Russell Sherwood

A Williams Dragon

Russell Sherwood  Friday, April 24, 2020

Aa annotated game (Paul Scott) from the Evans Tournament. 


Woah, we're half way there (almost!)

Russell Sherwood  Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Latest forecast is Wales 23- Sweden 17 in the Euro Team Cup!  A victory here should lead to a juicy tie with one of the highest rated federations!


(The photo - I did have hair like that in the 80's - a joke you will only get if you are in the know!)


Evans Gambit

Russell Sherwood  Sunday, March 22, 2020

A few people have enquired as to who the William Davies Evans was and why we are running a tournament named after him.

William Davies Evans is known in Chess circles through the Evans Gambit, seen after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4. 

A regular favourite amongst club player’s and still an occasional choice with elite players (as a surprise weapon) in over the board chess, how does it fare in modern correspondence chess?

Looking at the stats:

  • Chessbase online database 57%
  • Megabase 2020 56%
  • Engine only games show White with a sub 50% score.
  • The line is almost unplayed in recent elite level CC – 1 game drawn in recent times.

A rather unclear position! Older engines show the position as significantly favourable for black, yet more modern engines show a close to zero evaluation.

Looking at wider ICCF games (results 2015 onwards and not having both players above 2500) we see a 52% score, with relatively low draw percentage.

So an area worth examination for the ambitious CC player possibly?! 




Evans Gambit

Wales - Sweden Update #2

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Friendlies Round Up

Russell Sherwood  Saturday, February 29, 2020

Excluding the Swedish match we have commenced 33 Friendly matches to date.

29 of these have been completed. Our results have been interesting......I utilise two methods to score matches. The first of these is the simple board score and in the regard we have:

Won 9

Drawn 3

Lost 17

Not too encouraging, although when ratings are taken into account the situation is somewhat different. Here I use an expected score based upon the average rating difference in each game. On this basis our results have been :

Won 17

Draw 0

Lost 12

What is even more interesting is that 6 of these losses were in our first 8 games, giving us a 15-0-6 since mid 2014. 

Why is this? Much has been down to the WCCF attitude to Friendly matches - that they are a training and development event. Almost all of our senior players "earned their spurs" in Friendly events.

So our current 4 events


Wales - Italy 25-55

Here we gave away 120 rating points on average, so the result was always likely to a formality. Congratulations to the 6 players who recorded wins!

Wales - Germany 15.5-25.5

Many games still to play but we suffered on the lower boards here

Wales - USA 11.5-12.5

A close match! The bottom boards have set up the team well, can the Top boards bring it home?

Wales - Czech Republic 6-11

Closer than it seems with a number of "postmen" on the middle boards!










FriendliesTournament Results

Euro Team Cup - Part 1

Russell Sherwood  Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Euro Team Cup has commenced! This new event is intended to extend on the familiar friendly format and provide something akin to a Davis cup format for CC.

The initial round has generated a number of interesting match-ups:

Russia - France

The Russian Team have an edge (2413 v 2371) average rating with French only matching on the Top 5 Boards.


Prediction: Russia 23 - France 17

Italy - Ukraine

The Italians have the edge here (2434-2371 average rating), again with Ukraine only matching on the Top 5 Boards

Prediction:  Italy 22.5 - Ukraine 17.5

Spain- Poland

Evenly matched in terms of rating (2326 v 2303), however this looks to be a little misleading when individual match ups where Spain appear to have the edge.

Prediction: Spain 22- Poland 18

Netherlands - Romania

The Romanians appear have an edge both in terms of average rating but this becomes much more complex on lower boards.

Prediction : Romania 22 - Netherlands 18


Next time a review of the Germany - Norway - Slovenia match and the Big one, Wales - Sweden!




Does Size Matter?

Russell Sherwood  Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Upon reading the good news on John Clardige picking up his SIM Title I started to ponder the number of "major" (IM, SIM, and GM) titles Welsh players have secured in recent years. Furthermore from this I the started to look at how we compare to other Federations.....

So since 2014 we have secured 7 major titles, which puts us joint 20th on the list - interestingly almost all of the Federations above us had many more players. So at this point looked at the number of major titles earned as a % of the number of players that Federation have on the current rating list.  At this point things start to get very interesing.....

If we utilise the scatter chart we can see that the average is 5.4% - that is to say that for every 100 players on the rating list 5.4 titles are achieved. For viewing ease I have removed all Federations with less than 25 players.

So.......of the Big 4 Germay and Russia are significantly above the mean, USA and England significantly below - this deviation means that a Russian player is over 7 times more likely than an English one to gain a major title!

Of the next  of  Medium sized Federations, only France is above the mean.......

Moving into the smaller grouping we see a large number of smaller Federatons well above the mean, with Belarus being the "champions" at 18%!

This  rapidly leads to Why?  A few ideas....

1) The higher scoring Federations tend to be more focused on International rather than National events.

2) Access to suitable events - it is worth noting that only South Africa (which was a suprise) falls above the mean of Federations outside of the Eurozone

3) Player Development programmes - ranging from formal training camps to more informal methods such as event promotion,

4) Teamworking methods - methods utilised by some, seen as against the rules by others, until the recent clarification.

Here ends my examination of this data but for me shows vindication of the methods the WCCF have used over the lasy few year but also give me some homework to dig deeper in the secret sauce of the 11 Federations above us on this list!





Major TitlesSize does not matter

Blast from the Past

Russell Sherwood  Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Italian Federation produce a very attractive annual yearbook.  In this years edition we have a few nice photos of some of our players




Russell Sherwood  Sunday, August 11, 2019

In recent times the use of the term "Gaslighting" has increased significantly, mirrored in Film and TV. For those not familiar for the term a common definition is "manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.".

Now, In CC, I have never had players have me doubt my own sanity (although some of the characters I have both played and crossed path within an administrative capacity have brought me close!)

So from a CC perspective, a slightly different definition can apply "manipulate a player into doubting their own analysis". 

Few players can claim not to be guilty of this in its most mild form - offering a draw in an inferior position, especially when the higher-rated player.

In a more unpleasant form, we have all played those individuals who keep offering draws and get upset when you don't accept the draw.

A more much more modern tactic that the discerning player should be aware of can be seen when utilising ChessBase.. Imagine the following scenario. You are significantly ahead in a game. Your engine is showing move X as preferable to a decent depth. Chessbase shows a different move to a much greater depth with a good score. 

Now upon examination, this move is generally poor and turns your winning position to a draw. What the opponent has done is lay a trail to attempt to have the player doubt their own analysis. (In the example I reviewed it was clear it was the opponent due to the dates on the analysis).

So the moral of the story is whilst the analysis on Chessbase (and all crowd-sourced websites) can be valuable, always make sure (especially when it is "fresh") that someone is not trying to lead you down the garden path

Resource Folder

Russell Sherwood  Sunday, August 4, 2019

I often get asked about where to obtain some of the Engines I write to make life easier i have collated them into a folder in the link at the bottom of this article. I will update on occasion, so don't expect the absolute lastest version a day after its release!

Commercial Engines will not be in this folder.





CFish Extended




Honey Xpro

Komodo 10



Raubfisch -SL


Sugar NN



No warranty or guarantees - use at your own risk!




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