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After returning to chess in 2004 after a 12 year hiatus one of the first servers I played on was IECG but they stopped operations on 31st December, 2010. The reason given was there was a great decline in the popularity of e-mail chess. That was how all games were played…you got e-mails from your opponents. Most of us downloaded and used a special program that automatically did the paperwork: thing like recording moves, times and such. Some time before they ceased operations everything was transferred to Lechenicher SchachServer Server (LSS). You get an e-mail when your opponent has moved and all you have to do there is log on and go to your homepage which has all your information on the server. The server has an excellent performance, a powerful communication system, and supports several languages. It also covers a full range of Tournaments. The organization is run by a person named Dr. Ortwin Paetzold, who was one of the IECG founders.
As you know, ICCF, the official world CC organization, allows computer use. They decided not to make any rule on this topic because a non-enforceable rule is worse that no rule at all. Both IECG and LSS have adopted the same policy. The ICCF is recognized by FIDE as the world governing body for correspondence chess: ICCF makes rules, awards titles and runs the most comprehensive and authoritative CC rating list. Normally you have to pay entry fees to enter ICCF events but LSS play is totally free.
Most tournaments at LSS are 30 days for 10 moves (plus 45 days vacation) so games can take a LONG time. For me though, this is no worse than it was back in the old post card says. However, I must admit, it can be annoying when a player has built up his time and has 60 or 70 days remaining in his time bank. That means he could take 60-70 days on one move. They do have other time limits though. Occasionally they offer “no engine” tournaments where it is presumed nobody will use one. LSS runs its own championship tournaments and awards titles, but I don’t think anyone takes them seriously.
Tournament offerings cover the full range of IECG Server Tournaments (Server Tournaments with 40days/10 moves time control, Rapid Tournaments with a 10days+1day/move control) but also Open Groups without Rating Restrictions (mainly for new players, 20days+2 days/move Time Control) and Two-Game-Matches (also at 20days+2days/move) and once a year the Lechenicher SchachServer Anniversary (30days+2days/move). Information, Rules, etc. can be displayed in several languages. Only the communication between players during a game cannot be translated.
Unlike most servers, you play under your real name there and when you register, you will be asked to provide a starting rating from another organization. If you don’t have one you will be assigned a rating of only 800 so it’s unlikely at that rating you will be playing engine users, I would think. One bad thing I have noticed is that it often takes a long time for tournament sections to fill up. On the other hand games start as soon as at least two people are registered. Why would you want to play there? You probably don’t unless you want to test your skills in computer assisted chess or you have an engine you want to try out.
Lechenicher ScachServer Link