Check Is In The Mail: Abe Wilson, Aloha Nui a Hui Hou Kakou

Hello chess friends! This month’s column is dedicated to Abraham Wilson of Mililani, Hawaii, a long-time competitor in the Absolute Championships and the Golden Knights Championships. Abe has retired from competitive correspondence chess after 36 years of competition. His accomplishments are worthy of recognition, and so this month we salute Abe Wilson, Correspondence Warrior!

Abe started playing correspondence chess in 1987. He prepared by studying Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, and then he entered the 1987 Golden Knights competition. By 1999 he achieved the title of Correspondence Chess Master. Then he entered the 2000 Golden Knights Championship, where he scored 5½/6 in both the preliminary round and in the semifinal round, followed by a perfect 6/6 in the final round to win the championship! Alex Dunne analyzed one of Abe’s games from that tournament in the December 2008 issue of Chess Life on page 35.

I want to start by looking at one of Abe’s games from the 2007 Absolute Championship Tournament. The late Wesley Brandhorst played the Berlin Defense against Abe’s Spanish, but then failed to maintain the wall properly. The result is a pawn roller that threatens everything in its path!



Abe was born and raised in Hawaii before it became a state and has spent his life there. While attending the University of Hawaii, he joined the Hawaiian Telephone Company, where he devoted almost 37 years of service to the people of his home state. After retiring in 2002, Abe says he enjoys spending time with his wife and love of his life, Annabel, attending Mass, and as Abe writes continuing his pursuits in “life-long-learning.”

Our next game has Abe taking on Barry Endsley’s Sicilian Pelikan. Barry Endsley took third place in the 2007 Electronic Knights Championship. Here he puts up stiff resistance for 33 moves, but one errant king move is enough to upset the apple cart. It only takes Abe nine more moves to finish him off.



Abe is a Semi-Slav player, and that is enough to endear him to me. A game with the Semi-Slav against Jiri Kovatz helped him win the 2005 Golden Knights Championship, and it was analyzed and published by Alex Dunne as part of the cover story in the June 2012 issue of Chess Life.

Our next game pits 2013 and 2015 Golden Knights champion Gary Adams against Abe. Another Semi-Slav, it was originally published in this column in August of 2021, but with minimal analysis. One run through the game made me want to dig deeper, and when I did, I found something worth a closer look.



The founder of this column, the late Alex Dunne, played his favorite Nimzowitsch Defense against Abe in an ICCF tournament in 2011, and Abe gave him a solid drubbing.



As I mentioned before, Abe won the Golden Knights Championship again in 2005. However, this time he only allowed one draw in 18 games! Such a run shows an indomitable spirit to win – what Abe refers to as the Aloha spirit.

Our final game was played earlier in Abe’s chess career, in the 2005 Absolute Championship. It is a variation in the Sicilian Najdorf that was popular in the 60’s and 70’s with players like Walter Browne and Bobby Fischer. Opposite-side castling coupled with pawn storms make for edge-of-your-seat chess, but one wrong move can shift the winds in another direction.



Abraham Wilson, thank you for your competitive spirit, your indominable will to master the game, and your dedication to the game you love. Although we have not met, we share a love of the game and a desire to learn more about it. That makes us brothers in chess. In that spirit, brother, Aloha nui a hui hou kakou – best wishes until we meet again.

Good skill in your games!



News From the Front Office

Michael D. Buss, US Chess Correspondence Coordinator


Reflections on Correspondence Chess and my friend Abe Wilson

My first game with Abe was a 1990 Golden Knights semi-final section. Our last was to have been the 2017 Golden Knights finals. In between, there were six more Golden Knights games from a preliminary section to the finals.

Over the intervening years, our replies (from postcards to email) went from just the moves to much more, a sharing of life’s experiences and the many commonalities that we both enjoy in addition to chess.

We shared our Roman Catholic faith; we are both lectors in our parishes.

We shared our fondness for the Philippine culture and cuisine; our wives are Filipina. Abe’s Tagalog — the official language of the Philippines — is SO much better than mine!

We shared our interests in the Hawaiian Islands and Oahu; I had been stationed at Kaneohe Bay from 1988-90. Abe would keep me up to date with the goings on.

This is what correspondence chess is about. It is not just the game, it is also an enduring friendship.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind always be at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Aloha Abe.


Correspondence Chess Changes January 1, 2024

January 1, 2024, will usher in two significant changes to the Golden Knights and Electronic Knights tournaments.

The entry fee for both tournaments will be increased to $35 per section. Since the inception of the Electronic Knights in 2004, the entry fee has remained at $25. The last increase to the Golden Knights entry fee was in 2002 from $20 to $25.

Also on January 1, 2024, the Electronic Knights will transition from email to the ICCF webserver. The 2024 Electronic Knights preliminary sections will be followed by the 2021 Electronic Knights finals and the 2022 and 2023 Electronic Knights semi-final and final sections once the qualifiers have been identified.

There is no cost to register to play on the ICCF server. Register here.


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Herbert W. Gustafson Memorial CC Tournament

The Correspondence Chess League of America invites all to compete in the Herbert W. Gustafson Memorial Tournament. There is NO entry fee and you do not have to be a member of the CCLA to play. All games are played on the ICCF server. More information can be found here. Deadline to enter is October 15, 2023.