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The Campbell Report
Correspondence Chess
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"The Campbell Report" - July/August 1998

"The Campbell Report" now on the Internet

Remember how it was when chess first got its grip on you? ... how you lived and breathed chess ... how you couldn't think of anything else ... how chess totally consumed your being? Well, I've recently had a similar experience with chess on the Internet. I have established an Internet web site named after this column The Campbell Report. Even my postal moves have had to wait while I made adjustments and corrections to my web pages. I am now addicted to the web. I have archived the last four years of "The Campbell Report" at this web site and put up various other articles previously published elsewhere. There are new articles just for this web site, some invited articles written by other chess journalists and some written by me. This is being an exciting adventure and I recommend this experience to all of you.

One additional feature of this new web site is a tournament report on the First National Team Championship 1991-1993 (NTC-1) won by APCT (we are the reigning national champions due to the outstanding performance of our team and entire organization in this exciting event). All fifty boards are documented. I'm always preaching finding new ways to enjoy chess. Here I experienced two new ways for myself ... creating an Internet chess website (including enjoying the friendship and fellowship of fellow webmasters) and researching and documenting a great postal chess tournament.

http://www.angelfire.com/mi/JFranklinCampbell

The above is my world-wide web address, also known to web-heads as a URL. All of you on the Internet are invited to drop by my web pages and sign the guestbook. Let me know what you think. To you who are not yet on the Internet here's my advice: get on the Internet as soon as possible! This is an exciting time for chess. Major chess publications, famous Grandmasters, well-known chess journalists, chess software developers, chess organizations, chess opponents, book sellers, organizers of major events, tournament secretaries, etc. etc. ... they are on the Internet in boatloads! Do you want to follow the latest world championship match or Super GM tournament? Daily reports are available from their web sites. In many cases you can follow the games in progress. Many organizations allow you to conduct your regular postal games by email to speed up the games. You can even play in tournaments organized specifically for email (APCT conducts such events).

Several APCT members have web sites. APCT champion Jon Edwards has an excellent educational site Chess Is Fun - US CC Champion Jon Edwards' Site for beginners (plus some entertaining chess fiction). Ralph Marconi has a new site Ralph Marconi's Correspondence Chess Site with crosstables and other news of current and recent events (he is a tournament director for ICCF and captain of the Canadian Olympiad team as well as columnist for CCLA and CCCA publications). Of course, there is the ChessBase USA site ChessBase USA of Don Maddox, who maintains pages dedicated to information about APCT. You can find the Internet addresses of these APCT'ers at my site. As with many others, I maintain a list of links (Internet addresses) at my web site to point readers to sites I recommend. I'd be happy to hear from other APCT'ers with Internet web sites.

One night while searching around for interesting material on the net I ran across a listing of Australian newspaper chess columns Australian Chess Columns. Here is an interesting contest problem from Ian Rogers' column in the Sun Herald. My solution is given a few topics down just above Chess and Religion.



White to move, mate in 3

Chess on the Internet is not only the wave of the future ... it is the wave of the present! If you're not on the Internet you are missing out on a major source of chess enjoyment. You can play chess in any form ... correspondence to rapid transit. The Internet Chess Club allows you to play opponents all over the world in real-time. This is a chance to try out some opening lines ... a few dozen or a few hundred games will get you in touch with the feel of the positions and typical tactical opportunities arising from a given opening. A quick trip to the Pittsburgh chess club site and you can download a few thousand games played with this opening. I've only described the tip of the iceberg. If you're serious about chess (or just serious about enjoying chess) get on the Internet ... it's just that simple. Following are a few topics made possible by material available on the Internet.

Dan Quigley's Fame on the Internet

APCT'er Dan Quigley of Augusta, Georgia has recently become famous on the Internet for his startling opening innovation. Timothy Harding devoted a recent column on the Chess Cafe web site to it titled, "Has The Marshall Attack Been Refuted on the Internet? The article started, "THE MARSHALL COUNTER-ATTACK in the Ruy Lopez (Spanish Opening) is facing its biggest crisis in many years - not because of a discovery by a leading GM or famous theoretician but because of an amateur expert's home analysis posted in a Usenet newsgroup back in March. Six weeks intensive research and analysis have failed to uncover any hole in the question posed by Daniel Quigley on rec.games.chess.analysis."

Congratulations to Dan Quigley on his remarkable opening discovery in the C89 line of the Ruy Lopez and for the recognition he's received for excellence. Check my website for the Internet address for Chess Cafe.

Webmaster John Knudsen's Book on Chess Quotes

If you start searching for correspondence chess topics on the Internet you'll find John Knudsen's site being listed over and over. If you check for cc sites in anyone's list of recommended sites on the web you'll likely find Knudsen's site near the top of the list (his site is number one on my website listing of recommended cc sites). John has expressed his love for the game through hours and hours of work devoted to building a wonderful Internet resource for cc enthusiasts. One interesting feature of his site is a list of notable quotes on the subject of chess.

For years I've been searching for the little known Chess: Quotations from the Masters by Henry Hunvold. I love good chess quotes and wanted a book containing the best quotes. I no longer have to search for that book. John Knudsen has written a new book where he has compiled the best quotes called Essential Chess Quotations. He has self-published this 48 page book, which will be available by the time you read this, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy.

While browsing through various Internet chess sites I ran across the pages of The Stuy Town Chess Club. Many clubs have their own web sites, mostly of interest to local players. This site has a feature edited by famous chess trainer John W. Collins which presents good advice via the use of chess quotes. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Never is cold reason and clear thinking more necessary than when victory is in sight." - Znosko-Borovsky

"For a game which is a monument to skill, chess has its moments which, for lack of a better word, can only be described as luck." - Larry Evans

"On the Chessboard lies and hypocrisy do not survive long. The creative combination lays bare the presumption of a lie; the merciless fact, culminating in a checkmate, contradicts the hypocrite." - Emanuel Lasker

"I have never had the satisfaction of beating a completely healthy opponent." - Amos Burn

"The older I grow, the more I value Pawns." - Paul Keres,

"One bad move nullifies forty good ones." - Horowitz

Chess Song from the Internet

Another interest chess resource on the Internet is the Chess-L mailing list. Here chess enthusiasts are able to send comments to the entire subscription list (about 800 at last count) by sending a single message to the list maintainer. A recent topic for discussion was pawn endings. Here is one of the more delightful replies (reproduced by permission) by Chess-L member David Moody:

"GM Alexander Baburin provides a list of things you need to know about pawn endings:

"opposition reserved tempo and triangulation square the pawn outflanking and elbowing locking up more active King pawn race transformation into a Queen ending passed pawn creation:

"Breakthrough passed pawn creation on opposite flanks: self marching pawns self-supporting pawns stalemate outside passed pawns protected passed pawns better pawn structure corresponding squares.

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"That's a beautiful list. Some might be moved to poetry. I have no idea what I was moved to, as I couldn't get the Disney song "It's a small world" out of my mind.

"You may want to sing along. Then again, you may want to delete this immediately and censor me forever."

IT'S A PAWN GAME

Chorus:

It's a pawn game after all!
It's a pawn game after all!
It's a pawn game after all!
It's a pawn end game.

There is some outflanking and elbowing,
There is locking up the more active king,
When you triangulate, be prepared for stalemate,
It's a pawn game after all!

If your opposition should square a pawn,
Use your reserved tempo and race one down,
When a breakthrough is seen, they transform into queens,
It's a pawn game after all!

Pawns are self-supporting, self-marching too,
They're outside, protected, and passed to boot,
Better structure is theirs, corresponding to squares,
It's a pawn game after all!

--- David Moody

(It's a small brain after all...)

Mate-in-3 quiz solution: 1. Kd7 Ka7 2. Kc8 Ka8 3. Qa5#

Chess and Religion

Another interesting topic on Chess-L was "Chess and Religion." There were a number of messages following up on this topic, some quite serious and one quite humorous. Following is the humorous one, reproduced with permission of its author Jay McKeen.

"The monthly South Jersey Quads take place in a meeting room of the Holiday Inn, Runnemede, NJ. Two church groups meet for services the same day each month. One of the groups meets in the adjacent room, and the sounds of the service (Gospel music, loud and emotional sermons) come through the walls. Some of the players find it distracting, and the TD plans to move to an upstairs meeting (room) beginning next month, but I like looking around and watching several chessplaying heads bouncing from side-to-side with the Gospel music during their games.

"This month, I was listening to parts of the sermon (hard not to) when I heard, "You don't have Tiiiiiime, to take from Gawd! ... I say, you don't have tiiiiiiiime, to take from Gawd! ... I see those people playing chess next door...I say...You don't have tiiiiiiime, to play chess! ... You don't have tiiiiiiime, to play games. God's Kingdom is upon us, you don't have tiiiiiiiime to play chess when the Lord calls you!"

"We Sunday Quad chess players became the subject of the church sermon!"

APCT'er Specializes in Chess History

APCT member John Hilbert is known as a chess historian based on his outstanding books on players of the past and his recent contributions in "Lasker & His Contemporaries" published by Thinkers' Press. His article "Examining the Past/Essential Tools for Exploring Chess History" in that publication is a unique contribution to the literature.

John Hilbert performs careful research, going to the original documents. Recently, just before a trip to Cleveland to do some research at the White Chess Collection housed by the Cleveland Public Library, he sent the following:

"I just found your new CC site, and wanted to let you know how pleased I am to add it to my list of "favorite sites." Your column and Allan Savage's are the first two I turn to in APCT (I've been a member for a few years now, though I no longer actively play chess).

"As you mention you are interested in suggestions for future columns and the like, I thought I would give a plug for my favorite area: chess history. I recall in one or more of your print columns you have asked for additional ideas about how the game of chess can be enjoyed, and my contribution concerns the search for and preservation of our historic chess past.

"I live in Kenmore, New York, a town located a short stone's throw (literally) outside of Buffalo, the Queen City. I doubt you have heard of me, but I published a book in 1996 entitled Buffalo 1901 and 1894 Chess Tournaments, through Caissa Editions (Dale Brandreth) that developed from my interest in chess, history, and my local community. Actually, I believe APCT was responsible for sending a copy of it to Hanon Russell, who in turn reviewed it at his excellent Chess Cafe site. Last year I released Napier: the Forgotten Chessmaster (Caissa Editions 1997; 354 pp.), a much more ambitious project. Napier developed his chess through correspondence play, and my book included a number of his games played through the mail. Both books were reviewed by Hanon, and those reviews are archived at the Chess Cafe, if you might be interested in seeing them.

"Earlier this year Lasker & His Contemporaries, Issue 5, (a journal of chess history) was released, the first issue under my editorship. The publication will be an annual, and is done by Bob Long via Chessco/Thinkers' Press. Allan Savage gave the work a very nice review. I believe it appears at Tim Harding's web site, if you are interested. As a new editor, of course, I'm always looking for new material for possible publication. Just this weekend, for instance, I discovered seven new Pillsbury games from an 1897 simul at the old Franklin Chess Club. The games don't appear in Nick Pope's Pillsbury collection (I emailed them to Nick yesterday). Issue 6 of the journal is shaping up to be just as good, and maybe even better.

"To cut some of this short, I have another book done, a detailed study of New York 1940, the first US championship held under the auspices of the fledgling USCF (215 pp) that should be released within the next year, and am currently working on two other books, one on the 1936 US championship, with Peter Lahde, and my main project, Norman T. Whitaker: The Life and Crimes of an American Chessmaster (a working title) with Dale Brandreth. Dale purchased Whitaker's estate papers, and sent them to me--in multiple crates. I estimate there must be over 2,000 documents here, ranging from parking tickets to Supreme Court briefs, and pretty much everything in between (though unfortunately his mother threw away (!) his early chess scores after he was disbarred in 1924 following his conviction for interstate car theft). I have been researching Whitaker for the past few months, and also managed to get his 500 page Leavenworth 1925-1927 file, which provided a good deal of detailed information. So far I've located 420 of his games, and have a 110 page chronology of his life. The work is massive, and will take another couple years. Dale is going to write about his personal recollections of Whitaker. He knew him off and on for the last twenty years of Whitaker's life (Whitaker died in 1975). Dale and I are fortunate that a number of people have very generously contributed their personal recollections of Whitaker. They make for fascinating reading, and will be included in the book.

"I have also done research, and eventually plan to write books on, the following players: Albert Hodges, Albert Fox, Roy Black (who lived at the end of his life here, locally, in Western New York), and Walter Penn Shipley. In addition, there are some other tournament books I intend to put out. Finally, I hope, should I live long enough (I'm 44 now, and a federal attorney with a Ph.D. in English--used to teach on the Faculty of English at Louisiana State University) to put out a little book on Buffalo chess in general."

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Thanks for your valuable contribution to the topic of finding new ways to enjoy chess, John. I got just a taste of historical research in my work on the NTC-1 tournament report for my web site. It was hard work but very enjoyable. I intend to review Lasker & His Contemporaries, Issue 5 at my web site soon (and perhaps in this column as well) and can certainly recommend it to my readers. I'm certain that L&HC, Issue 6 will be equally excellent. Issue 5 should be available from APCT now.

Your reference to Leavenworth reminds me other another memorable chess experience. About 1967 I was a member of a Kansas City chess club team that visited Leavenworth in Kansas. Hearing those heavy steel doors clang behind us as we passed though the maximum security facility on our way to the prison library left an enduring impression. The prison was reputed to have a powerful chess team that always won their matches. They did have the undoubted home field advantage (and a most impressive one at that). We escaped with a drawn match, a very good result. Of course, we also got to leave following the match!

NTC-1 Info at the White Chess Collection

Thanks to John Hilbert I've been in contact with the Acting Head of the Fine Arts and Special Collections at the Cleveland Public Library concerning the addition of documents pertinent to the First National Team Championship. APCT won this prestigious event and is the current national champion. I feel this enormous event was under-reported. Therefore, it is my intention to send a packet of materials to The White Collection, one of the great chess resources in the world for those doing chess historical research. I invite readers with additional material on this event to send it to me for inclusion in the packet of materials. I'll be sending a complete collection of the APCT Team Newsletter (ten quarterly issues), photo-copies of the assignment sheets and instructions, a diskette containing the crosstables and games and any other material I can locate. I may print out the contents of my web pages as well.

I feel it is important to insure that future researchers have adequate material available to fully understand this significant USA cc event. As the ICCF-U.S. Secretary Max Zavanelli pointed out, the winner of that event has not only the USA championship but all the bragging rights as well. I want to do some bragging, not only now but to future chess historians. If you have something to add to the record of this event please write or forward it to me immediately.

Is Postal Chess Good Practice for OTB?

John McCumiskey of Sacramento, CA responded to this column topic as follows. Thanks for the additional insight into this topic, John.

"I would find it difficult to believe that postal chess, in general, could be anything but helpful for OTB play. The depth of analysis and study time (via research) required can only expand one's ability to play chess.

"When I started to play OTB competitively, my improvement was marked by little steps. I started playing postal chess about six months later (November 1977). I started playing postal chess to help improve my OTB play. By the time I completed my first section, my OTB rating had increased 400+ points (mid-1979). Why? ... probably because I learned to analyze better through postal chess.

"I have continued to play postal for three reasons: 1) I am hooked on this type of chess for various reasons (I liked "talking" with the people I met); 2) ... postal chess (is good) for study of all phases of the game; 3) It is a great arena for testing new ideas.

"There is only one down side I have experienced with postal chess and OTB: Readapting to OTB time controls after a layoff of a couple of years. During the layoff, I continued with a decent load of postal games. When I returned to OTB, the time controls (especially the faster ones) took their toll. It took me almost a year and a half (and 150 rating points) to reacquaint myself with analyzing while a clock is ticking. Fortunately, I've managed to recover about half the rating points and still find postal chess a way to continue to help me with OTB."

Nix on Faster Time Controls

Richard Hartley, an APCT'er from Oregon, sent the following thoughts concerning the proposal for faster time controls in my last column. He wrote:

"I was mortified by the recent suggestion in your column, that postal chess -- at least for some tournaments -- be played at faster time limits.

"Why does the proliferation of sudden death or G/30, brought about by selfish tournament directors who cannot be bothered to run a "serious" event with rational open ended time controls, have to impact postal, anyway?

"When I began playing chess competitively in 1980, I played both OTB and postal, but in recent years it has become next to impossible to find an OTB event in CA or OR with anything but G/30 or some ridiculously short sudden death second control. This is one of the reasons I have concentrated on postal play. Not to mention the fact that so-called "affordable" large OTB events are anything but. Of course, familial and job obligations have also contributed to the demise of my OTB participation. I need the transit and reflection time that normal postal play offers.

"While we're at it, why don't we add other changes such as ICCF's assertion that e-mail is to be considered as reliable as registered mail, and if a player claims he doesn't receive a move reflection time is to be charged to the sender. Especially if the player making this claim has a losing position."

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Thanks for your comments, Richard. I suspect some readers will have different opinions on some items, and I invite readers to respond. I personally believe that email chess will continue to gain in popularity and changes must be adopted in the rules to allow for email's particular strengths and weaknesses. I've had only minor experience with email and have already experienced lost moves. However, for convenience and speed it's hard to match. I read the remarks by a cc world champion emphasizing the importance of using the transmission time for analysis. He even overstepped the time limit once per game (allowed under the ICCF rules he was playing under) to maximize the amount of time available. I also think it would be a mistake to change all cc competition to faster time limits, as some OTB organizations seem to have done. However, having some competitions played at a speedier time limit wouldn't offend me ... though I'd probably stick to the standard time limits myself.

Just What Is Chess Style?

Roy DeVault of Gulfport, MS, who was the CCLA Games Editor for years and has several books to his credit, recently sent the following interesting note:

"Haven't kept in touch with you lately. Enjoyed reading your column, especially the parts about trying to read your opponent's marked-out moves!

"Have you ever discussed the matter of "style of play" in your column? We all can recognize a few styles of play. Morphy is the easiest to recognize, though of course there are imitators. Recall that some years ago Tal's style was quite recognizable. Another player that comes to mind is Petrosian.

"I think the entire matter of style in chess needs elaboration. What are the elements of chess style? Are they well defined? If so, I'm not aware of it. Writers refer to the style of various players, assuming we know what they mean. Do we really?

"What if you were asked to describe your "style of play?" Could you do it? I cannot venture any description of my style of play. Is the question of style limited to world-class players, or does it apply to us peons?

"Anyway, these are my thoughts on the matter. Feel free to use any of this in your column if you think there is any interest in the topic."

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Roy proposes an intriguing and difficult question. Can you define "chess style?" Could you describe your "chess style?" Reader input is invited.

Later Roy followed up his musing by writing an article on this topic, which can be read at "The Campbell Report" Internet site.

Another Interesting Chess Postcard

A final card following the end of my game with Joseph Hitselberger of Oshkosh, WI arrived recently. I was startled to see Bobby Fischer staring out at me from the front of the card. There was a great photo of Fischer sitting at the board staring straight into the camera, beautifully reproduced on the front of the postcard. Thanks for another interesting example of printing interesting chess postcards, Joe. Hitselberger also has his own web site at: http://www.vbe.com/~hitman/


copyright © 1998 by J. Franklin Campbell

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Email: franklin@voyager.net