 Rc3 40.Qe2 Bf6 41.Rd1 Rb3 42.Ne5 Qe8 43.Ng6+ Kg7 44.Qxe8 Rxe8 45.Nxf4 Rxb4 46.Nxd5 Rb2 47.g3 Bg5 48.Nc7 Rc8 49.Ne6+ Kf6 50.Nxd4 Bd2!
The conclusion -- Black will play for an attack on the White King.
51.Be4 Re8 52.Bxb7 Be1 53.Kf1 Bxf2 54.Bf3 Bxg3 55.c6 Rd8 56.Bg4 Be5 57.Bd7 Ra8 58.Nf5 Bc7 59.Nd6 Kg6 60.Bf5+ Kg5 61.Bg4 Rf8+ 62.Kg1 h5 63.Bd7 Rf3 0-1
The end could be 64. Nc4 Re2 65. Rc1 Rg3+ 66. Kf1 R3g2 67. h4+ Kf6 68. Bh3 Ryh2 69. Bd7 Ref2+ 70. Ke1 Bg3 and mate follows. 

Twentieth World Championship 2004-2011


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]


IM Robert Rizzo annotates his win against James Fisher from the 1999 Absolute Championship.



1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.dxc5 Qa5+ 4.Nc3 e6 5.Nd4
More usual is 5.Bd2 Bxc5 6.e3 Qd8 7.Bd3 d5 8.0-0 Nc6 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Be7 11.Qe2= Mueller,K (2465)-Rodriguez Gonzales,J (2390)/Halle 1974
5...Qxc5 6.Ndb5 N
6.e4 Mestrovic,Z(2470)-Mrva,M (2385)Tucepi 1996
6...a6 7.Be3 Qc6 8.Na7 Qc7 9.Nxc8 Qxc8 10.Na4 Nd5 11.Bd2 Qc7 12.e4 Nf6 13.Qf3!?
13.Nc3; or  13.Bd3 in lieu of developing his pieces, White sets up a 'trap'
Seizing the 'poisoned pawn' but getting enough for the Queen is the question
14.Nc3 Bb4
14...Nc6 15.e5 Nxe5 16.Qxb7 Rd8 17.Rc1 Nd3+ 18.Bxd3 Qxd3 19.Be3³]
15.Bd3 Qxb2 16.Rb1 Bxc3
16...Qa3 17.Rb3 Qa5 18.a3 Bd6 19.Nb5 Qb6
17.Rxb2 Bxb2
Black has netted a Rook, a minor piece and 2 pawns for the Queen but White has better development and the Bishop pair
18.0-0 Be5 19.Rb1 b5 20.a4 bxa4
Opening up more lines to attack but the removal of the last White pawn from the queenside has to reduce White's winning chances as he has wasted time and wastes more time recapturing the a-pawn
21.Qd1 a3 22.Qb3 0-0 23.Qxa3 Nc6
Black has completed his development
Weakening white's kingside [24.Kf1]
24...Bd4+ 25.Kh1
25.Kf1 e5 26.f5 would eliminate the mate threats which occur later.
25...e5 26.fxe5 Nxe5 27.Rf1 Nxd3
Eliminating the powerful Bishop pair.
28.Qxd3 Be5 29.Bg5 a5 30.Bxf6 gxf6
Or 30...Bxf6 31.Qg3 Ra6 32.e5 Be7 33.Qd3 Re6 34.Qb5 Bb4 35.Qxd7 Rxe5µ
31.Rf2 a4 32.Ra2 Rfc8
A valuable tempo arising from white's choice at move 25.
33.g3 Rc3 34.Qxd7 a3
Freezing the white rook.
35.Kg2 Rb3 36.Qd5
White cannot allow 36 . . . Rb2
36...Rab8 37.Kh3 Bb2!-+
The point of Black's last few moves.  Now White's rook is out of the game and Black has the advantage of 2 rooks for a Queen along with a Bishop that protects the long diagonal
38.Qd1 R3b5 39.Qg4+ Rg5 40.Qf3 Kg7 41.Kg2 Rb4 42.Qe3 Re5 43.Kf3 Rbxe4 44.Qxe4 Rxe4 45.Kxe4
Black's 3 on 2 pawn majority is a winning endgame right out of the pages of ECE.  The addition of the Bishop controlling the a1-h8 squares just shortens the path.
45...Kg6 46.Kf4 f5 47.Ke3 Kg5 48.Kf3 h6 49.h3 h5 50.h4+ Kg6 51.Ke3 Kg7
Creating opposition
52.Kf3 f6 53.Kf4 Kg6 54.Ke3 Kf7 55.Kf4 Ke6 56.Kf3 Ke5 57.Ke3 f4+ 58.gxf4+ Kd5
White cannot stop the fall of his Pawns 0-1

Quote: Postal chess players depend less on intuition than on genuine analytical ability. - Chernev


I generally like to actually read the book before doing a book review.  It helps when the reviewer has read the material and can weigh and evaluate it.  However reading all 433 pages of Correspondence Chess in Britain and Ireland from 1824 to 1987 and playing over all the included games is a daunting task. So far I have made it up to page 106, and I am enjoying it.

If you are a collector of correspondence books (and who isn't !?) or a CC history buff, this is an excellent book for your collection.   Tim Harding has performed a Herculean task in collecting and commenting on the material here (I am skimming but it looks very thorough!)

I will (I promise!) read all the way through this book, but from what I have seen already, it is a valuable contribution to the history of correspondence chess.

Postcards to go up to 29 cents

The time has come, the postmaster said,
To speak of many things
Of checks and mates and postal rates
That make a postcard sting.

The US Post Office is raising the rate to send a postcard to 29 cents on April 17.


John Collins
David Funston 09C12             5-1
Robert Carter               08C28             6-0
Carlos Molina               08C26             4 ½-1 ½
Peter Gaffney               09C13             5 ½-½
Victor Baserga 10C07             6-0
Michael Cherry 09C10             6-0
Shawn Gillen                09C15             4-2
Jean Moeckel               09C15             4-2

Trophy Quad
David Lindberg 09Q14             4 ½-1 ½
Jill Jaris             09Q14             4 ½-1 ½
Anthony Moosey          09Q15             5-1

Walter Muir
Vladimir Iglesias           11W02                        5 ½-½
Tadas Vizbaras 10W32                        6-0
Robert Steiner              10W37                        5 ½-½

Swift Quad
Dennis Martin               10SQ10           5 ½-½

Palciauskas Tournament
James Yonkers 09P03              5-1

David Funston wins John Collins 09C12





 Mark Laboda demonstrates the lasting effect of space in this win from a 2008 Palciauskas tournament.



Vladimir Iglesias writes that every time a Queen is sacrificed, it adds some beauty to the game. 



Need some excitement in your life ?  Try replaying this game from the 24th World Championships



White's 23rd move must have heated up some extra electrons in its transmission.