Dreaming of Manchester!
by ICCF-IM Valer Eugen Demian
2001 was an unusual year for our society. It
proved to be a turning point generations to come will
remember for quite a few reasons. The correspondence chess
community will also remember it as the year of the Rimini
congress. Oh yes, Rimini! Who can forget that? Any report
did not offer justice to the incredible experience our
Italian friends offered us all. It was the congress when the
ICCF Server project was launched, where Mr Shri H. J.
Samtani (India) spoke so many times with wisdom, as well as
when Chris Lueers (Germany) launched the ICCF Champions
League. I remember like it was last week how excited people
were to be part of such new concept of team play regardless
of nationality; some teams were already assembling their
line-ups before the congress was over!
The qualification season is coming to an end. Twenty
something games deciding the last qualification spots are
being adjudicated this summer, as we all get ready to move
ahead to serious divisional competition this November 2004.
All 22 qualified teams for division A have already confirmed
their participation. It is going to be a tough battle there
considering there will be one group left after the 2004-2006
season. Division B teams have confirmed their participation
in an overwhelming number. Divisions C and D will also offer
a good challenge for anyone.
Looking back at the season winding down it is hard to choose
a defining moment; there have been so many! Allow me to do
my subjective top 5 list as I recall them.
1. This is a competition reflecting the true spirit of
"Amici Sumus" and it comes from the essence of assembling
participating teams based on friendship and not national
flags. Hope I am not in minority when I am pleased to see
the multicultural spirit - backbone of our Canadian society
- spread into the World of correspondence chess. Each one of
us has something to offer, to bring their particularities
into a reacher, friendlier family.
2. The World Wide Web is the virtual paper of the new
century. ICCF-CL has also been touched by this angel. I can
remember the pleasure of seeing its dedicated webpages
prepared and updated like nothing else before by Klaus Wrba
(Germany). The bar has been raised in ICCF from that time
3. The excitement of the league spread like wildfire on
TCCMB and several websites accross the World. Let's not
forget the gauntlet thrown down by team CC.COM with their
website and logo. It was just a matter of time until others
caught up with it. Franklin Campbell (USA) came with the
idea of gathering all logos and website links; now this is
the cement holding together and inspiring players all around
our corrrespondence chess community.
4. Have you had your dose of trash-talk yet? It proved to be
an attractive feature on TCCMB and some teams websites. It
brought into the league a new dimension of competition,
something not seen in other ICCF competitions. Of course
some do not like it, so for them it came the "Fortune
Teller" virtual crystal ball. Too bad we didn't have the
manpower to keep it going more often.
5. Forget for a minute the pain of sending your intention to
play for your national team, just to know XX GMs will anyway
be selected before you. When was the last time you've been
named team captain and could make decisions on behalf of
your team? John Knudsen (USA) gave the league its first
team/ player finder facility, one we now dream of improving
to an interesting "player transfer" facility comparable with
soccer, hockey, or basketball.
I am sure each one of you reading this has his own selection
of top moments, as well as of low moments. Let's not go over
there for now. If you have suggestions, critiques, or want
to offer everyone something you would like to see, please
don't be shy and let us know! Do not wait for others to do
it for you, but do as those ones who made the league
I am going to stop now with a short summary of the most
important achievements in the league during the qualifying
season, achievements put together by Marius Ceteras (ROM).
More details of these achievements can be found on TCCMB and
on this page !.
a) More than 50 ICCF title norms have been scored from LIM
b) A tournament performance rating of 2900 has been scored
by Vladimir Napalkov (Chess Victory, Russia) in group 2,
c) The only 100% score 10/10 has been scored by the same
Vladimir Napalkov (Chess Victory, Russia) to ensure a 5
point overall margin of victory for his team
d) Top 100 tournament performance rating does not go below
2474 and sees players of a wide spectrum of chess abilities
who raised their playing level in the league.
Have I got you excited yet? Want to become the Manchester
United of correspondence chess? There's only one thing you
need to do: get into the league this fall! Registrations
start July 1st, 2004.