The leisurely, perfect world of correspondence chess
There are many chess lovers who prefer to avoid the Sturm und Drang of tournament play. They tend to be the chess theorists or scientists who search for objective truth no matter where it leads. Finding the right path in the allotted time of over-the-board play is frequently too rigorous for them and spoils the enjoyment of their quest for perfection. Players of this ilk often turn to the more leisurely pace of correspondence chess, where they can deliberate and ponder their decisions.
According to Harry Golombek in his ''Encyclopedia of Chess,'' the earliest correspondence game was reputedly between Henry I of England and Louis VI of France. He also lists Catherine the Great of Russia, Frederick the Great of Prussia, and Voltaire as other famous unconfirmed correspondence players. The earliest correspondence chess games for which the moves were recorded took place in 1804 and were between F. W. de Mauvillion of Breda and an officer at The Hague.
So much for ancient history. Until last year the United States could boast only one grandmaster of postal play - Hans Berliner, who won the fifth World Correspondence Chess Championship in 1968. Today's game from the second North American Invitational Championship features Victor Palciauskas, who was recently awarded the GM title.
Palciauskas gives a convincing demonstration of how to grind an opponent down with the Ruy Lopez. The method by which he inexorably increases the pressure by improving the placement of his pieces until Black finally cracks is instructive and worthy of study.
Ruy Lopez Palciauskas Sarosy 1. P-K4 P-K4 2. N-KB3 N-QB3 3. B-N5 P-QR3 (a) 4. B-R4 N-B3 5. O-O B-K2 6. R-K1 P-QN4 7. B-N3 P-Q3 8. P-B3 O-O 9. P-KR3 (b) N-QR4 10. B-B2 P-B4 11. P-Q4 Q-B2 12. QN-Q2 BPxP 13. PxP N-B3 14. P-R3 P-QR4 (c) 15. B-Q3(d) B-R3 16. P-Q5 N-N1 17. P-QN4 P-R5 18. Q-K2 Q-N2 19. N-N1 N-K1 20. N-B3 N-B2 21. B-Q2 N-Q2 22. QR-B1 QR-B1 23. R-B2 P-B4(e) 24. N-N5 P-B5(f) 25. N-K6 NXN 26. PXN N-N1 27. Q-N4 N-B3 28. N-Q5(g) N-Q5 29. RXR RXR 30. R-QB1 RXR ch 31. BXR B-B1 32. B-N2(h) N-B3 33. N-B6ch K-R1 34. N-Q7 B-K2 35. Q-R5 P-N3 36. Q-R6 K-N1 37. B-N1 Q-B1 38. B-R2 Resigns (i)
A. This move is playable, since 4. BxN, QPxB; 5. NxP, Q-Q5 regains the pawn with a good game for Black.
B. A typical prophylactic move, judiciously preparing for P-Q4 without allowing Black to pin White's KN by B-N5.
C. Although 14. . . . PxP, 15. N-N3 regains the Pawn advantageously for White , this bid for Queenside counterplay is also bad for Black, as it weakens his QNP and results in his being completely tied down to its defense.
D. Immediately attacking the vulnerable point, since Black cannot play 16. . . . P-N5 because of 17. P-Q5 and 18. PxP, winning a pawn.
E. Black understandably lashes out for counterplay, but first 23. . . . P-R3, to prevent 24. N-N5, was more discreet.
F. No better was 24. . . . BxN, 25. BxB, threatening 26. B-K7 as well as 26. PxP; and here 25. . . . PxP, 26. QxP, threatening 27. QxP ch, is crushing for White.
G. The Knight is a tower of strength, particularly in conjunction with the pawn at K6.
H. To evict Black's only well-posted piece, when his game will collapse.
I. Black is defenseless against 39. N-B6 ch, BxN; 40. P-K7 ch (i.e., 38. . . . K-R1; 39. QxBP, and Black's position is hopeless).
Readers who are interested in learning more about correspondence chess can obtain free information about US Chess's extensive postal chess program by writing to Postal Chess, US Chess Federation, 186 Route 9W, New Windsor, N.Y. 12550.