Article provided by: Eberhard Gromotka / Uwe Staroske
On August 25th, 1946, a working group called “Arbeitsgemeinschaft deutscher Fernschachfreunde (BdF)” was instituted at Frankfurt/Main, with its presidency taken by Dr. E. Adam.
In 1947, BdF was admitted to ICCA. Hans-Werner von Massow (Hamburg) was appointed secretary and E. Wilhelm appointed tournament director.
In 1951, following a 12-year break, the Fernschach magazine was re-issued with H.-W. von Massow as its editor.
In 1956, Hermann Heemsoth became BdF president, and he held that office until 1988. BdF board elections result was as follows: Hermann Heemsoth (president), H.-W. von Massow (secretary), E. Wilhelm (chief tournament director), and H.-J. Heitmann (treasurer).
The BdF board members decided to hold future CC congresses on a regular basis, so as to promote personal relations between the CC friends.
Their first meeting, which was organized by Dr. Hermann Meyer, took place at Stadtprozelten from December 27 to 31, 1956. Since then, 45 CC congresses have been held altogether, in various states of the Federal Republic of Germany.
In 1959, BdF secretary Hans-Werner von Massow was elected president of the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF).
In the course of the political process, as with other sport organisations, German correspondence chess was split into East-West divisions in the year 1961. CC-players in the GDR became affiliated to the GDR chess federation, and over a period of 30 years it held separate championships (Wolf Dannberg of Jena was their first champion), and sent their own teams to international events. GDR representatives also took an active role at administration levels (e.g. as tournament directors). In 1990, an ICCF Congress was held at the Thuringian spa town Blankenburg.
Correspondence chess remained very popular in the GDR. The number of correspondence chess players rose to nearly four thousand, and quotas for GDR players (as well as for FRG players) were always filled. Many players in the GDR viewed international correspondence chess as a gateway to a world where they could get in touch particularly with Western partners, something that would have been impossible otherwise.
Based on such groundwork, international success was also considerable.
A silver medal (1964) and two bronze medals were gained at CC Olympiads. In 1966, Dr. Werner Stern (Greifswald) became the first European CC champion, and by winning two World champion titles (H. Rittner 1975, Dr. F. Baumbach 1988), the GDR proved to be the most successful World-class country after the USSR. Great media response was created by the presentation ceremony of the 10th CC Olympiad when, five years after German reunification, the GDR team obtained a bronze medal.
During the 1971 ICCF congress, honorary membership was awarded to Mrs. Bertl von Massow, leader of the Tournament Office Europe, for her meritorious contribution to international correspondence chess.
During the 1987 ICCF congress, Hermann Heemsoth was awarded the title of CC Grandmaster. At the age of 78, he was the oldest player ever to receive that title.
Hans-Werner von Massow died on August 14, 1988. In 1929, at the age of 17, he had finished classical secondary school in his native town of Dresden, later studying journalism, economics, and history at Dresden and Leipzig universities. As early as December 1928 he became a co-founder of the Internationaler Fernschachbund (IFSB), serving as the organisation’s Vice-president and Secretary General until 1939 when World War II brought its work to an end. After the war, as initiator and secretary of the Bund deutscher Fernschachfreunde (BdF), which was called into being in 1946, Hans-Werner von Massow could fully develop his organisational skills. Since 1951 he had been editing the Fernschach magazine. Between 1959 and 1987, Hans-Werner von Massow guided the ICCF as its president. To mark his meritorious work, he was awarded the title Honorary President by the 1987 ICCF Congress. His name is forever linked with the history of correspondence chess.
On September 29, 1990, the all-German chess federation DSB held its “Wiedervereinigungskongress” (Congress of Reunification) in Leipzig. The BdF president attended the congress as a guest of honour. The Deutscher Schachverband (DSV) decided unanimously to liquidate itself with effect from 31st December 1990. Members of the East German CC committee formed a temporary working group, which started negotiations with BdF in order to re-unify all German correspondence chess players.
At their meeting of January 13, 1991, the BdF board decided to rename “Bund deutscher Fernschachfreunde (BdF)” as “Deutscher Fernschachbund (BdF)”.
In 1993, Dr. Fritz Baumbach became president of BdF.
By December 31, 1993, with effect from 1994, the first official rating list was produced. This list contained about 7,700 correspondence chess players and showed their up-to-date ratings.
After a series of preliminary rounds, the first national CC team championship (Bundesliga) was started in 1995, with more than 200 teams participating. This worldwide unique team event is run in four classes.
From 25th through 31st August 1996, an ICCF Congress took place at Bad Neuenahr. The congress was held by BdF and supervised by BdF secretary Eberhard Gromotka, and it started on the very day of the year when BdF was founded 50 years earlier. In the opinion of most of its guests, this congress was exceptionally well organised, setting new standards in many ways.
In 1996, BdF began to offer tournaments played via fax or e-mail.
In 1997, BdF first appeared on the Web, and is now located at a new site www.fernschachbund.de. There, besides the Tournament Rules and the Rules of Play, one may find the entire range of tournaments, including up-to-date tables of top competitions, as well as plenty of general information on correspondence chess.
In 2005 Mohammed Samraoui became ICCF President and held this position until 2009.
The year 2006 turned out to be an important year for BdF. On January 20th, 2006 BdF Honorary President Hermann Heemsoth (1909 – 2006) passed away. In order to honour his achievements – Heemsoth was BdF President from 1956 – 1988 – the strongest international invitational tournament in the history of correspondence chess was organized.
The ICCF-Congress 2006 was held in Dresden from 14. – 20. 10. 2006. More than 100 delegates, accompanying persons and guests took part in the event. The Congress was part of the celebrations on the occasion of 60th BdF anniversary.
In the same year Hans-Jürgen Isigkeit became ICCF Finance Director
In 1948, two BdF teams participated in the ICC Olympiad II, and Dr. Adams took part in the 1st CC World Championship final.
International matches against England and Finland began.
In 1949, the 1st German CC Championship and the 1st German CC Youth Championship were started.
In 1951, the 1st German CC Cup (563 participants in 57 sections) and the 1st German CC Women’s Championship were started.
The year 1952 saw Lothar Schmid as the 1st German CC Champion.
In 1954, Hermann Heemsoth became the 2nd German CC Champion.
In 1956, Horst Rittner was the 3rd German CC Champion.
Lothar Schmid won a bronze medal at the 2nd CC World Championship.
In 1962, ICCF paid its respect to the memory of Eberhardt Wilhelm by donating the EBERHARDT WILHELM cup as a trophy for the winner of a European team tournament.
In 1975, Horst Rittner (DDR) became the 5th CC World Champion.
In 1976, Karl Heinz Maeder won the 1st ICCF World Cup Final.
In the 9th CC World Championship, Dr. Fritz Baumbach (DDR) was unbeaten and tied for second place with A. Y. Mikhailov (USSR) and, as a result of a tie-breaking calculation, became runner-up.
In 1979, German women won the 2nd Women’s Olympiad.
In 1987, the FRG team gained the silver medal at the 9th CC Olympiad final by finishing in second place behind the team from Great Britain and ahead of the USSR.
In 1988, Dr. Fritz Baumbach (DDR) became CC World Champion. The FRG team achieved a silver medal in the 1988 European Team Championship final.
German players achieved excellent results in the following World Championships
In 2002, Wolfgang Rohde achieved a Silver Medal and Joachim Neumann a bronze medal in Final no. 17. Both of the tied the first place with the World Champion Ivar Bern (Norway)
In 2004 in Final no. 16 Achim Soltau achieved place no. 4 and tied to Igor Samarin (Russia) half a point ahead of Roland Pfretzschner.
In 2005 (Final no. 18) Hans-Marcus Elwert gained the silver medal (winner: Joop van Oosterom (Netherlands)) ahead of Wolfram Schön.
In 2008 (Final no. 21) Dr. Stephan Busemann achieved a bronze medal
In 2007 (Final no. 19) Frank Gerhardt gained the silver medal (winner: Christophe Léotard (France) ahead of Aleksey Lepikhov (Ukraine) and Maximilian Voss.
In 2010 (Final no. 20) Horst Broß achieved a fourth place and tied with the bronze medalist Milos Kratochvil (Czech Republic) ahead of Dr. Andreas Brenke.
In 2010, Ulrich Stephan became CC World Champion, ahead of Thomas Winckelmann who became Vice-World Champion in Final no. 23.
In 2010, Jürgen Bücker achieved the silver medal (2nd place) in final no. 22 (gold medal: Aleksandr Dronov, bronze medal: Joop van Oosterom)
In 1995, five years after the reunification, the GDR won their last bronze medal.
In 1999, the now re-unified players won the CC Olympiad, and the first gold medal ever to go to a German team.
This first gold medal was the beginning of a unique success story.
Germany won the 1st place in the CC Olympiad no. 12-14! The German team therefore achieved the gold medal in four consecutive Olympic Finals!
Moverover, in 2009, Germany gained the silver medal in the CC Olympiad no. 15 (gold medal: Norway, silver medal: Netherlands).
The German ladies achieved several outstanding results in the CC Ladies Olympiad Finals.
In 2003, Germany won the silver medal in the Olympic final no. 5.
In 2006, Germany again won the silver medal in the Olympic final no. 6.
In 2009, the German Ladies Team won the bronze medal in the CC ladies Olympiad Final no. 7.
In 2010, Germany achieved the forth place.
During the last 10 years German players won tue ICCF World Cup several times.
In 2001 Edgar Prang won the first prize in World Cup no. 9. Helmut Geist and Wilfried Kurth shared the 3rd place.
In 2002 Horst Staudler achieved the gold medal in World Cup no 8 ahead of Werner Fademrecht and Frank Gerhardt.
In 2005 Frank Schröder was the winner of World Cup no. 10 ahead of Hans-Paul Ollmann and Christian Sender.
World Cups no. 11, 12 (E-Mail), 13 and 14 were won by Reinhard Moll.
In World Cup no 11 Hubert Zautzig achieved the second place.
Heinrich Lohmann achieved a third place in World Cup no. 12 (E-Mail)
World Cup no. 12 (postal) was won by Matthias Gleichmann, ahead of Wolfgang Beykirch and Edgar Achilles.
In World Cup no.13 Rainer Zajontz won the bronze medal.
Andreas Brenke achieved the third place in World Cup no. 14.
International tournaments organised
In 1948, two international invitational tournaments were started. First: the “Blümich-Gedenkturnier”, later won by Lothar Schmid (international assessment) and Hermann Heemsoth (national assessment), who scored 16.5/18 and 14.5/17 respectively. Second: the “Edwin-Weiss-Gedenk-turnier”, later won by R. Elstner (A group), B. Koch and G. Kolb (B group), and G. Friedrich (C group).
In 1950, BdF started its third international invitational tournament, the “Dr.-Dührsen-Gedenkturnier”. The two final rounds A and B were won in 1954 by K. Kaliwoda (AUT), who scored 7/8, and F. Baumbach (DDR) respectively.
On 15th February 1954 the international “Dr. Dyckhoff-Gedenk-turnier” began, lasting until 1957. With 1,860 participants from 33 nations from all continents, it is still the biggest international chess event ever. More than 8,500 correspondence chess games were played. Given an average number of 30 moves per game, the total number of moves exceeds one quarter of a million. This means that more than half a million correspondence chess cards were underway, most of them posted across state borders or continents. Not only in terms of quantity, this event was also special in terms of quality. The leading correspondence chess masters of the world (apart from a few who could not partake due to business or health reasons) took part in the games. The tournament was finally won by Lothar Schmid of Bamberg, who scored an impressive 14 points from 16 games, ahead of A. O’ Kelly (BEL) 12 pts., and J. Nielsen (DEN) 10.5 pts.
In 1957, a 100-board competition began between an all-German team and the USSR. The USSR won the match in 1961 by 107.5 to 92.5.
In 1970, an international invitational tournament “25 Jahre BdF” started with an exciting final outcome in 1974 when Swedish E. Arnlind won as a result of a tie-breaking calculation, ahead of Dr. Dünhaupt.
On 2nd October 1982, the very day of Kurt Klar´s 78th birthday, the “Kurt-Klar-Gedenkturnier” began. Participants were: H. Heemsoth (FRG), D. Smit (NLD), A. P. Borwell (GBS), R. Mallee (FRG), Dr. H.-W. Dünhaupt (FRG), M.M. Yudovich (USSR), L. Barczay (HUN), G. Stertenbrink (FRG), J. Sorri (FIN), W. Sauermann (FRG), B. Vukcevic (YUG), D. Stern (FRG), and E. Omelchenko (USSR), who won the event in 1987.
On 25th August 1986, marking BdF’s 40th anniversary, an international invitational tournament started in memory of Mrs. Bertl von Massow (“Jubiläumsturniere 40 Jahre BdF”), with 8 CC grandmasters, 4 CC international masters, and 3 CC national masters. Lots were drawn as follows: P. Diaconescu (ROM), F. Brglez (YUG), Dr. H.-W. Dünhaupt (FRG), S. Webb (GBE), I. Kano (FIN), K. C. Messere (GBE), J.O. Pedersen (DEN), R. Oechslein (FRG), A. Soltau (FRG), A. Anton (ROM), G.J. Timmermann (NLD), D.D. van Geet (NLD), Prof. Dr. M. Schäfer (FRG), G. Stertenbrink (FRG), D. Stern (FRG). In 1992 the winner was decided: by gaining 13 pts., Dick van Geet (NLD) shakes off Webb and Timmermann, who each scored 10.5 pts.
On 27th February 1988, being the 5th anniversary of Bertl von Massow’s death, BdF starts the “Bertl-von-Massow-Gedenkturnier” with 15 participants, of which 12 were titleholders (9 CC-GMs, 2 CC-IMs, and one FIDE-master). Lots were drawn as follows: Chr. Herbrechtsmeier (FRG), G.E. Nesis (USSR), W. Metz (FRG), M. Kreuzer (FRG), T. Wiersma (NLD), T. Yim (USSR), C. Pare (CAN), J. Berry (CAN), Dr. K. Engel (FRG), E. Bang (DEN), M. Gudjev (BLG), J.S. Morgado (ARG), L.E. Omelchenko (USSR), K.B. Richardson (GBE), P. Hertel (FRG). The tournament was finished in 1995, with G.J. Nesis (RUS) winning with 10 pts., ahead of K.B. Richardson (ENG) with 9.5 pts., and L. Omelchenko (RUS) with 9 pts.
On 30th June 1990, the international memorial “Hans-Joachim Heitmann-Gedenkturnier” was started, participants being M. Rüfenacht (SWZ), D. Smit (NLD), O. Koskinen (FIN), W. Rosen (GER), H. Cording (GER), B. Rädeker (GER), S.I. Korolev (RUS), A.Y. Khasin (RUS), J. Staal (NLD), F. Brglez (YUG), D. Stern (GER), Dr. M. Nimtz (GER), H. Handel (GER), K. Tikkanen (FIN), and R. Lekander (SWE). A. Y. Khasin (RUS) was the winner.
In November 1996, for BdF’s 50th anniversary, the “Hans-Werner-von-Massow-Gedenkturnier” began. In respect of the players´ rankings and average ratings, this correspondence chess tournament became the strongest ever to be held, thus conferring a worthy honour on Hans-Werner von Massow, the great organiser of both German and international correspondence chess. Participants were: GM E. Bang (DEN), GM G. Sanakoev (RUS), GM H. Rittner (GER), GM Dr. J. Franzen (SLK), GM V.-M. Anton (GER), GM J.S. Morgado (ARG), GM Dr. F. Baumbach (GER), GM Dr. D.D. van Geet (NLD), GM Prof. V. Palciauskas (USA), IM H. Burger (GER), GM T. Öim (EST), GM J. Sloth (DEN), GM G. J. Timmerman (NLD), GM M. Umansky (RUS), GM S. Webb (ENG).
This tournament was finished in 2001. Volker-Michael Anton (Germany) achieved the first prize ahead of Gert Timmermann (Netherlands) and Grigory Sanakoev (Russia).
In December 1996 the international invitational tournament “BdF–50″ started as BdF’s second jubilee competition. Participants are: IM G. Binder (GER), GM A. Gipslis (LAT), IM E.Gromotka (GER), IM W.Haufe (GER), IM Prof. Dr. K. Herschel (GER), IM P. Hertel (GER), GM A. Lanc (SLK), IM E. Lüers (GER), IM D. Mohr-lok (GER), IM K. Podzielny (GER), GM G.S. Rotariu (ROM), GM M. Rüfenacht (SWZ), GM B. Rumiancevas (LIT), GM H.B. Sarink (NLD), IM I. Schütt (GER), GM B.S. Sliwa (POL), GM R. Sutkus (LIT).
This tournament ended with a threefold win of German players: Knut Herschel achieved the first place ahead of Peter Hertel and Dieter Mohrlok.
In the subsequent years BdF organized several outstanding tournaments.
In the year 2006 the preliminary groups of “60 years BdF” started. The preliminary groups were played by email, on the ICCF-Webserver and postal groups were also available. At present, the final groups are still ongoing.
In the same year “60 Years Anniversary BdF – ladies invitational tournament started. Sandra Seidel (GER) won this outstanding tournament (category 16) ahead of Jacqueline Roos (FRA) and Luz Marina Tinjaca Ramirez (ITA).
In several years BdF organized the international invitationals BdF-Gold, BdF-Silber and BdF Bronze as well as BdF Smaragd and BdF Diamant (ladies invitational tournaments). These high level tournaments were a great success and many players achieved norms and titles.
The winners were:
BdF Diamant 01 (Cat 11): 1. Anja Schmidt (GER), Victoria Schweer (GER), 3. Svetla Yordanova (BUL).
BdF Diamant 02 (Cat. 10): still ongoing
BdF Smaragd 01: 1. Hana Kubikova (CZE), 2. Maria Magdalena Ribelles Sala (ESP), 3. Kremena Rosenova Marinova (BUL).
BdF Gold 2007 (Cat. 11): 1. Wolfgang Standke (GER), 2. Wolfgang Brodda (GER), 3. Jan Zidu (CZE)
BdF Gold 2008 (Cat. 12): 1. Reinhard Moll (GER), 2. Mark F. Noble (NZE), 3. Laurent Jacot (SUI)
BdF Silber 2007 (Cat. 9): 1. Aleksandr Anatolievich Ponomarev (RUS), 2. Rudi Hirr (GER), 3. Helge Verhoef (GER).
BdF Silber 2008 (Cat. 9): 1. Stephen E. Ham (USA), 2. Boris Mikhailovich Zhak (RUS), 3. Valentin Dimitrov Iotov (RUS).
BdF Bronze 2007 (Cat. 6): 1. Mathias Schwenck (GER), 2. Rüdiger Löschnauer (AUT), 3. Rickard Dahlström (SWE)
BdF Bronze 2008 (Cat. 6): 1. Uwe Nogga (GER), 2. Ben Bester (RSA), 3. Pierangelo Turati (ITA)
BdF Bronze 2009 (Cat. 5): 1. Uwe Peschke (GER), 2. Martti Kaupinen (FIN), 3. Andrey Stanislavovich Ermolaev (RUS).
In 2005 Dr. Heinz-Wilhlem Dünhaupt Memorial started (Cat. 12.): 1. Angel Acevedo Villalba (PER), 2. Lennart Rydholm (SWE), 3. Ralf Schüppel (GER). Other participants were: Thomas Winckelmann (GER), Wolfgang Bauer (GER), Dr. Sven Teichmeister (AUT), Willi Looschelders (GER), Milan Mraz (CZE), Josef Mrkvicka (CZE), Ingo Firnhaber (GER), Aleksandr Arkadyevich Makarov (RUS), Jan Csjernyik (SVK), Ing. David E. Hernandez Molina (CUB), Ingo Schütt (GER) and Wilhelm Schmidt (GER).
In the year 2008 the strongest tournament in the history of correspondence chess took place to honour the former president of BdF: the Hermann-Heemsoth Memorial achieved category 16! The results were very close: The winner of this tournament played by email was Roman Chytilek (CZE) (10 points/16 games, SB 75,5), the runner-up was Ron Langeveld (NED) (10 points; 72,25 SB) ahead of Richard Hall (ENG) (10 points; 71,25 SB). The best German participant was Dr. Matthias Kribben (GER) (9,5 points). Further participants were: Maximilian Voss (GER), Ivar Bern (NOR), Raymond Boger (NOR), Peter Hertel (GER), Joachim Neumann (GER), Achim Soltau (GER), Annemarie Burghoff (GER), Dr. Stephan Busemann (GER), Joaquim Pedro Soberano (POR), Michail Markovich Umansky (RUS), Tunc Hamarat (AUT), Guillermo F. Toro Solis de Ovando (CHI), Vytas Victor Palciauskas (USA).
In 2010 the Günter-Henrich-Gedenkturnier started. All participants were close friends of the former Managing Director of BdF: 1. Adrian de Blois Figueredo (ESP), 2. Laurent Tinture (FRA), 3. Ing. Pablo Salcedo Mederos ( CUB). Othere participants were: Andreas Bartsch (GER), Hans-Jürgen Isigkeit (GER), Marcio Barbosa de Oliveira, (BRA), Josef Lubas (POL), Uwe Bekemann (GER), Alan P. Borwell (SCO), Christoph Ludwig (GER), Andreas Jankowiak (GER), Jürgen Krebs (GER), Andrew Dearnley (ENG), Klaus Kmiecik (GER), Thomas Mirbach (GER).
The benefit tournament “Support for Africa”started in 2008.
ICCF Congress 2006 Dresden: Dr.Matthias Kribben, Prof.Dr.Robert von Weizsäcker, Horst Rittner, Alan Borwell