ICCF Congress, Mumbai, India

31st October - 6th November 2004


The 2004 Congress, in conjunction with meetings of the ICCF Executive Board and the Management Committee, took place in The Retreat Hotel, Mumbai, India from 31st October to 6th November 2004.

The Congress was arranged and hosted by the All India Correspondence Chess Federation (AICCF) and the Hotel facilities and hospitality offered by AICCF, were excellent.


Participants of the Congress, and accompanying families and friends, were offered an extensive programme of events, including an excursion to the fascinating City of Mumbai and a visit to the ancient sculptured rock caves on Elephanta Island.  There was also a programme for ladies and families provided by the hosts.

There was the traditional ICCF Blitz Tournament, a Simultaneous exhibition by GM Pravin Thipsay (IND) and an OTB chess match against players from the Mumbai Chess Club and AICCF.

An optional post Congress excursion was also arranged by AICCF to the “golden triangle” cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, which was greatly appreciated

  The President J. Mrkvička (CZE) took the chair.

President's opening speech

ICCF President Josef Mrkvička (CZE) emphasised that for the first time in the ICCF history, the ICCF Congress was being hosted in India and in the Asian continent, and he expressed heartiest thanks, also in the Hindi language, to the AICCF for inviting ICCF to their country.

He remembered the late Mr. Haresh J. Samtani, past President of AICCF, who had attended the ICCF Congress at Rimini 2001, Italy and was the spiritual father of the idea to organise the ICCF Congress in India and expressed sadness that, because of his unexpected death two years ago, he could not see how his ideas had been realised.  He highlighted some achievements of the AICCF in the years since the affiliation of AICCF to ICCF in 1997, in particular their excellent Bulletin published quarterly, regular national championships, friendly international matches with many other ICCF national federations, Indian participation in the CC Olympiads, as well as a participation of AICCF players in ICCF events, including Afro-Asian tournaments. He also acknowledged the significant contribution of Dr. Ambar Chatterjee to the ICCF Webserver Project.

The President paid tribute to the memories of all CC friends who had died since the Ostrava 2003 Congress, including the CC Grandmasters Csaba Melegyeghi (HUN) and Alexey Tsvetkov (RUS), long-year ICCF Tournament Director Poul Rasmussen (DEN), CC International Masters Dr. Simon Fitzpatrick (AUS) and Michael Valvo (USA), ICCF International Arbiter and Captain of the winning Czechoslovak Olympiad team, Stanislav Foglar (CZE), national TD and chess publisher Gerd Giebel (BRA), chess journalist and Honorary Member of LADAC Luciano Camara (ARG), Jose Fumero Sánchez (ESP). He also remembered the hundreds of people who had died in Spain and Russia as a result of merciless and cold-blooded terrorist attacks.  

Delegates stood in two minutes silence to the memory of all departed CC friends, as well as fellow citizens of Spain, Russia and the rest of the World whose lives were ended or shattered during the past year.

The ICCF President recalled the big changes which had come to pass in the overall correspondence chess environment in the past five years. Most of Nol van’t Riet’s visions as presented to the 1999 Congress in Switzerland about the future of correspondence chess in 2010, had already come true. The implementation of email and webserver transmission of moves had greatly speeded up CC games and tournaments. What had taken many years in the past, was nowadays completed in months or even weeks. Internet connection was no longer a privilege of those in highly developed countries, but was now available literally in all countries. He emphasised that the ICCF Statutes should reflect such developments.  ICCF was facing strong competition from dozens of email and Webserver chess clubs which could not offer international CC titles but they did facilitate free chess games and various tournaments worldwide. The ICCF President stressed that, although ICCF was the only international correspondence chess organisation whose titles were universally recognised, and also acknowledged by FIDE, it must not underestimate competition and it needed to be ready to accept the challenge. ICCF must continually monitor overall developments, be flexible and react quickly and ICCF and National Federations must provide good service to all CC players, otherwise they could lose them to competitor organisations.  The ICCF President declared that in the year 2004, ICCF had entered a new era of its history – the era of Webserver chess. He briefly referred to the initial steps of the system development and reported on the fulfilment of the task given to the Webserver Steering Group.  Since the ICCF 2003 Congress in Ostrava, it had taken only 8 months of a very hard work until the first test tournament had been started on the ICCF webserver in July 2004.  Subsequently, ICCF introduced all ICCF class tournaments to the server, including Grand Master and Master Norm tournaments and ICCF was able to host individual and team tournaments organised either by ICCF or National Federations, and some federations had already begun to use this possibility.  He cordially thanked all ICCF volunteers who had contributed to this excellent achievement, especially the first Project Manager Iain Mackintosh. He reminded all National Delegates that they should feel committed to support “their” webserver system and to promote it enthusiastically within their federations and to their players.  He pointed out that ICCF finance was another hot topic for the Congress, and emphasised that current revenue and expense methodology was acceptable only when the majority of ICCF games had been played by post. With the changeover to email play and the coming changeover to webserver play, the timing of  transactions was no longer logical or acceptable.  ICCF incurred and must pay many of its expenses on a quarterly or monthly basis. Therefore, like with any other business, the timing of ICCF revenue inflow must be adjusted to match its expense outflow. 

Finally, Mr. Mrkvička proposed that Congress should focus on the overall ICCF “volunteer culture”.   So far, all ICCF Officials had been volunteers, including the President and all other Executive Board members, but they all had only a limited number of hours available for ICCF work. Consequently, it was not correct to “shout” at active volunteers to work harder, if they had not enough time to dedicate to all ICCF tasks.  With the ICCF Webserver system implemented, it had become obvious that the present ICCF volunteer culture and web chess could be in conflict.   In particular, the administration and support of the Webserver needed to work “around the clock”. ICCF had recruited many new volunteers for this work but, despite all efforts, it had not succeeded to cover key roles like Webserver Commissioner or Marketing Commissioner.  Even if ICCF could recruit volunteers into these roles, ICCF could not insist that they work fixed hours or contracted periods, and there would always be times where other parts of their lives would take greater priority. Therefore, the President recommended Congress to consider whether some key jobs in the marketing and webserver areas, might require some degree of professional and remunerated day-to-day work.

Expressing the hope that delegates and friends would enjoy Mumbai with an ”amici sumus” spirit prevailing throughout, the ICCF President declared the 2004 ICCF Congress, duly opened.

The ICCF President presented an engraved plate, gold medal and certificate to the 16th World CC Championship Final winner Tunc Hamarat (AUT), plus silver and bronze medals and diplomas for the 2nd and 3rd placed players, Ruud Maliangkay (NED) and Igor Samarin (RUS).  Before the prize giving, it was unanimously decided by Congress to also award a bronze medal for Achim Soltau (GER) who had tied for 3rd place, but with a lesser SB score. 

An engraved cup and diploma was also presented for the winner of the 10th World Cup Final, Frank Schröder (GER) and diplomas for players in 2nd and 3rd places, Hans-Paul Ollmann (GER) and Christian Sender (GER), respectively.  


Honorary Member of ICCF

The ICCF President, on behalf of the Executive Board, proposed that ICCF Honorary Membership be awarded to: Gerhard Radosztics (AUT) in recognition of his substantial contributions to ICCF and to international correspondence chess over a period of more than 20 years. The proposal was carried unanimously, and with acclamation, by Congress


Membership matters

The Congress approves the application of two other countries to join ICCF: Indonesia and Tunisia


The Reports of Gianni Mastrojeni (for ASIGC)

Mumbai: Webserver-Congress

Second and third day

Fourth Day


The Award of Bertl von Massow Medals

The Bertl von Massow medal in Gold was awarded to: Manfred Gluth (GER), Tim Harding (IRL) and Ulrich Wagner (GER) for this meritorious work in the organisation of ICCF for more than 15 years. 

The Bertl von Massow medal in Silver was awarded to: Jaromir Canibal (CZE), Carlos Flores Gutiérrez (ESP), Ilija Christov (BUL), Thorhallur Olafsson (ISD), Achim Soltau (GER), Per Söderberg (SWE) and Uldis Strautins (LAT)