Welsh Correspondence Chess Federation

Rydym yn Ffrindiau - Amici Sumus

Norm Watch

Congratulations to Sean Denton is picking up a CCM Norm in States and Regions CCC 2019 Division Two

Looking at  Sean's other in-play events both the CCE and CCM Titles won't be long in coming!

#CcmNorm #SeanDenton #StatesAndRegions

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Welsh ICCF Norms

Attached is the current state of ICCF Norms for Welsh players. It does not include Norms for titles already awarded.

For each level of title, the qualifying number of games and any overscore are shown.



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Norm Watch

Congratulations to Nick Bishop in picking up a CCM Norm in States and Regions CCC 2019 Division One 

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2019 WCCF Annual General Meeting

A reminder that the 2019 WCCF Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 9th November 2019 at St Mary's Priory, Abergavenny (in the Tithe Barn) from 12:30.  The minutes of the 2018 AGM and the 2019 AGM agenda are attached to this message.

All members are welcome, however please let the Secretary know in advance if you are planning to attend.

Any member not able to attend, but wishing to vote on any of the proposals listed in the agenda may send his or her proxy vote to the Secretary.  Please note that only Premium members may vote at the AGM.

[email protected]


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Wales - USA Friendly underway

Wales - USA Friendly Match 2019

#FriendlyMatch #TournamentStart

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Norm Watch

Well Done to Sean Denton in picking up his first CCE Norm in States and Regions CCC 2019 Division Two Board 3 playing for the West Wales Dragons


#CceNorm #NormWatch #SeanDenton

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CCE Title for Nick Bishop

Closing out the final Norm required in States and Regions CCC 2019 Division One Board 4 Nick Bishop achieve the CCE Title!


Fitting that the final result was a draw with fellow Welsh player Ian Jones



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Interview: LGM Dawn Williamson (ENG)

Hi Guys,

I hope I don’t bore you, personally I’ve never really considered myself interview material but here goes!

I am a member of that rare species, the female correspondence chess player, soon to be even rarer after the latest ICCF cull, sorry what was I thinking, of course I meant rule change.

I have been playing chess since I was around five; I am self-taught with a bit of basic guidance from my mum at the start.

I have always loved the game and played over the board for my schools and at a local chess club. It didn’t enter my head until I was much older that this was unusual for a girl, I honestly don’t think it entered the heads of the boys I played with either, we all just wanted to play the game and win!

When my family moved to Snowdonia I pretty much stopped playing chess, logistics was an issue. I did flirt briefly with postal chess, but found it a bit slow and increasingly expensive for a student’s pocket.

With academia and professional qualifications behind me, I found I had more spare time and this reignited my passion for the game. I very quickly realised how things had moved on in the intervening time. I joined a couple of internet clubs and started my CC career. I had a very steep learning curve; brain and book are no match for computer programs and databases. My ego became, slightly dented, but I decided to stick with it and learn how to survive in this modern arena, and as they say, the rest is history.     

I find my relationship with my chessboard has changed and like so many others, the draws drive me crazy, but I think to play our game well you need a lot of skill. It is not enough to follow the computer blindly as everyone has at least one; it`s the players who combine their own flare with that of the programs and hardware that seem to get the best results.

The highlight of my CC career to date is being awarded the Lady Grandmaster title, every chess player dreams of being a grandmaster and even though I would one day like to drop the Lady from the front, I will be happy with this if I go no further.

In my humble opinion aspiring players need to do there research; ask themselves why certain players can still produce better than average results. What Openings are they using? Where did that unexpected move come from and why was it unexpected? They also need to invest in a reasonable computer and keep their software up to date. Time and tide wait for no man or woman!

When starting a tournament, I usually get a buzz of excitement. It’s a clean start an opportunity to show what you can do. My strategy depends on the event, if I’m playing for a team securing at least a draw is the priority, you don’t want to let your team mates hard work come to nothing because of your dropped points. In norm events the strategy is tailored to the required score for the sort after norm, there is little point in playing solid draws when you need at least two or three wins. That said you must always keep an eye on the rating after all that is what gets us in a position to try for the norms in the first place. 

When selecting moves I usually, if possible pick three I think are promising and then work with them to see where they take me. I’m still trying to perfect this!

The draws in CC are a problem but it is still possible to get results if you work hard, but I don’t think there is a magic formula. My current strategy is to cut my game load and work harder on the games I play, it will take a while and has meant saying no this season to a number of events.

My future aspirations are to achieve the IM title and be the last Ladies world Champion (if I make it to the final, it’s in the lap of the gods)

My favourite opening is a tricky question to answer; it is more a question of which openings work in CC. I do enjoy the KID but with mixed results!

If I could ask a question of a legendary player, it would go to Bobby Fisher.

Did you realise when Donald Byrne played  11, Bg5 in the game of the century that you had the game, were you that good so young?

As you can see from the answer to your previous question, I am a Fisher fan so I have read and re read until the pages fell out:  Fisher v Spassky Reykjavik 1972.

My favourite living player is Vladimir Kramnik but posthumously it’s Mr Fisher the flawed genius, if you can have one without the other!      



#DawnWilliamson #Interview

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Does Size Matter?

Upon reading the good news on John Clardige picking up his SIM Title I started to ponder the number of "major" (IM, SIM, and GM) titles Welsh players have secured in recent years. Furthermore from this I the started to look at how we compare to other Federations.....

So since 2014 we have secured 7 major titles, which puts us joint 20th on the list - interestingly almost all of the Federations above us had many more players. So at this point looked at the number of major titles earned as a % of the number of players that Federation have on the current rating list.  At this point things start to get very interesing.....

If we utilise the scatter chart we can see that the average is 5.4% - that is to say that for every 100 players on the rating list 5.4 titles are achieved. For viewing ease I have removed all Federations with less than 25 players.

So.......of the Big 4 Germay and Russia are significantly above the mean, USA and England significantly below - this deviation means that a Russian player is over 7 times more likely than an English one to gain a major title!

Of the next  of  Medium sized Federations, only France is above the mean.......

Moving into the smaller grouping we see a large number of smaller Federatons well above the mean, with Belarus being the "champions" at 18%!

This  rapidly leads to Why?  A few ideas....

1) The higher scoring Federations tend to be more focused on International rather than National events.

2) Access to suitable events - it is worth noting that only South Africa (which was a suprise) falls above the mean of Federations outside of the Eurozone

3) Player Development programmes - ranging from formal training camps to more informal methods such as event promotion,

4) Teamworking methods - methods utilised by some, seen as against the rules by others, until the recent clarification.

Here ends my examination of this data but for me shows vindication of the methods the WCCF have used over the lasy few year but also give me some homework to dig deeper in the secret sauce of the 11 Federations above us on this list!





#MajorTitles #SizeDoesNotMatter

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Tournament Starts

Good Luck to.....

Paul Scott in WS/MN/B/12

Austin Lockwood in WS/SIM/B/6


#AustinLockwood #PaulScott #TournamentStart

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WCCF Member Organisations Team Tournament IV

This tournament has now finished; congratulations to BCCA Lasker, SchemingMind B and BCCA Steinitz for taking first, second and third respectively.


The Member Organisation Team Tournament was fully funded by WCCF as a way to develop CC in Wales and to promote the activities of our affiliated organisations to Welsh players by giving free entries; unfortunately only five Welsh players entered the last tournament out of forty players altogether, and under the circumstances the WCCF Executive Committee decided that it was inappropriate to use WCCF funds to subsidise tournaments played by players of other national federations.

WCCF are still keen to continue to promote our partner organisations; any suggestions for the continuation of this event would be welcomed at the AGM.

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71st European Individual Championship

A solid performance from IM Tony Balshaw earned =6th place in the 71t European Individual Championships, half a point of a share of 1st place!

#EuroIndivChamps #TonyBalshaw #TournamentReport

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SIM Title for John Claridge

In picking up his 3rd SIM Norm in WS/GMN/67, John has satisfied the requirements for and become Wales 2nd SIM!

#JohnClaridge #Sim #Title

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2019 WCCF Annual General Meeting

The 2019 WCCF Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 9th November 2019 at St Mary's Priory, Abergavenny from 12:30.

WCCF Premium Members are invited to attend as full voting members; National and International Members are invited to attend as observers.

Premium Members may submit agenda items or proposals to the Secretary no later than Friday 25th October. Premium Members wishing to nominate candidates for election to the positions of President, Secretary, International Secretary, or Treasurer should send their nominations to the Secretary in advance of the meeting; all officers must be Premium Members in good standing and be prepared to retain their membership status for the duration of their tenure in office.

The full agenda will be posted on the WCCF website on Saturday 26th October.

Please confirm your attendance with the Secretary as soon as possible, as places may be limited.

Austin Lockwood
WCCF Secretary
[email protected]


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Blast from the Past

The Italian Federation produce a very attractive annual yearbook.  In this years edition we have a few nice photos of some of our players


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Norm Watch

Hot on the heels of his previous success Nick Bishop contiues with another CCE Norm in II TORNEO PABLO ATARS POR VENEZUELA 2019 GRUPO 5C

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Wales - USA Friendly delayed

The start of the Friendly match has been delayed until mid October

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ICCF Server

Please be aware that you may have some difficulty in accessing the ICCF server at the moment. The server is up and running but the issue is related to wider network dns issues. This should resolve over itself  over the next day or so.


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Norm Watch

Congratulations to William Bishop for picking up a CCE Norm in George D. Pyrich Memorial Team Tournament SF1 Board 2

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NORJUB-75 Jubilee (NOR)

In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the Norwegian Correspondence Chess Federation is organizing an International Open Tournament.

ICCF Webserver
Register within 20th of October. Multiple entries allowed.

Register to: [email protected]

The tournament in 3 stages: Preliminaries, Semi-finals, and Final
Title norms possible in Semi-finals and Final
7 players groups in Preliminaries
Rating list 2019/4

Winner and runner-up of each group qualify to Semi-finals
11-13 players in Semi-finals.

No player is allowed to play more than two Semi-finals groups.

Entry fee 200 NOK (20 EURO) to https://www.paypal.me/Fjernsjakk
Players rated 2300 or above may join the semi-finals directly paying 200 NOK.


We use TrippleBlock system:
Preliminaries stage will start on 1st. November 2019 (TriBl 350)
Semi-finals: 1st. February 2021 (TriBl 350)
Final: 1st. April 2022 (TriBl 500)

Prizes: Winner of the semifinals wins 50 Euros

Prizes final: 400€ for first place; 300€ for second place; 200€ for third place, and medals

Prizes guaranteed if over 110 starters.  
TO: Roger Løvaas
TD: Roger Løvaas

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WCCF Mailing List

You can now subscribe to the WCCF Mailing List and receive automatic email notifications about new articles published on the website or receive announcements from WCCF officials direct to your email inbox.

Please update your notification preferences here if you wish to receive these notifications.

WCCF takes your privacy seriously, we comply fully with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); our privacy policy is shown here.

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Interview: LGM Toni Halliwell (ENG)


Toni is one of the stalwarts of Britich CC in recent years and a regular player in Yorkshire Team events. Ranked #5 Female CC player in the world on the latest rating list iand one of a trio of strong British CC players Toni has help redefine the British CC Landscape.

Briefly Tell us about Yourself?

Retired IT College Tutor and freelance business adviser.  Interests also include music (most genres), playing piano and guitar (badly!), geology and landscape photography.

How did you get involved in Chess?

Rather embarrassing this one!  Older brother taught me the moves while I was at primary school.  Didn’t really take it up then, but moved up to Grammar School where, as a 13 year old girl, with an almighty crush on the History master who started a chess club, so where he was, I had to be … lol!

Is this the most original answer yet?! 😊  [Editors Note: Yes!!]


When and how did you get interested in Correspondence Chess?

Can’t really remember but must have seen an ad for the Postal Chess Club run by Chess, Sutton Coldfield, back in the day.  Played in their all-play-all tournaments, from being about 15 I think.

What do you like about Correspondence Chess?

‘Meeting’ people from all over the world; used to like collecting the stamps when it was all postal.

Having more time to ponder your moves than otb allows and to really learn openings without having to be able to remember the lines. 

Also it’s available when you don’t feel like trailing out to a club on a winter’s evening!

Being an IA/TD.


What don’t you like about Correspondence Chess?


Engines!  These prevent you knowing how good or bad you really are compared to your opponents.  I know they prevent games being spoiled through blunders, but you are not really matching your own skill against the other person, and sometimes it seems that you can ‘buy’ you way through if you can afford better computers.  Also find it difficult to vary games and can end up playing the same opening/variation so many times, unless you are prepared to try out new openings.

Players who don’t exchange a greeting at the start of a game.  Would they refuse to shake hands otb? 

Language is no barrier these days with online translation tools, so no excuse – just use your own language if you don’t share a common one.

Players who use DMD when the going gets tough!


What are your Correspondence Chess Career Highlights?

Three spring to mind:

  • Returning to chess after a 20 year gap and winning the British Ladies Championship in the first season back.
  • Beating the Open British Champion in less than 30 moves, while being the reigning British Ladies Champion!
  • Getting a draw with our own GM Robson, rated 2600, in a team competition.  Where but in correspondence chess would you even get the chance to play such a player if you are at my level?!


The first two of these pleased me because in both cases the win came from a move/plan that was not showing on a computer engine at the time!


What do you think an aspiring player should do to improve their game?

Play against the strongest opposition available.  Study everything, but don’t get bogged down on mainly openings.  Don’t neglect endgames.  Learn solid principles rather than trying to memorise lines.  Study structures, patterns etc. to help your middlegame.  Find out where you went wrong in lost games, or where you think a win went astray. Find a very strong player whose style you like and look at their games.


Do you have an overall strategy when you start a game or Tournament?


Not particularly.  Of course I start out wanting to win every game, but know realistically this is not likely to happen.  If it is a team tournament, I plan to be more careful so as to play for the team and not let them down.  I try to look at the opponent, have I played them before etc.  Mainly remind myself not to rush the opening and try not to get transposed into an opening I don’t like.



How do you select your moves?  What is your general method?


Firstly I look at the position without any assistance and choose some possibilities that suit my style.  I look at books and databases in the opening stages and use the NIC Yearbooks for updates.  I tend to look more at the ICCF database to see what the top correspondence players do, and there are a number of these players who I like to follow who play the same openings as me.  If out of book, then the engine unfortunately has to come into play too, but I try not to play an engine move just for the sake of it.  If I don’t understand the reason for the move, I won’t play it until I do.


With so many draws in Correspondence Chess.  What do you try to do to generate wins?

This is very difficult obviously because of engines.  Trying to learn which openings are harder for a computer to deal with and why and what other types of position might not suit engine analysis so well. This information seems to be hard to find and only picked up in snippets here and there.

Other than that, when I feel forced to resort to the engine, leave it running … forever … just to make sure that the move you are about to settle on doesn’t get superseded so many plies later on!  Also use several different engines for comparison.

What are your future aspirations in Correspondence Chess?

Firstly to secure my second IM norm to get the title.  Beyond that to see if I can get SIM norms. Then of course to win the world championship, lol!!

What are your favourite Openings and why?

For white, I’m a lifelong Queen’s pawn player.  I find these easier to understand than King’s pawn openings, and for the same reason that as black I don’t play the Sicilian against 1. e4, neither will I put myself at risk of facing the Sicilian either.  Not because I am scared to, but because I have never studied it and others advise that there is so much work to do to keep up with this opening in particular, so I concentrate my efforts elsewhere.  For black I tend to prefer openings with a King’s side fianchetto, again just because I’ve always played them, but I am trying to adopt others now and bring more variety to stop me from being predictable!


If you could ask a legendary player, alive or historical, one question about Chess, what would it be?

If I dared (!), I think I might ask Bobby Fischer why on earth he thought he could play 29. … BxKRP against Spassky in the first game in Reykjavik 1972.


Do you have a Favourite Chess Book or DVD? If so what?

This varies all the time.  Currently, as he has recently passed, I am looking at the, enormous book ‘Pal Benko – My Life, Games and Compositions’ by Benko and Silman.  It really is a nicely produced volume.  I am a member of the online Chess Book Collectors group on Facebook, though not really an avid collector as such, but their recommendations or otherwise have saved me wasting money or drawn my attention to a book I might not otherwise have known about.

Do you have a Favourite player? If so who?

No special favourite. I like the 2 Ks and as a woman of course I like Judit Polgar, especially when she has put one of our own opinionated GMs in his place!  Did study Botvinnik for a while.  Basically just like the whole bunch, past masters, present and likely future!





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British Correspondence Chess Championship 2019-21

is underway https://www.iccf.com/event?id=81192

A Category 6 event with Welsh hopes residing with the Sherwoods.

An interesting mix of entries this year with almost 50% of the field being new to the Championship section

William Bishop represents in the Candidates section  https://www.iccf.com/event?id=81193

Marc Wakeham, Stephen Bailey and Margaret Baron are in a fascinating Reserves A Category https://www.iccf.com/event?id=81194.  This event is a very rare Category A with +3 reqirered for a CCE Norm

In Reserves C https://www.iccf.com/event?id=81196- debutant Jon Coles faces an interesting challange

#Bccc #TournamentStart

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ICCF World Cup 22 Semi-Final's Underway

Good Luck to Gareth Yeo in ICCF World Cup 22 Semifinal 3 , Craig Evans in ICCF World Cup 22 Semifinal 7 and Sean Denton ICCF World Cup 22 Semifinal 8​


#TournamentStart #WorldCup

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CXEB 50 - Years Open (BRA) Tournament


In celebration of its 50th anniversary, CXEB is organizing an International Open Tournament, approved by the ICCF Congress in Vilnius (LTU), called the "CXEB 50 - Years Open (BRA) Tournament".

Registration by each Entry: 10 Euros only through PayPal ([email protected])

Oficial Website: http://www.cxeb.org.br/l50cxebi.htm

ICCF Webserver 

Tournament in 3 stages: Preliminaries, Semifinals, and Finals.

Start Date: Octubre 2019

Sponsor: Clube de Xadrez Epistolar Brasileiro CXEB (BRA)

Rating List 2019-4

TO: SIM Richard Fuzishawa (BRA)

TD: Leonardo Simal (BRA)


This stage will start on Octubre 31st, 2019. Groups will be composed by 7 players.

Registration will close on October 21, 2019 !

Registration: via the organizer via PayPal, multiple entries allowed

Top two places advance to the Semifinals.

Cost of preliminaries: 10.00€

Rate of play: Triple Block system for a 350 days event, with 75 days initial bank and 1 day increment for the first 50 moves is used.



Will start as soon as qualifiers are determined

Players rated 2200 or higher may register to semifinals directly and will pay 15.00€

ICCF titles and norms are possible.

Winner only advances to Final and will receive money 15.00€ 

Rate of play: Triple Block system for a 350 days event, with 75 days initial bank and 1 day increment for the first 50 moves is used.



Will start as soon as qualifiers from the semifinals are determined

Prizes: 300€ for first place; 200€ for second place; 100€ for third place; money to be split evenly among tied players. (No tiebreak will be used.) Monetary prizes will only be distributed through Paypal.

ICCF titles and norms are possible.

Rate of play: Triple Block system for a 500 days event, with 50 days initial bank and 3 day increment for the first 50 moves is used.


Amici Sumus,

Richard Mitsuo Fuzishawa

[email protected]

CXEB Tournament Organizer

#Open #TournamentAnnouncement

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