My postal chess is still ongoing. In a recent blog comment it was noted that postal chess was ‘elaborate’ and ‘ornate’. I agree and I sometimes suffer from guilt when I avoid sitting down to go through the laborious process of making the moves. I also sometimes suffer from not putting in the time I should on a move and in one game I am down a piece because of this. But I still love my postal games. I think it is true to say that the love of them comes from their ornate and elaborate nature. I like the studious quality of the games and I like the idea that someone else in the world is going through the same process in response to the problems I set them. I also see them as a set of puzzles rather than a flowing game, this is because you set up a board without remembering the previous sequence of moves. This does impact thinking and it is easy to forget the concepts you and your opponents were aiming for – thought is more objective. (In tactics puzzles on computers the computer often plays the opponents last move to focus players on new possibilities). So I am enjoying my postal games and if I treat them properly I think they are a good way to improve but I do admit that my postal games are driven, to some extent, by quirkiness rather than a pure desire to improve.
I currently have 4 ICCF webserver games going and 15 postal games going. I won’t take on any more new webserver games and instead I’ll focus on maintaining between 10 to 18 postal games. This translates to a couple of postcards a week which is perfect for me.
I’m still learning how best to keep track of all my postal correspondence games, my filing system is working quite well but I do like the historical ‘Postal Chess Recorder Album’ approach too. As I mentioned in an earlier post I did buy some albums from Skakhuset but they’re a bit ordinary and don’t have algebraic notation which would be useful for me. So I have decided to make my own recorder album – see image above.
I googled how to bind a book and found this http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-bind-your-own-Hardback-Book/step1/Stack-your-paper-neatly-in-at-least-4-piles-of-8-s/ which was fairly easy to understand. I then made an image file which included lines indicating printing, scoring and cutting. I sent this off to a laser cutting place and received 12 ‘pages’ which had the board, with slots, on the right hand side and slots on the left hand side into which a scoresheet could be fitted. I have since glued them onto a backing strip and I’m ready for step 8 on the tutorial. I’ll add to this soon.
I have now finished the booklet. I bought an old thin leather jacket from a charity shop and made the cover and glued the innards (the folio) into place. I’ve inserted my 12 ICCF postal games into the board slots along with the move record sheet. It’s pretty good – a bit rough and I think I can make some improvements but on the whole I’m pretty happy with it.
I’m doing what I said I wouldn’t be doing and that is playing too many correspondence games.
I have fourteen postal games going and this looked set to be a bureaucratic nightmare if I didn’t sort out a system. Already I have misinterpreted a couple of postcards, played incorrect moves and only later discovered that I didn’t know where I was. Fortunately the moves I made weren’t blunders and at such an early point in the game they still work as openings, albeit not the openings I was trying for.
So I have set up a system. I have bought black and white A5 folders for each game corresponding to the colour I’m playing. On the spine of the folders I have a label with the event, my opponents name and the game number. Inside in the front section I have the correspondence, then a divider, a scoresheet, then a pad of paper for my analysis. I have cut up two cardboard chess logbooks (with the plastic pieces) and glued one game page to the back of each folder that I can fold out next to the pad. This allows me to look at the position while I analyse – I’ll also have my chess set with me to move pieces around.