Special Events Reports - 2022-23

Events related to the 200th Anniversary celebrations

Edinburgh vs London Correspondence Chess (CC) Match 2022/23

Andre Artunes

Background to the match

As part of the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Edinburgh Chess Club, the club re-enacted the historic correspondence match between Edinburgh and London of 1824.

In the original match, a selection of the best players of the two nations was recruited for the match, which took over 4 years to complete. The moves were taken by horse and carriage between the cities, taking several days to transport correspondence letters up and down London Road.

Players would use pen and ink to write their moves, often suggesting responses to obvious moves to reduce the amount of correspondence (and time!) needed.

For the 21st century re-enactment, the clubs caught up a bit with the technology available. A friendly correspondence match was set up using the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) servers (ICCF is the main chess body regulating CC), kindly organised and set up by Gordon Anderson (International Secretary, Treasurer and ICCF delegate with the Scottish CC Association).

All moves were played using the internet to connect to the server taking only a few milliseconds to execute the correspondence between the players.

The Teams

The Edinburgh team was captained by Andre Antunes, Edinburgh Chess Club's current Tournament Director, and consisted of a strong side including some of top CC players in Scotland: Al Buchan (current Scottish CC Champion), CCM Peter Bennett, past ICCF president IM Alan Borwell, Graham Morrison and chess historian SIM Tim Harding as a guest player.

However, many players were completely new to CC, including some strong over-the-board (OTB) players who accepted the challenged: FM Neil Berry (ECC’s President) and FM Freddy Waldhausen Gordon, one the rising stars in Scottish (and International!) chess. A total of 24 players demonstrated their interest in participating for Edinburgh.

The level of CC experience varied significantly across the boards of both teams. Some players had significant experience in correspondence chess (several titled players, including some GMs), while others were accomplished OTB players, but had no previous experience in playing correspondence games.

This was an important factor as current CC rules allow for the use of book and computer assistance for analysis (as long as it is done solely by the player without any sort of consultation with other human players). The use of computers changes drastically the approach to chess with small mistakes being severely punished.

Due to the difference in numbers between the two teams, the captains decided that some of the Edinburgh players would play against more than one opponent, so that every player interested in participating had the opportunity to play.

Sixteen of Edinburgh's players were trying CC for the first time. Given the significant differences in the approach to chess between OTB and CC, CCE Ian Whittaker, an experienced CC player, offered a fine lecture on the rules of CC, performed at the club some weeks before the start of the match.

This included lessons on the usage of the ICCF server, rules in CC (including the usage of machine assistance), and some fine recommendations on how to play a correspondence match.

The Match and Result

With everything finally in place, and with more than 8 months of preparation and organisation to set everything in place, the match finally started on the 20th of June 2022.

The match consisted in total of 42 boards making 84 games altogether (each player faced his opponent as both black and white).

At the start the Edinburgh team took a significant lead, taking advantage of players that usually had little experience of CC, but were making good of computer assistance against the London players who seemed to rely more on intuition and human-based positional analysis. Meanwhile players in the higher boards were taking their time to perform their analyses.

In the end, Edinburgh triumphed with total count of 56-28, with a total of 38 draws.

Only counting games where both players had an ICCF rating of at least 2000, the result was much more levelled, with only 2 wins for Edinburgh (Robert Montgomery and IM Alan Borwell) out of 30 games, with all remaining games draws.

Counting all ICCF-rated players, there were 36 games, with 7 wins for Edinburgh and 29 draws. Ian Whittaker, playing 3 opponents (6 games) managed 3 wins! Mark Smith won both his games.


Board 1 Berry, Neil  ½ ½ ½ ½ SIM Frostick, Clive A. 2501
Board 2 Morrison, Graham James 2307½ ½ ½ ½ IM Wharrier, Jo A. 2435
Board 3 Morrison, Graham James 2307½ ½ ½ ½ SIM Rhodes, John D. 2415
Board 4 Morrison, Graham James 2307½ ½ ½ ½ GM Brookes, John G. 2408
Board 5 Wallden, Petros  ½ ½ ½ ½ IM Maguire, Gary 2410
Board 6 Gordon, Frederick  0 0 1 1 SIM Asquith, Jerry E. C. 2385
Board 7 CCM Bennett, Peter G. 2377½ ½ ½ ½ CCE Lyne, Colin J. 2331
Board 8 CCM Bennett, Peter G. 2377½ ½ ½ ½ CCE Spanton, Tim 2280
Board 9 CCM Buchan, Allan 2369½ ½ ½ ½ Williams, Stephen M. 2277
Board 10 CCM Buchan, Allan 2369½ ½ ½ ½ CCM Hart, Terry 2256
Board 11 CCM Buchan, Allan 2369½ ½ ½ ½ CCE Marchant, Arnold 2253
Board 12 SIM Harding, Timothy David 2353½ ½ ½ ½ CCE Hamilton, David 2230
Board 13 CCE Montgomery, Robert S. 2288½ ½ ½ ½ Davey, Adrian 2223
Board 14 CCE Montgomery, Robert S. 2288½ ½ ½ ½ SIM Vivante-Sowter, John 2184
Board 15 CCE Montgomery, Robert S. 22881 ½ ½ 0 CCE Sutton, Alan B. 2172
Board 16 CCE Montgomery, Robert S. 2288½ ½ ½ ½ Cunningham, Peter J. 2165
Board 17 IM Borwell, Alan P. 22071 ½ ½ 0 Cooper, J. G. 2135
Board 18 CCE Whittaker, Ian P. 22371 1 0 0 Beckett, Phillip J. 1863
Board 19 CCE Whittaker, Ian P. 2237½ ½ ½ ½ Craven, Valerie 2073
Board 20 CCE Whittaker, Ian P. 22371 ½ ½ 0 Primrose, Jo 1977
Board 21 White, Alastair  1 1 0 0 Illingworth, J. B.1958
Board 22 Bhopal, Raj  ½ ½ ½ ½ Hooker, Stephen 
Board 23 Antunes, Andre  ½ ½ ½ ½ Wood, Ben A.1869
Board 24 Antunes, Andre  1 1 0 0 Elwood, David1894
Board 25 Antunes, Andre 1 1 0 0 Riddle, Bruce1731
Board 26 Antunes, Andre 1 1 0 0 Spencer, Adam1688
Board 27 Smith, Mark J.21791 1 0 0 Kok, Herman1686
Board 28 Sykes, Chris 1 1 0 0 Robinson, Robin1678
Board 29 Antunes, Andre1880S1 1 0 0 Foreman, Anthony1631
Board 30 Zamvar, Vipin  0 1 0 1 Page, Martin1635
Board 31 Zamvar, Vipin  1 1 0 0 White, Richard1632
Board 32 Zamvar, Vipin  1 1 0 0 Hutchings, J. M. 1606
Board 33 Patras, Paul  0E 0E 1E 1E Toon, James  
Board 34 Waines, Calum  1 1 0 0 Ward, Bill1542
Board 35 Bulthuis, Hindrik Freerk  1 0E 1E 0 Brooks, Ian1559
Board 36 Bulthuis, Hindrik Freerk 1 1 0 0 Ruffle, Alan1494
Board 37 Addison, James 1 1 0 0 Evans, Joyce1480
Board 38 Korakakis, Emmanouil 1 1 0 0 Bishop, Edward1346
Board 39 Korakakis, Emmanouil 1 1 0 0 Beckett, Phillip J.1863
Board 40 McKinnon, Scott 0E 0E 1E 1E Lohia, Sohum 
Board 41 Kenny, Stuart 1 1 0 0 Watson, Francis 
Board 42 Clarke, Thomas ½ 0E 1E ½ Toon, James 



Overall, worthy of special mention were:

  • Emmanouil Korakakis from Edinburgh won all his 4 games against 2 opponents;
  • Vipin Zamvar won 5 games and lost 1 against 3 opponents;
  • Andre Antunes won 8 games out of 10 (against 5 opponents);
  • Alastair White, one of the great names in the Edinburgh Chess Club and new to ICCF, won both games against a strong ICCF player rated 1958;
  • SIM Jerry Asquith won both his games against Edinburgh's U12 prodigy Freddy Waldhausen Gordon.

In the end the match result was dominated by results in the lower boards. Players new to CC made good use of Ian Whittaker's recommendations, while some of London players were making less use of the silicon in this respect.

An exception was Edinburgh's Freddy Gordon, as 11-year-old chess prodigy who apparently relied on his own analysis to play a correspondence chess IM.

The general feedback was that players thoroughly enjoyed the match. Edinburgh is naturally happy to retain the correspondence chess title of modern times.

Hopefully the next match will be done before 2222, maybe in a time where virtual reality may dominate, and matches will be played with human-cyborgs interaction, neural implants?