Correspondence Chess

Chess Glossary - Correspondence Chess GraphicCorrespondence Chess makes a regular game seem not so long afterall.

If you have bags of patience - and then some - this way of playing Chess may greatly appeal ...

Methods of Play

There are three types of games you can play:

  1. By Post

    Until the Internet and electronic mail came along, this was probably the most popular way to play a Correspondence match.

    Two players would write their moves on either paper or a Postcard and post back and forth until the game was won or drawn.

    Unsurprisingly, Chess games played via the postal service can take months, even years, to complete.

  2. By Email

    It's not surpising that Email has taken over from the Postal option, in terms of popularity - games can be played much quicker and there's no having to keep nipping out to by stamps.

    Other than that, there's pretty much no difference in playing the game ... You continue to use Algebraic Notation to make your moves and captures.

  3. Server-based

    A server is a program that runs on a machine, which allows other computers to connect to it - such as over the Internet.

    The advantage is you're able to find more people to play against, than if you relied on your own social network.

    Usually, with a Server-based game, you pay to be able to connect with others; with the fees paid, you can enter Correspondence Chess tournaments all year round.

Rules of Play

Here, we've just cherry-picked some basic rules, laid down by the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF), for both the Postal and Electronic variations.

Postal Correspondence

  • These types of games are played using FIDE's Laws of Chess, where they apply.

  • Moves must be numbered and written on either Postcards or letter-writing paper, using a notaion that both players agree on.

  • When replying, the sender must write - on the correspondence - the date of the latest move and the expected postmark date of the reply.

  • Intercontinental games must use First Class or Air Mail postage, although this rule can also be made mandatory for other postal tournaments.

  • Once posted, all moves are final and cannot be changed, as long as they are 'legal moves'.

  • If a player is contacted by the Tournament Director and doesn't respond within 14 days, that player is considered to have withdrawn from the tournament.

  • Each player gets 30 days for every 10 moves, unless otherwise stated prior to the start of a Tournament.

Read & Download Full Postal & Electronic Rules PDF, Here

Electronic Correspondence

The ICCF Rules (PDF) also covers Electronic (Email) games, within the same document.

Most of the Postal Rules apply to the Electronic version, although with a few differences, mostly relating to Time Control:

  • With regards to Time Allowed, if electronic transmission is used, then, as long as both players agree, a different time control may be used, subject to accpetance by the Tournament Director.

  • If electronic transmission is used, providing the Tournament Director approves, and both players agree, then an alternative 'delivery date' may be allowed.

These are just two examples. Again, see the Postal Rules PDF, for more details.

Server-based Correspondence

Similar to the Postal and Electronic variations, most of the Rules are the same - especially where FIDE's Laws of Chess are applicable.

Some of the differences are as follows:

  • Games are to be played using the ICCF Webserver. If Internet connection is lost, the affected player has 30 days to get back online, else will be seen to have withdrawn from the tournament.

  • A player can only use that 30 day rule - for loss of Internet access - once per year.

  • All moves are to be made through the ICCF Webserver.

  • If a player doesn't make a move for 14 days, the ICCF Webserver will automatically Email that player, as a reminder. This email will be resent after a total of 28 days without response. A final Email reminder will be automatically sent after a total of 35 days, without response.

  • After that final reminder, the player then has 5 days to make a move, in order to continue the game. Failure to do so may result in a loss for that player - as determined by the Tournament Director.

  • Each player gets 50 days to complete every 10 moves, unless stated otherwise.

Read & Download Full Web Server Rules PDF, Here

ICCF Member Federations

If Correspondence Chess interests you, we've hunted down the following Federations, who both have working websites and are members of the ICCF.

Rather than having to pay for Webserver fees, feel free to get in touch with these Federations and you'll likely be able to find one or two to play Postal or Email Correspondence Chess ...

For More, Check Out The Website Of The
International Correspondence Chess Federation
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