ICCF Press Officer
J. Franklin Campbell


ICCF Congress
Pre-Congress Report #1

Mason, Michigan, August 27, 2000.
REF: Pre-Congress Report #2000-1

The following is the first report on the Year 2000 ICCF Congress, to be held in Daytona Beach, Florida (USA) from September 16 through September 22, 2000. Reports will be issued daily and posted at the ICCF web site at and at The Correspondence Chess Message Board (TCCMB) at Two pre-Congress reports are planned that will cover my expectations and plans for the Congress.

J. Franklin Campbell
ICCF Press Officer

Pedro Federico Hegoburu, the current ICCF Marketing Director and my "boss" as press officer, set a high standard last year by issuing a series of fascinating and informative Congress reports on the ICCF web site. This year it will be my duty and privilege to post these daily reports on the ICCF Congress in Daytona Beach, Florida. He recently suggested that I start writing reports before the Congress to reveal my expectations for the Congress.

I went to bed that night with my head buzzing with ideas about what to say. I have many expectations, hopes, plans and fears. Whether readers will find these things of interest is hard to judge, but I will try to lay them out in two pre-Congress reports.

First, thanks to Pedro Hegoburu for involving me with ICCF in such a material way by offering me this post. It has added a new dimension to my involvement in chess and I can recommend such involvement to others. Thanks to new NAPZ Director Ralph Marconi (who appointed me PATT4 TD) and CC.COM guru and ICCF Executive Officer John Knudsen for their help and encouragement. Thanks to ICCF-U.S. Secretary Max Zavanelli and his wife Ruth Ann for appointing me ICCF-U.S. webmaster and involving me in ICCF-U.S. activities. Thanks to everyone! Too many thanks will lead to boring reading, so that's it for now.

My position reminds me of that claimed by many USA politicians running for office. "I'm an outsider, not one of the entrenched leadership in Washington!" Except for the part about Washington, that's how I feel. I will be going to the Congress with a totally fresh viewpoint. I feel no ownership of old ideas and will agitate for some very different approaches in a few areas. I feel some doubts. As a "new kid on the block" can I really expect to offer any constructive ideas? Will anyone feel my ideas are worthy of consideration? With my naïve approach can I hope to have ideas that are actually worthy of consideration? Will I make a complete fool of myself? Stay tuned.

I have more trouble than most with remembering people. Both names and faces simply disappear from my mind. I can hold a one-hour conversation with someone and, minutes later, I won't recall having ever met that person. I'll remember the conversation, but not the person. Suddenly I'll be meeting a plethora of people, just as on the first day at a new job. I'll need to mention these people in my daily reports. Embarrassment is facing me at every turn. This could be a disaster! I'm planning to make up a small notebook of names, titles and pictures to help me keep track of people. Take my word for it, this type of experience is always a little scary for me.

What about the chess? I'm planning to play on the ICCF-U.S. team in some special events against the "Rest of the World" team. My OTB skills have slipped and I have no time to prepare. Webmaster and tournament director commitments along with work and family duties are keeping me much too busy. Will I let down the team? On the other hand, the opportunity to meet some of the great ICCF players over the board is exciting. I'm curious as to which GM will play the traditional simul. I'm planning to have fun, even if my OTB skills are not top-notch. Hey, I may even surprise myself (I beat Reshevsky once in a simul).

These first meetings are the most difficult for me, but I'm also exhilarated. What a great opportunity, to meet the top leaders and the top players in the world of correspondence chess! The top leadership of ICCF will be there, and how many world champions might I meet? Important issues will be discussed and debated. This is a critical time for correspondence chess and ICCF. To be right in the middle of it is tremendously exciting, and I can hardly wait for the show to begin! It is my goal to contribute to the discussions and decisions made at this important meeting.

I have some strong feelings about the concept of competition with other cc organizations and I look forward to discussions of this issue. The use of computers in CC is reaching a difficult stage with the programs now strong enough to compete with the best cc players (just check out the Steve Ham vs. Fritz and Nimzo match at my personal web site ICCF Deputy President (Rules) Ragnar Wikman has recently asked for suggestions on how to deal with the use of computer chess engines. We will be searching for an innovative approach to this seemingly intractable problem.

The challenge of email competition has become important … how should ICCF regulate this relatively new method of move transmission? As a new TD I already see problems in documentation in cases of time disputes. As a player I find the time limits too fast for my taste. Other groups may soon be issuing their own titles, including World Champion … how should ICCF react? The world is moving faster … how can ICCF streamline its functions while maintaining traditional stability and reliability? The Internet has spawned a new generation of users who expect products and services to be delivered at no cost … how can ICCF serve these newcomers with these new attitudes?

I look forward to a stimulating and enjoyable experience. It should be fun and I should make a lot of new friends as well as add faces to old friends known only though correspondence. My thanks go to Tim Harding for posting pictures of so many cc notables at his excellent ChessMail site!

I've heard tales of past Congresses where much beer was consumed and more "business" was transacted at the bar than in official meetings. Will I, one who doesn't even like beer, fit in? Based on stories from last year I expect to be up late every night working on reports. I should get to know Pedro Hegoburu and our webmaster Soeren Peschardt very well during these long sessions. This will leave little time to spend in the bar, so will I miss out on critical but unofficial meetings? Will my lack of enthusiasm for "brew" set me apart from my fellow cc'ers? Of course, this is all very silly, but then (as my fellow inmates at the Congress will soon find out) sometimes I am.

I plan to issue daily reports (including pictures). I'm taking a digital camera with me as well as a tape recorder for "important interviews". I'm risking embarrassment by announcing that I plan to issue these reports every day, something that may prove impossible. However, keep an eye out for my reports at and TCCMB. The Congress starts on September 16. I fully expect to have a marvelous time, and I'd like to share as much of the experience with you, my cc friends, as is possible.

J. Franklin Campbell
ICCF Press Officer