This book is primarily a battle manual for the player who wants to be a winner at correspondence chess ('CC'). Although I am writing primarily for people who either already play correspondence chess or are considering taking it up, I have aimed to make it a good read for anyone, to give a flavour of this unique form of chess, as well as offering much advice on conducting your own games. I present you with some exciting, beautiful and instructive examples of CC.
'Correspondence chess' is much broader than 'postal chess' although that is still the most popular and familiar form. Fax and e-mail chess are now a recognised part of the scene and will become increasingly important in the years to come. My final chapter examines the new technological developments and their implications.
The 'Winning At...' part of the title is to stress the practical aspect of this book which, I hope, will help readers achieve success in their games. I hope to attract those new to CC in any of its forms, including experienced 'over-the-board' (OTB) players who have not yet given CC a serious try or who may not even have any intention of doing so, but are just curious about the subject.
For experienced CC players I offer a book about their favourite pastime which I hope will entertain and instruct, although there are bound to be points where their experience or views differ from mine. I started playing postal chess regularly in the 1960s and have participated in master-level CC for more than two decades. I have also acted on several occasions as team captain for Ireland's international teams and now am the country's delegate to the world governing body, ICCF: experiences tending to give good insights into the organisation of the game and its rules. If some of the things I say spark a debate, all well and good.
There is some history in the book but the task of writing a full history of CC must wait for another day. Inevitably there is a fair amount of chess analysis in some chapters of this book, and I apologise if some of it is faulty, but unfortunately no grandmaster has chosen to write a book such as this (at least not in English), which has put me in the double-edged position (part-pleasurable, part-disappointing) of myself having to write one of those chess books which I would most like to have read.
In particular I wish to thank J.Ken MacDonald of Canada, who not only
6 Preface helped a lot with matters to do with North American CC but also supplied the greater part of the database of over 90,000 CC games which was invaluable during the preparation of this book. Selecting a few dozen from such a large number to illustrate the best of CC has not been easy and some games which I judged to be already well-known I excluded for that reason. I apologise if 1 have overlooked your favourite and included a few duds, not least some of my own games, but the point is sometimes that an example of poor play can be more instructive - especially when the writer knows from sad personal experience exactly why the error was made!
I should also like to thank my wife Joan, my daughters and the many other people whose help in various ways made this book possible. They include, in alphabetical order (and with apologies to those accidentally omitted): Roald Berthelsen, Gerhard Binder, Alan Borwell, Graham Burgess, Alan Crombleholme, Roy Gale, John Gibson, Reg Gillman, Adrian Hollis, Peter Kemmis Betty, Phil Malbon, Ian Mitchell, Henk Mostert, Walter Muir, Dr John Nunn, Malcolm Peltz, George Pyrich, Alan Rawlings, Jonathan Tait, Mark Thomas, Nol van't Riet, Bob Wade, Jo Wharrier, Ragnar Wikman and Max Zavanelli.
Tim Harding Dublin, Ireland February 1996
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