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During my correspondence with a 14th USCCC preliminary round opponent he mentioned that he had played cc for 50 years. In response to my request he sent this description of some of his experiences. Hardon is a fellow APCT member, which explains some of his comments below, and his APCT rating is currently a very respectable 2124. Thanks to Hardon H. McFarland of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania USA for sharing these reminiscences with us.

Note that you don't have to be a professional writer or a Grandmaster to have interesting things to say. Perhaps readers will be inspired to send comments of their own concerning a long career in cc and their interesting experiences. Perhaps you also played in the Bell System postal tournaments? Please send your comments to J. Franklin Campbell via Contact Webmaster-- JFC

Fifty Years of Correspondence Chess
By Hardon H. McFarland

During my fifty years of playing correspondence chess I have had many outstanding opponents. One, I recall, in the 50's never lost. He didn't submit his games for publication; so after he died a magazine requested former opponents to send in their games with him.

I wish I could tell you about some of the great ones I have played, but my memory is not too good. Since I sold my house two years ago, I have difficulty locating games in my magazines and books. It's a bit frustrating when I have a referral note in one of my MCO's (I have issues #8 thru 13) which point me to a move in a book or magazine that I can't readily lay my hands on.

I began playing in the Bell System postal tournaments in 1949. They had an interesting set-up for determining the Bell System Champion. One of them was Joe DeMauro, who is now, I believe, a postal international master. Another was our own James Warren. (By the way, there is a reference in Larry Evans' MCO 10 on page 227 to Jim's draw with Benko in the 1962 New York State Championship.)

You asked if I played in Chess Review. I did subscribe to it but don't remember playing. I still have all copies of Chess Review, CCLA's The Chess Correspondent and Chess Life back to the early 50's somewhere in storage. I also have all copies of APCT News Bulletin since I started.

I never cease to be impressed about how deep you and other players go into all aspects of chess and analysis of games. When I see the analysis of one of my games by a master, I'm surprised about what I missed. For example, years ago I played the Wikles-Barre variation of the Two Knights Defense and lost. So I casually asked an expert (Ken Williams) his thoughts about my game. Attached is a copy of his reply.

p.s. The top APCT players, as you know, are the best in the country!

[Game score omitted here. I believe Mr. McFarland need make no excuse for his level of play as he has maintained a very good 2100+ rating, still remaining quite active after 50 years of play. -- JFC]

Copyright © 1999 Hardon H. McFarland, all rights reserved.

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