ICCF Congress, Järvenpää - Finland

From 31 July to 5 August 2011



The 2011 ICCF Congress was hosted by the Finnish Correspondence Chess Federation (FCCF Finland) in celebration of their 50th anniversary.  The venue was the Hotel Scandic, Järvenpää, Finland (the same hotel as in 1991, then under the name Rivoli), between 31 July 2011 and 05 August 2011.  July 30 was reserved for special meetings of the Services Committee, Executive Board, and Management Committees.



The Finnish Correspondence Chess Federation (FCCF Finland) had the honour to invite all ICCF member Chess Federations around the world to participate in the ICCF Congress 2011.

Participants of the Congress and accompanying persons were offered several and interesting excursions. Tuesday: Women were treated to the Art museum of Järvenpää, to the Järvenpää Library and a lecture of the cultural history of Järvenpää (by Mrs. Tuula Siltasari-Peltonen). Wednesday: Women were treated to an excursion to Porvoo, including the Cathedral and Bell tower (cathedral famous for having been burned down multiple times from 200 years ago to most recently 5 years ago by some drunks re-enacting history); Thursday: Congress participants were invited to all all-day excursion to Helsinki and surrounding areas including the Temppeliaukion kirkko (the Rock Church), the Estonian Embassy (hosted by the Ambassad Mart Tarmak) and the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. Friday: Congress participants spent the day seeing some of the Järvenpää cultural places (Ainola, the Sibelius home, and Halosenniemi, the ‘wilderness studio’ of the Finnish painter Pekka Halonen)



Opening the Congress, the ICCF President Eric Ruch (FRA) warmly welcomed all the participants and expressed appreciation for the Finnish Correspondence Chess Federation hosting the 2011 ICCF Congress and all the hard work of the organizers in preparing the accommodations and facilities. 

Summary of the President’s Opening Speech:

It is my great pleasure that an ICCF Congress is being held here in Finland after twenty years, again in the nice city of Järvenpää, and in the very same hotel as twenty years ago. I would like to thank all the members of the committee of the Finnish correspondence chess federation for their dedicated work in for the Congress and especially Esko Nuutilainen who has been instrumental in the long preparation work throughout this year.

For those of you who had the chance to take part to the 1991 Congress will probably remember that this was the occasion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Finnish Correspondence Chess Federation. Today we are all 20 years older and gathered here to celebrate the Gold anniversary (50 years) of the Finnish CC Federation.  Half a century is a major landmark for any federation and I am really proud to be with our Finnish friend this week to celebrate this anniversary! ...


Finnish players have always been very successful in ICCF tournaments, but it will be for a great honour to award the gold medal for the victory in the 1st ICCF Web chess open to Auno Siikaluoma and the title for the 20th World Championship to Pertti Lehikoinen, who are both present with us in this audience. I do not forget that we have also the great pleasure to congratulate another World Champion, Marjan Semrl, and the Delegate from Slovenia who has won the 24th Correspondence Chess World Championship. 

And is this year is very special we will have the unique chance to crown a third World Champion, Ulrich Stephan from Germany who has won the 23rd Correspondence World Championship ....

We will have the pleasure to crown three new world champions but at the same time, ICCF has to suffer the loss of the 13th Correspondence Chess World Champion, Michael Umansky who sadly passed away on December 18th at the early age of 58. Many of you will surely share with me that Umansky was definitely amongst the strongest players that the correspondence chess has seen and the games he had played to win the Jubilee World Champion Tournament in 2001 can be considered as the most beautiful jewels of CC games.

Could I ask you to stand for a moment, in silence, in respect to these CC friends and other players and officials who passed away during the last year. One-minute of silence

While we are celebrating the Gold Jubilee of the Finnish Correspondence Chess Federation, we will also celebrate the Diamond year of ICCF. ICCF is 60 years old or 60 years young.

The last decade from the Gold to the Diamond year have seen many changes in our Federation. Ten years ago, the majority of games were played by email, and only Nol has had the vision of what has now become so common to most of us and to most of ICCF players: the webserver. 

It is hardly possible to imagine today how we could play without the server, but this is only less than 10 years back. So close but also so far away….

More and more National Federation are using the server for their own tournament, the number of players and tournaments are gradually increasing, tournaments like the Direct Entry Anniversary Open, the jubilee World Cups, the veteran World cup have proven to be very successful. New capabilities such as Chess960 have been introduced this year on the server, more work has to be done to ease the registration and payment of players, tournament automation, playing on your Smartphone’s: ICCF has to remain on the lead to offer to the players to best service using the latest technology developments....

For ICCF to remain at the leadership of Correspondence Chess we need the continuous support of all the Member Federations and the involvement of many dedicated volunteers. As you all know, this year is also a year of election during which the Executive Board members will be elected for the period 2012 – 2015. Without the support of dedicated volunteers nothing is possible, but we have to really to understand why there is only one EB member remaining today amongst the six elected four years ago in Benalmadena. This year again, many tasks have been not tackled in Marketing, development of the server, website, which put additional burden on the shoulders of the other officials. Many times, during last Congress, I have reminded you the absolute necessity to find new volunteers and this year will be the same. More volunteers are needed!

Finally I would like to welcome new friends attending Congress for the first time and all delegates, delegation members, accompanying persons and families for coming to Finland and wish them a productive and very enjoyable week here in Järvenpää but we shall not forget all our absent friends that had not been able to come to be with us ……..and now I hereby declare the

40th ICCF Congress, Järvenpää 2011, duly open


Membership matters

ICCF General Secretary, Michael Millstone (USA) reported the following recommended changes to existing membership:

Qatar – recommendation to dismiss from ICCF due to unpaid membership fees for years 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mexico and Togo – recommendation for suspension (no voting rights and removal of tournament entry entitlements for unpaid membership fees for years 2009 and 2010.

Vote on the proposal listed above:  


Unanimous (52)


None (0)

Not Present

None (0)

There was some initial interest expressed in joining ICCF from Cameroon and the Philippines, but after initial consultation, neither was willing to go forward.


The Award of Bertl von Massow Medals

The ICCF President outlined the background and criteria which applied for Bertl von Massow awards: - "Medals in Gold and Silver were awarded respectively for 15 and 10 years of faithful service to ICCF, as the Delegate of a National organisation, as Member of the Executive Board, Management Committee or Commissions, for Zonal organisations or as a Tournament Director, or as Team Captain of a winning or highly placed team in an Olympiad or Continental (Zonal) Team Tournament".  

The ICCF President then announced the names of officials that the ICCF Executive Board had agreed should receive Bertl von Massow awards in 2010. Each recipient (or their respective delegate) came forward to receive medals and certificates, with the acclamation of Congress. In Gold, for 15 years meritorious work for ICCF to: Karel Glaser (CZE), Zdeněk Nývlt (CZE)


In Silver, for 10 years meritorious work for ICCF to: Valer Eugen Demian (CAN), Laurent Tinture (FRA), Attila Kiss (HUN), 

ICCF Honorary Member

ICCF President, Eric Ruch addressed Congress and mentioned that we are indeed fortunate to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Finnish Correspondence Chess Federation.  Not only was  the World Champion, Pertti Lehikoinen (FIN), the 1st Webchess Open Champion, Auno Siikaluoma (FIN) present at Congress, but also a unanimous Executive Board nomination of Esko Nuutilainen (FIN) for his exemplary and honorary service to ICCF for more than 2 decades as ICCF Honorary Member.  The President asked Mr. Nuutilainen to step forward to receive his award to the unanimous standing ovation and approval of the Congress participants.


ICCF - Finland

On Wednesday, a traditional friendly match chess match was held between ICCF and Finland .  

Results were




7,5  - 11,5


1  Virginiyos Dambrauskas LTU 1 : 0  Ari Issakainen FIN
2  Dmitriyos Chocenka LTU ½ : ½  Erkki Havansi FIN
3  Fritz Baumbach GER 0 : 1  Panu Laine FIN
4  Jan Helbich SVK ½ : ½  Martti Kauppinen FIN
5  Alfonsas Kupšys LTU ½ : ½  Pekka Asomäki FIN
6  Carlos Leon Cranbourne ARG ½ : ½  Petri Graeffe FIN
7  Martin Bennedik GER ½ : ½  Tero Sihvonen FIN
8  Alan P. Borwell SCO 0 : 1  Arto Elomaa FIN
9  Guy Bendaña-Guerrero NIC 0 : 1  Heikki Arppi FIN
10  Andrew Dearnley  ENG 0 : 1  Antero Harju FIN
11  Arjen Oudheusden NDL ½ : ½  Leo Hällström FIN
12  Artis Gaujens LAT ½ : ½  Ilkka Salmi FIN
13  Maigonis Avotins LAT 1 : 0  Teppo Moilanen FIN
14  Mariusz Wojnar POL 0 : 1  Seppo Pukkinen FIN
15  Gerhard Binder GER 1 : 0  Olavi Halme FIN
16  Horst Rittner GER ½ : ½  Timo P. Saarinen FIN
17  Josef Mrkvicka CZE ½ : ½  Olavi Riikonen FIN
18  Michael Volf CZE 0 : 1  Raimo Happonen FIN
19  Uwe Staroske GER 0 : 1  Timo Myry TUR


ICCF Blitz Tournament


The traditional ICCF Blitz Match tournament was conducted.  The results were:


1st  place         Chocenka, Dmitriyos (LTU)

2nd place         Kopsa, Petri (FIN)

3rd  place         Laine, Panu (FIN)

4th  place         Baumbach, Fritz (GER)