Beware of Dark Horses

Russell Sherwood  Sunday, March 20, 2022

You don’t need to have previous experience to be competitive in correspondence chess. 

Players new to correspondence are often given an 1800P, Provisional Rating. They may quickly show they are capable of playing at a higher level , as current competitors in the WCCF New Year tournament. This can even be demonstrated in team events. In Division 2 of the recently started County Correspondence event, Surrey B are the weakest team based on ratings. Their team has an average rating of 1850. In fact, 7 of the team play off Provisional ratings of 1800. They field only one rated player, with a rating of, 2196. Tellingly, this player appears on Board 7. Their Board 1 appears well set to hold his 2427 SIM Nottinghamshire opponent. They appear to be a team of serious intent.

I used to feel daunted when playing a 2350+ titled opponent. Now I’m almost starting to feel some sympathy for them. To defend their ratings, they need to keep delivering wins against developing players who can access the same range of rapidly improving forms of engine supports. This seems a tall order. These supports are narrowing the gaps between correspondence players and enabling new players to much more quickly progress their level of play.   

Phil Morgan

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