Check is in the Mail: Going Postal

News Flash! 2022 US Chess Absolute Championship!

Correspondence Chess Master Tim Corkum (WI) is the 2022 US Chess Absolute co-champion. Corkum won on tiebreaks over CCM John Walton (WA). Both finished with a score of 7½ points, with 3 wins and 9 draws.  They split the point in their game. This is Corkum’s first Absolute championship.

Play began March 1, 2022. The tournament continues but there are no others that can catch the champion.

The tournament crosstable can be found here.



Going Postal: The Golden Knights Championship

Greetings! Last month’s column was dedicated to the Electronic Knights Championship (EK), which is currently in its 20th year. The granddaddy of this event is the Golden Knights Championship (GK), played via snail mail, which is in its 81st year. Play in the GK is designed the same as the EK; scoring 4½/6 or better in the Preliminary round gets you to the Semifinal round, and the same score there gets you to the Final round. I played in a couple of the GK events when I was younger, but the competition was fierce, and I never got very far. From the games I see while writing this column, today’s GK competitors are just as aggressive and possibly even stronger players. More information about the Golden Knights Championship can be found on the list of Correspondence Chess Events Offered by US Chess | US

Our first game, Allen Woollen – Abe Wilson, is from the 2021 GK. Abe Wilson of Mililani, HI is a dual GK champion having won the 2000 and 2005 championships.  Both players focus their attention on the d5-square, which happens to be occupied by a white pawn. When the pressure gets too much, White loses patience and goes for a line that looks threatening, but he is unable to make the most of it and ends up down the exchange without compensation.



James Ellis – Christian von Heune was played in the finals of the 2018 GK and is indicative of the type of sharp and uncompromising play you can expect to face in the finals. From the start, White played to deny Black what he wanted; his attempt to transpose into a Queen’s Gambit Declined was prevented with the Mikenas Variation of the English, then when Black wants to move his bishop to the h1-a8 diagonal, White puts the kibosh on it. White sacrifices a pawn unnecessarily but declining the pawn costs Black a piece.



Two Floridians, Paul Ott – Allen Woollen leaves theory quickly, with White sacrificing a center pawn followed by trading queens, all within the first five moves. Despite this start, Black resigns 20 moves later with his king under serious pressure.


Game four is a stark contrast in approaches to the opening. In Steve Salerno – Teofil Panol, White wants nothing to do with theory, while Black in turn responds with classical play. White’s efforts to mix things up backfire, and he throws in the towel when his king is caught in a crossfire.



Our fifth game, Robert TeVrucht – Charles Jacobs, Jr., the players contest the Evans Gambit quite deftly, and the play remains even through 35 moves, when White overlooks a change in the tactics of the position, losing a piece and, with it, the game.



In the game Lamont Miller – Tim McGill, White opens with the Vienna Opening and puts his queen into the soup a bit too soon, allowing Black to get a lead in development while White’s king is still stuck in the middle. Black tries too hard to complicate in a position where simplification would help him, and then he simply misses a tactic that decides the game. I’ve been there.



Our last game, Richard Hayes – John Chirillo, is another example of one player using a nonstandard opening variation, the Sokolsky, to avoid theory. Rather than making a blunder, White loses through a series of small positional mistakes, compounded by the fact that he chooses not to castle. Been there, done that too!



Thank you for allowing me to introduce you to two of our popular correspondence competitions; others will be introduced from time to time, so that you can see all the events that US Chess Correspondence Chess has to offer. And as always, send in your games if you wish to see them in print – Click here to show email address.


Good skill in your games!



“In Passing”

Ralph D. Brown of Bay City, Michigan passed away on August 16, 2022. He had a 1668 CC rating.

Kevin J. Fitzgibbons of New Kensington, Pennsylvania passed away on May 17, 2023.  He had a 1509 CC rating.


Recent Event Winners

Walter Muir E-Quad

22W23, David Fischler 5-1

23W01 Nicholas Sloan 4½-1½


Victor Palciauskas

22VP04, Charles Schaeperkoetter 6-0


John W. Collins Memorial

21C13, Charlie Leach 5½-½


News From the Front Office

Repeats/Time Complaints:

If an opponent fails to reply to a move within 14 days a player must send a repeat move. If another 14 days has elapsed without a reply to the repeat move, file a time complaint in accordance with US Chess Correspondence Chess Rule 14 and send no more repeats.


Reporting Game Results:

The winner must report the result to the TD immediately upon conclusion of the game. In case of a draw, White must report the result. It is a good idea for the other player to also submit the result, labeling it "duplicate report." Reports must include section and game numbers as well as the names and ID numbers of both players.