Please note my new address above for any future contributions to this column (omitted in web page version). Reader input is always invited and often dictates the content of this column. If possible, email input is preferred.
Stephan Gerzadowicz Returns!
The last time I reported on APCT'er Stephan Gerzadowicz he was teaching chess at a private school in Princeton, New Jersey, and he was being very successful with teaching young people not only how to play chess but with conveying the other valuable lessons to be learned from chess. Now he has moved on to other challenges and is living in Dallas, Texas. Rumor is that he will be more involved than ever with APCT, but you'll have to look elsewhere for details on this, possibly near the front of this issue.
Many people appreciate the writings of this remarkable chess journalist. For instance, in a review by Silman of "Journal of a Chess Original" by Stephan Gerzadowicz we read:
The fine typesetting, interesting quotes, and intelligent layout aside, it's Mr. Gerzadowicz's writing style that makes this book very worthwhile. Postal chess is somehow turned into something exciting and a colorful human being bares his soul (well, at least a little part of it!) to give us an uncommonly good read.
A couple more quotes about this book:
This isn't meant to be a book review, and I have no personal plans to include Stephan G's book in my coffin, but I wanted to mention just one of his many projects that has met with such universal approval. He has written extensively for chess journals, such as Chess International and The Chess Connection as well as other books. Those who have played and analyzed with him are most impressed with his skills and enthusiasm for the game. The children who benefited from his teaching and leadership at the Princeton Charter School are lucky indeed. To quote from the Town Topics newspaper in Princeton, NJ:
He added that his aim is to teach "logic and orderly, sequential thinking, sportsmanship and civilized behavior," not to focus on tournament success alone. "If this approach also helps kids win games, then that's a bonus."
"Passing myself off as a Chess Master"
Stephan Gerzadowicz reports another example of an attitude many of us have faced, namely considering correspondence chess as a poor relative of "real chess." For example, the Internet Chess Club had a policy of giving free memberships to International Masters this doesn't include cc IM's, though, or at least it didn't use to. An OTB master in Dallas, who teaches chess for a fee, has objected to SG calling himself a Master. This is a form of chess prejudice that offends me. CC and OTB are two different forms of the same game, each with its unique attractions and demands. As SG put it, "Opinions on the strengths of OTB vs. CC Master vary. But MANY OTB Masters also play CC, and very few get as high as #10 in the country." This refers to his best ranking in the USCF rating list, where SG reached the top ten.
I've seen this attitude very clearly on occasion in Chess Life magazine, where CC is somehow relegated to something less than "real chess." USCF has declared this to be the "Year of the OTB Player" I wonder, will next year be the "Year of the CC Player?" I'm not holding my breath. I was encouraged by the attendance of USCF Executive Director George De Feis at last year's ICCF Congress in Daytona Beach. He was most supportive during the meetings, but I haven't seen any positive changes at USCF concerning the support of correspondence chess in the USA yet.
Stephan Gerzadowicz had a telling comment about the situation with the Dallas OTB Master. He commented, "I have been approached for lessons. Agreed to them. Did not know then that the students had been going to the IM. They were shopping around. Four of them. After one lesson they all switched to me." I can't say that I'm at all surprised. Talent and enthusiasm for chess, as well as teaching skills, are not much affected by the form of chess most commonly practiced, in my opinion. If anything, I would think the cc competitor might have an edge in understanding and teaching chess.
ICCF Establishes "Silent Week" in Memory of the Victims of the Terrorist Attack
ICCF President Alan Borwell (SCO) announced that all play in ICCF events would be suspended for the week of September 13-19, 2001 as a mourning period for those lost in the tragic terrorist attacks in the USA on September 11, 2001. Here is the text of his announcement:
Per Söderberg (SVE) made the following interesting statement:
Fortunately, it was possible for the ICCF Congress to take place instead of being cancelled. I understand that an appropriate moment of silence was held at the beginning of the meeting in memory of those who were affected by the attack, as well as in memory of chess friends lost during the previous year.
Gert Jan Timmerman New World Champion
Gert Jan Timmerman (NLD) has won the 15th Correspondence Chess Championship by scoring 12/16 points and clinching first place. He was the only non-champion participating in the grand Tournament of Champions pitting the eight living world champions plus Timmerman against each other in an email round robin event. Timmerman had been invited based on his position on top of the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) rating list. The semi-annual rating list has just been released by ICCF and shows Timmerman still on top with a rating of 2734. Now this tournament can boast participation by the nine living world champions!
Congratulations to Mr. Timmerman on achieving the world title and becoming the 15th World Champion! The tournament between the nine world champions will be covered "live" with game moves updated monthly (but the last three moves not shown). However, coverage has not yet begun at the ICCF site since some games are still following the same lines. When the games have all diverged, coverage will begin.
Annual ICCF Congress in Italy
Each year the ICCF has a Congress of about a week to allow correspondence chess players and organizers to meet and discuss topics of importance to the game. Last year this took place in Daytona Beach, Florida, allowing me to finally meet many chess friends in person for the first time. Professor Max Zavanelli, the ICCF-U.S. Secretary, was host for that Congress, ably organized by the amazing Ruth Ann Fay. That was a fabulous opportunity for me and many other USA cc enthusiasts, and I shall never forget the people and events of that Congress.
This year the Congress took place in Rimini, Italy, and was organized by the Italian cc organization Associazione Scacchistica Italiana Giocatori per Corrispondenza (ASIGC). This was particularly appropriate because both ASIGC and ICCF were celebrating their Jubilee this year (both organizations have existed for 50 years). Congratulations to both organizations for serving the cc community for 50 years! Renato Incelli of Italy was presented an honorary ICCF membership by ICCF President Alan Borwell (SCO) in recognition of his excellent service to chess over the years.
The reports of actions taken during this year's Congress are just starting to filter out. The most significant change was the resignation of ICCF Webmaster Søren Peschardt (DEN), who has served in that position for three years. It's been my pleasure to work with Søren on occasions and I have found him to be a dedicated and talented individual. Thanks to Søren for his years of service in that particular position and for his steady improvements to the ICCF web site. His job will be assumed by professional web designer Evelin Radostics of Austria. I look forward to seeing the new features that will probably occur under her leadership. There is a lot of talent within our chess community, and it is always a pleasure to see what these talented individuals can achieve.
Hopefully I'll have more on the Congress in my next column. If you're on-line you can check the temporary Congress web site I set up at: http://correspondencechess.com/congress/
The Congress web site not only has the latest reports by ICCF Marketing Director Pedro Hegoburu (ARG) but also has links to much other interesting material, some photos, and the reports from the previous two Congresses.
Eight Games on One Card!
One of my chessfriends Wim H. van Vugt from The Netherlands sent me the following description of playing eight games with the same opponent and sending the moves to all eight games on a single postcard. Remarkable! but it isn't easy.
An interesting approach, Wim! Thank you for your very interesting observations and description of your approach to chess competition.
I would recommend to all players to carefully record all required information on every postcard or email. It is not wise to give your opponent such an advantage, should a problem occur. Of course, I would certainly not recommend conducting eight games on a single postcard!
Kasparov's Ego Prevents Championship Attempt
It was a shock to the OTB chess world when Champion Garry Kasparov lost his title in a match with challenger Vladimir Kramnik. Kasparov clearly believes the title should be his, and he has demonstrated through his incredible tournament successes this last year that he is still the top player. His rating also keeps him firmly in possession of the number one spot on the list. However, this has never been the criterion for the title of world champion. This title has traditionally been decided by a one-on-one match pitting the world champion vs. a worthy challenger. The fact is that Kramnik defeated Kasparov in the championship match and is therefore the champion (ignoring, for the moment, FIDE's establishment of a new and very different event for the world championship).
The organization that conducted the Kasparov-Kramnik match (Brain Games) has recently announced a challengers' event to determine the next challenger for Kramnik. Kasparov has announced publicly that he won't participate in such a lowly event, pronouncing himself the only proper challenger and calling for an immediate rematch. Here's a quote from Kasparov's interview published on his web site on September 28, 2001 where he makes his feelings clear:
Here are three excerpts from an interview of Kramnik, which took place on October 1, 2001, where he addresses these issues:
copyright © 2001 by J. Franklin Campbell
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