ICCF Congress, Leeds - England

13 - 19  September 2009


The ICCF Congress 2008, in conjunction with meetings of the Executive Board and Management Committee, took place in the Village Hotel, Headingley, Leeds, England

The Congress was arranged by the 

Britisch Federation for Correspondence Chess (BFCC)

The opening banquet, hosted by BFCC, was held in Weetwood Hall and was most enjoyable.  There was a presentation by Tim Harding (IRL), describing his research project and forthcoming book on the history of correspondence chess in Britain and Eric Ruch (FRA) presented an illustrated story about the first international CC match between London and Paris 175 years ago.

Participants of the Congress and accompanying persons were offered excursions to York and Harewood House and there was a well organised programme for the accompanying ladies and families to Harrogate and other attractions. There was a chess match with a Yorkshire Chess Team and a traditional ICCF blitz tournament


The ICCF President Eric Ruch (FRA) replied to the warm welcome of GM Richard Hall and much appreciated the presence of the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott and her kind words of welcome.

He expressed pleasure that an ICCF Congress was being held in England, for the first time since Richmond 1989.

England was probably the country with the longest and richest history in CC. The first ever CC match between two chess clubs, had been played between London and Edinburgh Chess Club between 1824 and 1828 and the first ever international CC match between London Chess Club and “Le Cercle de Philidor” of Paris, took place 175 years ago.

Not only England but also Leeds had a very long tradition in CC. In 1825 Leeds defeated the Liverpool Chess Club and were again victorious in a 4 game match against the Liverpool Club at the end of the 1830s. One of the first national correspondence chess associations was founded in England in 1906 with the British Correspondence Chess Association and the British Correspondence Chess Championship has been played since 1921 without interruption, In 1952 the first British Correspondence Chess League Championship and, in 1954, the first British Correspondence Chess Team Championship were started and have been held consecutively ever since.

In 1962 the BPCF (British Postal Chess Federation) was formed as the governing body for Great Britain and since 1991 had represented England internationally. In 1999, BPCF was replaced by the BFCC (British Federation for Correspondence Chess) acknowledging that post was no longer the sole way of playing CC.

British and English teams have been very successful in the ICCF Olympiads: 3rd places in Olympiad V (1965-68), Olympiad VII (1972-76) and Olympiad VIII (1977-82). In 1987, the last British team to play in an Olympiad event (afterwards separate English, Scottish and Welsh teams participated in Olympiads) won the 9th Olympiad in 1987.

The ICCF President acknowledged the great work of the late Reg Gillman who had been delegate for the federation representing Great Britain and subsequently England and Rules Commissioner of ICCF for many years before his untimely death in 1997 and also to Alan Rawlings, who had succeeded Reg as delegate for England and was an excellent General Secretary of ICCF from 1999-2003.

The ICCF President then referred to all CC friends who had passed away since the last Congress and mentioned, in particular, Erik Larsson (SWE) founding member and only recipient of an ICCF Lifetime Achievement Award for over 60 years service to international correspondence chess;  Robin Smith (USA), Tournament Organiser and Arbiter for many events, Alexander Alpert (RUS) and Carlo Alberto Pagni (ITA) chess historian and publisher of several books on CC History and a member of ICCF’s Historical Research Committee. Delegates then stood in silence to the memory of these and all other departed CC friends.

The ICCF President welcomed new friends attending a Congress for the first time and all delegates, partners and families for coming to England and he wished them a very happy time in Leeds.  He also referred to absent friends who had not been able to come to the 2009 Congress

Since last year’s Congress, several Executive Board members had resigned, including President Med Samraoui, and also the ICCF Auditor. They had all done excellent work for ICCF and should be thanked for their achievements.

He sincerely hoped that the elections and other appointments to be made during the Congress would be the last until the current Executive Board’s mandate would expire in 2011.

The 2009 congress would be particularly important in setting foundations of the new CC World Championship cycle. We should never forget the ICCF motto of: “Amici Sumus” (we are friends), all having a common passion for CC. We sometimes have diverging views and heated discussions amongst us, but we all love CC, and that is our only guide.

ICCF was the worldwide organisation for CC and its major tasks were to continue to attract more new players and member federations, develop closer relationships with other clubs and organisations and work closely with FIDE.

The ICCF President declared the ICCF 2009 Congress, Leeds, England duly opened and asked all to stand while the ICCF Anthem was played. There followed some lively traditional entertainment by Leeds Morris Dance group.

The ICCF President then made his introductory remarks before the start of the 2009 Congress meetings, describing plans for dealing with agenda items and an amended agenda was described/displayed. He informed Congress that ICCF Honorary President, Alan Borwell, had agreed to carry out the duties of 2009 Congress Secretary.

Membership matters

The ICCF President referred to the General Secretary’s Report and described the action which had been taken with the suspension from 1/1/2009 of 7 member federations which had not paid long outstanding fees, namely Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kenya, Turkmenistan, Tunisia and Venezuela.  Chile had not paid its old debts by 31/12/2008, but had promised to pay them in full in early 2009, which they did, and the Executive Board decided not to activate their suspension.  Ecuador and Tunisia also subsequently paid their old debts and an application according to ICCF Statutes paragraph 2.2 had been received from Ecuador and their re-admission was approved by the Congress.

The President would contact Tunisia to determine whether they wished to seek re-admission to ICCF membership. 

A formal application had been received from Cape Verde (CPV) but it was noted that it was not a FIDE member and therefore should not be granted full membership (Statute 2.1), but could be offered membership as an affiliated club (Statute 2.9) but without voting, nomination or team entry rights.

The ICCF President reported that a membership form had been designed for new applications

World CC Championship, Olympiad, European Team Championship

The traditional World Correspondence Chess Champion’s engraved Plate was presented to the delegate for Norway for Ivar Bern, winner of World Correspondence Chess Championship XVII, as had been announced in Pleven.  

Medals and certificates were also presented for the runner up in World Championship Final XIX

Frank Gerhardt (GER) and third placed Aleksey Lepikhov (UKR)  

The ICCF President presented medals and certificates to the Norway team, which had won the Olympiad XV Final.

The ICCF President presented medals and certificates to the delegates of the medalists of the

6th European Team Championship - 1st Germany ,  2nd Lithuania ,  3rd Czech Republic

The Award of Bertl von Massow Medals

The Bertl von Massow medal in Gold was awarded to: Carlos Flores Gutiérrez (ESP)  for 15 years meritorious work for ICCF.

The Bertl von Massow medal in Silver was awarded to: Carlos Cranbourne (ARG), J. Franklin Campbell (USA),  Yoav Dothan (ISR), Artis Gaujens (LAT), Josef Mrkvicka (CZE), Tim Runting (AUS), Guillermo F. Toro Solis de Ovando (CHI) for 10 years meritorious work for ICCF