Archive for the ‘Correspondence Chess’ Category

The Tenth Rank

May 17, 2014

The Top Ten Chess (CC) Players in the United States for May 2014.

Source: United States Chess Federation

1 Menke, John R IL USA 2489
2 Buss, Michael IN USA 2430
3 Brandhorst, Wesley FL USA 2416
4 Ingersol, Harry Walter IA USA 2415
5 Tracz, James G OH USA 2405
6 Tseng, Wilbur IL USA 2403
7 Kain, Anthony James SC USA 2398
8 Mcgregor, Stephen Dean TX USA 2391
9 Sogin, David Warren KY USA 2386
10 Torres, Chris CA USA 2375


Of course it was never about rank or rating but rather the happiness and enjoyment that I derive from playing chess at a high level. Still, it is nice to be ranked in the top 10… Although, I still have work to do as there is no tenth rank in chess.




2014 USCF Absolute Championship

January 20, 2014

Since 1976, the USCF Absolute Championship has provided only the strongest correspondence chess players in the United States with a chance to compete in a closed USCF correspondence chess championship. It is my honor and privilege to be participating in this event for the second time. Below is the official table with the participants names and ratings for the 2014 USCF Absolute Championship. I also took the liberty of linking all the participants names to articles describing their chess accomplishments.



1. Harry Ingersol 2417                          
2. Daniel Woodard 2395                            
3. David Sogin 2386                            
4. Anthony Kain 2381                            
5. Chris Torres 2375                            
6. Keith Rodriguez 2363                            
7. Robert Fass 2351                            
8. Danny Horwitz 2322                            
9. Kristo Miettinen 2309                            
10. Gordon Magat 2305                            
11.Dana Daves 2289                            
12  Charles Jacobs 2259                            
13. James Rhodes 2250                            

Happy New Year: The Best of my Chess Musings for 2013

January 1, 2014

As I look back on the past 12-months, I can say it has been quite a year for chess! With a new World Chess Champion and business for my nonprofit booming, I anticipate another fun and exciting year in 2014. To end 2013, I have chosen to recap my most popular chess posts of this past year.

2013 was a Great Year for Chess!

2013 was a Great Year for Chess!

So enjoy this trip down memory lane and feel free to pass along your own highlights from 2013. I wish you a Happy New Year and I look forward to exploring chess with you in 2014!


January: Being selected for the USA vs Russia Correspondence Chess Match.


February: Naming of the Torres Chess and Music Academy All Star Team


March: My Winter report on Scholastic Chess in California


April: MSJE Wins the National Championship

The National Champions from MSJE

The National Champions from MSJE



May: 10 Reasons to Attend the TCAMA  Summer Chess Camp in Fremont


June: The Mission San Jose Elementary School Chess Camp is the Perfect Choice for Parents


July: The Czech is in the Mail


August: Great News for Bay Area Chess


September: Would Paul Morphy be Competitive with the Grandmasters of Today?

Paul Morphy in 1858

Paul Morphy in 1858


October: What is the Best Sacrifice in the History of Chess?


November: The World Chess Championship Match Between Anand and Carlsen

The Chess Match of the Century! (photo courtesy of

The Chess Match of the Century! (photo courtesy of


December: Hopefully this very post. Happy New Year!

The Czech is in the Mail: Update on My Adventures in Correspondence Chess

July 28, 2013

Playing correspondence chess is not for the faint of heart or the uncommitted. Seven years later, I am still battling in my final two games of the 2006 USCF Golden Knights Championship. I still have a reasonable chance of winning the event but my final two games going are against two of the very best American correspondence chess players. My games against Abe Wilson and James Tracz will conclude the event that I started in another city and before I became a dad. Currently, the front runner is Tracz and if I did my calculations correctly, I can surpass his score only by defeating him.

An Absolute challenge was had by all in the 2012 USCF Absolute Chess Championship. This has been the most challenging experience of my chess career and I need to convert a win in my last game to finish in sixth place and one spot ahead of Gordon Magat (the only opponent to defeat me.) International master John Menke Jr. has already clinchedawesome-miscellaneous-digital-art-chess-wallpaper the title with his score of 9.5/13! My personal high point in the 2012 USCF Absolute Chess Championship was defeating my correspondence chess hero Major Kristo Miettenen and I may post this game in the future.

On the international front, I am currently playing for Team USA in our match against the Czech Republic and the always mighty Russia. The Fremont Chess Camp caused me to fall behind on time against Milan Bultman, my strong Czech opponent. To make matters more difficult, my Russian opponent has steered the game in which I am white into unknown territory before we reached move 10! Through his brilliant and creative play, Andrey Andreevich Terekhov has put me to the test early. Even with my chess camp completed, I will only have a little more time to devote to these games as I am also slated to represent Team USA against Romania starting in August.

My post would be incomplete without thanking Alex Dunne and Dennis Doren for organizing such fantastic events. For more information on correspondence chess in the United States please read, “Its a Great Time to Play Correspondence Chess in the United States.”


Russia vs USA Chess Match

January 3, 2013
Let the Games Begin

Let the Games Begin

Forty years after the greatest American chess player, Bobby Fischer, slayed Boris Spassky and the Russians to win the World Chess Championship, another classic chess battle between East and West will taking place. Officially starting on February first, 2013, Russia and the United States will do battle in a correspondence chess match for honor and pride. The last time a match such as this occurred was in 1982 when the Soviets crushed the Americans. This time round, the players representing the United States aspire to even the score.

I am honored to be representing team USA on board 16 versus the infamous Russian chess master, Andrey Terekhov. Mr Terekhov has already earned the title of FIDE Master and appears to be on his way toward earning an International Master title in correspondence chess. Andrey’s successes on the chess board are only matched by his achievements in computer science. On occasion, Andrey Terekhov is able to combine his hobbies as can be seen in a recent article about his simul versus the Caltech Chess Club.

For the next month, leading up to my first move, I will be busy preparing inventions and traps and placing them in a folder marked “Andrey Terekhov.” Should he attempt to alter his play to avoid my mischief, I look forward to unleashing some unexploded opening bombs that I have been waiting for an opponent of his caliber to victimize with. Serious correspondence chess players understand the need for preparation and I take my correspondence chess games very seriously.

Below are the top 20 boards for the upcoming Russia vs. United States of America correspondence chess match:

Russia                                                                          United States

Board 1   SIM Yamaliev, Vil Usbekovich  2462 . . . .   IM Belka, Wieland  2460
Board 2   IM Gerbich, Vladimir Fedorovich  2452 . . . .   SIM Knudsen, John C.  2443
Board 3  IM Balabanov, Viktor Viktorovich  2437 . . . .   SIM Millstone, Dr. Michael  2442
Board 4   Dolin, Boris Lukianovich  2426 . . . .   SIM Biedermann, Thomas  2430
Board 5   Pavlov, Viktor Aleksandrovich  2419 . . . .   Ingersol, Harry  2401
Board 6   Gudzovaty, Yury Vasilievich  2407 . . . .   Holroyd, Kenneth  2397
Board 7   SIM Baklanov, Valentin Petrovich  2393 . . . .   O’Connell, C.  2392
Board 8   Budkin, Gennady Aleksandrovich   2393 . . . .   Fass, Robert N.  2386
Board 9   IM Ivanov, Boris Vladimirovich  2384 . . . .   IM Ballow, John  2383
Board 10   Kazantsev, Renal Aleksandrovich  2367 . . . .   Horwitz, Daniel M.  2358
Board 11   Ananskikh, Evgeny Nikolaevich  2360 . . . .   IM Musitani, Cesar  2348
Board 12   Volodarsky, Yury Aleksandrovich  2357 . . . .   Meiners, Edwin  2336
Board 13   Chukanov, Igor Anatolievich   2352 . . . .   IM Schakel, Corky  2337
Board 14   Butov, Yury Alekseevich  2349 . . . .   Woodard, Daniel S.  2327
Board 15   Gus’kov, Viktor Vladimirovich  2346 . . . .   Parsons, Larry  2316
Board 16   Terekhov, Andrey Andreevich  2346 . . . .   Torres, Chris  2300
Board 17   Mishin, Anatoly Valentinovich  2343 . . . .   Brooks, Michael  2290
Board 18   Volkov, Aleksandr Valentinovich  2319 . . . .   Gleyzer, Leonid  2284
Board 19   Borisenkov, Dmitry Vasilievich  2318 . . . .   White, David V.  2270
Board 20   Selin, Sergey Gennadievich  2292 . . . .   Merrell, William S.  2232

It’s a Great Time to Play Correspondence Chess in the United States

June 3, 2012

The United States is truly becoming one of the greatest countries in the world of correspondence chess. Our Olympiad team has made the world finals in every Correspondence Chess Olympiad from the thirteenth to the eighteenth in 2012. Since the year 2000, the ICCF has awarded 80 international titles to correspondence chess players living in the United States. Our country is perhaps the only nation to have two ICCF affiliates. One of these affiliates is the Correspondence Chess League of America which has been running rated correspondence chess tournaments since 1897. The other affiliate is the United States Chess Federation which operates its competitions under the guidance of the correspondence director Alex Dunne.

The U.S.C.F. recently opened its own online correspondence chess server and now offers correspondence chess by mail, email and chess server. Alex Dunne does an outstanding of creating playing opportunities that fit the needs of all levels of chess players. Alex also masterfully covers all of the events in his monthly column humorously titled the “Check is in The Mail.” The June 2012 edition of Chess Life magazine even featured correspondence chess master Abe Wilson on its cover.  The USCF is making it very clear that it supports correspondence chess and is doing everything possible for its players.

I strongly encourage those thinking of trying their hand at correspondence chess to consider joining the USCF’s Golden Knights Championship. The Golden Knights is the United States’ Open Correspondence Chess Championship and is a great way for over the board players to get their feet wet in a large pool of strong correspondence players. Below is a game from the finals of the 2006 Golden Knights Chess Championship. I hope it inspires some of my readers to give USCF correspondence chess a try.

For ease of reading, copy the text below and paste it into your favorite chess program.

[Event “2006 Golden Knights Finals”]

[Site “correspondence”]

[Date “2011.01.??”]

[Organization “USCF”]

[White “Torres, Chris F.”]

[Black “Walker, Barry Wood”]

[Result “1-0”]

[WhiteElo “2315”]

[BlackElo “2232”]

[ECO “B01”]

[Opening “Scandinavian”]

[Variation “2…Qxd5, Main Line, 8.Qe2”]

[PlyCount “51”]

1. e4 d5 {Barry Walker chooses the Scandinavian Defense.} 2. exd5 Qxd5 {The other choice for black here is to not capture the pawn but develop the knight to f6 instead.} 3. Nc3 {Develop with threats.} Qa5 {The overwhelming favorite choice among strong players. On a5, the queen will remain active and pin the c3 knight if white chooses to play d4.} 4. d4 {I have access to over 29,000 games where white decided to control the center with this move.} Nf6 {Black has two pieces developed. White has a pawn in the center and one pinned piece in the game.} 5. Nf3 {Once again, I adhere to classical principles and develop a piece.} c6 {Often times, the Scandinavian player ends up with a Caro–Kann (1 e4 c6) pawn structure (pawns on c6 and e6).} 6. Bc4 {Now I have three pieces developed and a pawn in the center.} Bf5 {Black is keeping up on development.} 7. Bd2 {The most logical move. Now my knight is no longer pinned and I have a discovered attack on my opponent’s queen.} e6 {Now black really does have a Caro–Kann style structure.} 8. Ne4 {Supposedly, this is just an alternative to Nd5 with the same basic ideas. However, I use this to start an attack I have been waiting to try in a high-level game.} Qd8 {This is black’s second favorite choice behind Qc7.} 9. Ng3 {The main line here is Nxf6+. White can reach that position by playing 8 Nd5 as well. I have discovered some new attacking resources for white following 9 Ng3.} Bg6 {If black plays Bg4 then white should play c3.} 10. h4 {White wins 74% of the time with this aggressive move.} h6 {This creates the escape square of h7 for the bishop but creates a small weakness for white to attack.} 11. Ne5 {White wins 94% of the time he plays this move.} Bh7 {This is forced.} (11. .. Be7 12. Nxg6 fxg6 13. Qe2 Qd6 14. O-O-O Nbd7 15. Bxe6 {and black is in serious trouble.}) 12. Qe2 Qc7 (12. .. Be7 13. Nxf7 Kxf7 14. Qxe6+ Ke8 15. Nf5 Qd7 16. Nxg7+ {Objectively speaking black is doing all right. However, white is having all the fun.}) 13. Bf4 {This is a new move. Before this game 13 0-0-0 was played twice with one win and one draw. 13 Bf4 is an improvement.} Nd5 {This or Qe7 are the best choices for black.} 14. Nh5 {This is strong tobasco.. The bishop on f4 is now defended which means that my knight on e5 is no longer pinned. Also, now the Ne5 can move and reveal an attack on my opponent’s queen. The knight on h4 is threatening two checks and adds to the complexity of black’s problems.} Nxf4 {The obvious choice to render white’s attack impotent. The only problem is that it doesn’t.} 15. Nxf4 Bd6 {Now black is starting to look ok.} 16. Nxf7 {Bam! Looks can be deceiving.} Qxf7 (16. .. Kxf7 17. Nxe6 Qe7 18. Rh3 {and black is in hot water.}) 17. Nxe6 Qf6 {Qe7 is an improvement. White would castle queenside and still be in the driver’s seat.} 18. Rh3 Nd7 {Black could have tried the exciting 13 … b5.} 19. Rf3 Qxh4 20. O-O-O {The white king is perfectly safe. The black king… not so much.} Nb6 21. Bb3 {Allowing my opponent to trade pieces would weaken my attack.} Qe7 {This defensive manoeuvre takes away my discovered check.} 22. Re1 {But sets up other ideas.} Kd7 {This move nearly saved black’s game.} 23. Rf7 {A good chess player must analyze all checks, captures and threats. Without forcing myself to do this I would have missed this killer tactical combination.} Qxf7 {Pretty much forced.} 24. Nc5+ {The purpose of 23 Rf7 is revealed.} Bxc5 25. Bxf7 Bd6 26. Qg4+ {Barry Walker has had enough and resigned here. Hats off to my friend for a hard-fought game} *

An Absolute Pleasure

April 30, 2012

The 2012 USCF Absolute Chess Championship is in full swing. Founded in 1976, this annual tournament’s stated purpose is to determine who is the “absolute” best correspondence chess player in the United States. The USCF Absolute Chess Championship is only open to the strongest thirteen correspondence chess masters who respond to USCF Correspondence Chess Director Alex Dunne’s invitation. All games played in the Absolute Chess Championship are archived in the Correspondence Chess section of the United States Chess Federation’s website.
Below is a list of the entrants for this year’s tournament including your humble reporters name.

1. John Menke 2453
2. Ted Brandhorst 2432
3. Harry Ingersol 2388
4. Dan Woodard 2369
5. Abe Wilson 2347
6. Chris Torres 2325
7. Kristo Miettinen 2321
8. Gordon Magat 2309
9. Danny Horwitz 2271
10. James Rhodes 2268
11. Thomas Connelly 2249
12. Barry Endsley 2246
13. James Sawaski 2167

2006 Golden Knights Chess Championship: The Finals

January 31, 2012

Its been a while since I have posted about my correspondence chess exploits. So far, my most notable achievement is making the Finals for the 2006 Golden Knights Chess Tournament.

The Golden Knights Chess Tournament is the USCF’s open correspondence chess championship. During the preliminary round, contestants are broken into seven player sections. Those who score 4.5/6 or better advance into the semi-final stage. The process is repeated again and the strongest players advance to the finals. Each stage typically lasts 2.5 years and the score totals are weighted giving more value to wins that occur in the later stages.

My section in the finals is 06NF03. This particular section has several elite correspondence chess players. One such player is Abe Wilson. Abe has already won the Golden Knights twice! Another opponent I am facing is the great James Tracz.  James has won every single game he has played so far in the 2006 Golden Knights. Also worth mentioning is the always amicable Barry Walker. I have been paired against Barry two previous times in this tournament and I feel fortunate to have drawn on both occasions.

Americans interested in participating in correspondence chess tournaments should visit:

Below is the wall chart for 06NF03.


No         Name                        Rating      1     2  3    4    5    6    7     Total

1 Abe Wilson


2407 1
2 James Tracz 2401


1 1
3 Chris Torres


2282 1 1
4 Barry Walker


2224 0 1 ½


5 Menahem Ovadya


2206 w W w w w w 0-6
6 Robert Boles


2172 0 ½


7 John Walton



2006 Golden Knights Results

July 8, 2010

Today I received a resignation notice from David Drevinsky in the 2006 USCF Golden Knights Semifinal. This means that I will be advancing to the Finals of this prestigious event.  Below are the crosstables for my section in the 2006 Golden Knights Preliminary and Semifinal rounds. Perhaps at a future date I will post the games I have played.  

Starting Date: 28 October 2006               2006  GOLDEN KNIGHTS PRELIMINARY

Finishing Date:28 April 2009                                      Section  06N37

Steven Fairbairn 2087 = 1F 1 1F 1 0 4.5-1.5
Barry Walker 2039 =   x 1 1 1F 1 = 5-1
Dennis Bullock 1845 0F 0   x 0F 0 0F 0F 0-6
Philip DeAugustino 1711 0 0 1F   x 1F = 0 2.5-3.5
Gary Gallagher 1639 W W 1 W   x 1 W 2-4
Ernest Piunti 1610 0 0 1F = 0   x 0 1.5-4.5
Chris Torres 0000 1 = 1F 1 1F 1   x 5.5-.5

Start Date : 18 January 2008              You are entered in section 06Ns10 of our

End Date:   18 July 2010                              2006 Golden Knight Semifinals

1 Faraday Strock 2242  x 1 0 1 0 1 1 4-2
2 Bruce Reynolds 2189 0  x = = = 1 1 3 ½-2 ½
3 Chris Torres 2173 1 =  x 1 = 1 1 5-1
4 David Drevinsky 2142 0 = 0  x 0 1 1 2.5-3.5
5 Barry Walker 2108 1 = = 1  x 1 1 5-1
6 Norman Cotter 2036 0 0 0 0 0  x 0 0-6
7 John Oberg 1883 0 0 0 0 0 1 1-5


I would like to thank my opponents for the challenge and banter. Also worth mentioning is the tournament director, Alex Dunne, who takes his job very seriously and runs a fantastic tournament. For more information on playing correspondence chess and the Golden Knights tournament please visit:

USCF Top Correspondence Chess Players

June 13, 2010

Below is a list of the United States Chess Federation top 25 correspondence chess players for June 2010. Of personal note is number twelve, Thomas Langland. He is our current Calchess president and very active in the scholastic chess scene of Northern California. In fact, every time I see Tom he is burdened as a chief tournament director at a major scholastic event but still takes the time listen to my concerns. I hope Tom is able to continue as our President because I feel he puts the chess players of California first and avoids the dirty politics that have plagued Calchess in the not so distant past.  Make sure to pay a visit to see what Tom is doing for his local scholastic chess players.

Number 18, Gary Walters, is another  player of personal interest. Gary just finished winning the 2009 USCF Absolute Championship. This is the United States Chess Federation’s strongest correspondence chess tournament held each year. Gary Walters also maintains a wonderfully informative blog  at It is very apparent from his blog that he enjoys chess a great deal and writes from a position of great understanding. I am recommending that USCF members strongly consider casting a vote for Gary Walters so that he can be a part of the next United States Chess Federation Executive Board.

1 Cullum, Chuck (12683996) MA USA 2487
2 Duliba, Edward P (10147310) PA USA 2485
3 O’Hare, Ciaran (12540472) OK USA 2440
4 O’Connell, Christopher Ian (10206600) DE USA 2436
  Van Enk, Steven J (12729266) OR USA 2436
6 Brandhorst, Wesley (10177103) FL USA 2432
7 Wilson, Abe (12483963) HI USA 2412
8 Greene, David F (12547622) NJ USA 2410
9 Cook, Randy (12414122) AZ USA 2401
10 Concha, Hugo J (12464289) FL USA 2398
11 Rose, Bleys W (12405134) CA USA 2394
12 Langland, Thomas P (11236219) CA USA 2390
13 Tracz, James G (12398324) OH USA 2387
14 Brower, Walter J (12416332) AL USA 2379
15 Miettinen, Kristo, Maj (12486315) NY USA 2378
16 Levine, Joel (10099200) NY USA 2374
17 Brack, Frank Edward (12412040) TX USA 2372
18 Schultheis, Donald H, Sr (10183758) MD USA 2367
  Walters, Gary (12617923) OH USA 2367
20 Buss, Michael D (12437668) IN USA 2359
21 Keating, Robert F (12641782) IA USA 2358
22 Daves, Dana Drew, Sr (12395110) NC USA 2357
23 Sogin, David Warren (12546407) KY USA 2354
24 Fass, Robert (10127319) NY USA 2348
  Baffo, Jeffrey (10340195) CO USA 2348


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