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CHECK! Articles

The following article was published in the December 1992 issue of CHECK!, the official magazine of the The Canadian Correspondence Chess Association . It was my personal contribution to celebrate the 500th issue of this magazine. I have slightly revised it. Those who are interested in finding out more about the Canadian Correspondence Chess Association should point their browsers to the following web site: CCCA

A Brief History of the Canadian Correspondence Chess Championship: 1945 to the Present (Part II)

by Ralph P. Marconi

By the close of 1944, the CCCA membership roles had grown, producing a sizable number of top players. After much debate between the members of the executive it was decided that the exisitng open format for the Canadian Correspondence Chess Championship be dropped in favor of a closed Championship, where the top players would have a chance to play one another for the chance to be crowned the Canadian CC Champion. This gave rise to the "modern" K-series which continues to be the CCCA's premier event today, although qualifying for this event has changed over the years. The following is a list of K Champions or Canadian CC Champions from 1945 - 1994:

1945 - K-1 Frank Yerhoff

1946 - K-2 R.E. Martin

1947 - K-3 D.M. LeDain

co-winner H.J. Ward

1948 - K-4 S.Kitces

1949 - K-5 A.Tanguay

1950 - K-6 S.Kitces

1951 - K-7 Dr. R.M. Maclean

1952 - K-8 Dr. R.M. Maclean

co-winner Roman M. Barback

1953 - K-9 I. Poirier

1954 - K-10 S.O.Wreschner

1955 - K-11 O. Dravnieks

co-winner A. Lidacis

1956 - K-12 A.Lidacis

1957 - K-13 A.Lidacis

1958 - K-14 A.Lidacis

co-winner I.Poirier

1959 - K-15 A.Lidacis

1960 - K-16 M. Emig

1961 - K-17 John F. Cleeve

1962 - K-18 A.Lidacis

co-winner A.Cayford

1963 - K-19 F.Bohatirchuk

1964 - K-20 F.Bohatirchuk

1965 - K-21 R.C.Morris

1966 - K-22 J.Kegel

1967 - K-23 Zoltan L. Sarosy

1968 - K-24 J. Paransevicus

1969 - K-25 Zoltan L. Sarosy

1970 - K-26 Dr. Roger Kewley

1971 - K-27 Alex Siklos

1972 - K-28 John Wright

co-winner Zoltan L. Sarosy

1973 - K-29 Arthur Prystenski

1974 - K-30 Arthur Prystenski

co-winner Stephen Boyd

1975 - K-31 Stephen Boyd

co-winners Arthur Prystenski

Brian Douthwaite

1976 - K-32 ??

1977 - K-33 John Wright

1978 - K-34 Jonathan Berry

1979 - K-35 Robert Kiviaho

1980 - K-36 Jonathan Berry

1981 - K-37 Zoltan L. Sarosy

1982 - K-38 John Armstrong

1983 - K-39 Drew Lamb Stoll

1984 - K-40 David M. Macleod

1985 - K-41 Kurt Widmann

1986 - K-42 Sylvain Chouinard

1987 - K-43 Francis Leveille

1988 - K-44 Denis Pineault

1989 - K-45 Jean Pouliot

1990 - K-46 Jean Desforges

co-winner Denis Pineault

1991 - K-47 Murry Kurtz

1992 - K-48 Eric-Bowie Reed

1993 - K-49 Arthur Prystenski

1994 - K-50 Mario Adriano

(Current Canadian CC Champion of Canada).

The following is a small selection of games from these championships; all of which have been previously published in the CCCA Bulletins from 1946 to 1963.

Frank Yerhoff was one of Canada's strongest otb and cc players from the late 1930s and 1940s. Born in 1918, he learned to play at the age of 17 and entered his first chess tournament - the 1937 Sasketchewan Championship, where he finished second, but from 1938 to 1945 he placed first in this championship. He placed 4th in the 1940 Canadian otb Championship in Montreal and in 1945 tied with GM Daniel A. Yanofsky for first place in the Canadian Championship held in Saskatoon. Probably his best otb achievement was his 7th place finish in the 1946 USA Open, defeating such players as Santasiere and Weaver Adams. In CC he won the Canadian CC title 4 times: 1939, 1940, 1941 & 1945.

Below is a game from the 1945 Canadian CC Championship.

White: Frank Yerhoff
Black: C. F. Goodman

1945 Canadian CC Championship (K-1)
QGD, Slav Defense D10
Notes by R.E. Martin. My notes appear between ( ).

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 dxc4

We cannot recommend this capture for Black, while in an undeveloped state. Correct is 3...Nf6 forcing White back into the main line which Black achieves equality.

4.e4 e5 5.Nf3 exd4 6.Qxd4

("!", ECO, RPM)

Recommended by Alekhine, and played in the match: Keres vs. Euwe, White winning. The fact that White is 3 tempi ahead in development, seems to automatically refute Black's strategy. Although, of course, not completely so, with the Queens off the board.

6...Qxd4 7.Nxd4 b5

(7...Nf6 8.f3 Bc5 9.Be3 b5 10.a4 b4 11.Nd1 Ba6 12.Rc1 +/-, Keres-Euwe (m) 1940, RPM.)

8.a4 b4 9.Nd1 Nf6 10.f3 Bb7

(10...Ba6 11.Bf4 Bc5 12.Nf5 0-0 13.Rc1 Re8 14.Be3! Nbd7 15.Bc4 +/-, ECO, Nei-Rojzman, USSR 1964.)

11.Bxc4 Nbd7 12.Bf4 g6 13.Nf2 Bg7 14.0-0-0 Rc8

15.a5 ! 0-0 ?

The necessity for 15...a6 stands out like a sore thumb. Firstly it prevents a6; secondly it threatens c5; and thirdly the ensuing combination would then be impossible.

16.Ne6! fxe6

If 16...Rfe8 17.Ng5 Rf8 18.Bd6.

17.Bxe6+ Rf7 18.Bd6! Bf8?

The only defense was 18...c5 because if then 19.e5 Ne8 20.Ne4 Bxe4 21.fxe4 Nxd6 22.exd6 Kf8 and White can start getting alarmed, despite his two passed pawns.

19.e5! Ne8

Or 19...Nd5 20.Ne4 wins.

20.Bxb4 Nb8 21.Bxc8 Bxb4

Or 21...Bxc8 22.Rd8 Bxb4 23.Rxc8 and wins.

22.Rd8 Kf8 23.Be6 Re7

If 23...Na6 24.Bxf7 Kxf7 25.Rd7+ and wins.

24.Rxb8 Bxa5 25.Bc4 c5 26.Bb5! 1-0

There is no way to prevent the loss of a piece. If 26...Bd5 27.Ne4 Bxe4 (if 27...Kf7 28.Bxe8 Rxe8 29.Nd6+,etc.; or if 27...Bf7 28.Nxc5.) then 28.fxe4 and the threat of Rf1 wins


IM Walter Muir, the "oldest" and longest standing member of the CCCA played in only two K events, K-1 (1945) and K-2 (1946) after which he resigned his membership, only to return in the early 1960s. While scoring well in K-2 with 5/7, he could manage only another 3rd place finish, behind F.R. Anderson( 2nd) and R.E. Martin (1st).

The following is a game from the 1945 Canadian CC Championship, where he placed 3rd.

White: Walter Muir
Black: H. Ridout

1945 Canadian CC Championship (K-1)
Nimzovitch Defense B00
Notes by R.E. Martin. My notes appear between ( ).

1.e4 Nc6

This defense aims at an early d5. The simplest refutation is 2.Nf3, forcing Black back into an open game by 2....e5, that is if he expects to have any kind of a decent game at all.


(2.d4 is by far and away the most common response, but the text has the virture that it develops a piece and prevents d5, so a case could be made that this is perhaps better than 2.d4, RPM.)


(Much more common these days is 2...e6, preparing d5, RPM.)

3.d4 d5

(This move is given a "!?" by Myers in his "Nimzovich Defense to 1.e4".

3...e5 is the alternative, RPM.)

4.e5 Ne4

(4...Nd7!?, 4...Ng8!? {Harding}, RPM)


(This move is not discussed by Myers instead he gives analysis by Bucker after 5.Nce2 and mentions other possibilities such as 5.Bg5!?, 5.exd5, and 5.Nxe4!? and in all cases Black does not come at worse and even better in one line. The text, while allowing the doubling of pawns on the c-file, opens up the b-file for the Queen rook., RPM.)

5...Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bf5

This bishop seems to have no future at all, which is typical of irregular defenses. Its development here leaves the queenside looking naked.

7.Ne2 e6 8.Ng3 Bg6 9.Rb1 b6

(This move creates a severe weakness on the light sqaures on the queenside, RPM.)

10.Bb5 Qd7 11.0-0 Be7 12.Qe2 a6 13.Bd3

13.Bxa6 Bxc2.

13...b5 14.Be3 Na5 15.f4 Bxd3

Black changes his mind about bringing his Knight to c4. No doubt because f5 looks unpleasent. The result is that the knight looks unpleasent for the balance of the game.

16.cxd3 g6 17.Qd2 Nb7 18.Ne2 a5 19.g4

White does not intend to suffer the denial of f5.

19...h6 20.f5 gxf5 21.gxf5 Rg8+ 22.Kh1 Bg5 23.Rg1 exf5 24.Bxg5 hxg5 25.Rxg5 Rg6 26.Rbg1 0-0-0

Surely it was better to exchange rooks than to give White a connected passed pawn.

27.Rxg6 fxg6 28.Rxg6 Qh7 29.Qh6 Rh8 30.Qxh7 Rxh7 31.Nf4 Rh4

Hoping for 32.Nxd5 b4. But Black is in for a surprise.

32.Rg8+ Kd7 33.e6+ Kc6 34.Ra8!

Threatening mate. The dormant knight now makes a spasmadic attempt to get into the game, but perishes miserably.

34...Nd6 35.Ra6+ Kb7 36.Rxd6! Rxf4

If 36...cxd6 37.Ng6, winning the rook or queening the pawn unmolested.


Threatening e7 and Re5, therefore 1-0.

No other CCCA member has won the Canadian CC Championship (modern K-events) more times than Arnold Lidacis, winning the title 3 times outright: 1956 (K-12), 1957 (K-13), & 1959 (K-15) and as co-winner with Olgert Dravnieks 1955 (K-11) , I. Poirier 1958 (K-14) and A. Cayford 1962 (K-18). He was born in 1922 in Riga, Latvia. He started to play serious chess at the age of 16. He came to Canada in 1949 and joined the CCCA in 1954. Perhaps his enormous success in Canadian CC play was honed in Latvia where he placed 2nd in the Latvian CC Championship (year not known) ahead of ICGM Endzelins of Australia, one time CC Champion of Australia.

The following is a game from the 1956 Championship.

White: D.E. Rover
Black: Arnold Lidacis

1956 Canadian CC Championship (K-12)
French Defense/Advance C02
Brief notes by Lidacis. My notes appear between ( ).

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3

French Defense variation, where Black can exchange White's King Bishop for his Knight. Therefore 6.Be2 is better.

(Of course there is much debate whether or not 6.Be2 is indeed better than 6.Bd3 these days.)

6...cxd4 7.cxd4 Bd7 8.Bc2

A necessary move to defend (the) queen pawn.

(8.0-0!? would be the highly interesting Millner-Barry Gambit line, which of course questions the whole idea of the necessity of defending the queen pawn at all. 8.Be2 Nge7 9.Na3 Ng6 10.0-0 Be7 11.Nc2 f6! 12.Bd3 0-0-0 -/+, ECO Nimzovich-Duras San Sebastian 1912.)


(Given a "!" in ECO.)


Solid Continution. All other moves give Black the advantage.

9...Nxc2 10.Qxc2 Ne7 11.Nc3 Nf5!?

11...Nc6 is also strong. (11....Rc8 12.Be3 Nc6 13.Rac1 Na5 =/+, Steinitz-Burn, Wien 1898.)

12.Be3 Rc8 13.Rac1 Be7 14.Qd2 0-0 15.a3 Rc4 16.Ne2 Rfc8 17.b4 Qa6

Black has a small advantage on the queenside.

18.Rxc4 dxc4 19.Qc3 Qa4 20.Nd2 a5! 21.bxa5

(Perhaps 21.Rb1 may have been better.)

21...Bd8 22.Qb4 Bxa5 23.Qxa4 Bxa4

(Black now has a clear advantage due to his strong passed c-pawn and powerfully placed bishops.)


(Trying to set up a blockade against the c-pawn.)

24...Bc2 25.N4c3 Bd3! 26.Rc1 Bxe2 27.Nxe2 Nxe3 28.fxe3 Bd2

(Winning a pawn. The rest is just technique.)

29.Rd1 Bxe3+ 30.Kf1 Ra8 31.d5 exd5 32.Rxd5 Kf8 33.Nd4 Bxd4 34.Rxd4 c3!

The quickest way to win.

35.Rc4 Rxa3 36.Ke2 b5 37.Rb4 c2 38.Kd2 Rc3! 39.Kc1

(Only move.)

39...Rc5 40.Rb2 Ke7 0-1.

Martin Emig, from Victoria, BC who had been a member of the CCCA for 42 years, recently passed away. He stopped Arnold Lidacis' consecutive string of Canadian CC titles by winning the 1960 Championship (K-16). Here is his win over Lidacis, the defending Canadian CC Champion at the time.

White: Martin Emig
Black: Arnold Lidacis

1960 Canadian CC Championship (K-16)
Sicilian Defense B
Notes by Martin Emig

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d6 6.Nbc3 a6 7.Na3 Nf6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.Nc4 b5

A weak move. 9...Nd4 would have been stronger.

10.Bxf6 gxf6

If 10...Bxf6 11.Nxd6+, but now his King side is vulnerable.

11.Ne3 0-0 12.Ncd5 Kh8 13.Qd2 f5 14.Nxe7 Nxe7 15.exf5 Nxf5 16.0-0-0 Nxe3 17.fxe3 Bg4!

A good move which prevents White from capturing the queen pawn.

18.Be2 Bxe2 19.Qxe2 Qc7 20.Rd5 Rg8 21.Rhd1 Rg6 22.Qd2 Rc8 23.g3

Of course not 23.Rxd6?? Rxd6 24.Qxd6 Qxc2 mate.

23...b4 24.Qd3 Qb6 25.Rxd6

By exchanging rooks, White commands the open queen file.

25...Rxd6 26.Qxd6 Qxe3+ 27.Rd2

Here White would have agreed to a draw.

27...a5 28.Qa6 Rc5 29.Qd6

Threatening mate.

29...Kg7 30.Kb1 Rc6!?

A clever move. If 31.Qxc6 Qe1+ 32.Rd1 Qxd1 mate.

31.Qd7 Re6 32.b3 h5 33.Rd3!

Now White begins to assume the initiative a little.

33...Qg1+ 34.Kb2 Rf6

A strong move. Black threatens Rf1, but White has a good answer.


Now if 35...Rf1 36.Qxe5+

35...e4 36.Rd8 Rf5

(Of course 36...Rf1 is met by 37.Qe5+.)


Now White has a strong attack.

37...Qc5 38.Rg8+ Kf6 39.Qa6+ Ke5??

Correct was 39...Ke7 with a draw by perpetual check.

40.Re8+ Kd4 41.Qe2!! Qc3+ 42.Kb1 e3 43.Qd1+ Qd2 44.Qh1! 1-0

Of course not 44.Qxd2 exd2 and Black wins. Now if 44...Rd5 45.Qe4+ Kc5 46.Qc4+ Kd6 (46...Kb6? 47.Rb8+ Ka7 48.Qc7+ and mate follows shortly) 47.Rd8+ and Black loses the rook.

(e.g. 47...Ke5 48.Qf4+ Ke6 49.Qe4+ Re5 50.Re8+.)

Finally, a game from the 1962 Championship (K-18) which won the brilliancy prize. The winner, R.A. Cayford, who is originally from Montreal, Quebec now resides in the USA and is an ICCF IM and is now active internationally, with a current ICCF rating of 2525.

White: Richard A. Cayford
Black: D.E. Rover

1962 Canadian CC Championship (K-18)
French Defense/ Winawer Variation C18
Notes by R.A. Cayford

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4

This is today the most popular line for Black in the French Defense. Personally, I feel cheerful whenever it is played against me, as Black nearly always must part early with his best minor piece - the King bishop, and must solidify White's centre in so doing.

4.e5 Ne7

(More common these days is the immediate 4...c5.)

5.a3 Bxc3+

(5...Ba5 is considered doubtful according to theory, eg: 6.b4 Bb6 7.Na4!)

6.bxc3 Ng6

An idea which I have never seen, but which seems quite reasonable. With 6...Bg6 Black not only prevents 7.h4, currently believed to be White's most promising continuation, but also prepares to exert pressure on e5, preventing Bf4 in the bargain.

(The text does seem to be a "new" idea. Considered best today, however is 6...c5, transposing to the main line. Despite White's good opinion of the move I think the knight looks rather misplaced on g6. 6...b6!? would be the so called Ivkov-Matulovic variation

according to Moles & Wicker, popular in the 1950s & 1960s. However, the response 7.Qg4! has all, but put the line out of comission. It is interesting to note that from Cayford's notes above, it appears he may have been planning to anwser 6....c5 with 7.h4. Today of course the move of choice is the highly aggressive 7.Qg4.)

7.Nf3 0-0

But this followup is somewhat premature. With the centre blocked, Black need be in no hurry to castle, but should at once play 7...c5. This would initiate an onslaught against White's centre while leaving White in the dark as to Black's future plans for his King.

8.Ng5! h6 9.h4! f6

Accepting the sacrifice would be very risky, it is true, but this would nevertheless seem to be Black's best chance. For example: 9...hxg5 10.hxg5 Re8 [preparing the King's flight] 11.a4 c5 12.Ba3 b6 13.Qh5 Qc7! 14.Bd3 Kf8! and the outcome is not clear. If 15.Bxg6 fxg6 16.Qxg6 Qf7 and Black will survive. But the shock value of a bold sacrifice so early in the game, particularly when acceptance entails walking the King, is not to be underestimated.

10.Bd3 Nxh4

This win of a pawn allows a charming finish, but after 10....f5 11.h5 Nh8 [or 11...Ne7] 12.Nh3! and White's bind on the kingside gives him a positionally won game. Moreover, if 11...hxg5 in this variation 12.hxg5 g4 [forced], 13.Ke2! Re8 14.Rh8+! and mate is forced.

11.Rxh4 fxg5

11...hxg5? 12.Rh8+! Kf7 [or 12...Kxh8 13.Qh5+ Kg8 14.Bh7+ Kh8 15.Bg6+] 13.Qh5+ Ke7 14.Qg6 and wins easily.

12.Rh5 Kf7

The King flees - at last, but too late! 12...Rf5 would have been a more prosaic way to lose.

13.Rxg5! Ke8 14.Qh5+ Kd7 15.Bb5! 1-0

Closing the last escape hatch before setting fire to the ship.

In my endeavor to keep this article as short as possible I had to be highly selective in the games that I chose, thereby omitting many other fine games and more recent ones that were published from these championships in the CCCA Bulletins and CHECK! Therefore I have decided to gather all the K-event games that have been previously published and ensemble them into a booklet to be made available to any member wishing a copy. Naturally such a project will take time to complete. In addition there may be a small charge attached to help cover the cost of production and any mailing.

copyright 1992, 1998 by Ralph P. Marconi. All rights reserved.


Last modified on 2 June 1998