The Check Is in the Mail – March 2018

Max Zavanelli 1946-2018

Max Zavanelli was born August 20, 1946 and died January 27, 2018.  In those seventy plus years, Max contributed a lot to correspondence chess, especially international correspondence chess.

Max’s international career started in a 1987 telephone call to me from an irate Max complaining about the state of US CC at the international level – the numerous dropouts, the rarity of winning any international matches,, the apparent cronyism in selecting team members.  After an introduction to the right people,. This all changed under “Max the Axe.”  Max initiated a get tough policy and forever changed the US and international chess.  Max rose from ICCF/US Secretary to ICCF Vice-President in 1992 to Deputy Chairman in 1993, International Arbiter in 1993 Zonal Director in 1995 Deputy President in 2004 and Acting President in 2005.

Max also continued playing CC during the course of those years gaining the ICCM title in 2002.



John Collins

David McDuffie          17C17 6-0

Walter Muir

Fletcher Penney          17W17  4 ½-1 ½


The 2018 Absolute Championship has begun and the line-up looks fierce!  In rating order the contestants are Harry Ingersol (2435), Laurence Bonsack (2387), James Tracz (2385). Kristo Miettinen (2384), Robert Rizzo (2367), Gordon Magat (2364), Joel Levine (2359), Keith Rodriguez (2328), John Procopi (2325), Ferdinand Burmeister (2318), Charles Jacobs (2294), Tim Corkum (2289), and John Millett (2286).

“The Fischer boom affected correspondence chess, too.  The 1972 Golden Knights was the largest ever with 770 sections containing 5,390 players.  The eventual winner of a playoff over Robert Jacobs and Kiven Plesset was R. Cayford.  — three future Absolute winners!”

White’s Knights would have done King Arthur proud.

Queen sacrifices are always a surprise.

How much bait is a Rook on f1?  Apparently enough in this game.

Build your position up one move at a time and the opponent’s position may collapse all at once.


For the first eighteen moves, White attacks.  For the next eighteen, Black improves his position.

This is an attacking game par excellence – Max sacrifices a Pawn for an early initiative game and then concludes with sparkling tactics.

Max shows that an Axe can be used to slowly grind an opponent down.

Things aren’t going well for White, but when he sacks the exchange on Move 37, things go even worse.


  1. Sorry to hear about Max Zavanelli. I had the pleasure of meeting him during the 70’s; we ran across each other at a Maryland Open.

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