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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

History of the ICCF

Dr. Hornstein and his wife in 1959
     The International Correspondence Chess Federation was founded in 1951. Before that, in Berlin in 1928, several European countries formed the International Fernschachbund. Between 1928 and 1939 their championship tournaments featured not only the best postal player but OTB players like Paul Keres, Erich Eliskases and Dr. Milan Vidmar.
     In 1935 the IFSB began holding postal Olympiads, or team championships. In 1937 Alekhine, well known for postal play in his youth, suggested a a world correspondence championship be held starting in 1940, but World War II came along. With almost no postal play taking place during the war, it wasn't until December, 1945 that the IFSB was resurrected, but in the form of the International Correspondence Chess Association. During the remainder of the 1940s the ICCA offered tournaments organized into several classes as well as endgame tournaments in which games started from specific positions.
     The first ICCA magazine, ICCA Resume, advertised a world championship tournament beginning in June of 1947. Before that could happen volunteers disappeared due to what the British referred to as “internal strains.” The magazine, now renamed Chess Mail, ceased publication and for several months things ground to a halt. Since the British had been handling most of the ICCA's administration several British players got together and drafted a new Constitution and in the spring of 1951 there was a meeting in London and the new organization was named the Internatioal Correspondence Chess Federation and Chess Mail was the magazine.
     German was selected as the official language and the German postal club BdF began running the European tournaments. The German magazine Fernschach had ceased publication in 1939, but it was restarted in 1951 and in 1956 it became the official ICCF publication.
     In this game the players were K. Kausek, a member of the Czechoslovak teams that were very successful in the CC Olympiads. They finished second in the First Olympiad (1949-1952) and were winners in the Second Olympiad (1952-1955). The players were Paroulek, Hukel, Kausek, Borsony, Olexa, and Skrovina, with Karel Prucha as Team Captain.
     Norman Hornstein (November 27, 1914, New York City - July 26, 1989, Southport, North Carolina) was a medical doctor from Southport, North Carolina and the 1960 North Carolina State Champion. In 1967, his home was destroyed in a fire. Lost in the blaze was an estimated $70,000 worth of art treasures, including the entire collection of paintings by Hornstein's wife, Gilliam, and 20 watercolors and drawings by famous artist and sculptur Sir Jacob Epstein. Hornstein was admitted to the hospital with burns and other injuries, but the rest of the family escaped unharmed; he made a full recovery.
     Dr. Hornstein was known for his kindness towards his patients and he never turned anyone away just because they could not afford to pay, though sometimes he would receive items for his services. One such item was a skunk.
     His wife, herself a gifted artist, was actively involved in the arts and was one of the founders of the Art Festival in Southport. Some of her artwork was on display in the traveling North Carolina Artists Exhibition. In 1958 she was the women's champion of North and South Carolina.

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