I started a new correspondence chess section this week, under the auspices of the CCLA. This is my third event with this group since leaving the US Chess Federation (You think Congress is screwed up? Try the USCF.), and I’ve been mostly happy with how things have gone. The people seem friendly and the officials helpful. Aside from one major glitch with my entry into my second event, all has gone well.
While some people still play correspondence chess by post card, more and more play is online via email or, increasingly, a web server. Web server play is great: the system keeps the official game score and watches the time limits (in CCLA, you have 40 days to make 10 moves). All you have to do is worry about your moves – and what your opponents are cooking up.
I’m playing in a section of people rated roughly equally (my own CCLA rating is about 1670 – “Class B”). I have four opponents, and we each play two games against each other: one as White and another as Black. It’s early days yet, as we’re still making our opening moves, but things have already gotten interesting in a couple of games. Here’s the position in one:
I’m playing Black, and Mr. Stuart has just played 10. Bb5, threatening and pinning my knight. (No kibbitzing, please. We’re not allowed help with our games. I do think I have a slight advantage in this position, however.) This game had started as a kind-of Trompowsky Attack, but had evolved into into something resembling a reversed Scandinavian Defense. A bit weird, since the Scandinavian is my main defense against 1.e4. Just this morning, however, I realized that the pawn structure most resembled a reversed Slav Defense. I’ve never played with or against a Slav in my life, though it bears some resemblance to the Scandinavian. If this confuses you, think how I feel! I have some studying to do.
Meanwhile, it’s always fun to start a new section. I’ll try to post updates as they occur.