Using Computers in Correspondence Chess

Since the use of computers to analyze ongoing CC games is a point of discussion from various perspectives, every CC player should make up her or his mind about this topic. Is it unfair to use a computer, if your opponent doesn't have one? Would you be in danger of serving your computer as a mailman?

Much has been discussed between 1996 and 2000 both on the Web and in various chess magazines. Some strong CC players have stopped playing because they feel computers are corrupting the game. The BdF has set up an engine-free league. I suppose ICCF top players all use computers, and the quality of the games produced is truly amazing.

The discussion mainly started out as a debate about ethics, raised by CC friends from the US, where, in contrast to ICCF, the usage of computers is not allowed. Another direction of concern is the alleged draw death of CC: everyone plays at least at master level, and the draw rate increases to a level where playing CC is no fun anymore.

The links below are an attempt to provide an entry point into those discussions. They are roughly in reverse chronological order. If you can provide further links regarding this topic, or know about printed resources, please send me email, and I will complement the link list.

As a side note, the use of computers is featured in OTB chess, too, when Kasparov invented Advanced Chess. Today advanced chess is usually played in the Internet, if players are allowed to use computers. A yet different type of chess involves teaming up human players with computers. It is associated with the name of CC GM Arno Nickel, who organizes the series of PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournaments. It seems there is no strict border between CC and OTB anympore, if computers come into the game.

There were several contributions in the German magazine FERNSCHACH in the late 90s.


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last modified: Jul 25, 2008 Stephan Busemann (busemann@dfki.de)