24 January 2022

Correspondence Forums in the 2000s

While working on a follow-up post to Correspondence Chess in the 2020s (February 2021; 'meaningless ratings and meaningless titles'), I discovered a discussion group for the ICCF: International Correspondence Chess Federation (facebook.com). A number of points caught my attention, e.g. this chart...

WC40/ct/2, WCCC40CT 2

'WC40' stands for World Championship no.40, 'CT' stands for Candidates Tournament. The note at the bottom says, 'The winner and the runner-up qualify to a WCCC Final.'

As the crosstable shows, with 11 games remaining, all finished games have ended in draws. By comparison, the first of the two CTs in this cycle has had three decisive games with 13 still to finish. Sounds like a lottery, doesn't it? Who will be the lucky winner of a game and earn the right to play for the World Championship? Two threads on the Facebook forum addressed a related question:-

The ICCF used to have other forums. I still have a browser bookmark for The Correspondence Chess Message Board (TCCMB). Nowadays the link returns only 'The system has failed to log you in.'

Archive.org on the forum host, pub11.bravenet.com/forum/..., returns results that stop in 2007. Two of the last threads in one of the last archived TCCMB indices include the term 'ICCF Forum' in their titles, but the URL of that forum is a mystery. All of the links in the archived index return empty pages. If there's a way to display the individual posts, no tricks come to mind. Maybe I'll discover the address of 'ICCF Forum' for a future post.

How to make correspondence chess interesting again? The ICCF could (1) ban engines, (2) use AI deep learning techniques to detect cheating, and (3) ban cheaters for life -- three strikes and you're out. If nothing else, it would light up the forums while people insist on the impossibility of all three of those actions.

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