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A System To Avoid Errors In Correspondence Chess

stampby John C. Knudsen

John C. Knudsen is a Senior International Master, with an ICCF rating of 2443. Mr. Knudsen has been a correspondence (postal and email) chessplayer since 1978.

While these tips were written for postal CC players, they are applicable to email chess as well. (Adapted from advice by C.J.S. Purdy.)

Originally posted at, and republished with the author's permission.

  1. Write the received/sent date on your opponent's card.

  2. Maintain a notebook (bound or loose-leaf) for your analysis of the games. (Download a score sheet in Word 6 format or PDF.)

  3. Play through the game from the start, every time. Don't use recorders or computer programs to keep track of your games.

  4. How has my opponent's move changed the position?

  5. In a bad positionConduct a review of the position, looking for the following items:

    1. How many more moves must I make to be fully developed?

    2. Is my King safe?

    3. Do I have a good pawn position?

    4. What are my opponent's threats?

    5. Examine every check, no matter how absurd looking

    6. Are any combinations possible?

    7. Write down your analysis in your notebook.

  6. Determine if you need to do more research on the position. If so, repeat item 5.

  7. Make a preliminary decision on your move - then wait a day.

  8. Look at your move again, paying particular attention to how it changes the position.

  9. Mail your move.

  10. While waiting for your opponent's move, examine the possibilities that exist in the position, from his point of view. Make notes if necessary.

Though this system may seem cumbersome at first, you will soon realize that not all steps are necessary every move. If you use this system, I believe you will cut down your mistakes drastically.