08 July 2007


I finished my first, and possibly only, World Championship event, officially known as WCCC29SF14(WS). That's International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) shorthand for World Correspondence Chess Championship (WCCC), the 29th championship in the series, semifinal (SF), no.14. The '(WS)' tacked on at the end says that the event was played on the ICCF Webserver.

Most people outside of ICCF would call the event a quarterfinal, because it preceded a real semifinal, which ICCF calls a 'candidates' event. The winners of the candidates earn the right to play in the ICCF World Championship. The terminology is an improvement over the 'three-quarters final', an older name for the candidate events.

Since the World Championship 21 final started in Summer 2005, my guess is that World Championship 29 will start somewhere around the year 2020. Correspondence events are not known for their speed, and ICCF conducts the slowest events in a crowded field of correspondence organizations.

I earned the right to compete in WCCC-29-SF-14 by winning EM-M-174 (email master class tournament 174) a few years back. Although the semifinal crosstable currently shows one game open, I requested a win on forfeit because my opponent hadn't responded in 40 days. The reason he didn't respond is because he was about to lose a Queen for a Rook and decided to let his time run out.

My final score of +4-3=5 isn't particularly impressive, but it might have been a little better. I could have won another game on forfeit when my opponent failed to respond in 40 days. His move arrived a few hours after the notice of forfeit. The game was already in a deep endgame that I had calculated far enough to be convinced that it was a theoretical draw, a fact I later confirmed in a tablebase search. I decided to be a sport and I offered him a draw -- time forfeits aren't automatic, they have to be requested -- which he accepted, although he appeared to think he had a win.

If I understand the ICCF rules correctly, I needed a final score of +3 to qualify for a second semifinal event. With +1, I qualify instead for an ICCF 'preliminary' event, a relatively new stage that seeds winners into the semifinals. It's also the event where winners of master class tournaments are now seeded, so it's probably the right place for me.

I don't know if I'll take advantage of the qualification. There are a number of drawbacks to ICCF events which make them less attractive than those of competing organizations, like the International Email Chess Group (IECG).

Now that my participation in the semifinal is finished, I might discuss some of my games in future posts. In particular, I'm not sure I understand the reasons behind the three losses.

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