Header images

Header presents collection of flowers, fruits and trees pictured on 29.04.2012 during my visit in the Botanical Garden in Powsin Warsaw (Poland). Mariusz Wojnar

ICCF Presidents

World Champions

Lady World Champions

Overview of History

<—— Beginnings-1972          2002-2011 —–>

2.Overview of the history of correspondence chess 1973-2001

by Alan P.Borwell (SCO)


This overview of more recent years, includes personal recollections of attending ICCF Congresses, as well as historical facts from Congress Minutes and other sources.

The Congress in Warsaw 1973, began a nice tradition which would be followed in the future, whereby ICCF would visit Poland at 10 yearly intervals. This was the year when the Republic of Ireland was admitted as an ICCF member, on application by the Irish Chess Association, which represents all Ireland with FIDE for OTB purposes! It was also the beginning of a tortuous process, which eventually resulted in Scotland, and Wales, being admitted as full ICCF members, some 18 years later.

There were 22 delegates in Warsaw and, amongst the topics discussed, was the drafting of rules for telechess events, to be organised jointly by ICCF and FIDE, to be presented to the FIDE meeting by ICCF Liaison Officer, Dipl. Jur. A.Heintze (DDR). In those days, there were matches by radio and telephone, including one between CC Grandmaster E.Arnlind(SVE) and IM B.Anderson (DEN) and in Australia, for example, there were regular telechess matches, with chess clocks.

The following year, in Nice, the ICCF Presidium was informed that 2619 players had entered ICCF World Cup III, with 1305 entries in World Tournaments and 1609 in European events during 1973. Ex World Chess Champion, Mikhail Tal, played 8 chess masters in different towns in Australia in a telechess match, with Tal winning 5½-2½.

The election year (every fourth year) in 1975, saw all principal officers of ICCF re-elected unopposed, but there was the usual ballot for the 8 Vice President positions, with 10 nominations. Rather interestingly, one of the two unsuccessful candidates was the 1st World CC Champion, C.J.S. Purdy (AUS) – perhaps his difficulty in attending meetings in Europe could have been a contributory factor? At this Congress in Bad Mitterndorf, Austria, the memory of former General Secretary, A.F.Stammwitz (GB) was honoured, as was Paul Keres who, as mentioned earlier, had been a member of IFSB and a prolific and very successful correspondence player in the 1930s. There were several very controversial issues discussed, including suspension of South Africa, the beginnings of an “umbrella” organisation in the USA and an application by Israel to participate in European events, which was declined for geographical reasons.

The 1976 Presidium met in Bucharest, Romania, where Cuba was admitted as a member and the annual membership fee for federations was raised to CHF 20 per 100 players. It was reported that a meeting between the ICCF President. H-W von Massow and the FIDE President, Prof. Dr. M.Euwe had been most successful and that the 1st. Telechess Olympiad would be started soon thereafter. The first ICCF working party to consider a “grading system” was established, with Raimo Lindroos (FIN) as Secretary, but the system “should not form the basis for any qualification (title eligibility) rights”!

The ICCF Congress in 1973, was held in Landskrona, the birthplace of Erik Larsson, celebrating his 40th anniversary of working for international correspondence chess. There was a discussion about publishing a book “50 years of Correspondence Chess” and the Documentation Commission, under the chairmanship of P.Clement (BEL) was empowered to take it forward with Yugoslavian publishers, to be printed in German and English, but the project was not completed. Two important international invitation tournaments were approved: the Heilimo Memorial and Perfors Memorial.

The Presidium meeting in 1978 was in Munich (instead of Istanbul as previously planned) and Hermann Heemsoth, as BdF President, greeted delegates to a Jubilee Meeting entitled “50 years of World Correspondence Chess”. ICCF President, H-W von Massow, responded by looking back over the history and remembered old CC friends, including Dr. Rudolf Dührssen, Erich Freienhagen, John W.Keemink and Kurt Laue, who together with himself had founded IFSB in Berlin, on 2nd December 1928. He referred to the resumption of international CC after the Second World War, by the ICCA, and the work of Erik Larsson in starting the the 1st World CC Championship. Finland was the location of the last Congress in the 1970s, which was another election year, with 34 delegates attending in Järvenpää. The Finnish federation, with President, Raimo Lindroos and his colleagues, including Olavi Halme and Esko Nuutilainen were praised by the ICCF President for their excellent organisation. Five new ICCF Honorary Memberships were bestowed on Prof. Dr.J.S.Eventov (URS), A.G.Loeffler (ARG), H.J.Mostert (NLD), C.J.S.Purdy (AUS) and H.R.Rittner (GER).

It was reported that 500 participants had entered the LADAC 35th Anniversary Tournament and USSR had become the first winners of the FIDE/ICCF Cup by defeating East Germany (DDR) by 5-3, in the Final of the 1st Telechess Olympiad

The principal office bearers, all elected unopposed, were: President, H-W.von Massow (GER), General Secretary, Dr,B.Lukáš (CSR), Treasurer, J-A. Cornu (SWZ), Tournament Director, E.J.Larsson (SVE), ICCF/FIDE Liaison Officer, St.Kania (POL) and Auditor, H.Åhman (SVE). There were again 10 nominations for the Vice President positions, with the eight successful candidates being:- Ing. P.Diaconescu (ROM), H.J.Mostert (NLD), H.R.Rittner (DDR), E.Larsson (SVE), Dr. J.Vándorffy (HUN), Prof. Dr. W.Zagorovsky (URS), C.G.Dieta (ARG) and A.Giraudet (FRA).

The welcome to the 1980 Presidium meeting in Linz, was given by Prof. Kurt Jungwirth, referring to the neutrality and central location of Austria, describing his country as a “David” compared with those countries which were “Goliaths” in ICCF.

Attending the Congress, as FIDE President an ex World Chess Champion, Prof. Dr. M. Euwe, was offered and accepted a place in the World CC Championship Final but, sadly, he died before it began. One of the less enlightened discussions was about whether or not Norway adjoined the North Atlantic, and thereby eligible to participate in a new North Atlantic Team Tournament. On this occasion, common sense did not prevail, but the consequences rumbled on for many years.

The 1981 Congress in London is especially memorable for me, as it was the first of 21 successive Congresses which I would attend, until ICCF’s 50th Jubilee Congress. It was held in a rather small and narrow room in a hotel in the West End of London, with some 40 delegates seated on both sides of “trestle” tables. I spent much of the time playing exciting blitz chess games, on a portable set, against Hermann Heemsoth!

Due to the political situation in Czechoslovakia, General Secretary Dr. B.Lukáš was unable to attend, but I was to meet him for the only time, the following year – he was a fine gentleman and I received many helpful and interesting letters from him.

Zimbabwe was accepted into membership and it was reported that the 5th World Cup had attracted 4510 entries – the largest number ever received! There was a report by M. Mädler (GER), who had tested the capabilities of a Sargon 2.5 chess computer and concluded that computers “could calculate, but had no feeling for strategy or positional play” and could not give reliable evaluations of positions – has anything changed over the next 20 years!?

Nol van’t Riet was now Chairman of the Working Party for Ratings and 22,000 results from 2,500 players for the years 1950-1969, had been collected and processed, but the system was still being validated. Dick Smit (NLD) replaced Prof. Dr. Eventov (URS) as the Chairman of the Telechess Commission. Amongst the International Tournaments approved, were Memorials to Paul Keres (EST) and Kurt-Klar (GER).

In 1982, the Presidium meeting was in Paris, again in a modest but rather more spacious hotel room and there was an excursion to Versailles and a City tour, which included a visit to Alekhine’s grave, in Montparnasse Cemetery. The ICCF President presented a gold medal to Dr. V. Bergraser (FRA) who had achieved his GM title in the previous year. Singapore was admitted as a new member and it was reported that the USSR had won the Final of the 1st European Team Tournament. It was agreed that adjudication should not be used when international titles or norms depended on results. It was reported and agreed that USPCF would be the “umbrella” organisation, which would represent USA in ICCF in future. ICCF Rules in the Spanish language had been produced for the first time. Memorial tournaments approved were O’Kelly (BEL), Axelson (SVE) Julius Nielsen (DEN) and Endzelins (AUS).

Personal recollections of Paris, included a visit to the Moulin Rouge with Ted Bullockus, his daughter Amy and Reg Gillman– others went to the Lido etc. It was also my first meeting with Carlos Dieta, from Argentina – the next time was to be 15 years later in Buenos Aires, but we established a friendship, which has not diminished by passage of time. It is the essence of ICCF and what it means – not merely a game!

Ten years had elapsed since the previous Congress in Poland. This was a time when food and other goods were in very short supply to the citizens, but the quality of the hotel and hospitality in Poznan in 1983 was excellent, although it was a strange sensation being “cut–off” from the outside World without newspapers, radio, TV etc. Many delegates had interesting journeys to reach Poznan – my own included spending 6 hours in East Berlin, being given a conducted tour by a student from Chad, studying “chicken farming” (and, of course, philosophy of Karl Marx !), at Leipzig University.

This was a sad Congress, as Bertl von Massow had died on 27th February 1983. She had been a wonderful supporter of Hans-Werner throughout her lifetime and was a great ICCF worker, having been responsible for the European Tournament Office for 23 years, an active member of various ICCF Commissions and an Honorary Member.

On a proposal of Dr. J.Vándorffy (HUN), it was agreed that Bertl von Massow medals (donated by Hans-Werner) should be awarded in gold and silver in recognition of those who have given 15 and 10 years service, respectively, working for ICCF (more details of awards and names of recipients, can be found elsewhere in this book).

The ICCF President congratulated the 9th World CC Champion, Tonu Õim (EST) on his success and the winner of the 2nd World Cup Tournament, G.Nessis (URS). The Congress approved a proposal to establish an Anglo-Pacific Tournament Office for countries where English was either first or second language, in the Area of the Pacific.

The winners of the 2nd FIDE/ICCF Telechess Olympiad were again the USSR but, this time, only by board count over the East German (DDR) team.

All the main office-bearers were elected unanimously – including new General Secretary H.J. Mostert (NLD) and Treasurer A.P. Borwell (GBS), who replaced Dr. B. Lukáš and J-A Cornu (SWZ), who were unable to continue in office. The designation GBS was an interim arrangement (until Scotland eventually was allowed to use SCO when it became a full member, and England became ENG instead of GBE). Rather amazingly, there were again 10 candidates for Vice President, with F. Brglez (SLO) and Dr.T. Bullockus (USA) succeeding H.J. Mostert and A. Giraudet (FRA).

The 1984 Presidium took place in Pula on the Istrian Peninsula, which is part of Croatia, but at that time was under Yugoslavia. It was held in a nice Sports Complex, where the team tournament of Yugoslavia was also being held during the same period. The opening banquet combined a boat trip on the Adriatic and there was an excursion to the beautiful island location of Rovinj.

Following the decision in Poznan, the ICCF President awarded 31 gold Bertl von Massow medals to those who had served ICCF for more than 15 years and another 30 in silver for over 10 years’ service. It had been decided that team captains of winning Olympiad teams should be awarded Bertl von Massow medals and these were made respectively in gold to USSR and CSSR teams and, in silver, to second and third placed teams in more recent Olympiads and European Team Championships.

Pakistan was confirmed as a new member and it was announced that V. Palciauskas (USA) was the winner of the 10th World CC Championship and Mrs. L. Kristol (ISL) was winner of the 3rd Ladies World CC Championship. The new ICCF Treasurer proposed an increase in the membership fee from CHF20 to CHF30 per 100 members and small increases to the levels of tournament fees.

The Rules Commission had reached a unanimous decision that it was not possible to forbid the use of computers and no control was possible, but it was regarded as a question of morals and ethics.

The ICCF President proposed an addition to the ICCF Statutes, “The motto of the ICCF is Amici Sumus” and it was agreed to recommend this to the 1985 Congress.

It was decided, as a guideline, that silent withdrawal should result in the loss of all unfinished games and, for withdrawals for acceptable reasons, e.g. death, health or business reasons, all games should be “annulled”, if less than 50% were completed or unfinished games adjudicated if 50% or more had been concluded.

In 1985, it was the turn of Scotland to organise the Congress, which took place in the Borders town of Peebles. Before it began, some 30 delegates visited the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the traditional Scottish weather was repeated for the day trip boat outing, when the amount of water overhead and below was almost identical! The Opening Banquet was of traditional Scottish fare, including a bagpipe accompaniment with each course, followed by a Ceilidh (music and dancing!)

It was my pleasure, as SCCA President, to welcome 40 delegates and officials to the Congress. It was a momentous Congress for ICCF, as the ICCF President H.W. von Massow announced his intention to retire in 2 years, having been in office for more than a quarter of a century, indicating his wish that H.J. Mostert (NLD) be elected as his successor in 1987. Mr. Mostert, as General Secretary, stated that should his post become vacant from 1988, then he hoped Ing. P. Diaconescu (ROM) would be elected to take his place. Mr. Diaconescu was awarded ICCF Honorary Membership.

P. Clement (BEL) retired as Chairman of the Documentations Commission and was succeeded by G. Radosztics (OST), who presented copies of a draft looseleaf booklet containing ICCF rules and information.

A proposal to add a sentence to the Statutes, “Those who have worked meritoriously as President of ICCF in the furtherance of international correspondence chess, may be recommended for election as Honorary President of the ICCF by a two-thirds majority of Congress” was approved, as was a new wording, “Honorary President and Honorary Members have the right to take part in all meetings of the Presidium and all Congresses, as non-voting advisers.”

Comprehensive rules were agreed for World Cup Tournaments and the new World Cup was dedicated “In Memoriam Bertl von Massow,” to be organised by the Polish Federation, with organisation assistance by Hans-Joachim Heitmann (GER).

This was a rare occasion where Congress Minutes, in both German and English languages, were produced, typed and provided to delegates at the end of the Congress!

One problem arose when the Peebles Hydro Manager had to ask all delegates to wear ties in the cocktail bar – but several visitors had not brought a tie! So there was a quick visit to a local shop to purchase a supply of tartan ties for everyone – which were worn for many years afterwards by delegates!

The Presidium meeting in 1986 was held in Baden, near Zurich, and the main excursion was a visit to Rigi, high in the Swiss mountains.

The ICCF President spoke about the work of founding ICCF President, J-L Ormond (1951-55), W.A. Stilling (for many years Swiss delegate) and J-A Cornu who had been ICCF Treasurer for 8 years. It was reported that Werner Fenn, from Munich, had moulded and donated two bronze cups for World Cups VI/VII. The Second Ladies Olympiad Final had been won by USSR ahead of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

The ICCF Congress in 1987 attracted a record number of almost 50 participants to Bloemendaal (NLD). The NBC President, L. Diepstraten welcomed delegates and officials, mentioning the first Dutch international correspondence chess tournament which had been organised in 1928 by Dr. Werestchagin and the involvement of Dr. A. Rueb in the development of international CC, just before the Second World War.

The ICCF President referred to the work and friendship of World Chess Champion Dr. M. Euwe and Ms. Inneke Bakker as FIDE official for many years. There had been disappointment that FIDE had not initially supported ICCF’s request for membership of UNESCO, but that the FIDE President had subsequently supported ICCF’s initiative. Congress remembered five important CC friends who had died during the preceding year, J.L. Ormond (SWZ), Dr. Armando Silli (ITA), J.B. Estrin (URS), H-J Heitmann (GER) and K-H Boese (GER).

In the elections, H.J. Mostert (NLD) was appointed as ICCF President and H.W. von Massow (GER) was appointed as ICCF’s first Honorary President, in recognition of his services to ICCF and correspondence chess for over 60 years. Ing. P. Diaconescu (ROM) was appointed General Secretary, with other officers unchanged, except that R. Lindroos (FIN) replaced Dr. T. Bullockus (USA), as a Vice President.

This Congress saw the beginning of delegates providing musical entertainment, with some beautiful piano playing by David Heap (USA) and Mrs. Jopie Mostert, the President’s wife, who sadly died suddenly less than 3 years later.

Denmark hosted the 1988 Presidium meeting in Århus. The ICCF President announced sad news that Honorary President, H-W von Massow had passed away on 14th August, less than a week before Congress, and he paid a warm and moving tribute.

It was reported that Dr. F. Baumbach (GER) had become the XI World CC Champion and that the 3rd ICCF/FIDE Telechess Olympiad would soon be started.

The creation of a possible new title “ICCF Master” was discussed (similar to the FIDE Master title) but it was referred to the Qualifications Commission and Presidium for further consideration. It was decided that players would be placed on “black lists” for silent withdrawals, violation of tournament rules, rude behaviour and falsification of CC cards, with defined periods of bans from international play (from 2-5 years).

The creation of playing rules for Ladies World Championships, dealing with ties, regular time schedule for World Cup events and rating of friendly team matches were all items referred for further consideration by the Qualifications Committee. Following his completion of a really excellent ICCF Handbook, G. Radosztics was succeeded by C.E. Erlandsson (SVE) as Chairman of the Documentation Commission.

The ICCF Rating System came into operation from 1st January 1989, after 12 years of preparation and incorporation of nearly 15,000 games from 928 tournaments completed during 1987. Amongst invitation tournaments approved were Bertl von Massow Memorial (GER), SSKK 50th Anniversary (SVE), Dr. A. Silli Memorial (ITA), Kellner Memorial (AUS) and Finjub 30 (FIN).

The last meeting of the 1980s was again in England, being held in Richmond and the excursions included visits to the Cotswolds and Windsor Castle. Hong Kong, Tunisia and Senegal became the 64th, 65th and 66th member nations.

It was reported that the Board of the Argentinean Federation LADAC had been temporarily suspended by a Court, and a new group CAPA was attempting to represent the interests of Argentinean players. No decision was taken, but only LADAC would be considered to be a member of ICCF, with all inherent rights and duties. The ICCF President undertook to visit Buenos Aires to attempt to mediate with all of the parties.

An amendment was made to the Statutes to state that “The seat of the ICCF is the residence of the ICCF President.” Many changes were agreed to the Rules of Play.

The ICCF President reported on discussions with the new owner of Fernschach, M. Gluth, and a temporary agreement had been made, which contained a promise that the magazine would become bilingual, and that a free subscription would be given to all delegates, tournament secretaries and members of the ICCF Presidium. Under these conditions, Fernschach would be the “official ICCF organ”, for the foreseeable future.

The ICCF Auditor, H. Åhman (SVE) had indicated his wish to retire and he was thanked for services in this capacity for almost 14 years.

So we move into a new decade and the Congress in Bad Blankenburg 1990, held just after German reunification. Indeed, it was the last event in the Sportschool, before it was to be “mothballed” pending the outcome of reunification policies. I travelled from Munich by car across a deserted border wasteland area, with unmanned security towers. The only noticeable differences between West and East being the quality of the road surface and the poverty, which was so apparent in East German villages. However, the hospitality and the accommodation in the Sportschool, was excellent.

The ICCF President referred to the need to modernise ICCF and its constitution, with greater involvement of young and capable organisers to take it into the age of fax and computers. The General Secretary, who had a responsibility for African matters, reported on the organisation of a second African Team Tournament with seven countries likely to participate.

The XII World CC Champion was G.K. Sanakoev (URS) and arrangements for the VII/IX World Cup were reported, albeit with a much lower number of entries (circa 2300) than hitherto. A. Popov (SU) was announced as the winner of World Cup IV, which was played using the Silli System, with 112 players taking part in the Final. Some 500 players had entered ICCF Thematic Tournaments during 1989, under the direction of J.A Nielsen (DEN).

A fundamental proposal was made during this Presidium for an amendment to the ICCF Statutes, “The Congress shall meet at least every other year.” The ICCF President stated that the holding of a Congress each year was desirable to enable host federations to eventually provide better conditions. Hitherto, Congress and Presidium meetings had been held in alternate years, but this resulted in slow decision-making. Amongst the international tournaments approved, was one to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Scottish CCA Magazine, with a unique Ladies Invitational Tournament, as one of the three sections.

At the conclusion of the meetings and after the closing banquet, delegates and officials took up residence in the bar where drinks were free until the remaining stock was consumed, as the entire complex was to be closed! Participants then departed, including G. Radosztics in his new car, featuring the impressive registration, “ICCF 1”

The 1991 Congress returned to Järvenpää in Finland in July, when the delegates enjoyed socialising in the daylight – at midnight! There were enjoyable excursions to Turku and the Tuusula Lake, and to houses of artists, including the composer Sibelius.

Qatar was confirmed as a member and CAPA was granted membership but without any voting or nomination rights, which continued to be held by LADAC as the member federation for Argentina. The Director of the European Tournaments Office, A.A. van ‘t Riet (NLD) retired and H.E. Lüers (GER) succeeded him in this role.

In the Final of the 3rd Telechess Olympiad organised jointly by ICCF and FIDE, Australia was declared the winner, as DDR could not participate as a result of the political changes in Germany. There was a discussion about new telefax tournaments.

Following an adjustment to the Statutes, Scotland was admitted as a full member federation, with the BPCFs agreement that it would only represent England, in future.

Congress decided to use the FIDE modified ISO code for the observation of country names in ICCF for the future. The proposal from the Presidium, whereby Congresses would be held every year, whenever possible, was agreed unanimously.

A special commission was formed for the updating of the ICCF Statutes and translations of the ICCF Rules had been made in Arabic (by Qatar) and Spanish (by Spain) – both being complimented by the ICCF President.

In the elections, principal officers were all re-elected unanimously and with eight Vice-Presidents:- I. Bottlik (HUN), F. Brglez (YUG), J.F. Cleeve (CAN), Dr. R. Incelli (ITA), Ing A. Lascurain (ARG), R. Lindroos (FIN), Prof. Dr. V. Zagorovsky (SU) and Prof. M. Zavanelli (USA). T. Fyri (NOR) was appointed Auditor (to be replaced by H.B. Sarink (NLD) in 1992).

The Congress in 1992 was held in Graz, with 50 delegates attending, welcomed again by the Austrian Chess Federation President, Prof. K. Jungwirth.

New ICCF member federations accepted were from Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Wales. South Africa was re-admitted into ICCF membership. It was reported that Ms. L. Belavenez (RUS) was the IV Ladies World Champion and the Soviet Union had won the III Ladies Olympiad Final.

In 1993, ten years after our previous visit, Congress returned to Poland, this time to Gdansk on the Baltic Sea coast. The closing banquet was unique, being held in the open air in a forest, with a bonfire/barbecue and music, when even the rain did not dampen the spirits of the hardy delegates!

The Congress commemorated friends who had passed away since the previous year, including H. Åhman (SVE), P.E. Ekblom (FIN), N. Jungreiss (ISL) and L. Tschepurnoj (UKR), who was tragically killed in a motor accident. The suspension of Bulgaria was lifted and new federations from both Czech Republic and Slovakia were accepted, to replace the former Czechoslovakian member. ICCF consequently then had a total of 76 member federations.

The two finals of the IV/V World Cup had been won by A.I. Frolov (UKR) and G.J. Timmerman (NLD). J-A Cornu (SWZ) retired as the Treasurer’s Assistant after looking after the Central ICCF Bank Account for many years and was replaced by Dr. M. Christoffel (SWZ). The ICCF Ratings System now contained over 20,000 players with 3,379 having fixed ratings.

At the close of the Congress, there was a presentation to all of the delegates by A.P. Borwell (SCO), explaining the background and proposals for the new draft Statutes, which would be discussed at the 1994 Congress, for adoption from 1/1/1996.

In 1994, the Congress returned to Scotland, this time to the City of Perth. There were excursions to Highland Perthshire (including Blair Atholl Castle), to Scone Palace, the Scottish National Heather Garden and there was a special musical evening.

The idea of “computer-free” tournaments was rejected as being unworkable and the old Abonyi Tournaments were replaced by new Master Norm tournaments, from 1/1/1995. New invitational tournaments approved included A.J. Loeffler (ARG), A.G. Lascurain (ARG) and J. Eventov (RUS) Memorials. Norway would be the organiser, and be a participant (!), in the IV North Atlantic Team Tournament. Copa Latina V was approved, comprising teams from Belgium, France, Italy (2), Portugal, Romania, Spain and Switzerland. A 500-board match between Finland and Sweden was reported.

The new ICCF Statutes were approved after a full day of discussions. Two experimental fax tournaments were started on 15/9/1994 and the ICCF President made the historical and ceremonial opening move for one of the games (Borwell v Glaser).

The Congress in 1995 took place in Gjøvik, Norway, organised by the NPSF in celebration of its 50th anniversary and included visit to Olympic venue, Lillehammer, and a civic reception in the unique Mountain Hall. The ICCF President referred to the sad deaths of friends, including Prof. V. Zagorovsky (RUS) and J.F. Cleeve (CAN).

Belarus and Yugoslavia were admitted as members and the XIII World CC Champion, M.M. Umansky (RUS) was congratulated on his success. Invitational tournaments approved included J.F. Cleeve (CAN), H-W von Massow (GER) and P.E. Ekblom (SVE) Memorials and a BdF 50 Years (GER) Tournament.

There were discussions with D. Odom of IECG and a draft Memorandum of Intent for mutual co-operation between ICCF and IECG was initiated for the ongoing development of Email CC. Plans and draft rules were designed for Email tournaments.

The elections of officers under the new Statutes and Structure were: H.J. Mostert (NLD), President; Dr. F. Baumbach (GER), General Secretary; A.P. Borwell (SCO), Deputy President (Development); R. Wikman (FIN), Deputy President (Tournaments), A.A. van‘t Riet (NLD), Deputy President (Rules) and F.J. Huybrecht (BEL), Treasurer (who did not take up this role, being replaced by C. Flores Gutiérrez (ESP) in 1996). Zonal Directors who had been elected to the Presidium previously, were:- Zone 1 (Europe), H-E Lüers (GER); Zone 2 (South America), C.A. Rinaldi (ARG); Zone 3 (North America/Pacific), Prof. M. Zavanelli (USA) and Zone 4 (Africa/Asia), Ing. M. Samraoui (ALG). H.B. Sarink (NLD) continued as ICCF Auditor.

The 1996 Congress in Bad Neuenahr, Germany was attended by a record number of 67 delegates, and they were surprised to hear from the ICCF President, H.J. Mostert (NLD) that he had decided to retire at the end of that year. R. Gillman (ENG) was elected as an Honorary Member and D. Smit (NLD) was thanked for his excellent work with the Telechess Commission (which had been discontinued) for many years. Allocation of places in Olympiads, following political change, were agreed amicably.

The agreement with IECG had not come to fruition mainly because the IECG principals had departed, and therefore it was decided that ICCF should develop its own Email tournament office. J.S. Morgado (ARG) of CAPA had willingly offered to take responsibility, reporting to the Deputy Presidents (Development) and (Tournaments).

Financial and other principles were agreed for future congress/presidium meetings and an overall financial strategy for ICCF was discussed and agreed. There were also discussions about ICCF sponsorship policy proposals and new working groups for the development committee were established.

Before the close of the Congress, a petition signed by most delegates had been given to the President urging him to reconsider his decision to retire, but he indicated he was unwilling to do so. Therefore, the Deputy President (Development) proposed to Congress that Mr. Mostert should be made ICCF Honorary President, and this was agreed unanimously by delegates. Mr. Mostert expressed his wish to help ICCF in the future and accepted the award, with happy memories of past years and friendships.

At a meeting of the Presidium after the close of the Congress, it was agreed unanimously that the Deputy President (Development), A.P. Borwell (SCO) should become Acting ICCF President from 1/1/1997, until a new President could be properly elected by the next ICCF Congress. This was reported to, and agreed by delegates, during the final day of the Congress.

The 1997 Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina was historic, being the first time an ICCF meeting had been held outside Europe, or in the Southern Hemisphere. It was organised by ICCF founder member federation LADAC and took place in the Club Argentino de Ajedrez, venue of the famous 1927 World Championship match between Alekhine and Capablanca.

The Acting ICCF President opened the meeting and emphasised the importance to ICCF of Latin America and CADAP, its Zonal tournament office. He paid tribute to CC friends who had passed away, including Ing. P. Diaconescu (ROM), D. Smit (NLD) and S. Nyman (SVE), who had all attended many ICCF congresses. He also expressed his sadness that ICCF Honorary President, H.J. Mostert (NLD) was unable to attend due to the illness he suffered towards the end of 1996. The ICCF Congress then unanimously elected A.P. Borwell (SCO) as the new ICCF President, to take effect immediately. The Zonal Director (Latin America) had resigned earlier in 1997 and J. Dorner (GUA), was elected to succeed him by CADAP and confirmed by ICCF.

A new Agreement had been reached between LADAC and CAPA and the ICCF President expressed hope that it would achieve “amici sumus” in future for Argentina.

New tournaments announced, included the World CC Championship Final XV (In Memoriam Prof. Dr. V. Zagorovsky), World Cup XI to be organised by England, 1st Mare Nostrum (FRA), North Sea Team Tournament (ENG), “Amici Sumus” LADAC/CAPA Tournaments (ARG) and CXEB 30 Years Tournament (BRS).

It was agreed to establish an ICCF Appeals Tribunal, with J. Bohak (SLO) as Chairman. In future, new rating lists would be published half-yearly with many more tournaments to be rated. New playing rules for individual Email and postal team tournaments and new European tournament rules were agreed.

The President referred to the outstanding work which had been done for many years by C-E Erlandsson (SVE) in compiling archival information about players/ officials and P. Cimmino (ITA) with game scores, emphasising the need to continue such important work to preserve ICCF’s archives. It was decided to proceed with an ICCF 2000 book publication and P.F. Hegoburu (ARG) was appointed Project Manager/Editor-in-Chief. Specific development grants were allocated for the Latin America and Africa/Asia zones.

The sightseeing excursion organised by our hosts included the famous Colon Theatre, the Latin Quarter where the famous Boca Juniors football team play and the mausoleum of Eva Peron and family in Buenos Aires.

After the Congress, several delegates took the opportunity to visit other places in Argentina, including the glaciers of Bariloche, Cordoba, the spectacular Iguazu Falls bordering Brazil/Paraguay and to Montevideo (URU) across the River Plate estuary. One delegate toured the Andes, visiting Chile and Peru – a memorable experience!

In Riga, Latvia, the meeting room for the 1998 Congress was probably the best ever, with a circular table lay-out, very comfortable seating and very good presentation facilities. Hotel Latvija was an ideal location, with superb views of Riga and the surrounding area. The Latvian Federation (LCCF) with its President K. Vitols and principal organiser, Mrs. I. Priedite, along with their team, were excellent hosts for the Congress, which was well attended with 53 delegates and officials participating.

Sadly, the ICCF President had to refer to the deaths of three distinguished ICCF stalwarts:- R. Gillman (ENG), Dr. J. Vándorffy (HUN) and F. Brglez (SLO). In his opening address, he emphasised the importance of “customers,” the correspondence chess players of the world and the need to provide them with the range of tournaments and services which they were seeking from ICCF.

He announced some changes within the Presidium, following his appointment as ICCF President.

A.A. van ‘t Riet (NLD) had become Deputy President (Development), R. Wikman (FIN), Deputy President (Rules) and H-E Lüers (GER), Deputy President (Tournaments). The vacant Zonal Director (Europe) position had required a ballot in which Dr. G-M Tani (ITA) had been elected and this was confirmed by Congress. Dr. Tani had also been appointed World TO Controller and E. Bösenberg (GER) had become European TO Controller. As J. Dorner (GUA) had been unable to continue, C. Cranbourne (ARG) had been appointed as the new Zonal Director (Latin America).

H-E Lüers had intimated his retirement as ICCF Webmaster and Congress showed its warm appreciation of his excellent pioneering work with the ICCF website. S. Peschardt (DEN) had been appointed as the new Webmaster. Malawi was accepted as a new member and there was discussion about the membership of Ukraine, where no clear unified national federation appeared to exist.

The Treasurer, C. Flores Gutiérrez, referred to the new accounting system he had introduced and reminded federations of their financial obligations. He intimated new procedures for tournament entry fees and annual statistical returns. Detailed proposals for organisation and financing of future congresses were agreed.

A new “Lifetime Achievement Award” was agreed and its first recipient was E.J. Larsson (SVE) for his dedicated work for international correspondence chess for over 65 years. Honorary memberships of ICCF were awarded to W. Muir (USA) and J.A Nielsen (DEN).

A new scheme for ICCF Email tournaments was agreed, which would include a three-stage Email Chess World Championship. A restricted “direct entry” facility for Email class tournaments was introduced. The preliminary round of the Email Open Team Tournament had been completed, with the Final scheduled to start early in 1999 and it was reported that Germany had won the V European Team Championship. Invitational tournaments approved included Reg Gillman, Franczek Brglez, Prof. Dr. V. Zagorovsky and H. Åhman Memorials and 25 Years Mate Postal (ESP).

The regulations for GM title awards were amended and it was agreed to introduce the new title “Senior International Master.”

After the Congress, a group of delegates/officials visited Estonia and were welcomed to Pärnu by children of the school which had been attended by Paul Keres. A civic reception and a special chess exhibition were also organised for ICCF visitors. The ICCF President planted a ceremonial tree outside the house of P. Keres.

Some of the group then travelled to Tallinn, visiting the Keres Chess Club and his grave in the cemetery for famous Estonian sports personalities. Our hosts were E. Liebert, Ms. M. Rŏtova, M. Tarmak and World CC Champion T. Õim.

Another record was created in 1999, when 75 delegates attended the Congress in Thun in Switzerland in an excellent hotel situated at one end of the Thunersee. There was a wonderful excursion to the Schilthorn mountain and restaurant (famous James Bond film location!) and the final banquet was held on a boat, cruising on the lake. The Congress was superbly organised by host President G. Walker and his SFSV committee. A simultaneous exhibition was given by ICCF friend, GM Vlastimil Hort.

The ICCF President referred to the friendships developed through CC and the importance of “unity and partnership” between ICCF officials, member federations and CC players working together in harmony as the world authority for all forms of international correspondence chess (eg postal/Email). He reported on the unfortunate resignation of J.S. Morgado from the Email TO, but welcomed J-C Lüers who had taken over the TO duties most capably, without any interruption of ICCF Email activities or services.

ICCF Honorary membership was awarded to R. Wikman (FIN). Kenya became a member federation, but several countries were suspended for non-payment of fees.

The new Presidium was unopposed and elected unanimously with A.P. Borwell (SCO), President; R. Wikman (FIN) as Deputy President (Rules); H-E Lüers (GER), Deputy President (Tournaments), A.J.C. Rawlings (ENG), General Secretary and C. Flores Gutiérrez (ESP), Treasurer. The Deputy President (Development) role was discontinued, being replaced by a Marketing Director, to which P.F. Hegoburu (ARG) was appointed unanimously. H.B. Sarink (NLD) was reappointed as ICCF Auditor.

T. Õim (EST) was congratulated on winning World CC Championship XIV and becoming the first player to have won two world CC Championships. World CC Championship XVI Final had started with 17 players, L. Kristol (ISL) was the winner of the Ladies World CC Championship V and A.G. Lepikhov (UKR) had won World Cup VII. World Cup XII would be organised by the Czech Republic with assistance from the Slovak and, as required, Austrian Federations.

The first of the new Senior International Master title awards were made and a timetable was agreed for changeover to the publication of two ratings lists per year. New guidelines were agreed for international invitation tournaments, ratings would be considered “not fixed” for players with 12-19 rated games but would be used for publication and title norm purposes.

The agreement, which had been entered into by LADAC/CAPA in Argentina in 1997, had not worked effectively in the mutual agreement of international matters and little progress had been made with international unification for Argentinean players.

There were fears that similar unsatisfactory situations could arise in other countries if more than “one federation per country” was allowed membership of ICCF. Therefore it was decided to give “notice of intent” that the clause allowing additional federations membership of ICCF from the same country would be deleted at the next ICCF congress. It was hoped that the two federations in Argentina would achieve a comprehensive “unification” for international CC purposes, in the intervening period.

A new “Friend of ICCF” award was agreed for internet sites which were substantial supporters and promoters of ICCF news and information:- Chess Mail and The Correspondence Chess Place sites, were the first recipients of this award and both of these sites would thereby be authorised to publicise the prestigious new logo.

The Millennium Year Congress was another milestone for ICCF, when it visited Daytona Beach, Florida, USA, with over 60 delegates and officials attending. Our hosts, Prof. M. Zavanelli and Ruth Ann Fay and their helpers, provided excellent organisation, which included an excursion to the fascinating Kennedy Space Centre. The traditional ICCF Blitz tournament featured four World CC Champions, including H. Berliner and V.V. Palciauskas from USA, but the winner was M. Rocius (LIT)!

The ICCF President paid tribute to Walter Muir, the “Dean of American CC,” who had died aged 95, just before the new millennium had dawned. He referred to the renewal of ICCF rules and emphasised the need for “clarity, simplicity and flexibility” to ensure player enjoyment and effective tournament direction.

The ICCF Statutes were amended to allow “only one federation per country” with effect from 1/1/2001, which would apply to both existing members and potential future applicants for ICCF membership. Honorary membership was awarded to R. Berthelsen (NOR) and C.G. Dieta (ARG).

A new three-year financial plan was presented and changes to fees agreed, including a membership fee of CHF50 per 100 players, but with a relaxation of fees for very small and new member federations.

New playing rules for postal and Email individual and team tournaments were discussed and agreed to be applicable to all tournaments starting from 1/1/2001. Changes to regulations for GM and SIM titles and norms were agreed and Terms of Reference for the ICCF Appeals Commission were established. The ICCF Ratings Commissioner, G. Binder (GER), was congratulated on the successful transition to two rating lists per year, the additional “self-calculator” feature and the www downloading eloquery facilities, etc.

The appointment of Ing. J. Mrkvička (CZE) as the new ICCF Title Tournaments Commissioner from 1/1/2001 was approved. It was emphasised that a standardised tournament administration and reporting system, was a high priority requirement and a plan was agreed for an attractive range of tournaments, to celebrate the 50th Jubilee. The 1st Email Afro/Asian Championship had been won by Mekki Samraoui (ALG).

A new Game of the Month feature, edited by the X World CC Champion, V.V. Palciauskas (USA) had been introduced to the website in early 2000 and a games downloading archive facility, organised by W. Green (USA), was another popular feature. Webmaster S. Peschardt (DEN) and his assistants were complimented on their excellent work with the development of the ICCF website.

A “Friend of ICCF” award was made to the CXEB website of the Brazilian CC Federation. A modified ICCF logo was agreed to include an “@” motif to represent both the postal and Email activities of ICCF. It was decided to sponsor one delegate from a developing CC country each year to attend congress and the first invitation would go to India AICCF. A President’s Commission was formed to review the ICCF Statutes and Structure, with a view to taking ICCF into the future with the necessary organisation and operating practices.

The ICCF 50th Jubilee Congress was held in Rimini, Italy, organised by the Italian CC Federation ASIGC, which was also celebrating its own 50th anniversary. The programme included excellent excursions to Urbino and San Marino and there was a simultaneous exhibition by GM Igor Efimov.

The President referred to the tragic events of 11th September in the USA. He paid tribute to the memory of Dr. M. Christoffel, who had died earlier in the year and all departed friends and fellow citizens of the world. His main theme was on the need to “achieve ICCF visions and development plans to meet fully the need and aspirations of the CC World.”

Ukraine was readmitted as an ICCF member on settlement of its outstanding debts, following application from a new unified CC organisation representing all players in that country. Honorary membership of ICCF was awarded to A.A. van ‘t Riet (NLD), A.R. Ramirez (ARG) and Dr. R. Incelli (ITA). The President thanked G. Walker (SWZ) for taking responsibility for the ICCF Central Bank Account and investment portfolio in Switzerland.

New playing rules guidelines were discussed and agreed. Special ICCF Jubilee tournaments had begun, or would begin shortly, including one with all the living World CC Champions participating. Six tournaments for CC organisers/delegates and two massive open Email and postal tournaments with circa 3000 participants were being organised (more details of these tournaments appear elsewhere in this book).

Title Tournament Commissioner, J. Mrkvička (CZE) presented a comprehensive overview and forward plan for ongoing ICCF title events, including the next World CC Championships, Olympiads and Ladies events. A new ICCF World Cup would be organised for ICCF by the Austrian Federation. After discussion it was agreed that the rate of play for all ICCF Email events should be 10 moves in 60 days – the demand for tournaments with faster time rates had not been sufficient to justify separate events. Revised guidelines for international invitational and open tournaments, were agreed.

A new ICCF Champions League was proposed by Email TO Commissioner, J-C Lüers (GER) and this was enthusiastically adopted. The introduction of GM norm tournaments was proposed and agreed and a new calendar of ICCF tournaments would be published and updated regularly on the website. S. Peschardt (DEN) retired as Webmaster, being thanked for his excellent work, and Mrs. E. Radosztics (OST) was appointed as successor, to be assisted by Ms. L-M. Tinjaca and M. Caressa (both ITA).

A project to acquire an ICCF dedicated web server was agreed and H-E Lüers (GER) volunteered to take this work forward and also to become ICCF’s Technical Commissioner, working closely on developments with all ICCF officers and users.

It was agreed that the ICCF book project should be re-titled as a 50th Jubilee Book and that it should be published during 2002. Efforts were continuing to try to find a permanent location for the ICCF archive. The problems in Argentina had continued with little apparent progress towards a unified organisation. Congress agreed that certain measures would be taken if LADAC could not demonstrate it was working for internal unification and reconciliation, in the interest of all Argentinean CC players.

Contact with FIDE had been re-established and it was hoped that this would result in an improved and constructive ongoing relationship between the two official World bodies for over-the-board chess and correspondence chess, respectively.

Future ICCF Congresses were confirmed for Portugal 2002 and Czech Republic 2003. The Jubilee Congress concluded, with ICCF full of optimism about the next period of its history, as the World Authority for all forms of Correspondence Chess.

Alan P.Borwell (SCO), June 2002


Pages: 1 2 3 4