Russell Sherwood

Tip of the Week#3A

Russell Sherwood  Sunday, June 6, 2021

The default settings of most chess engines are generally sub-optimal for Correspondence Chess.

An important one to set is that the Hash table size. Either too small or too large and the engine will be running below its best. Details on how to do this are in the article below

Goldilocks and the Hash Table (


Tip of the Week #2

Russell Sherwood  Sunday, May 30, 2021

Tip #2

Canyons and Open Plains

When analysing with an Engine, learn the difference between "Canyons" and "Open Plains"!

Canyons are positions where, whilst the moves are not forced and can take place in multiple orders, do tend to lead to the same position - so you may play ABC or BAC or CBA but will still end up in the same position a few moves down the line. Here, after any nuances over move order have been explored, analysis should be undertaken at the end of the canyon.

Open plains are positions where many near equivalent moves are possible in a position. Here width of search should be considered almost as important as depth to increase the chances of finding the best move.

CorrespondenceChessTipoftheWeekWCCF 7

Tip of the Week #1

Russell Sherwood  Tuesday, May 25, 2021

This is the first in a series of postings. I almost called them daily tips but thought can I give 365 tips?

Tip #1

Ensure that in your engine settings you have "Syzygy 50 Move Rule" is not enabled. If it is enabled, potential wins may be overlooked



Play, parry or Avoid!

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Winning #2 Openings

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ICCF Proposals 2021

Russell Sherwood  Friday, April 30, 2021

Are there situations in CC that annoy you or rules that don't seem to make sense? If so then now is your opportunity to be able to contribute to changing that. 

ICCF's rules are changed on an annual basis at Congress, based upon the following process:

  1. Federations or Officials propose changes to the current rules
  2. The Federations vote on those proposals
  3. The rules are updated based upon successful proposals

If you have any suggestions please let us know, and we can start the process of evaluation. 




2021 Welsh Championships Update

Russell Sherwood  Monday, April 26, 2021

20 Entries to date....

Still plenty of time to enter and remember entry this year is free!

1Russell Sherwood
2Nick Bishop
3Helen Sherwood
4Alex Sherwood
5Paul Keevil
6Rhys Jones
7Paul Scott
8Alex Bullen
9Marc Wakeham
10Gareth Jones
11DP Morgan
12Tom Gunn
13Neil G Evans
14Bob Hurn
15Stephen Bailey
16Josh Robinson
17Michael Bowley
18Gerald Jones
19David Guy
20Arthuyr Wilding

Welsh Dominance

Russell Sherwood  Saturday, April 17, 2021

I have been doing a lot of chess coding recently but more on that another time. One tool I have developed is to allow the review of ongoing events and to test it I focused on the Counties and Districts Championships of this season.

Running my prediction routine gives the following expected Finishing League Tableā€¦.


West Wales A92
Surrey A8.53
East Wales A8.53
West Wales B85
Hertfordshire A7.56
Essex A7.56
Essex B78
Surrey B5.59


3 of the Top 5 teams are Welsh and Lancashire both benefitted from a very favourable draw and have a strong Welsh Contingent!

On this basis we can expect the two Essex Teams to be fighting over avoiding the 2nd relegation spot!

More ominous is that the East Wales B team appears to be on a promotion trajectory from the 2nd Division as well!


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Latest from the Skunkworks

Russell Sherwood  Thursday, March 11, 2021

Our first skunkworks project was the development of Eman's Experience book.   For those not aware, this is a database where lots of information is stored about positions: Analysis score, Games Percentages, ongoing evaluation changes and much more. This database is then used by the engine (which is an aggressive Stockfish derivative) to enhance its own search.

Over the last few months a small group of us have quietly worked on this and now have a database of 15million moves, covering 13.5 million positions.  Other people have larger databases, but the difference is that ours are all at a depth which aids the engine is correspondence analysis.

If you want to gain access to this you need to be a premium or international member and then would be  able to join the group, although anyone wanting to  needs to contribute to the project, which is fairly simple.

More on the next skunkworks project soon!

Welsh Correspondence Chess FederationBritish Correspondence Chess AssociationClergy Correspondence Chess ClubSchemingMind Internet Correspondence Chess ClubSocial Correspondence Chess AssociationNational Correspondence Chess ClubWelsh Chess UnionInternational Correspondence Chess Association