International Correspondence Chess Federation

International Correspondence Chess Federation

International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) was founded in 1951 as a new appearance of the ICCA (International Correspondence Chess Association), which was founded in 1945, as successor of the IFSB (Internationaler Fernschachbund), founded in 1928.

Correspondence chess

Correspondence chess is a variation of chess played between towns, chess clubs and/or individuals, in settings where the opponents are not situated face-to-face. Means of communicating moves include:

*couriers such as human runners or even homing pigeons
*(postal) coaches
*usual postal transmissions like trains and (later) airplanes
*electronic transmission such as e-mail and web servers/chess servers.

In the past, postal chess was the most common appearance of ICCF.

In most sports you only can play regularly on an international basis when you are a national top-player. One of the charms of correspondence chess (whether you are playing the email or the postal version) is that you can play at an international level, even when you are starting to play this kind of a game for the first time.

Before ICCF

Some sources say that correspondence chess was already played in the 12th century Fact|date=July 2007. Most chess historians doubt whether this is true. In the 19th century chess clubs and magazines started to organize more regular tournaments, national as well as international tournaments. Finally in 1928 the first international league (IFSB) was founded. Alekhine, Keres and Euwe have been well-known enthusiastic correspondence chess players during some periods of their chess career.

Current membership

ICCF, the present successor of the IFSB, is a federation of national member organizations. At this moment there are world-wide over 60 ICCF national member federations with altogether more than 100.000 individual member correspondence chess players. Most of them are playing several games simultaneously. Some of them are even playing more than 100 games at the same time. Most strong players think that 15 email games at the same time is the upper limit.


Using its own language-independent chess notation, ICCF organizes all kind of tournaments: individual and team championships, title norm tournaments and promotion tournaments (from Open Class until Master Class) – both in postal and in email versions.

Almost the same kind of tournaments also exists within the four zones into which ICCF is divided: Europe, Latin America, North America/Pacific and Africa/Asia.

ICCF is closely co-operating with the leading world chess organization FIDE. All ICCF titles, championships and ratings are recognised by FIDE.

World championships

From 1951 until 2008, 21 finals of the World Championship have been organized. As of 2008, 19 World Championships have been finished. The present World Champion is Christophe Léotard (FRA).

All his predecessors were also well-known chess personalities: Cecil Purdy (AUS), Viacheslav Ragozin (USSR), Albéric O'Kelly de Galway (BEL), Vladimir Sagorowski (USSR), Hans Berliner (USA), Horst Rittner (GDR), Yakov Estrin (USSR), Jorn Sloth (DEN), Tõnu Õim (USSR), Victor Palciauskas (USA), Fritz Baumbach (GDR), Grigory Sanakoev (RUS), Mikhail Umansky (RUS), Tõnu Õim (EST) , Gert Jan Timmerman (NED),Tunç Hamarat (AUT) , Ivar Bern (NOR) and Joop van Oosterom (HOL)

ee also

* Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE)
*ICCF National Member Federations - Short articles about the federations
* ICCF numeric notation

External links

* [ Official ICCF Website]
* [ Official ICCF Chess Playing Server]

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