My Journey Into Correspondence Chess

My Journey Into Correspondence Chess


A New Chapter in My Chess Journey: Correspondence Chess Debut

There’s always something new to discover in chess, even for seasoned players like myself. One such chapter in my chess journey unfolded when I decided to join my first correspondence chess tournament. As a new US Chess Federation (USCF) member and a chess enthusiast with a long hiatus, this decision marked a significant turning point.

The tournament in question was the 2021 Electronic Knights Championship, and I found myself competing in the preliminary round of section 21EN09. Excitement mingled with curiosity as I embarked on this new avenue of chess competition.

Learning from Experience: My Encounter with Christopher Ward

Among the many fascinating aspects of correspondence chess is the opportunity to play against opponents from various backgrounds and skill levels. One of the highlights of this tournament was my encounter with Christopher Ward, a seasoned player whose experience shone through his every move.

From our very first game, I learned invaluable lessons not just about chess strategies but also about the art of documenting moves, sending correspondence moves, and navigating the intricacies of online play. It was as if a new world of chess etiquette and techniques opened up before me.

A Thrilling Game and Unexpected Recognition

Our game was nothing short of thrilling. I faced off against Christopher Ward with enthusiasm and determination. The back-and-forth of the London Opening laid the groundwork for an intense battle of wits. Amidst the twists and turns, I began to appreciate the subtle intricacies that make correspondence chess a unique and fascinating experience.

The game’s outcome was a testament to our skills and sportsmanship. As the game progressed, it became evident that the camaraderie and mutual respect between opponents in correspondence chess enriches the experience beyond the board.

A Surprising Turn: Recognition in the Chess Community

Little did I know that this game would lead to a remarkable turn of events. Christopher Ward, impressed by our game and my approach to the match, submitted our game to the USCF’s “Check Is In The Mail” newsletter, authored by Larry Cox.

To my astonishment, this led to my first-ever public recognition as a chess player. The newsletter highlighted our game, analyzing the strategies and tactics that unfolded during our correspondence match. It was a moment of unexpected pride and a reminder that chess transcends age and experience, allowing players to learn, improve, and shine on national and international levels.

A Message of Hope for Chess Enthusiasts

This chapter of my chess journey is a testament to chess’s boundless opportunities and surprises. It’s a story that reinforces the idea that age, hiatus, and previous experience are no barriers to competing, improving, and learning in the world of chess. As a senior chess player, I found renewed motivation to strive for excellence and embrace every aspect of this timeless game.

The recognition, the camaraderie, and the strategies learned through correspondence chess have added new layers to my understanding of chess. With every game, every opponent, and every move, I continue to find joy, challenge, and fulfillment on the 64 squares.

To fellow chess enthusiasts, I extend the message that our journey in chess is never-ending. It’s a journey of continuous improvement, camaraderie, and unexpected recognition that can reshape the way we perceive the game and ourselves within it.

Source: Check Is In The Mail - July 2021

For our final game this month I wanted to showcase the following effort from Christopher Ward and Egbert Schroeer in the 2021 Electronic Knights section 21EN09. It started on May 17th and was finished by May 26th, veritable 'speed chess' by correspondence standards!

The game starts out as a London Opening. Schroeer, as Black, starts to turn the tide with 6....c5 and 7....Qb6 leading to a shift in the opening favoring Black. Black then uses his 7-9th moves to divert White’s queen and bishop battery from the b1-h7 diagonal and throw White’s development into disarray. He later sacs a pawn with 16...e5.

Shortly afterward, it appears White misjudges and with 18.Nxe4 allows Black to protect his advanced passed pawn. Ward starts to block the position with pawns but, after Black regains his pawn on move 21, Schroeer craftily pries open the position and goes up a pawn of his own.

After that, Black skillfully liquidated into a won endgame, finishing things off by almost completely paralyzing White by the 34th move. Check this one out – well worth a look. Personally, I was very impressed by the clarity of Egbert’s path to 'winning this won game'. And, thanks to Mr. Ward for sending it in.
Larry Cox

Game Replay

Here is the link to Check Is In The Mail - July 2021

Please subscribe