Article provided by: Jón A. Pálsson
Although chess has been quite popular in Iceland for centuries, the history of correspondence chess is short. In 1964 the chess magazine Skák organised a cup-like tournament, which was never quite finished. Both before and after that tournament a few chess players were known to participate in foreign CC tournaments.
In 1974, the Icelandic Chess Federation formed a commission of correspondence chess and became a member of the international organisation, ICCF. The aim of this commission was to provide those chess players, who for some reasons preferred to play CC, with opportunities to play, whether it was at national or international level. At first the emphasis was on the home front, together with a series of team matches. As time went on, the interest of the players shifted more to individual tournaments arranged by ICCF and to invitation tournaments. Interest in team matches waned, and it became increasingly difficult to bring together teams for the Olympic and other regular team tournaments. The reason for this difficulty is that active CC players have always been very few, e.g. 22 today.
In 1992 active CC players formed a special association, the Icelandic Correspondence Chess Association, ICCA, with only a loose connection with the Icelandic Chess Federation. In fact there was very little change in CC activities. Instead of three members of the commission, there were now five members of the board of the new association.
For some years, we published newsletters, Bréfskáktíðindi, with a modest ambition to develop to a chess magazine. Meagre means have made the realisation of this ambition very difficult.
Our position in ICCF is very neutral, i.e. we have no members in the administrative bodies of the Federation. Since Bad Mitterndorf we have only sent delegates to four Congresses: Järvenpaä, London twice and Perth in Scotland. As always this is a matter of low budget.
Our first duty of ICCA is to conduct Correspondence Chess Championships of Iceland. Now 22 CC tournaments have been held. The following, is a list of the National champions:
1. 1974 – 1976 Jón A. Pálsson og Kristján Guðmundsson
2. 1978 – 1980 Frank Herlufsen
3. 1979 – 1981 Hannes Ólafsson
4. 1980 – 1982 Árni Stefánsson †
5. 1981 – 1983 Jón A. Pálsson
6. 1982 – 1984 Haukur Kristjánsson †
7. 1983 – 1985 Jón Þ. Þór
8. 1984 – 1986 Ingimar Halldórsson
9. 1985 – 1987 Jón Kristinsson
10. 1986 – 1988 Jón Kristinsson
11. 1987 – 1989 Árni Stefánsson †
12. 1988 – 1990 Áskell Örn Kárason
13. 1989 – 1991 Bjarni Magnússon † og Jón Kristinsson
14. 1990 – 1992 Kristján Guðmundsson
15. 1991 – 1993 Kári Sólmundarson
16. 1993 – 1995 Magnús Gunnarsson og Baldur Fjölnisson
17. 1994 – 1996 Jón Kristinsson
18. 1997 – 1999 Vigfús Óðinn Vigfússon
19. 1998 – 2000 Gísli S. Gunnlaugsson og Hörður Þ. Garðarsson
20. 2002 – 2004 Jónas Jónasson
21. 2006 – 2008 Jónas Jónasson
22. 2010 – 2012
In the international arena, a number of our players have earned merits.
International master (IM)
Jón Adólf Pálsson 1981
Bragi Kristjánsson 1984
Frank Herlufsen 1989
Hannes Ólafsson 1991
Bragi Þorbergsson 1992
Áskell Örn Kárason 1993
Jón Kristinsson 1994
Jón Árni Halldórsson 1997
Gísli S. Gunnlaugsson 1999
Haraldur Haraldsson 2007
Senior International Master (SIM)
Jón Adólf Pálsson 1999
Jón Árni Halldórsson 1999
Ákell Örn Kárason 2001
Hannes Ólafsson 1995
Bragi Þorbergsson 1998
Jón Adólf Pálsson