ICCF Congress, Benalmadena - Spain

20th  October  to  26th  October 2007

 Photo: Marco Caressa


The ICCF Congress 2007, in conjunction with meetings of the Executive Board and Management Committee, took place in the Hotel Alay, Benalmadena, Spain

The Congress was arranged and hosted by the 

Correspondence Chess Federation of Spain (AEAC)

The facilities in the Congress Hotel were excellent 
and the location and amenities were outstanding

Participants of the Congress and accompanying persons were offered an extensive programme of events, which included excursions to Granada and The Alhambra and to Gibraltar, and there were guided tours for accompanying ladies and families to Malaga and Mijas. There was a chess match with Malaga Chess Club and a traditional ICCF blitz tournament


Opening the Congress, the ICCF President Med Samraoui responded to the warm welcome of AEAC President, Josep Mercadal Benejam and Mr. Cirilo Gutiérrez, President of the Malaga Chess Federation, and he expressed pleasure that an ICCF Congress was being held in Spain for the first time in ICCF’s history. He referred to the famous Andalusia tourist area on the Costa del Sol (the sunny coast) and said he had an affinity with the area, as he was currently preparing a publication for the Cordoba Foundation, which was promoting peace and tolerance between religions. He provided an interesting summary of the social, cultural, intellectual and spiritual history of Andalucía and that the region had been a pioneer in the renaissance of the modern Europe. Many famous sporting teams and celebrities had come from Spain and he mentioned, in particular, Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas, who were natives of Malaga. Chess in Andalucía had a great reputation and cities like Sevilla and Linares had hosted world championships and many prestigious tournaments with the participation of the greatest players on the planet. The ICCF President acknowledged the work of the late Carlos Ros Miró, who had been ICCF delegate and President of the CC Commission with the Spanish Chess Federation for over 35 years. The AEAC was created in 2002 by Carlos Flores Gutiérrez and Cecilio Hernáez and CC in Spain had progressed with great success with players achieving many new titles, including Spain’s first three Grandmasters! The AEAC had been one of the most enthusiastic collaborators with the ICCF Webserver system and Spain had the highest number of webserver players, with all of its national tournaments on the system. He then made special reference to the outstanding work of Carlos Flores Gutiérrez as ICCF Treasurer from 1995 until 2003, for developing its excellent accounting system and for coming to ICCF’s rescue by preparing accounting statements and ICCF Accounts for 2006. Carlos had been the inspiration in bringing an ICCF Congress to Spain and he was congratulated and thanked for his initiative. The ICCF President referred to all dear CC friends who had passed away since the last Congress and mentioned, in particular, GM Ernst Eichhorn (SUI), André DeVriendt (CAN) and William Roach (CAN). Delegates then stood in silence to the memory of all departed CC friends. The ICCF President welcomed new friends attending Congress for the first time and all delegates, partners and families for coming to Spain and he wished them a very happy time in Benalmádena. He also referred to absent friends who had not been able to come to the 2007 Congress and made special reference to the sad circumstances of Dmitry Lybin, who had been refused a visa to attend. He hoped that elections to the new Executive Board would enable him to continue plans he had when appointed in 2005. Some tasks had been very demanding, like webserver issues, the organisation of World CC Championships and finance matters – where reaching consensus had proved to be difficult. However, excellent progress had been made with the new cycle of the Champions League, where Valer Eugen Demian and his collaborators were to be congratulated. Fantastic work was being done by Marketing Commissioner, Michael Blake with ICCF Amici, CBM articles, ICCF Forum and updating and further improving the ICCF website. Alan Borwell, Gerhard Binder and Gino Figlio had made very good progress with the webserver and the Finance Committee and particularly Carlos Flores, had improved financial matters and ICCF finances and funds were very healthy and in capable hands. Congress would need to discuss important issues like the World CC Championships and some rules matters and there would be discussion groups in the afternoon on these topics. The ICCF President then declared the ICCF 2007 Congress, Benalmádena, Spain duly opened and asked all to stand whilst the ICCF Anthem was played. There was then an enjoyable musical and traditional dancing performance provided a local band/folk group. The ICCF President then made some introductory remarks at the beginning of the Congress meetings describing the plans for dealing with agenda items and an amended agenda was described/displayed. He informed Congress that the Deputy President & Development Director, George Pyrich, would perform the duties of Membership & Services Director (who was unable to be in attendance), for the duration of the 2007 Congress.

The elections

ICCF President: Med Samraoui (GER) (unanimous)  
General Secretary: Pedro Hegoburu (ARG) 28 votes (elected), Josef Mrkvicka (CZE) 23 votes  
Finance Director: Hans-Jürgen Isigkeit (GER) (by substantial majority)  
World Tournament Director: Frank Geider (FRA) (unanimous)  
Marketing Director: Michael Blake (ENG) (by substantial majority)  
Services Director: Gino Figlio (PER) (by substantial majority)  


Membership matters

The Deputy President & Development Director reported, on behalf of the Membership and Services Director, that the federations from Togo and Ivory Coast had applied for ICCF membership. Following consideration, the applications were approved by the Congress and the federations from Togo and Ivory Coast were welcomed as the 67th and 68th members of ICCF.

The ICCF President, on behalf of the Executive Board, proposed that ICCF Honorary Membership be awarded to Gian-Maria Tani (ITA), in recognition of his substantial contribution to ICCF and international correspondence chess for 30 years. The proposal was carried unanimously and with acclamation by Congress.

A certificate and medal was presented to the delegate for the Netherlands in respect of new World Correspondence Chess Champion XXI - J.J. van Oosterom (NED). Congress acclaimed the new World Champion and noted that the traditional trophy would be prepared, following completion of the tournament, and presented to the new World Champion at the 2008 ICCF Congress.


The Award of Bertl von Massow Medals

The Bertl von Massow medal in Gold was awarded to: Sergey Grodzensky (RUS), George Pyrich (SCO),  Hendrik Sarink (NED) and Lembit Vahesaar (EST) for this meritorious work in the organization of ICCF for more than 15 years. 

The Bertl von Massow medal in Silver was awarded to: Sultan Mohammed Al-Kuwari (QAT), Dario Biella-Bianchi (PER), Ian Brooks (ENG), Marco Caressa (ITA), Duncan Chambers (ENG), Ruth Ann Fay (USA), Frank Geider (FRA), Gerard van den Haak (NED), Antonio J.Macchia (URU), Søren Peschardt (DEN), Jo Wharrier (ENG),  for this meritorious work in the organization of ICCF for more than 10 years.  .


ICCF Blitz Tournament


 SIM Buraschi Osvaldo


 IM Francisco javier Muñoz Moreno


 IM Buchnicek Petr


Match: ICCF - Chess Club Malaga   9 - 7

1  Buchnicek (CZE) - Salcedo Mederos (CUB)


2  Baumbach (GER) - Bendana (NCG)


3  Palciauskas (USA) - Buraschi (ARG)


4  Semrl (SLO) - Munoz (ESP)


5  Helbich (SLK) - Martin (ESP) 1-0
6  Avotins (LAT) - Rubio Doblan (ESP) 1-0
7  Pyrich (SCO) - Sanchez Ybanguen (ESP) 1-0
8  Marinov (BUL) - Lara Ruiz (ESP) 1-0
9  Dearnley (ENG) - Ramos Moreno (ESP)


10  Arppi (FIN) - Lopez Valverde (ESP)


11  Binder (GER) - Camedo Dominguez (ESP)


12  Soltau (GER) - Suarez (ESP) ½-½
13  Isigkeit (GER) - Dopino (ESP) ½-½
14  Rotova (EST) - Moura (POR) 0-1
15  Boger (NOR) - Drake (ESP) 1-0
16  Riikonen (FIN) - Hall (ENG) 0-1