By Chad Lieberman
The United States Chess Federation (USCF) has been mentioned in this column many times for its promotion of chess across the states and internationally as well. It has accomplished this through several media: over-the-board tournaments, monthly publications, and an online interface (USCL).
There is another very important sector of the USCF that I have not discussed in substantial detail. Correspondence chess is a very popular option for those who don't have the time to spend long weekends at tournaments. The moves for each game are written on a postcard and mailed to your opponent. After receiving your opponent's previous move, you have approximately five days to respond. This allows the players to play their games whenever they are free, not during a predetermined time.
This week's featured game was printed in ChessLife and was played through U.S. mail. For such a short game, there are many nuances that are difficult to understand completely. First of all, this variation of the Dutch Defense is sometimes very dangerous as it involves an inherent weakening of the kingside fortress through the moves ...f5 and ...g6. However, it is the control of the center which is always important.
While 7...d6 might have been the preparation for the correct central break of ...e5, it was more important to continue to contest d5 first. I might have tried 7...e6 8.h5! g5 9.h6 Bh8 10.Nd3 Nxd4 11.Bxg5, after which white still maintains a slight edge, but black is working on gaining space. No better for white is 8.d5 Ne5 9.h5 g5 10.Nh3 g4 11.Nf4 when black has equal chances.
Black missed his last chance to salvage the game with 16...Bxa1! 17.Qxa1 e5!! 18.dxe6 Rxe6 19.Bxb7 Rb8 20.Bd5 c6! 21.Bxe6 Bxe6 when he has the advantage in the endgame as white's tactical threats quickly diminish.