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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Correspondence vs. OTB Chess

I have always been primarily a correspondence player. That’s because when I first learned to play chess I lived in the middle of nowhere and playing in tournaments was difficult. Then came 4 years in the military followed by a job that required working long hours, so OTB chess was never a practical alternative. Also, I always preferred the slower pace of CC. Then there is the fact that I was able to play at a much higher level in correspondence chess. As Walter Muir once said, “Only in correspondence chess can an amateur chess player, earning his living in another profession, even attain master class level of play.”

At the same time, I have to agree with Jeremy Silman who said, “I have always found postal players to be a bit out of touch with the realities surrounding chess understanding - they usually feel that their form of chess is better, more pure, more accurate, and…(their self congratulations seems to go on and on and on). My angst towards postal chess began when I read that many postal aficionados honestly felt that a postal World Champion would beat an over-the-board World Champion in a postal game. The postal caste never seemed to realize that their understanding of chess as a whole was so far below any over-the-board World Champion’s as to make the argument virtually laughable.” Obviously Silman doesn’t think too much of us correspondence players, but on the whole, he is correct, I think.

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