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Monday, March 28, 2016

Lechenincher SchachServer 10th Anniversary Tournament

The Lechenicher SchachServer is run by Dr. Ortwin Paetzold. Its name was derived from the name of the small town where it has been programmed, Erftstadt-Lechenich near Cologne, Germany and the tower of the ruins of Castle Lechenich looks like a rook. Lechenicher SchachServer came about in January, 2006 after IECG, which conducted e-mail only tournaments, shut down. IECG was one of the first sites I played on when I returned to chess after a long absence and was looking for an online correspondence site. They started me at my old CCLA rating of 2060 and in my first tournament I finished +0 -4 =2. At first I put the poor results down to the fact that European players were probably better than US players with a similar rating, but after analyzing the finished games with Fritz I realized it was the program my opponents were using! Checking the IECG rules I discovered that they didn't have any rules against engine use and so that's when I got into engine-assisted correspondence chess. 

This type of chess is a different game altogether and it's not for everybody. Blunders are rare and so are tactics. What this type of chess is good for is opening experimentation and for toying around with engines. It's also a good way to study endings because you'll play a lot of them. 

After his 1998 Advanced Chess match against Topalov (3-3 tie) Garry Kasparov observed that “it's all over once someone gets a won position.”  For the most part he was exactly right because once you get in a position where the engine is showing you are about 1.50 Ps behind in the evaluation, resignation is probably in order. However, that may not always be the case, especially in the endgame and on occasion I have won, lost or drawn positions where the engine evaluation was incorrect!  Sometimes opening evaluations are way off, too.

LSS also offers Chess 960 and no-engine tournaments as well as a variety of regular tournaments at different time limits, all for free. So even if you don't want to play engine-assisted games, it has something to offer.  I have never played in their no-engine cup events, but the time limit is 120 days for the whole game and it appears that the majority of the players are lower rated. The LSS interface is also very clean and easy to use.

Registration for the 10th LSS Anniversary is due to start on April 15, 2016 is now open for anyone interested in this type of chess. So far almost 300 players are registered with ratings from under 1000 to over 2200. The event consists of two stages, the Preliminary and the Finals (which will start in January 2017). All players who do not withdraw or not suspended in January can attend both stages. They suspend players who abandon games or make a habit of withdrawing.

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