The Check is in the Mail: June 2019


John Penquite born in 1935, died in 2007, achieved the highest US Chess rating after a remarkable streak of 58 games undefeated and undrawn.  In 1993 John Penquite established a USCF correspondence rating of 2939.  In comparison, this  exceeds the current correspondence rating leader Michael Buss who has a 2461 record by 478 points.

John’s  CC rating also exceeds Magnus Carlsen’s  highest  rating of 2882 (over the board) by 57 points.  John, however, did not compete in OTB tournaments due to a severe tobacco smoke allergy during the time when smoking was still allowed.

In  1990 John entered five sections of the 1990 Golden Knights and ended up tied for first with a perfect score, and had he been eligible, he also would have finished third, fourth, fifth, and sixteenth.  John also finished second in the 1991 Absolute.  Besides his USCF rating, he was the top-rated player in several other correspondence chess  organizations.

As an example of John’s play witness this stellar game from the 1991 Absolute Championship against third place finisher Louis Petithory.

May Results

Trophy Quad

Philip Hart    17Q08    6-0

Michael Allard  18Q03  4-2

Walter Muir

Jay Hall              18W23  4-2

James Mahooti  18W23   4-2

Rex Bush           18W22  6-0

Mark Herrmann  18W18 3 ½=2 ½

You can almost hear Black’s defenses crumble in this slow paced crush by Jay Hall.

What’s a couple of Pawns among friends ?

The sad tale of the buried Bishop.


 A poem from Chess, March 1997 first published in 1912.

by Robert Potter Elmer

The mania for morphine and the taste for alcohol
May overthrow a person and his intellect enthrall
But both are harmless habits, rather pleasant to possess,
Compared to that fell practice known as correspondence chess.

Just a bit pathetic is a man’s first postal-card
Which bears a modest challenge to a friend who’s “not too had”;
The unsuspecting tyro does not dream of what a mess
He enters into by beginning Correspondence Chess.

At first his interest is mild, the opening is tame,
But things soon get more exciting and pretty soon the game
Appears before his eyes at night, at church, at business,
Until he thinks of little else but Correspondence Chess.

Caissa’s hand is on him with the magic of its touch
She guides him to new battlefields, nor ever hints “Too much”,
Though lust of mental combat is aroused by her caress,
He rides exultant in the lists of Correspondence Chess.

For hours he struggles o’er the board, his features drawn and pale,
Then hurries off his cabalistic ciphers to the mail;
The cooling night can bring no balm to soothe his fevered stress,
He starts awake, but yet he broods on Correspondence Chess.

In dreams he battles with great Knights on endless chequered lawns
Or falls beneath the leaden feet of myriads of pawns
Two bishops seated on his head his breath almost suppresses,
He starts awake, but yet he broods on Correspondence Chess.

If accident or sickness should improve my earthly road,
Misfortune bear upon me in an overwhelming load,
I’d bow my head before my fate and humbly acquiesce,
But I would pray to be preserved from Correspondence Chess.


The mark of the postal player is the odd openings — Dan Waite

Active pieces + active play = active victory


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