The Campbell Report
Correspondence Chess
"On the Square" Article

Neil Brennen

Following is an original article written by Neil Brennen. I found some things of personal interest here. One of the games below features my old chess friend Roy DeVault. We played many games during the first year I played chess (my senior year at Tulsa Central High School in Oklahoma). We spent many late nights in his home playing one 30/30 game after another. Later he went on to write several books, worked with Ken Smith of Texas, and was the Games Editor for the CCLA magazine The Chess Correspondent. There is also a game below from my very first correspondence chess tournament, the 1964 Golden Knights run by Al Horowitz's magazine Chess Review. I had gone through the first two rounds, preliminary and semi-final, of the 1964 and 1965 Golden Knights events without a loss (24 games) and was feeling pretty proud. Then I hit my first final and experienced my first really humbling experience in cc. I scored one draw out of six games playing against some really tough competition. One loss, against the legendary Leon Stolzenberg, is shown below. What a learning experience! Thanks to Neil for bringing back these great memories and highlighting some of the excellent competitors from the history of correspondence chess in the USA. -- Franklin Campbell

Sculpting in Snow
by Neil R. Brennen
(posted 28 February 2005)

For Javascript Replay of all the games (in a separate window) click here


On May 30, 2001, American Postal Chess Tournaments Master Peter Rimlinger passed away at his Towson, Maryland home. Rimlinger was one of the top 15 players in what is arguably the strongest correspondence chess organization in the United States, and often was a competitor in the APCT's Rook Championship. The APCT News Bulletin published in its January-February 2002 issue a heartfelt tribute to Rimlinger by his long-time friend and opponent Mike Foust. The winner of the 1996 APCT Rook Championship, Foust included three games against Rimlinger in his memorial article. Among them is the following hard-fought draw from an APCT international postal tournament:

Peter Rimlinger - Mike Foust [C00]
APCT Queen International, 1989
Punctuation by Mike Foust
1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 Nc6 5.g3 b6! 6.Bg2 Bb7 7.0-0 Nge7 8.Re1 dxe4 9.dxe4 g6 10.c3 Bg7 11.Qe2 0-0 12.e5 Qc7 13.Nb3 Rad8 14.Bf4 Rd7 15.Rad1 Rfd8 16.Bg5 h6 17.Rxd7 Qxd7 18.Bf6 Bxf6 19.exf6 Nd5 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.Qxe5 Qd6?! 22.Qe2 Kh7 23.c4 Ba6 24.Bxd5 exd5 25.Qe7 Rd7 26.Qxd6 Rxd6 27.Re7 dxc4! 28.Rxf7+ Kg8 29.Rxa7 Bb5! 30.Nxc5 Bc6 31.f3 bxc5 32.Rg7+ Kf8 33.Rxg6 Rd2 34.Rxh6 Rxb2 35.Rh5 Rb5 36.Kf2 c3 37.Ke3 Bxf3 38.Rh8+ Kf7 39.Kd3 c4+?! 40.Kxc3

40...Be2 41.Rh6 Rf5 42.g4 Rf3+ 43.Kd2 Bd3 44.Kc3 Rf2 45.a4 Ra2 46.h4 Rxa4 47.g5 Ra8 48.Kd4 Ke6 49.Kc3 Rb8 50.Kd4 Rd8+ 51.Kc3 Be2 52.Rh7 Bd3 53.Rg7 Rd7 54.g6 Bxg6 -
APCT News Bulletin, January-February 2001, p8

Unfortunately, the surviving games of Rimlinger are few. After his death, Rimlinger's chess legacy met the fate that so many other chessplayers' have. As Mike Foust wrote, "...his game logs, scoresheets, and other chess papers were all lost. His sister-in-law, unknowing of the value they might have to someone else, cleaned his place out. His computer was erased and given to a family member..."

An early Rimlinger game survives, however, because it was published. This is a double miracle, as the game was printed in a a small circulation correspondence magazine put out by a minor club. The Amazing Pawnhawk and Ron's Postal Chess Club are forgotten today, but in 1977 a younger Peter Rimlinger was playing in the club and annotated one of his wins for the magazine.

Peter Rimlinger - J. Neet [B22]
Ron's Postal Chess Club Tournament, 1977
Notes by Peter Rimlinger
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.c3 d5 [This is playable but I believe if Black is going to decline the gambit 4...Nf6 is better.] 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.cxd4 Bg4 7.Nc3 [Safer is 7.Be2 ] 7...Qh5 This is unknown to me. [More usual is either 7...Bxf3 ; or 7...Qa5 ] 8.d5!? This is needed if White wishes to remain on the offense. [8.Be2 leaves Black the boss of the offensive.] 8...Bxf3 9.gxf3 [Not 9.Qxf3 Qxf3 10.gxf3 and White's Kingside pawns leave him a lost endgame.] 9...0-0-0 10.Bd2 Nd4 11.Bg2 Qg6 12.Bh3+ Trying for a cheap win. 12...e6 [If 12...Kb8 13.Bf4+ wins the Knight.] 13.Rc1 Qd3!? Giving White a discovered check can't be right. 14.Nb5+ Kd7 [Not 14...Kb8 since 15.Bf4+ wins the Queen this time.] 15.Rc7+ Ke8 16.Nxd4 There seems to be nothing better for White but it may just be good enough. 16...Qxd4 17.Rxb7 Black was threatening ...Qe5+ winning the Rook. 17...Bc5 18.Qe2 Qxd5 19.Qb5+ Kf8 20.0-0 Nf6 21.Bg2 Ne8 22.Bb4 Bd6

23.Qxd5 Deciding to go for what I hope is a winning endgame. 23...exd5 24.Bxd6+ Rxd6 25.Rxa7 g6 26.Rd1 Kg7 27.Ra8 Nc7 28.Rxh8 Kxh8 29.Kf1 Ne6 30.Ke1 Kg8 31.a4 Rb6 32.Rb1 Nc5 33.a5 Rb5 34.b4 Rxb4 35.Rxb4 Nd3+ 36.Kd2 Nxb4 37.Kc3 Nc6 38.f4 Black will be tied up on the Queenside trying to stop the pawn leaving White free to destroy the Kingside..[Not ... 38...Nxa5 39.Bxd5 followed by Kb4.] 1-0
The Amazing Pawnhawk, December 1977, p1

The story of the destruction of Peter Rimlinger's chess legacy is sadly familiar. The 19th century Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth is credited with describing actors as artists who "sculpt in snow". Booth's comparison, unfortunately, also applies to the chess artist as well. Scoresheets and result tables disappear with distressing regularity, and when a game achieves publication, it often is in a small-press magazine or a club bulletin with a circulation in the dozens. Poorly printed on cheap paper, the survival of such magazines and bulletins is largely a matter of luck. For instance, the magazine containing the Rimlinger-Neet games, The Amazing Pawnhawk, isn't among the massive collection of chess literature at the White Collection in Cleveland. In this case, we owe thanks to correspondence chess veteran Hardon McFarland of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, for his preservation of copies of the magazine.

There was a loss to correspondence chess history that was far worse than the destruction of Rimlinger's papers. A strikingly similar case to the Rimlinger story is that of Leon Stolzenberg. The former winner of the United States Chess Federation Golden Knights and Correspondence Chess League of America Grand National correspondence tournaments, Stolzenberg had all his chess papers destroyed prior to his death in 1974. The loss affects more than just correspondence chess, as Stolzenberg's over the board chess career stretched back to the First World War, and encompassed winning the Western Open title, and repeatedly capturing the championship of his adopted state of Michigan. Among the opponents he faced over the board in his lifetime were Reshevsky, Torre, and Whitaker.

One of Stolzenberg's surviving games from the 1920's is his loss as part of a consultation team representing the city of Detroit in a radio match with Washington DC. The leaders of the teams are a study in opposites. Stolzenberg was a pharmacist by trade, and considered an upright individual; Norman Tweed Whitaker was a loathsome petty criminal. Historically, however, crime has paid, as Whitaker's papers survived and have yielded much interesting material for historians and other lovers of chess, while Stolzenberg's chess legacy is as lost as last season's snowfall.

Norman Tweed Whitaker, William Mutchler - Leon Stolzenberg, Van Noorder [C48]
Washington-Detroit Radio Match, 12.02.1928
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 d6 5.d4 Nd7 6.0-0 Be7 7.Ne2 0-0 8.c3 Bf6 9.Be3 Nb6 10.Ng3 Bg4 11.h3 exd4 12.cxd4 Bxf3 13.gxf3 g6 14.Kh2 Nc8 15.Rg1 a6 16.Be2 Nb8 17.f4 Nd7 18.f5 Bg5 19.f4 Bh4 20.fxg6 hxg6 21.Nf5 Kh7 22.Bc4 Ncb6

23.Bxf7 Rxf7 24.Qg4 Qf6 25.Nxh4 Rg7 26.f5 Nc4 27.fxg6+ Kg8 28.Bh6 1-0
American Chess Bulletin 1928, P62;
The Gambit, February 1928, P 55;
Shady Side: The Life and Crimes of Norman Tweed Whitaker, Chessmaster, P. 380

In an attempt to honor the deceased champion, the CCLA magazine The Chess Correspondent solicited games played by Stolzenberg from readers. Among those responding was the previously mentioned Hardon McFarland, who contributed a loss he suffered to Stolzenberg two decades previously.

Leon Stolzenberg - Hardon McFarland [D36]
CCLA Special (3), 1954
1.d4 e6 2.c4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Qc2 Nbd7 7.Nf3 c6 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Bd3 Re8 10.g4 Ne4 11.Bf4 Bb4 12.Kf1 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Nf8 14.h3 g5? 15.Bh2 a5 16.Ne1 b6 17.f3 Nd6 18.Kf2 Ra7 19.Ng2 Ba6

20.Bxa6 Rxa6 21.Bg3 f6 22.h4 Nf7 23.hxg5 Nxg5 24.c4 Kg7 25.Rac1 c5 26.Rcd1 dxc4 27.dxc5 Qa8 28.Nh4 bxc5 29.Bf4 Kh8 30.Bxg5 1-0
The Chess Correspondent, February 1975

Of course, McFarland wasn't the only CCLA member who sent Stolzenberg games to The Chess Correspondent. Two others are below, including a loss suffered by future chess author Roy DeVault.

Leon Stolzenberg - Roy DeVault [E67]
Corr., 1968
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.0-0 0-0 5.c4 d6 6.d4 Nbd7 7.Nc3 e5 8.e3 c6 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.Qc2 Be6 12.b3 Qc7 13.Na4 Qe7 14.Bb2 Nd7 15.Nc3 f5 16.a4 Rf7 17.Ba3 Qf6 18.Rad1 Rd8 19.Nd5! Bxd5 20.cxd5 e4 21.dxc6 Qxc6 22.Qxc6 bxc6 23.Rfe1 Bc3 24.Re2 Rb8 25.Rb1 Nb6 26.Rc2 Nd5 27.Bf1 Rfb7

28.Bc4! Be5 29.Rd2 Rd7 30.Rbd1 Bc3 31.Rc2 Bf6 32.b4 Rbd8 33.b5 cxb5 34.Bxb5 Rc7 35.Rcd2 a6 36.Bf1 Rc3 37.Bb2 Rb8 38.Bxc3 Nxc3 39.Rc1 a5 40.Rd6 Be7 41.Rc6 Nxa4 42.Ra1 Rb4 43.Ra6 Kf7 44.Rxa5 Nb6 45.Ra7 h5 46.Rc1 1-0
The Chess Correspondent, April 1975

Leon Stolzenberg - Ellis [D02]
CCLA Special, 1954
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bf4 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Nbd2 e6 6.Be2 Bd6 7.Ne5 Bxe2 8.Qxe2 Nb4 9.Nb3 0-0 10.c3 Na6 11.Bg5 c5 12.h4 cxd4 13.exd4 Be7 14.Nd2 Qe8 15.h5 h6 16.Be3 b5 17.a4 Nc7 18.axb5 Qxb5 19.Qxb5 Nxb5 20.Ke2 a5 21.Ra4 Rfc8 22.Kd3 Kf8 23.g4 Nd6 24.f3 Ke8 25.Nb3 Rcb8 26.Kc2 Rb5 27.Nc5 Rab8 28.Bc1 Nb7 29.Ncd3 Nd7 30.Nc6 Ra8 31.b3 f6 32.Nxe7 Kxe7 33.Ra2 Rc8 34.Re1 Rb6

35.b4 axb4 36.Nxb4 Kf7 37.Kd3 Rb5 38.Bd2 e5 39.Ra7 Ke6 40.Rea1 Nd6 41.R1a6 Rcb8 42.f4 exf4 43.Bxf4 R8b6 44.Rxb6 Rxb6 45.Nxd5 Nc8 46.Nxb6 Nxa7 47.Nxd7 Kxd7 48.d5 Nc8 49.c4 1-0
The Chess Correspondent, December 1974

The next game was used as a representation of Stolzenberg's play in Bryce Avery's book Correspondence Chess in America. We include it here because it's a game worth republishing, and because the result is incorrectly recorded as a loss for Stolzenberg in Avery's book.

R. Kunitz - Leon Stolzenberg [E68]
CCLA Special, 1952
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 Nbd7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nc3 e5 8.e4 c6 9.b3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nc5 11.Bb2 a5 12.Qc2 a4 13.Rab1 Re8 14.Rfe1 axb3 15.axb3 Ng4 16.Rbd1 Qb6 17.h3 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Qxb3 19.Qxb3 Nxb3 20.Rxd6 Ne5 21.Rdd1 Nxc4 22.Bc1 Nxc1 23.Rxc1 b5 24.e5 Ra6 25.Ne4 Rxe5 26.Rxc4 bxc4 27.Nf6+ Kg7 28.Rxe5 Kxf6 29.Rc5 Be6 30.Bxc6 Ke7 31.Bb5 Kd6 32.Rxc4 Ra1+ 33.Kh2 Bd5 34.g4 Ra5 35.Rb4 Kc5 36.Rf4 Rxb5 37.Kg3 Kd6 38.h4 Rb3+ 39.f3 h6 0-1
Correspondence Chess in America pp82-83.

While the Correspondence Chess League of America claimed Stolzenberg as their own, as was mentioned before, Stolzenberg was active in the USCF Golden Knights, the largest American correspondence chess tournament. One of his games from the Golden Knights was reprinted a year before he died in William Raudenbush's correspondence chess column in Overboard Chess Magazine. Overboard was a slick, would-be competitor to Chess Life that was published from 1972-1975 and attempted to capitalize on the Fischer boom. Raudenbush's win over Stolzenberg was used in his first column to illustrate the nature - and the fun - of correspondence play. Although the extensive annotations to the game were credited solely to Raudenbush when they were first published, in a personal communication to the author a few years ago Raudenbush confided that most of the analysis was by former Pennsylvania over-the-board champion Hermann V. Hesse. Raudenbush asked that any republication of the game reflect the dual authorship of the notes.

William Raudenbush - Leon Stolzenberg [A42]
Golden Knights Semi-finals, 1957
Notes by William Raudenbush and Hermann V. Hesse
1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nf3 [3.Nc3 leads into a Pirc defense.] 3...d6 4.c4 Nd7 5.Nc3 e5 6.d5 f5 7.Bd3 [After 7.exf5 gxf5 8.Ng5 Ndf6 9.Be2 h5 Black would have a satisfactory game.] 7...f4 8.g3 Bh6 [Somewhat better than 8...g5 9.gxf4 gxf4 10.Rg1] 9.gxf4 exf4 10.h4 Ne5 11.Nxe5 dxe5 12.f3 Bf8 13.Qe2 Nf6 14.Qf2 Nh5 15.Ne2 b6 16.Bd2 c5 [White would have had much more difficulty after 16...Bc5 17.Qh2 a5 18.Bc3 Qd6] 17.Bc3 Qd6 Black's KP becomes a continual target for White. 18.a3 Be7 19.Kd2 With a closed position, the King is safe in the center. 19...Bd7 20.a4 a6 [20...a5 is good. Black's winning chances are slim, in any case.] 21.b3 Rg8 22.Kc2 Rb8 23.Rhb1

The point to 19. Kd2. After 20. O-O-O, the Rooks do not have the flexibility of playing on either wing. 23...Rc8 [Black might as well play 23...a5 at once.; No real chances are offered by 23...b5 24.axb5 axb5 25.cxb5 Bxb5 26.Bxb5+ Rxb5] 24.b4 Qf6 25.b5 a5 [Not 25...Qxh4? 26.Qxh4 Bxh4 27.bxa6 and Black's b and e pawns are hanging. If 27...Bf6 28.Rxb6 Ra8 29.Rxf6 Nxf6 30.Bxe5 Rxa6 31.a5 g5 32.Bc7 Rg7 33.e5 Ng8 34.Bb6 h5 35.Rh1 h4 36.e6 Bc8 37.Bf5] 26.Rh1 Rc7 27.Rag1 h6 28.Qh2 Bc8 29.Be1 Bd6 30.Nc1 Rcg7 31.Bf1 Bd7 32.Nd3 Kd8 33.Bh3 From move 29 through 33, White has been able to place his pieces on more active squares, and eliminate his "bad" bishop- thus improving his position. 33...Qf7 34.Bxd7 Qxd7 35.Bc3 Black's e pawn now is under constant pressure. 35...Qe7 36.Qd2 Ng3 37.Rh3 Kc8 38.Kb3 g5 [White's threat was 39. Qb2 Re8 40. Nxf4-Black should have tried 38...Re8 and if 39.Qb2 then 39...Rgg8 .] 39.hxg5 h5 [If 39...hxg5 40.Qb2 Re8 41.Rh6 would follow.] 40.Re1 [Threatening 41. Nxf4- not so good would have been 40.Qb2 Rxg5 41.Nxf4 exf4 42.Bf6 Qe8 43.Bxg5 Rxg5 44.Qf6 Rg6 with Black for choice.] 40...Bc7 [Black could defend with 40...Rxg5 but then 41.Bxa5 bxa5 42.Qxa5 Qb7 43.b6 is very strong for White; nor 40...Bb8 41.Bxa5 bxa5 42.Qxa5 Rg6 43.b6 is any better.] 41.Nxf4 [Better than 41.Qb2 Rxg5 42.Nxf4 exf4 43.Bf6 Qe8 44.e5 Nf5 and Black is for choice.] 41...exf4 42.e5

42...Nf5 [If 42...Qxg5 43.d6 Bd8 (43...Rd8 44.Qd5) 44.Qd5 Kb8 45.e6 Nf5 (45...Qxd5 46.cxd5) 46.e7 Nxe7 47.Qxg5 Rxg5 48.dxe7 Bxe7 49.Rxe7 Rg3 50.Rxg3 fxg3 (50...Rxg3 51.Be5+ Kc8 52.Bxf4 Rxf3+ 53.Be3) 51.Rg7 Rxg7 52.Bxg7 h4 (52...g2 53.Be5+ Kc8 54.Bh2) 53.Be5+ Kc8 54.Kc3] 43.d6 Qe6 44.Rxh5 [If 44.dxc7 Rd7 45.Qe2 (45.Qxf4 Nd4+ wins.) would have left White with no satisfactory defense after 45...Rxg5 46.Rh2 (46.Qe4 Kxc7 47.Qa8 Rg8) 46...Ne3] 44...Ne3? [This loses, much better chances were offered by 44...Bd8 45.Qxf4 Bxg5 (45...Kb8 46.Rg1; 45...Rxg5 46.Rxg5 Rxg5 47.Rh1) 46.Qe4 Kb8 47.Qd5 Qxd5 48.cxd5 In both cases, White has much the better game, however.] 45.Qd3 Bd8 46.Qe4 Kb8 47.Rh6 Qf5 48.e6 [If 48.Rxe3 Qxg5 would be less effective] 48...Qxe4 49.fxe4 Bxg5 50.Bxg7 f3 51.Rh8 Rxh8 52.Bxh8 f2 53.Rh1 Kc8 54.d7+ Kd8 55.Be5 Ke7

56.Bf4!! This move was one of my better moves in correspondence chess. I've set up this position many times, and 56. Bf4 is not usually found without some aid.[56.Bf4 Bxf4 57.Rh7+ Kxe6 58.d8Q f1Q 59.Qe7#] 1-0
Overboard Chess Magazine, Summer 1973

One final game of Stolzenberg, again from the Golden Knights. The source of the gamescore is Tim Harding's MegaCorr II database.

J. Franklin Campbell - Leon Stolzenberg [C25]
64Nf11 Golden Knights, 1966
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Bb4 3.Nd5 Ba5 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Qf3 Nxd5 6.Bxd5 Qe7 7.Qg3 0-0 8.Nf3 d6 9.0-0 c6 10.Bb3 Kh8 11.d3 Bc7 12.Qh4 Qxh4 13.Nxh4 Nd7 14.f4 Nc5 15.fxe5 Nxb3 16.axb3 dxe5 17.Be3 b6 18.Nf5 c5 19.Rf3 Be6 20.Raf1 f6 21.h4 h5 22.R3f2 a5 23.Ra1 Rad8 24.Bd2 Rd7 25.Ne3 Rdd8 26.Raf1 Ra8 27.Nd1 Rfd8 28.Nc3 Rd7 29.Be3 Kg8 30.Rd2 Bd8 31.Ne2 Be7 32.Nc3 Kf7 33.g3 Bf8 34.Rdf2 Ke7

35.Nb5 Kd8 36.Kg2 Be7 37.Ra1 Kc8 38.Rd2 Kb7 39.Nc3 Rh8 40.Rdd1 Kc6 41.Rf1 Rdd8 42.Rf2 Rdg8 43.Rh1 g5 44.Kf1 gxh4 45.gxh4 Rg3 46.Bd2 Rg4 47.Rg2 Rxg2 48.Kxg2 Rg8+ 49.Kf1 Rg4 50.Ne2 f5 51.exf5 Bxf5 52.Be1 e4 53.d4 e3 0-1

Imagine an entire database or book of such games! And imagine it we must. Instead of a rich treasure of chess, we are left with a few surviving games from a career that spanned six decades. This is like sticking a snowball in a freezer to keep alive the memory of a snowy winter.

The loser in the last Stolzenberg game above, chess author and historian J. Franklin Campbell, has written an article about "Preserving the Heritage of Correspondence Chess". Campbell makes a strong case for preservation of games and statistical data in his article, but the bulk of his remarks are directed to tournament directors for correspondence events. While this is a step in the right direction, I think more can be said on the topic, and more should be done to preserve the legacy of the top players.

One small step that might have avoided the loss of both the chess legacies of Peter Rimlinger and Leon Stolzenberg was for both gentlemen to have let their loved ones know that their chess papers were of value. Just as the elderly sometimes prepare a detailed list of their properties for their executors, so a chess player should make plans for their chess scoresheets and libraries. Whether this involves donation to a friend, a chess historian, a chess club, or the White Collection matters not, as long as there is a plan and it is clear to the family of the deceased chessplayer what needs to be done. The motto should be, "If chess is important to you, your chess is important enough to preserve."

Likewise all chess publications should grant a subscription to one of the world's great chess libraries for depository purposes. This puts a magazine, no matter how small, within the reach of future generations of researchers and historians.

Finally, we need to work to promote the preservation of our chess heritage in general. This requires chess history to be promoted as important to the mainstream chessplayer. Too many strong chessplayers discard their papers because they think they are unimportant, or in some misguided attempt to preserve their reputation after death. If we can promote chess history to a higher profile, chessplayers will be more prone to consider their own importance. Otherwise, if we continue as we have in the past, we as chessplayers are just sculpting in snow.

© 2005 Neil R. Brennen. All rights reserved.

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