Correspondence Chess: Revised US Chess Event Offerings

At the end of January, the US Chess Executive Board approved the formation of the Correspondence Chess Working Group (CCWG) to assess the US Chess Correspondence Chess (CC) program with regards to possible improvements, tournament formats, and rules as well as look at up-to-date CC venues.

One of the first issues the CCWG was tasked with was the problem of various events taking too long to establish pairings. This is caused by a multitude of factors including: a lower number of active correspondence players than in the past, multiple offerings of the same type watering down the player pools, rigid class rating limits not allowing players to be paired with each other and incarcerated players not being able to be paired with each other due to federal and state prison rules that do not allow inmates to correspond with each other.

To highlight one such problem event, the current waiting list for the Victor Palciauskas Prize Tournament, a 7-player postal mail event, has 31 entries, 14 of which are incarcerated players or players that chose the option not to play against incarcerated players. For each of those 14 entries, we need 6 other players to form a pairing group who are not incarcerated and willing to play prisoners that also meet with the class rating requirements for pairing. That is a minimum of 84 entries assuming those also are of the rating level we need! Some players have been waiting approximately 2 years for a pairing assignment, which the CCWG found unacceptable.

Also, today’s correspondence chess world has moved predominantly to electronic formats such as email and correspondence chess servers because of the automation, efficiency and cost savings they provide.

With the above in mind, thanks to the work of the CCWG, US Chess is making the following changes to its CC offerings:

7-Player Knights Championship Events

The Golden Knights (postal) and Electronic Knights (email) are the two main US Championship CC events that US Chess has run for many years. These events will become the sole cash prize correspondence events offered by US Chess and will remain in their existing formats with no changes to the entry fees and prizes offered.

7-Player Victor Palciauskas ICCF Round Robins

The new Victor Palciauskas ICCF round robins will be an entry level event serving as an introduction to correspondence chess servers. The entry fee will be $5 and the winner of each round robin will receive a certificate signed by Victor Palciauskas. The Victor Palciauskas Prize Tournaments in its current format as a 7-player cash-prize postal tournament will be canceled.

4-Player Quads

The John W. Collins Memorial Quads (postal) and Walter Muir E-Quads (ICCF) will remain except the entry fees will increase to $10 per entry. The prizes will also change with $25 in CC gift certificates and a signed certificate being awarded to the winner of each quad. The Trophy Quads (postal) and Swift Quads (email) will be canceled.

2-Player Matches

The 2-player 6-game and 2-game matches, both postal and email, will remain as in their current format. The entry fee is $5 per entry and matches will be assigned based on finding other similarly rated opponents. Players can still name their own opponent if they have one.

Rating Classes for Collins Quads, Muir Quads and Palciauskas Round Robins

The revised rating classes for pairing these events will now be as follows (you will notice that in some cases the rating classes now overlap to allow for maximum flexibility in coming up with pairing groups):

  • Class A: 1800 and above
  • Class B: 1500-1999
  • Class C: 1200-1699
  • Class D: 1399 and below

While the CCWG was sad to reduce the number of offerings, it is hoped this more simplistic list of events will provide our CC players with the ability to receive pairings in a timelier manner and therefore play more correspondence chess.

All events currently underway will be continued to completion. All players who currently have an unpaired entry submitted for one of the canceled events (Victor Palciauskas postal event, Trophy Quad postal event and Swift Quad email event) will be offered refunds or the opportunity to move those entries to another event. The process of mailing/emailing this information to such players is hoped to be completed in the next few days.

For further information about US Chess CC, including the ability to enter any of the tournaments mentioned above, please visit our dedicated page at https://new.uschess.org/correspondence-chess.

US Chess Correspondence Chess Working Group Members:

Chair: Michael (Mike)
Buss Vice-Chair/EB Member: Fun Fong
Johnny Brown
Larry Cox
Tom Langland
Chris Torres
Wilbur Tseng
Hal Sprechman

Comments

Yes, it is very sad to see some of the tournaments being cancelled. I do have a couple of questions.

Currently I am playing in Swiss Quad 21SQ02. I assume we continue to play through this quad or are you planning on just pulling the plug on these as they are now?

My other question is: I recently finished playing in 2 Swiss Quads (20SQ06 and 20SQ11). In both of these, I either won or tied for first place and I believe these were $30.00 gift certificates each. How will you handle these situations. I have not heard back and am anxious to know how your rewards will be handled for tournaments that are now complete..

Thanks so much,

-scott blackburn

All current tournaments in progress will continue to completion, we will not be canceling existing paired events, just not offering them anew.

Now that we have the new event structure in place, we will be able to get outstanding gift certificate prizes awarded. This restructure has been in the works for a little time and we didn't want to have players entering events only to have to cancel that entry in the near future.

Chris

For people on the server it'll be interesting to see how much people prefer the format of the Victor Palciauskas events versus Walter Muir where you play the same number of total games against different numbers of opponents. I see the Electronic Knights is staying off the ICCF server. I'm fine with that and it differentiates it versus the server events.

I'd actually like to see Electronic Knights on the ICCF Server. Emailing moves to six other people and keeping all straight is just too time consuming and has inherent problems, for example, I never got your email, etc. I hope this gets changed in the future.

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