Correspondence Chess Reminiscence N5


By Eric Ruch


Correspondence Chess on the radio

By Eric RUCH


The internet area has seen the development of correspondence games played
between a coalition of amateurs against a grand-master, as for example the games
played on the ICCF webserver by the former World Champion Tunc Hamarat against
the worldwide CC community. In the past some games have also been played through some chess magazines and I remember that some of the early moves I have sent on a postcard were in a game played by the Europe Echecs readers against Victor Korchno in the beginning of the 80s.

The game on which I will focus now is much older and much more surprising;
it was played almost 60 years ago and is, as far as I know, the only game of this type
that has ever been played on the radio (If someone has information about a similar game
I will be glad to read about it). Of course everybody knows the games played by radio
between the USA and the USSR between the 1st and 4th September 1946, won by the
USSR by 15 to 4 , and all the other matches played during these days in 1946, 1954 and 1955. Probably, the record of the longest distance in CC match played by radio, belongs to the
match Australia vs France in 1946, in which the Australians defeated the French team
by 5 to 4. But the games in these matchs were played on boards ....


M. Jeanton Lamarche was the producer of a weekly chess chronicle on Radio Limoges
(a medium size city located in the central part of France) and he proposed to played a
CC games against the listeners of his magazine, playing one move every week.
For a reason, I do not know, the game has to be adjudicated, and the analysis were done
by the master Eugene Znosko Borovsky.

The whole story, included the games, the adjudication analysis and an interview
of Znosko Borovsky, were published in 1949 by Jeanton-Lamarche in a small 20 page booklets, that I had the chance to find almost by accident....


The Chess on the waves

Radio Limoges against the listeners or a variation of the Ruy Lopez

3 December 1948 12 August 1949




Every Thursday

On 19h50

On Radio Limoges (463m)


J.-M. Jeanton Lamarche


Foreword by J.M. Jeanton- Lamarche


When on October 29th, 1948, I started my fist chess magazine on Radio Limoges,
my sole ambition was to provide chess new to all amateurs of the Chess League of
Limousin (a region located in the central part of France. Eric Ruch). I had only 5 minutes
to give the most important information of the local chess activity. 

But the 100 kW power of the emitter of Nieul, allowed a much larger diffusion
of the magazine, much beyond the border of our province, and I got many answers,
some coming from very far away, to the chess problem on November, 19th.  I has then the
idea to play a correspondence game against the listeners.

I may add, that I have preferred to start on the waves with such a game,
rather that a problem or an study tourney,  because I had the feeling that a
consultation game was more spectacular and that it could be a wonderful way to
advertise the chess game and the 1494 letters I have received from France, Algeria and
Belgium were the clear demonstration that I was right.


November 1949.




J.M. Jeanton-Lamarche Listeners of Radio Limoges [C82]

Analysis by Eugene  Znosko Borovsky


1.e4 e5 2.f3 c6 3.b5 a6 4.a4 f6 5.0-0 xe4 6.d4 b5 7.b3 d5 8.dxe5 e6 9.c3

The current trend is 9.e2



This move has been played quite frequently since the end of the war, but seems now to be regularly replace by the more solid : 9...e7




The Motzko variation: 10.d3 was once considered as the refutation of the early development of the bishop c5,  but is now considered harmless.


10...0-0 11.c2 f5

The Dillworth variation11...xf2 12.xf2 f6 quite popular after the war, is almost completely forgotten nowadays.



White could have played 12.exf6 in order to avoid future complications,


12...b6 13.bd4 xd4 14.xd4 xd4 15.cxd4 f4 16.f3 g3

This nice combination is known since 1882 and the game Flessig Mackenzie, and is very popular since the game Smyslov Reshevsky, radio match USSR USA, 1945.





It seems quite mandatory to accept the sacrifice. 17.e1 h4 is not quite satisfactory (Isbinski - Wiakhirev, 1909).


17...fxg3 18.d3 f5

Black captures the Queen, but its attack is stopped. But he cannot play 18...h4 due to 19.xh7+; nor: 18...g6 in due to 19.e3 h4 20.h6 with advantage to White.


19.xf5 xf5 20.xf5 h4 21.h3 xd4+ 22.h1 xe5

The real fight starts now, because it is not clear up to now, who has the better position, and how White should continue the game.

It is generally played 22...xe5 23.d2 c5 24.fe1 (better than 24.ae1 ) 24...xb2 25.e6+ etc.

White has to demonstrate the strength of its four pieces, before Black can move its pawns by taking the adverse g3 pawn as soon as possible to get rid of the checkmate threat.



The idea to protect the b2 pawn is not bad and surely worth the tempo it requires.



23...c5 24.d2 f8 25.f4

One could prefer 25.fe1 that might seem risky at a first glance, in view of Blacks answer: 25...h5 (25...d4 26.c3; 25...f6 26.e6 h4 27.f4) 26.g1 (White could play: 26.f4 threatening 26...-- 27.e5 doubling the rooks.) 26...xf3 27.gxf3 xh3 with Queen and seven pawns against two Rooks, Bishop and three pawns.

In these variations, the g3  pawn cannot be taken. Maybe, White has just played the text move in order to capture it by f3?

But Whites plan is more subtle. They create a strong position for the Bishop and they have to decide between different strategies.


25...e2 26.a5

I remember that I have already seen this move, but I cannot give more details.



This move seems useless, because the Bishop will never try to come back. Nevertheless, it allows the Queen to come to d2 after White rooks attack.

f8 could have been played.

d5-d4 would be a mistake, due to the reply 27.b6 et 26...c4 cause de 27.c3. But f6 would not be a bad idea. Here also, different strategies could be adopted.



Whites plan becomes clear. The Bishop will move to e5 where he becomes very powerful. Black has to find a way to counter Whites plan, since the pawns are stopped.



If Black plays immediately: 27...g5 then 28.fe1 h5 29.fxg5 xg5 30.d6


28.e5 g5

A courageous move, that destroys the superiority of Whites pieces, but leads to an endgame which is not in Blacks favor.


29.be1 gxf4 30.g1

If: 30.xf4 xf4



If: 30...h4 31.e6+ f7 32.xf7+ etc.


31.xf4 xe5

Wisely played, because otherwise Whites pieces would attack the Black King as did Smyslov in his win against Reshevsly.


32.xe5 xe5 33.g4+ f7 34.xg3 c4 35.f2 d4 36.f3+ e7



An easy endgame at first sight, but very difficult to adjudicate. It is necessary to analyse very deeply each variation and after more than 20 moves, one get a new endgame Rook + Pawn vs Rook for instance, but which outcome is again not very clear.

Every player has at each move,  a lot of a good candidates moves, and it seems not possible to give a final verdict. And many possible variation will be missed!

One may think that, if the game would be played on the board, White would have good chance to win, and maybe would have tried to win, I do not forget what Tartakower told me while looking at this position : they could also lose as easily

Anyway, here are the analysis I submit to all chessfriends, and I congratulate the listeners of Radio Limoges, although I do not know if they were playing Black or White). Their main problem was that the move was decided by the majority of the votes, and they have never made a gross blunder and have followed a plan without losing the track.


Start of the adjudication analysis



37.f4 d5 38.e4+ f6 (38...d8 39.e6) 39.e6+ g5 40.xa6 d3 41.e1 c3 42.bxc3 bxc3 43.c6 d2+ 44.d1 d3 (threatening e3 et e1+) 45.c5+ f4 46.c4+ g3 47.g4 xg2 48.a4

48.c2 d1+ 49.xd1 d2+ 50.b3 (50.c1 xa2 draw.) 50...xd1 51.xc3 draw.


48...h5 49.xh5 h3 50.e2 h1+ 51.c2 c1+ 52.b3 d1+ 53.xd1 xd1 54. xc3 and White seems to have secured the win because Blacks King is cut and far away from the passed pawn.






37...d3 38.xc4 e2+ 39.f3 xb2

40.e3 d2 (40...xa2 41.xb4) 41.e2 a5 42.f5 xa2 (42...h6 43.c2) 43.c2 (43.xh7 d1+ 44.xd1 xg2) 43...b3 44.xd2 a4 45.xh7 a3 and Black wins.



On this variation, White has to aim for a draw, they can easily get by playing

40.f5 40...d2 41.e2 xa2 42.xb4 d1+ 43.xd1 xg2 draw.




37...a5 38.a3 bxa3 39.bxa3 xa3 40.xd4 c3 41.c4 and White seems to be able to play for a win?






37.f5 e4 (37...xf5+ 38.xf5 h6 39.b3 and wins.) 38.d5 d3 39.b3 e2+ 40.f3 xa2 41.bxc4 b3 42.xd3 b2 43.d7+ f6 44.b7 a5 45.c5 a4 46.c6 a3+ 47.f4 b3 48.xb3 axb3 49.f5 wins.







40...c3 41.xd3 xa2 42.d7+ (42.f5 c2 43.d7+ f6) 42...f6 43.xh7 a3
44.h6+ g7 45.b6 a5 46.b5 (46.e6 a4 47.bxa4 c2+) 46...xb3 47.xa5 c2+

and wins. It is dangerous to capture the h7 pawn on move 43.




Instead of that move, White should play: 43.e3 43...b2 44.xh7 xb3 45.h6+ e5
46.xa6 a3 47.b6 (
47.c6 b3 48.xc3 b2 49.xa3 b1) 47...b3 48.b5+ f6 49.f5 c2 50.d2 a1



51.xc2 bxc2 52.xc2 a2+ 53.b2 xb2+ 54.xb2 g5 55.c2 g4 56.d2 g3 57.e2 xg2 draw.




38.g3 d3 39.f1 d2 40.e2 d6 (40...c3 41.bxc3 bxc3 42.c5) 41.f4 c3
42.bxc3 bxc3 43.d1
(43.xe4 c2) 43...e1 44.c4 xd1 45.xc3 f1+



But 41.f8 (threatening c8) will force Black to repeat the moves 41...d7 42.f5 d6 etc.


These are only a very limited number of variations I have analyzed and each of them
has a multitude of branches. In view of this huge number of possibility, it was
impossible to draw a definite conclusion and I had to declare a draw.

I ask all chess amateurs, to analyze this endgame more deeply that I have done,
and to publish their analysis in the chess magazine....

Eugene Znosko Borovsky.


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