ICCF Marketing Director
Pedro Hegoburu


ICCF 2002 Congress
Congress Report (#2)

Seixal, Portugal, October, 2002.
REF: Congress Report #2002-2


On Monday morning we had some reports such as the Ratings report, which nobody objected in spite of the fact that Gerhard Binder still seems to rate my ICCF Blitz games! smile

Otherwise I cannot possible explain my rating loss over the years, if I do nothing else but play CC, work on my job and ICCF, have a nice time with my friends, spend time with my family… well, a normal, 24/7 life just like anybody else! smile

Jokes aside, Ratings are now better than ever, with two yearly lists and that wonderful tool called ELOQUERY! I had an interesting discussion with Gerhard regarding the concept of "inactivity", which we will surely continue by e-mail. In my opinion, a player stops being inactive as soon as he starts a new tournament. But for the ELO, a player is inactive until he has a new rated game. Therefore, GM Berliner -who came back to activity in the World Champions' Event- was "inactive" until he had his first result (a draw with GM Palciauskas) but it would have been more accurate to put him on the "active" list as soon as he had began that event. ELOQUERY seems to have an automatic trigger which changes the status of a player as soon as a game is rated, but maybe (or maybe not…) that should be changed to trigger whenever an inactive player begins an event. The example we have (GM Berliner) is an extreme and will probably never happen again… well, not until GM Santos from Portugal returns to activity, and that will hopefully happen soon!

A major change was made to Qualifications. A most sensible proposal from our Qualifications Commissioner / guru George Pyrich has set Title requirements equal for everybody. From now on, to become an International Master, or a Senior International Master, or a Grand Master, you must achieve two (2) norms over 24 games. The GM title still requires that a candidate player face at least 5 GMs, of which two can be replaced by 4 SIMs as a maximum.

The prior rules took into consideration that postal events took a long time to complete, and it was impractical to request two norms from someone when said norms would take him literally a lifetime to be achieved! Today, with the increased acceptance of e-mail CC which has reduced considerably the length o events, it seems natural to request two good performances for the award of any title.

You thought titles meant nothing?

Think twice.

The International Arbiter title also got a major change: in the old days (in fact, up until a few days ago!) a candidate IA had to perform in said task for 4 consecutive years (or 6 years if you had taken a leave). But his rule allowed someone to become an IA having only worked on one event during that period! Now the IA title will be awarded to someone who has been TD in at least 600 games and at least 20 sections.

Finally, Monday ended with the discussions about a much debated issue: that of Withdrawals.

In general, all players have at some point been unhappy with the way in which a silent or accepted withdrawal has been handled by TDs. In some cases all open games were adjudicated, in other cases they have been cancelled, in others they have been scored as losses, etc. Now ICCF has agreed on a "universal" guideline to treat withdrawals. From now on, the withdrawal must be justified, and in that case it is expected that the player will withdraw from ALL ongoing games and events and not from a particular event. In that case, all games will be cancelled. But games will be adjudicated if the player has at least finished one game, or if a game has reached at least ten (10) moves.

Congress also debated and approved a "Code of Conduct" for players, officials and federations. An Appeals Commission (for Non Playing Rules) was also created in order to analyse appeals not related to chess games and rules.

One last change I probably forgot to mention earlier is that approved for Country Codes. Starting from 1.1.2003, ICCF will adhere to the 3-letter code used by FIDE, which is very closely aligned to that of the International Olympic Committee and widely used by chess publishers. The next ELO list will feature the new country codes, and we will publish them on for people to check and get used to.


This morning we started with the customary Title Awards, which were first handed to those recipients who had attended Congress, and then the rest of the awards are given to the Delegates. This was an extraordinary year in the sense that many officials received prizes! The full list can be consulted in the complete Qualifications Report. I was a very happy recipient of the IM Title, hopefully the remaining two titles will be achieved over the course of the next few years…

Another much awaited issue was that referring to the Web Server system. On Sunday afternoon we had a thorough debate in the Development Discussion Group, when it was reported that there had not been a significant progress made since the Rimini 2001 Congress, and that an Expert Group would be created to deal with this matter. The debate addressed many important issues such as web security, web mirrors, stress testing, shifting from e-mail to web-server play in stages, etc. The German Delegate GM Baumbach reported on the BdF's experience, having organised the Knut Herschel Memorial in early 2002.

Although it was unanimously agreed to proceed with further investigations and actions through the newly created Expert Group, the Chilean delegate GM Toro gave a word of caution in the sense that a future switch from e-mail to web-server CC should be done under almost perfect circumstances. There are many important issues to be discussed and solved and it is better to take a little longer but deliver a reliable service. It immediately came to my mind a case in which a participant of the World Championship Final, for example, having a lost game, would ask a friendly hacker to get into the site and alter or even destroy information! Sounds like a sci-fi movie, but often reality matches our wildest imagination...

After this important debate I followed with my Report on the Jubilee Book, showing in general different sections of the book on the overhead projector, and explaining the criteria we had used for selection of games, etc. Now that we know how to work with publications we might produce some more! We have 9 ISBN numbers left, so don't be surprised if we soon announce another book for the near future...

I also reported on Marketing issues, showing a draft of the ICCF Brochure that will be available at and distributed to isolated players (those who do not have a National federation organised within their country) in the hope that they might start an organisation of their own. I also showed a draft of the Marketing Portfolio, and discussed new ideas for the re-arrangement of the Press Office, with many good proposals from some Congress participants and offers from people to help. We are now thinking about working with more people in that area and not just one poor guy whose shoulders are over-burdened with tasks!

Finally, some proposals were made regarding new tournaments to be run, especially some experimental Fischer-random events (unrated, organised by the Thematic Tournament Office) and an Amateur World Championship, for players with no titles and an ICCF or FIDE ELO below 2100, but further discussions will be continued and any news will be made at ICCF's website.

Evelin Radosztics followed with the Website Report. Our site now looks very nice, with many updates on all tournaments, and it was hoped to enhance its services with the Game of the Month column once again. But for that we need players to submit their masterpieces! smile

There was also a heated debate dealing with Player Eligibility (Transfers). My opinion was that if a player requests a transfer from one federation to another, it is because he is uncomfortable playing or representing it! The approved rules enable the "old" federation to object to the transfer, something I would have supported if it only meant a temporary veto due to unpaid fees, etc. but not an unfounded denial. However, all problems can be appealed to the newly created Appeals Commission (for Non Playing Rules).

The long day (discussions ended at 8 PM!) was happily wrapped up with a friendly match against a chess club in nearby Arrentela. The ICCF Dream Team (or was it "Drink Team"?) under the captaincy of Søren "The Red Viking" Peschardt, had these results:

BoardPortugal (Arrentela)ResultICCF
1Álvaro Pereira1-0Dmitry Lybin - BLS
2João Leonardo½-½A.R. Anil Kumar -IND
3Vitor Morais½-½Per Söderberg -SVE
4Nuno Rodriguez1-0Miroslav Michalek - CZE
5Humberto Candelas½-½Tim Harding - IRL
6António Moura1-0Valer Eugen Demian - ROM/CAN
7Americo Conte0-1Carlos Cranbourne - ARG
8António Bravo0-1Søren Peschardt - DEN
9Fonte Sante1-0Guillermo Toro Solís - CHI
10Ramiro Lopez1-0Achim Soltau - GER
11João Salvador0-1George Pyrich - SCO
12Pedro Barate0-1Horst Rittner - GER
13Helder Figueiredo1-0Gerhard Binder - GER
14Ricardo Pereira0-1Farit Balabaev - KAZ
15Diogo Bobone0-1Pedro Hegoburu - ARG
16António Garcia½-½Ragnar Wikman - FIN
17Mario Figuereido½-½Donato Guerrini - ITA
18Carlos S. Marques½-½Merike Rotova - EST
19Jõao Gomes0-1Rubens Battistini - ITA
20Jose Lopes½-½Jaromir Canibal - CZE
21Marcio Santos½-½Josef Mrkvicka - CZE
22Luis S. Reis½-½Richard Hall - ENG
23Daniel Bicho1-0Angel Acevedo Villalba - PER
24Nelson Luis0-1Hector Tepper - ARG
25Silvio Soares0-1Olavi Halme - FIN
26Ana Jardim0-1Chris Lüers - GER
27Rui Mestrea1-0Gianni Mastrojeni - ITA
28Tiago Silva0-1Armando Perez - CUB
29Tiago Candeias0-1Dinand Knol - RSA
30Ana Verissimo1-0Ted Bullockus - USA
Total13½ 16½

On board 30 we had the youngest player (Ana, 16-years old) beating ICCF's oldest. But Ted will surely be back next year looking for revenge!

Candelas,H - Harding,T [C29]
ICCF-Portugal match, 08.10.2002
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 4.fxe5 Nxe4 5.Nf3 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Be7 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 c5 9.d4 Nc6 10.Kh1 f6 11.exf6 Bxf6 12.Ba3 Re8 13.Bxc5 Bg4 14.Bd3 Qa5 15.c4 Re4 16.cxd5 Nxd4 17.Bxd4 Rxd4 18.Rb1 Qxd5 19.Rb4 Kh8 20.Rxd4 Bxd4 21.Qb1 Rd8 22.Nxd4 Qxd4 23.Qxb7 Be6 24.Qe4 Qxe4 25.Bxe4 g6 26.a4 Rd4 27.Bd3 Rxa4 28.h3 Kg7 29.Kh2 Rd4 ½-½

Rittner,H - Barata,P [B07]
ICCF-Portugal match, 08.10.2002
1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.c3 Bg7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 0-0 6.0-0 Nbd7 7.Re1 e5 8.Nbd2 Re8 9.d5 Nh5 10.Nf1 Nc5 11.Bc2 f5 12.exf5 Bxf5 13.Bxf5 gxf5 14.Ng5 Nf6 15.b4 h6 16.bxc5 hxg5 17.Bxg5 dxc5 18.c4 Qd7 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Rb1 f4 21.Nd2 c6 22.Ne4 Kf7 23.Qh5+ Kg7 24.Nxf6 Kxf6 25.Qh6+ Ke7 26.Rxe5+ 1-0

Balabaev,F - Pereira,R [B08]
ICCF-Portugal match, 08.10.2002
1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 c6 5.Be2 Nf6 6.0-0 0-0 7.Re1 Qc7 8.Bf4 Nh5 9.Bg5 e5 10.Qd2 Re8 11.Rad1 a6 12.a4 b6 13.h3 f6 14.Be3 Bf8 15.Nh4 Ng7 16.Bc4+ Kh8 17.dxe5 dxe5 18.Bxb6 Qxb6 19.Nxg6+ 1-0

Peschardt,S - Bravo,A [A52]
ICCF-Portugal match, 08.10.2002
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Bf4 g5 5.Bg3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.Qd5 Qe7 8.Nc3 Ngxe5 9.Nxe5 Bxe5 10.Bxe5 Nxe5 11.0-0-0 d6 12.e4 Nc6 13.Be2 Be6 14.Qd2 0-0-0 15.g3 f6 16.Nd5 Qf7 17.h4 h6 18.Qc3 Bxd5 19.exd5 Nb8 20.Rde1 Rhe8 21.hxg5 hxg5 22.Bg4+ f5 23.Rxe8 Rxe8 24.Bh5 Qh7 25.g4 f4 26.Re1 Rxe1+ 27.Qxe1 Qg8 28.Qe7 Na6 29.Bf7 Qh8 30.Be6+ Kb8 31.Qxg5 Qh1+ 32.Kd2 Qh8 33.Qg8+ 1-0

Bobone,D - Hegoburu,P [A04]
ICCF-Portugal match, 08.10.2002
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.0-0 0-0 5.d3 c5 6.Nbd2 Nc6 7.Re1 d6 8.e4 b5 9.c3 Bg4 10.Qc2 Qc8 11.b3 Bh3 12.Nf1 Bxg2 13.Kxg2 a5 14.a4 b4 15.c4 Nxe4 16.Bb2 Nc3 17.Ne3 e6 18.Nd1 Nd4 19.Nxd4 cxd4 20.f3 Qc6 21.Nf2 Rac8 22.Ne4 d5 23.Nd2 dxc4 24.Nxc4 Nd5 25.Bc1 Nb6 26.Ra2 Nxc4 27.Qxc4 Qxc4 28.dxc4 Rfd8 29.Rd1 e5 30.Rad2 Bh6 31.Rd3 Bxc1 32.Rxc1 f5 33.Rcd1 Rc7 34.Kf2 Rcd7 35.Ke2 e4 36.fxe4 fxe4 37.R3d2 Kf7 38.h4 Ke6 0-1

Marques,J - Pyrich,G [B27]
ICCF-Portugal match, 08.10.2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Qd1 d6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Bb5 0-0 9.0-0 a6 10.Be2 b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.Nd2 Nd7 13.f3 Rc8 14.Rb1 Nb6 15.Nb3 Nc4 16.Bxc4 bxc4 17.Nd4 Qa5 18.Nd5 Rfe8 19.Nxc6 Rxc6 20.c3 Rcc8 21.Nb4 Qh5 22.Qd2 a5 23.Nd5 Bxd5 24.exd5 Rb8 25.Rfe1 Rb5 26.Red1 Reb8 27.Kh1 Rb3 28.g4 Qh3 29.Qg2 Qxg2+ 30.Kxg2 Bxc3 31.Rdc1 Be5 32.Bf2 c3 33.Rc2 Rxb2 34.Rbc1 Rxc2 35.Rxc2 Rb2 36.Rc1 Bd4 0-1

The following board was pre-arranged without GM Hall knowing it! Luis Reis is playing in the Gillman Memorial "A", together with Per Söderberg, Pedro Hegoburu… and Richard Hall. Richard thought Reis would be an easy prey, with the lowest ELO and a prior loss to Alan Rawlings, but somehow he has now been trying to SAVE their CC game for over a year… smile

Hall,R - Reis,L [C02]
ICCF-Portugal match, 08.10.2002
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 Bd7 7.0-0 cxd4 8.cxd4 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Nc3 a6 11.Qe2 Rc8 12.Kh1 Bc5 13.f4 Nh6 14.Bd2 0-0 15.Rf3 Ng4 16.Raf1 f6 17.exf6 Rxf6 18.h3 Nh6 19.a3 Rff8 20.g4 Nf7 21.g5 g6 22.Nb1 Qg7 23.b4 Bb6 (the scoresheet provided by Richard was now unreadable… typical lawyer… but the game was drawn by perpetual check many, many moves later) ½-½

However, IMHO, the "winner" of the night was Chris Lüers, who played a very beautiful lady in his board! Pairings were announced by our Captain and by Antonio Moura representing the Portuguese squad, but as soon as Chris' opponent was named, everyone turned around to take a good look at her! Well, maybe not everyone, but I did… smile

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