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About ICCF

by Nol van’t Riet,  updated by Mariusz Wojnar
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ICCF is the International Correspondence Chess Federation.

iccflogoICCF was founded in 1951 as a new appearance of the ICCA (International Correspondence Chess Association), which was founded in 1945, as successor of the IFSB (Internationaler Fernschachbund), founded in 1928.

Correspondence chess is a type of the world-wide well-known game of chess, which has been played between towns, chess clubs and/or individuals, by using:

  • runners and homing-pigeons
  • (postal) coaches
  • unusual postal transmissions like trains and (later) airplanes
  • modern ways of transmission like e-mail and webserver

Some sources say that correspondence chess was already played in the 12th century. Most chess historians doubt whether this is true. In the 19th century chess clubs and magazines started to organize more regular tournaments, national as well as international tournaments.

Finally in 1928 the first international league (IFSB) was founded. Aljechin, Keres and Euwe have been well-known enthusiastic correspondence chess players during some periods of their chess career.

ICCF, the present successor of the IFSB, is a federation of national member organizations. At this moment there are world-wide over 53 active national member federations with altogether more than 40.000 individual member correspondence chess players.

Most of them are playing several games simultaneously. Some of them are even playing more than 100 games at the same time. Most strong players think that 15 games at the same time is the upper limit.

ICCF is closely co-operating with the leading world chess organization FIDE. All ICCF titles, championships and ratings are recognised by FIDE.

In most sports you only can play regularly on an international basis when you are a national top-player. One of the charms of correspondence chess (whether you are playing the email or the postal version) is that you can play at an international level, even when you are starting to play this kind of a game for the first time.

ICCF organizes all kind of tournaments: individual and team championships, title norm tournaments and promotion tournaments (from Open Class until Master Class). Both in postal and in email versions.

Almost the same kind of tournaments also exists within the 4 zones into which ICCF is divided: Europe, Latin America, North America/Pacific and Africa/Asia.

ICCF published the ICCF Diamond Web Book as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations:

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ICCF Presidents

N Period Name (country)
1 1951-1953 Jean-Louis Ormond (SUI)
2 1953-1960 Anders Elgesem (NOR)
3 1960-1987 Hans-Werner von Massow (GER)
4 1988-1996 Henk Mostert (NED)
5 1997-2003 Alan Borwell (SCO)
6 2003-2004 Josef Mrkvicka (CZE)
7 2005-2009 Mohamed Samraoui (ALG)
8 2009-? Éric Ruch (FRA)

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