Russell Sherwood

Something for nothing?

Russell Sherwood  Sunday, January 6, 2019

Players may be interested in the opportunity to take part in the following survey, distributed by New in Chess


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PS If you have any questions or comments about this survey, please email Patrick Heck: [email protected].

Access Survey


Goals, Goals and Goals

Russell Sherwood  Monday, December 31, 2018

At the start of 2018 I set a number of Goals for the publishing on the website. The first of these was to better the record for each month. The second was to reach 200 posts. The third and most stretching was to post more in 2018 than in the previous 6 years of the website.

I’m quite happy that all of these goals were achieved. So what next for 2019? That will remain to be seen but will be in line with our more International outlook as a Federation.

As always if you have any area you would like to read about in CC, let me know. We might cover it, we might not but it costs nothing to ask!

Changing Horizons

Russell Sherwood  Sunday, December 30, 2018

A few years ago I undertook a review of the engines utilised by Correspondence players. Out of interest, I have started to re-run the survey over the last few days.

So what do we see (currently based on a small sample size)

56% of players appear to use Chessbase

27% utilise SF10

20% utilise Stockfish derivatives

18% utilise Komodo 12.3

7% utilise Houdini

So what about the other 28% - This is evenly split between older SF and Komodo versions, plus a few Fritz's


Deduce what you wish from this? I will give mine as the sample size increases!





Engine Analysis Research Group

Russell Sherwood  Sunday, December 30, 2018

One of the issues with CC is that available information for improvement is thin on the group. In addition, the majority of players tend to be quite secretive and protective of their “secrets” (Whatever that means!)

Added to this, an awful lot of players tend to be leechers by nature. To counteract this an experiment for 2019 will be the EARG. The aim of this group is to help players develop together, through discussion. To join this you do not need to be a strong player but you do need to be a contributor to the discussion.

If you are interested in getting involved, get in touch. Discussions will be held out of the public eye, which will be part of an initial discussion for the group!

Membership is open to all nationalities. It is worth remembering that even for British players most opposition can be avoided, so a move from a Competitive to Cooperative mindset is possible!

Chess Songs - The Answers

Russell Sherwood  Saturday, December 29, 2018


  1. 'Til Kingdom Come - Coldplay
  2. A Million Bucks On A Queen Motel Bed - Eric Hutchinson
  3. A Tribute to a King - William Bell
  4. Andro Queen - Pixies
  5. Baby, I'm A Queen - Sofi Tukker
  6. Bling (Confession of a King) - The Killers
  7. Casino Queen - Wilco
  8. Castle Walls - T.I.
  9. Castles Made Of Sand - Jimi Hendrix
  10. Cleopatra, Queen of Denial - Pam Tillis
  11. Crawling King Snake - John Lee Hooker
  12. Cryin' For The Queen - Little Jackie
  13. Dancehall Queen - Robyn
  14. Dancing Queen - ABBA
  15. Every Man A King - Randy Newman
  16. For All Kings - Anthrax
  17. Forever My Queen - Pentagram
  18. French African Queen - Gregory Porter
  19. Glycerine Queen - Suzi Quatro
  20. God Save The King - Traditional
  21. God Save The Queen - Sex Pistols
  22. God Save The Queen - Traditional
  23. Hail To The King - Avenged Sevenfold
  24. Hairspray Queen - Nirvana
  25. High Castles - Funeral for a Friend
  26. I Might Have Been Queen - Tina Turner
  27. I'm A King Bee - The Rolling Stones
  28. If I Was The King - Steel Panther
  29. If I Were King - Queensrÿche
  30. Ill Ray (The King) - Kasabian
  31. Just Like a King - Seasick Steve
  32. Kill The King - Rainbow
  33. Killer Queen - Queen
  34. Killers & Kings - Machine Head
  35. King and Queens - Tyga
  36. King City - Swim Deep
  37. King For A Day - Green Day
  38. King For A Day - Jamiroquai
  39. King For A Day - Pierce the Veil
  40. King For A Day - Thompson Twins
  41. King for a Day - Anderson East
  42. King Holiday - The King Dream Chorus and Holiday Crew
  43. King Kunta - Kendrick Lamar
  44. King Me - Lamb of God
  45. King Nothing - Metallica
  46. King of a One Horse Town - Dan Auerbach
  47. King of Anything - Sara Bareilles
  48. King of Comedy - R.E.M.
  49. King of Everything - Wiz Khalifa
  50. King Of Hollywood - Eagles
  51. King Of My Heart - Taylor Swift
  52. King Of Pain - The Police
  53. King Of The Blues - Steve Earle
  54. King of the City - Jennifer Nettles
  55. King Of The Mountain - Kate Bush
  56. King Of The Road - Roger Miller
  57. King of the South - Big K.R.I.T.
  58. King Of Twilight - Iron Maiden
  59. King Push - Pusha T
  60. King Rocker - Generation X
  61. King Tut - Steve Martin
  62. king Wizard - Kid Cudi
  63. King's Crossing - Elliott Smith
  64. King's Dead - Jay Rock
  65. Kingdom Come - Jay-Z
  66. Kings And Queens - 30 Seconds to Mars
  67. Kings and Queens - Aerosmith
  68. Kings And Queens - Audio Adrenaline
  69. Kings Never Die - Eminem
  70. Knights Of Cydonia - Muse
  71. Letter to the King - Game
  72. London Queen - Charli XCX
  73. Lost Queen - Pharrell Williams
  74. Lyin King - Jhené Aiko
  75. Mississippi Queen - Mountain
  76. My Fairy King - Queen
  77. Neon Knights - Black Sabbath
  78. Not Even The King - Alicia Keys
  79. Only A Pawn In Their Game - Bob Dylan
  80. Pawn Shop - Sublime
  81. Peaceable Kingdom - Rush
  82. Prince Rupert Awakes - King Crimson
  83. Queen - Jessie J
  84. Queen - Raheem DeVaughn
  85. Queen - Shawn Mendes
  86. Queen for a Day - Blackmore's Night
  87. Queen of Hearts - Gregg Allman
  88. Queen of Hearts - Saxon
  89. Queen of Peace - Florence + the Machine
  90. Queen of the Field - Alicia Keys
  91. Queen Of The Highway - The Doors
  92. Queen Of Torture - Wishbone Ash
  93. Queens Don't - RaeLynn
  94. Red Light Queen - Rev Theory
  95. Riding With The King - B.B. King
  96. Rocket Queen - Guns N' Roses
  97. Roller Derby Queen - Jim Croce
  98. Rx Queen - Deftones
  99. Servant King - Graham Kendrick
  100. Snow White Queen - Evanescence
  101. Spanish Castle Magic - Jimi Hendrix
  102. Speed King - Deep Purple
  103. Stunt Queen - Bloc Party
  104. Sun King - The Beatles
  105. Teenage Kings - Emblem3
  106. Temple of the King - Rainbow
  107. The Court Of The Crimson King - King Crimson
  108. The Gypsy Faerie Queen - Marianne Faithfull
  109. The King of Broken Hearts - George Strait
  110. The King Will Come - Wishbone Ash
  111. The May Queen - Robert Plant
  112. The New Kings - Attila
  113. The New Kings - Marillion
  114. The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths
  115. The Queen of Lower Chelsea - The Gaslight Anthem
  116. Tomorrow's Kings - DragonForce
  117. Too Cool Queenie - Stone Temple Pilots
  118. Trap Queen - Fetty Wap
  119. Vanilla Queen - Golden Earring
  120. Venice Queen - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  121. We Three Kings of Orient Are - The Beach Boys
  122. Wheat Kings - The Tragically Hip
  123. White Queen - Queen
  124. Why? (The King of Love Is Dead) - Nina Simone

Stockfish 10 Contempt

Russell Sherwood  Saturday, December 29, 2018

I've covered contempt before with regard to Chess Engines. In most simple terms contempt is used by Chess Engines to enable the achievement of better scores in Engine vs Engine competition. 

General opinion for CC has been that contempt settings should be set to zero to get a more "accurate" assessment of the position, however, there are different views on this. The latest Stockfish release, Stockfish 10 has had its contempt setting raised.

The studious CC player is encouraged to try a number of settings in their analysis and make up their own mind!

Pick your battlefield! IM Norms

Russell Sherwood  Thursday, December 27, 2018

In preparation for the WCCF AGM I started some preparation, which due to pressures of work I was unable to complete, I will release this in a few articles over coming weeks.

A friend always tells me he has a plan with regard to Norms and ratings. An area I examined was that of where IM Norms are generated. This data was gathered from all of the Titles awarded in the last few years - so is not a full data set but a data set of those who have been successful in there quest to achieve the ICCF-IM Title.

By Category

Row Labels Count of 1 Min  
1 1 2251 CCM-A
2 3 2276
3 7 2301 MN-B
4 11 2326
5 8 2351 MN-A
6 10 2376
7 8 2401 SIM-B
8 18 2426 SIM-A
9 6 2451 GM-B
10 3 2476 GM-A
11 1 2501  
Grand Total 76    

Here I added the approximate rating bands of the new Title Tournaments. What does this tell us? Draw your own conclusions but few Norms are achieved below Cat 3 Tournaments, so these should be avoided if the Norm is your primary objective. The New Master Norm-A event looks to be a happy hunting ground for the IM Norm

When the type of event is examined some interesting results appear

Row Labels Count of Open
Inv 12
CL 11
Zonal Ch 7
Zonal TC 7
Master Norm 5
Open 5
GM Norm 4
Oly P 3
Memorial 3
Inter Z 2
Oly F 2
Inter TC 2
Grand Total 76

The majority of IM Norms do not appear in open entry events! This was a big driver for the new Norm events!

So looking at this the aim, to make your path slightly easier is to get to a rating of 2380+ to be able to enter Master Norm A events (or higher), or ensure you are on your National Federation's radar (and in good standing!) when Team selection time comes around.

Next Time we look at these SIM Norms



SICALM - December

Russell Sherwood  Tuesday, December 18, 2018


Following on a rather quiet period in November (related to working pretty much seven days a week!), the last few weeks have thrown up a number of interesting finds. In addition to this, I have been rebuilding my Projects actions list but more on that in another article!


Next Chess Move

A very interesting site which allows access to an online processor or for a price a high spec machine. This in itself is interesting but what is more so is that a copy of LCZero is available to be queried. This combined with a high spec machine throws up some interesting opportunities.


Chess Tricks

A new(ish) piece of Software. The main benefit obtained by utilising this is in finding Trick moves. These are hard to find moves which require a specific response from your opponent.



This is a side project of LCZero to create an Endgame database. This is not as exact as a Tablebase but extends up to a higher number of pieces and can add significantly in this region.


MZ Chess Forum  (

I have mentioned this forum in the past but in my opinion, it is the best online reference point, with great resources available.


Deep Position Analysis

This is an interesting development project which will develop, well read the description.


That’s enough for now! See you again in Jan 2019!

Rule Changes from 1/1/19

Russell Sherwood  Monday, December 17, 2018

A number of rules changes come into play on 1/1/19 within ICCF.

The most relevant of these, from a player perspective, are:

1) Chess 960 World Cup winner no longer receives a WCCC entry

2) The ICCF World Cup frequency is moved from 2 years to 4 years.

3) The Previous Norm and Master Norm events are replaced by a new series of Norm Events

4) ICCF will produce CCE and CCM medals, distributed to National Delegates at Conference if requested in advance.

5) ICCF data holding and handling to be modified  to comply with GPDR

6) ICCF link with FIDE Law of Chess, replaced with ICCF Laws of Chess.

7) Postal time controls extended

8) New controls introduced to combat ETL: 

9) TD's can record leave for players

10) Viewing rules amended to allow teammates to view games.

IF you want to know more, consult the rules after 1/1/19!

Back in the Engine Room

Russell Sherwood  Thursday, December 13, 2018

It’s been an interesting couple of months in terms of engine development. Probably the two biggest news items are Stockfish 10’s release and the advance of LCZero.


Recently SF10 was released, with a significant ELO gain over SF9. One thing to watch for CC players is that the contempt value has changed and the setting of this should be considered prior to use.


LCZero has been gaining strength in self-play recently but it remains to be seen if this will pass through into useful improvements. The significant news of recent days is that another AlphaZero paper has been released with a significant amount of actionable information. This is being put into practice by the Alpha Zero team at the moment. Unless you have suitable hardware LCZero remains interesting rather than competitive for CC players but this situation requires keeping close attention on.


Development of a CC-specific variation of Sugar has commenced. This is a very interesting project and one which could prove significant benefits.


Players’ favourite Raubfisch continues to develop incremental improvements coming on a regular basis.


Sting, whilst not a frontline engine, continues to develop and is of use in cracking difficult positions.


Komodo has released a new version of the MCTS equipped version with around a 100 elo gain being observed, coming close to the standard Komodo version.


CFish and CiFish continue to keep pace with new development versions of Stockfish, however, AsmFish has fallen significantly behind the pace. A spin-off version AsmFishCP has been developed. This has a number of Stockfish improvements implemented but is still significantly behind the pace.

Finally, for now, SHashChess has been updated. Whilst still only "interesting" in terms of output, it is still a useful addition to any stable.


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