ICCF Champions League

Champions League Newsletter
February 19, 2003
By Email Tournaments Commissioner Chris Lüers

Dear Chessfriends,

Before I focus with my third report of this kind on the groups 11 - 16 of the ICCF Champions League I'd like to point out a few activities of ICCF that might be of interest for you:

a) Congress minutes
Finally the minutes of the 2002 ICCF congress are available for download from iccf.com . Pedro Hegoburu, acting General Secretary since the resignation of Alan Rawlings, did a tremedous job in completing this document and adding further very useful information in the appendices. He was assisted by the ICCF President Alan Borwell (while also and once more the president's wife found her heart for our sport and work and helped significantly), by Ragnar Wikman, Josef Mrkvicka, George Pyrich, Grayling Hill and others. It is not my intention to let this work look like a heroic deed - it is just normal and sort of a duty to produce and publish these news and we are sorry to be late this year - but nevertheless these persons took care of it while the task was originally not theirs. Minutes of further congresses will be published much, much earlier - promised! I recommend to read through the whole document, but to pay special attention to the appendices. For players and TDs the important changes and statements concerning the 'withdrawels' are most interesting. The new system of the Semifinals and Candidates Tournament (former 3/4-Finals) of the ICCF World Championships was published in an excellent document some time ago by Title Tournament Commissioner Josef Mrkvicka, but can be found again in the minutes.

b) Champions League webtables
TD Tom Mirbach was on official leave until the end of January and tables of his sections were not updated during this period. Quickly after his return Tom has produced a new report and webtable master Klaus Wrba has immediately updated the sites. Some players have already finished all their games of this tournament and this shows that we are soon getting into the hot phase of the tournament where the decisions about the final places are made. By the way: the original system for the further stages remains valid - all leagues in the regular seasons will contain 11 teams. This question came up through the change in the criteria for ICCF titles. Now that you need 24 games for any title the market value of 13-players-tournaments has climbed up and that is the reason why the regular norm tournaments now comprise this number of players. However still norms achieved in 11 players groups are valid and you then just need another 15-players-group for the title and that is one reason why we did not change the planned structure. Also not all boards will give the possibility of norms as you know from the qualifying groups.

c) ICCF Gold
You did not receive your book yet? Poor you! You did not order a book yet? Mistake! Believe me I did not become the ICCF Marketing Director nor am I responsible for commercial, but this book - ICCF's celebration of it's 50th anniversary - is brilliant. The information given is unique and the layout is most suitable and nice. Did you know that the Viking's ships were faster that some countries postal service is today? And did you know that international arbiter and world championship TD Marco Caressa belongs to the group of Ladies World CC Champions? See - you have missed something. (To anyone not used to my jokes: Marco Caressa's picture by chance is on the same page where the Ladies World Champions appear, but I don't think their is any serious connection. Sorry Marco, just had to do this joke ;-) ) The book can be ordered at your national federation or directly at the ICCF website.

Too much already? Okay. Let´s hurry to the next 6 CL groups:

Group 11:

The group's favourites did lead the group for the first months, but recently team "Estonia" had to accept some defeats and now they are down to 61% of the possible points. "Grupo de Xadrez do Porto" has now taken the lead (65%) which is a surprise at this time of the tournament as the 4 Portuguese have an average rating of 2212 far behind the 2400 of "FIDES Bratislava" who occupy 2nd place at the moment. With 14,5 points the "Rochade Chess Hunters" have scored the most points so far, but according to percentage they are only ranked at 6th place. "Italica Scacchi" holds the red lantern at the moment and it will be hard to make up the critical result of their 4th board. Last two teams in good position are the Germans of "Zitadelle Spandau A" with 60% so far and not far behind the 4 marksman of "CLAPDAC".

Board 1 sees the most risky player in Hoynck van Papendrecht. However his interesting style with unusual openings has cost him games already, but his team "Discendo Discimus 1852" can still be proud of him as he drawed with 2500 rated Pavel Eiben. The 300 rating points between him and his opponent did not prevent Delavekouras from beating Alvar Kangur who meanwhile was replaced by Hans Tomson for the Estonians. Nowak, one of the two new ICCF players, currently has the best performance with 3 out of 4 and "Szachowa Vistula" can celebrate.

Even 4/5 has Baumgardt on board 2. He still has to stand the pressure of the only 2 persons with more elo points at this board - Raul Kuck and Pedro Hegoburu, ICCF's acting General Secretary. Polakovich also has good results so far while FIDE player Szczecina had to give away 4 games already. Well he probably concantrates on the rest...and might end at 6/10?

Again a score of 4/5 means the top result on board 3: J.Kolár from Slovakia ahead of Brondts who can be satisfied with 3,5/4 in his first serious CC tournament. "What I See Is What I Grab" is maybe not only the name of his team - Carlos Moreno Carretero took advantage from this strategy with 2,5/3. Michael Schulz completes the team of top scorers at the moment while Dlugolecki from South Africa must be a little bit disappointed. Come on Grzegorz - it´s your first tournament and you will see better times.

IMs on board 4 have sometimes already been the meal of newcomers, but Schuster is a bad snack: his incredible score of 7,5/9 will surely mean one of the top performances in the whole Champions league at the end. The position of the runner-up is currently between de Pinho and Sören Peschardt who both achieved 3 victories already. Go, CLAPDAC, go! Sparnacini could not improve from his underdog position and scored his only draw against L.Heiermann. Hens plays a so-so tournament so far with 3/7.

At the very end the first 3 places could be occupied by:

  1. FIDES Bratislava
  2. Grupo de Xadrez do Porto

Group 12:

Oh, they did not roar too much at the beginning: The "Kings of TCCMB" really play strong and fully deserve 1st place a the moment with 19-8 points. However they are still in contest with 4 young boys from Germany, who might become a real danger for him. The "Rochade Young Stars" all are famous junior players in the national area and with 66% they have entered the international scene now with great play. These two teams are followed by a group of 4 teams all having scored more than 60% so far: "The Gambiteers Guild", "Diabolik Chess" from Italy, "Chimia Ramnicu Valcea" and the winners of witty-team-name-contest "Zasilatelstvi Zeleznik Pardubice". "USCAD" and the "Hong Kong CC Club" are the ones that had to suffer so far.

Another 1,5 points from her remaining games and Mrs Caravan-Plass fulfills the Women GM norm on board 1; with 2.5/4 she already scored an IM norm. Belegotti is the only one who has still chances for the men's GM norm; he must add another 4.5 points to his current 3.5/4. He nevertheless already plays a good tournament! Peter Coleman already has the SIM title, but will most probably fulfill another norm in this group; 5.5/8 is oustanding. Gary Ruben and Chris Champion are not far behind with 3.5/5 while IM and Africa-/Asia-Champion Mekki Samraoui must win his remaining two games to score positively. A strong, strong board!

Both sons of ICCF Zonal Director Med Samraoui are national junior champions of Germany and Mekki's brother Karim tells us why with 5/8 on board 2. Mario Versili has nevertheless the better performance with 4/5 and SIM Hotting can also be envied for his score of 4.5/6.

H.Lohmann in his first ICCF tournament is the phenomenon on board 3: 5 out of 5! What will his result be against Stephen Ham who impresses not less with 5/6? The other unbeaten players here are Latronico and J.Alexa who both have a +2 score so far.

6 out of 7 is a dream coming true for Vicente de Brito in his first ICCF tournament at board 4. They seem to play a lot of chess besides their tennis matches at the "Tijuca Tenis Clube - Brasil"... . SIM Behling goes from heaven to hell with 4 wins, but also 3 defeats. Gary Good and Schoepe complete the cycle of good performers at this board.

Currently I would put my money on the following teams:

  1. Kings of TCCMB
  2. Rochade 5171 - Young Stars
  3. Diabolik Chess

Group 13:

Except of "Rochade 5171 - Caissa's Finest" all teams romp about the 50% performance at the moment and so it is hard to point out some of them. Oh wait, no: "The Good Knights" scored 11-5 so far and yes, this is the clear first place. The "Polish lions" have already completed 35 games taking 20 points and this is also not bad at all for the 4 guys who could also have decided for the name "The Marcinkiewicz" as all 4 members are named like this. Italians "Blue Team" is aso worth mentioning and it is on the whole very problematic to have a guess on the first 3 places of the group. Well, I nevertheless had a try (see below).

The two titleholders play a good role on board 1, but IM A.Marcinkiewicz already lost a game to Huuskonen who did well so far with 4/6. SIM Hefka (team "CC Slovakofarma Hlohovec") still has to fight with these two, but he already shared the point with Munoz Moreno who can be happy about his 3.5/5.

With 5.5/8 Norway's Klausen dominates board 2 at the moment. IM Peli had to hoist the white flag against him while the game against SIM Rákay ended in a draw. Tanis from "Chessknights' Tango" and Koegler are the other unbeaten persons on the board.

SIM J.Marcinkiewicz has already finished all his games on board 3 and he could be satisfied with 4 wins, but he also has 2 losses. It looks like romanian Chiru from team "Telaxoza" will overtake him in the end as he has 3.5/4 now! IM Norevall scored 100% so far, but at only 1 game this is not yet superb. Andreas Schinke had to report no loss so far to his team "FS-TSG Wismar" and he even won the battle with the Senior IM of the board already mentioned.

Again 'the Marcinkiewicz' has finished all his games at the next board and he did acceptale with 5.5 points. Except of Andrea Pinna no player can show a really good performance so far at this board while also no-one is doing significantly bad. Piet van der Houwen has a +2 and that another tango for his team.

Hard to say, but I can imagine the follwing teams:

  1. The Godd Knights
  2. CC Slovakofarma Hlohovec
  3. Telaxoza

Group 14:

A very hard battle for the first places at the moment. "Stamp-Kielce" and "Safer Sacs Berlin" currently lead the group, but the "Chess-Owls", the "Brevnov Knights" and "Tuculca" follow close behind. A surprise is the current negative score of "TGGT" and "ZIKUDA Liberec"; they surely were more optimistic in the beginning. The "Rochade 5171 - Underdogs" were wise when chosing their name. Now no-one can critize them and they can play without pressure.

Ruggeri Laderchi leads at board 1 for his italian monster "Tuculca" with 3.5/5. IM Gunnlaugsson and Makovsky scored satisfactory. The board does not show much results so far and the group is surely very curious to see the first results of GM Burger (elo 2568) and also IM Svoboda. Miss Anja Schmidt has reached the women IM norm with 3.5/6 - congratulations.

With 5.5/8 Anton Neder plays a fine first tournament for him. I imagine that his open game against GM Arno Nickel (elo 2586) is of another category and I would love to have a look at the current position. Nickel himself finished two games with draws so far. V.Hybl is in second position with 3.5/5.

6.5/8! - Andreas Schmelz is top player on board 3 while having only the provisional rating of 2200. Bartosik with a +3 score and Trani with 3/4 follow. Surely the board's favourite Albrecht (elo 2498) is in an unlucky position, meeting only players with an elo distance of at least -200.

Board 4 shows only 10 results so far, but only one of these is a draw. Stefaniak (2/2), Miss Laura Hartmann and Simon (both 2.5/3) had the best start. 7 players at this board are new to ICCF.

Again a hard choice but I think the Germans will dominate quite clearly in the end:

  1. Safer Sacs Berlin
  2. Stamp-Kielce
  3. Brevnov Knights

Group 15:

One of the best performances in the whole Champions League so far comes from "East Slovakia Chess" at group 15 - 77% at 13 finished games is a top number. "Imperium Szachów Wieruszów" however holds the contact with 75% and a score of 15-5. As usual an italian team plays better than it average rating would indicate it: "I Disinuti Chess Club" with 75%. DBV-Winterthur Stralsund" lie in wait with 68% and the group's favourites "Kazakh CC Federation" (2475 average rating!) surely have methods to improve the current 63%. Other teams like "CCI II Wiesbaden", the "Rochade Bears" or "Resistance is Futile" were not able too surprise and are a little bit cannon fodder: all our hearts are with you - fight!

Mortarini against Lelenko is the most interesting result still to come. The Italian has the nice result of 6/8 - absolutely top for someone who plays his first CC tournament! Lelenko on the other side has scored 100% so far with 2/2. Sanner and IM Ernazarov might be the only once to challenge for 1st place in the end.

Mrázik, Palmkoeck from the "Flemish Queens" and Niewiadomski are the names you should remember for board 3. All three show a +3 score with no defeat so far and all have at least 4 unfinished games. They should nevertheless pay enough attention to Farit Balabaev. Farit is no GM yet, but how do you think did he get his almost 2700 elo points!? This is by far the absolute highest rating that you can meet in the Champions League. Dariusz Domagala is another eample for a new player surprising his group: at board 3 he has 4.5/5 so far beating the runner-up Marcel van tricht who has 5/7. Isigkeit must feel satisfied with 5.5/8, but unfortunately he had to resign against Kevicky who has 2/2 like Luca Saviozzi at the same board.

Well what can you say to Wolfgang Standke at board 4? You simply cannot improve a 5/5. His biggest rivals are Sergei Kim who has not finished a single game yet, but he has the most elo points, and Plenkovs from the "Latvian Knights" who has +4. Polish Chmiel has also overscored his expected results so far (+2 at 3.5/5) and according to the rating Filipek could be close to some wins now, but so far he has only scored 3 draws.

Again a tough group, but I think those 3 could make it:

  1. East Slovakia Chess
  2. Imperium.Szachów.-.Wieruszów
  3. DBV Winterthur Stralsund

As I don´t want to write an extra report for 2 groups at the end this and the following fortuneteller contains a report about 6 groups. So here is what I see in group 16:

Group 16:

Team "CCI I" follows the unwritten Champios League rule that the little mices annoy the big elephants. The largest elephant, team "Pegas" got so scared that they forgot 60% of the points in their games. The "Rochade Connection", "Sagttarius" and the "King's Defenders" did better with 60% on the have-it-side. "The men from U.N.C.L.E" made no enemies so far by scoring exactly 50% and "Email Chess Krosno" can be seen with strong performances on board 1 and 4, but unlucky ones at the other boards.

Very rarely a board is that much clearly led by one player - W.Krol with 5/7 means the ultimate No.1. His rating of not more than 2121 seems not to comply with his playing strength and Vesko Spaso (2552) from Bulgaria was one who had to learn this. Guerrini is the only other player with a positive performance so far, but we have to see more results from him. This board is nominally led by a group of 4 players, next to Spasov it´s Nyvlt from the Czech Republic, Chris Sergel from the USA and IM Koesebay from Turkey, the player who recently show up in the World Championships with great results.

Totally different is what board 2 has to offer as really some players are unbeaten but already obtain victories. Of these Obando (2), De Sa (2.5/3) and Vosahlik (3.5/5) have the best score in percent while IM Tay, IM Bauer and Schwertel currently form the group of haunters. Mrs Sergeeva from Kazakhstan should come at least to this group soon - a FIDE rating of 2328 is an obvious argument.

J. Rodriguez Landers had a good start at board 3, but he still has to face strong opponents which sometimes have alsmost 500 more rating points! Between these already one battel was already decided when M.P. Santosh won against P.Petkov. Ryska and Loeffler both have scored 2 victories next to some draws.

Again a 2200 is in front at board 4 - Borowiec from "Email Chess - Krosno" with the marvellous score of 7/9! Beating Parushev (2534) surely was most pleasable for him. Jensen, Moncher from the "Pangea Chess Club) and Bode gain some ground with good results while Mrs Litvinenko, German Castillo, Baumann and K.Glaser already had to surrender in at least one game; however all 4 have also won at least 2 games.

A very interesting group for me - maybe those 3 end up first in the end:

  1. Rochade 5171 - Chess Connection
  2. Sagittarius
  3. CCI I

Hope that was interesting for you! You want to have your guesses, too? Maybe I can arrange to have another poll on our Website; let´s see.

amici sumus -
sincerely yours

Chris Lüers

Posted on 9-Feb-2004

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