Check Is In The Mail: August 2021


This month, I’m skipping directly to the games. Enjoy!

Our first game features David Fischler who, in his first rated correspondence game, nicks the 2015-rated Robert Irons for a draw. Robert was 4-0 at this point in their 21SQ03 section. In the game David maintains a clean opening against Robert’s Queen’s Indian Defense, avoiding weaknesses and finding comfortable trades such as 13. Bxg7. Fischler then presses with 14.c5 which Irons uses as an opportunity to exchange another pair of minor pieces. After 30… Qf6 and 31… Qe7 Black comes close to forcing a perpetual check. The only other clear play seems to be on the queenside. And it’s honestly hard to me to tell at this point who would benefit if either side blinks. And thus… a draw.

[pgn][Event "2021 Swift Quad (21SQ03)"] [White "David Fischler (2218)"] [Black "Robert Irons (2119)"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 b6 3. g3 Bb7 4. Bg2 e6 5. c4 Be7 6. Nc3 Ne4 7. Qc2 Nxc3 8. Qxc3 O-O 9. O-O Bf6 10. Rd1 d6 11. Qc2 g6 12. Bh6 Bg7 13. Bxg7 Kxg7 14. c5 bxc5 15. dxc5 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 d5 17. b4 Nc6 18. b5 Ne5 19. Bg2 f5 20. e3 Rb8 21. a4 Kg8 22. Rab1 Qe7 23. c6 Qa3 24. Ra1 Qb4 25. Rd4 Qd6 26. Qc3 Nf7 27. Rc1 Qe7 28. Rb4 Nd6 29. Qd4 Nc8 30. a5 Qf6 31. Qc5 Qe7 32. Qd4 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

Has anyone out there ever heard of Checkless Chess? I read recently about this variant where neither player can put their opponent in check except to deliver checkmate... (again attributed to Anne Sunnucks’ The Encyclopaedia of Chess.)

Our second game is a clash between postal heavyweights Gary Adams and Abe Wilson from the 2014 Golden Knights Finals. Abe plays a Semi-Slav Defense against Gary’s Queen’s Gambit. To me, after 14 moves this looks like a solid setup for Black. What goes wrong? 16… Be4 received a (?) from the submitter of the article as it allows White to trade queens, regain his minor piece, and emerge two pawns to the good. (From my vantage point, Adams' tactic starting with 15. Bxb5 allows White to steal the two pawns either way as, if Black moves the queen instead, Nxd6 and Bb4 still allows White to regain the piece.) But maintaining the queen might give Black more chances to fight back. Either way, it’s tough sledding against a player of either of their calibers. But the scent of a potential final round victory is in the air for White. Now it’s a matter of finding a way to bring it home.

[pgn][Event "2014 Golden Knights Final (14Nf02)"] [White "Gary Adams (2383)"] [Black "Abe Wilson (2236)"] [Result "1-0"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 a6 10. Rd1 b5 11. Bd3 Qc7 12. Bd2 Bb7 13. Rac1 c5 14. dxc5 Nxc5 15. Bxb5 axb5 16. Nxb5 Be4? 17. Nxc7 Bxc2 18. Rxc2 Bxc7 19. Rxc5 Bd6 20. Ra5 Ne4 21. Be1 Rxa5 22. Bxa5 Ra8. b4 Be7 24. Ne5 Nc3 25. Rd7 Bf6 26. Nc4 g6 27. a3 Kf8 28. Rb7 Be7 29. g3 Nd5 30. b5 Bxa3 31. e4 Nf6 32. Rc7 Ne8 33. Rc6 Be7 34. b6 Rb8 35. e5 g5 36. Nd6 1-0 [/pgn]

Joseph N. Cotter, 91, of Oxford, PA passed away May 23rd, 2021. Joseph was fluent in French and Spanish and taught at the high school and college level, as well as being a principal, for decades. I was told recently that Joseph learned French in ~ 16 months after meeting his future wife at an OTB tournament in France in 1957 so that he could talk to her, which eventually helped him win her hand in marriage in 1960. Joseph was also a veteran, serving as a Lieutenant in the Army National Guard.

As a sportsman, Joseph was a competitive bridge and backgammon player, at one time holding the title of backgammon state champion of both Delaware and Pennsylvania. On our 64 squares (as far back as I could research) Joseph amassed at least 660 correspondence games with a peak rating of at least 2070 – which included a notable postal victory over our own FM Alex Dunne. I also found a connection of Joseph’s to chess history, stumbling across a 1957 game of Cotter’s against none other than John Collins. (Yes, that John Collins!)

While I don’t have a win of Joseph’s to share (if any of you do, please send!) I do have the following effort against the venerable Michael Buss. In this one, Black sacs a pawn at move 11 that allows him to open up the queenside and greatly increase the mobility of his pieces and take the initiative. By move 21 Black regains the pawn and shortly then launches his own QRP toward the proverbial end zone.

[pgn][Event "2008 Golden Knights (08Ns01)"] [White "Joseph Cotter"] [Black "Michael Buss"] [Result "0-1"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 Rb8 4.Nge2 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.d3 b5 7.a3 d6 8.0–0 e6 9.Be3 Nd4 10.Rb1 Ne7 11.b4 0–0 12.bxc5 dxc5 13.Bxd4 cxd4 14.Nxb5 a6 15.Nbc3 Bd7 16.Na2 Qa5 17.Rxb8 Rxb8 18.Qc1 Nc6 19.f4 Bf8 20.Nb4 Nxb4 21.axb4 Rxb4 22.c3 dxc3 23.Qxc3 Qb6+ 24.Kh1 a5 25.Rc1 a4 0–1 [/pgn]
For our final game this month I wanted to highlight this effort from Ed Krickel and Egbert Schroeer in the 2021 Electronic Knights preliminaries. Although the result was a draw, in reality it was anything but! Check out Egbert’s outstanding feint and combination to close out the game! For the full effect though, please change 37. Be3 to 37. Be5. There was a miscommunication with this move. Egbert had recorded Be3 enabling the tremendous combo but Ed had recorded Be5 rendering the combination disastrous. As Egbert noted when submitting this game, Ed graciously agreed to a draw as the result.
[pgn][Event "2021 Electronic Knights (21EN09)"] [White "Krickel, Edward (1766)"] [Black "Schroeer, Egbert"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. exd6 cxd6 6. Nf3 g6 7. a4 Bg7 8.a5 N6d7 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O d5 11. Nc3 dxc4 12. d5 a6 13. Bxc4 b5 14. axb6 Nxb6 15. Ba2 Bg4 16. Re1 N8d7 17. h3 Bxf3 18. Qxf3 Nc8 19. Bg5 Nf6 20. Bc4 a5 21. b3 Nd6 22. Ra2 Qd7 23. Bf4 Rfe8 24. Qd3 Qb7 25. Rae2 Qb4 26. Bd2 Nxc4 27. bxc4 Rec8 28. Rxe7 Rxc4 29. Ne4 Qxe7 30. Qxc4 Qd7 31. d6 Nxe4 32. Qxe4 Rb8 33. Qd5 Bf8 34. Bf4 a4 35. Qa5 Rc8 36. Rd1 Rc4 37. Be5 Rc6 38. Qxa4 Rc1 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
In closing I have a favor to ask. Each December, Alex published an article solely of miniatures he’d received throughout the year and, from what I understand, it was consistently the most popular of this articles. I’d like to continue that tradition, but I’ve only received two miniature games so far since taking over the column. So, if you have any games of 20 moves or less, please send them to me or Chris Bird. Thank you!

Next month – more games!

See you then,


Notes from the Office

Have you entered a US Chess correspondence chess tournament recently and still not received a pairing? As you know, sometimes it can take a little while to receive entries for events, which leads to a wait before you can get playing.

We've now published a page that we will update on a daily basis, or as entries are received, which shows a list of players entries that have not been paired yet. This should allow you to see that your entry was received, and also see how many more players we need before you will be paired to play. The page can also be used by prospective players to work out where there is a need for players if they want to increase their chances of getting paired quicker.

You can view the "Correspondence Chess Entries Received/Awaiting Pairings" Page at

Recent Event Winners

20C04, Thomas Babcock, 5-1

19Q01, Philip De Augustino, 5-1

20W21, Dada Cabrales-Goldstein, 5.5-0.5
20W26, Maggie Chen, 4.5-1.5
20W27, Matthew Melchiorre, 6-0
20W31, Nune Khachatryan, 5-1
21W02, Aparna Yellamraju, 5.5-0.5
21W08, John Boger, 6-0
21W11, Jimmy Dee, 4.5-1.5

21VP04, Egbert Schroeer, 6-0
21VP07, Joel Barnes, 5-1

21SQ03, Robert Irons and David Fischler, 5-1