Official Bulletin: http://www.asigc.it/News/sommario_yearbook_asigc_20152016.htm
Article provided by: Gianni Mastrojeni
Italian correspondence chess began in the first part of the 17th century in Venice. The English writer Thomas Hyde states (in “De ludis orientalibus”, 1673) to have heard that some Venetian and Croatian merchants used to play at a distance, adding each move below the texts of their commercial correspondence.
Giuseppe Gasbarri published in 1836 a booklet with several CC games.
Many correspondence games were played in the second half of the 19th century between Italian cities and internationally as well; e.g., Ferrara-Livorno in 1876; Livorno-Bologna in 1877. Likewise between individual players; in 1880 Count Cassoli of Modena, having lost a match against Mr. Cuniali (+1 =1 -2), published on the “New Chess magazine” comments to the games he had lost!
In the same year, in Livorno, the first Italian game by phone was played (very soon the first games by telegraph and by radio); in 1895 the “Gazzetta del popolo” magazine organised the first official CC Tournament, with 38 players, won by Francesco Abbadessa, from Palermo. In 1902 ended the first “National Correspondence Tournament”, organised by U.S.I. and won by M. Pietro Seni (from Roma).
Other national tournaments followed in the wake of the new Century.
The “Rivista Scacchistica Italiana” sponsored the first international tournament, won in 1904 by the Russian Master O. Bernstein; the Italian Master P. Seni placed 2nd. As will become customary in more recent times, Italian CC Masters scored better than the OTB Masters in international tournaments.
FSI (the Italian OTB Federation) and the “L’Italia Scacchistica” magazine held, in January 1922, the first national tournament between clubs, won two years later by the Accademia Scacchistica Palermitana.
On the international scene, Italy played (1925-26) its first official match among Nations, scoring a resounding victory: Italy 26.5 – France 9.5. An Italian team took part in the first Olympiad of European teams (1935-37), as organised by the International FernschachBund (IFSB), with the following players: 1. Miliani, 2. Rosselli, 3. Stalda (in 1935 he won a famous game vs. Keres), 4. Norcia, 5. Gandolfi, 6. Mario Napolitano. Italy qualified for Final B.
The first Italian Championship was organised in 1940 and it was won by Dr. Mario Napolitano, who also won the second one (1947).
Over more than 60 years, 49 National Championships have taken place. Mister “Italian Championship” is surely Dr. Giorgio Porreca, who won the title seven times: a first time in 1957, and six times in a row between 1966 and 1973!
Porreca was a very remarkable man: the first Italian player to become both an ICCF and a FIDE International Master (1975), and the second to play in a World Championship Final; besides, he wrote many books and articles on Correspondence Chess, and some of those are of interest even today (e.g.: “The complete book of chess”).
Other multiple winners were: Lucio Del Vecchio 1952-53, Luciano Lilloni 1959-60, GM Fabio Finocchiaro 1977-79 (third Italian player in the World Championship Final), GM Maurizio Tirabassi 1984-87, SIM Giampiero David 1990-92, IM Michele Petrillo 1996-1999, SIM Giampietro Calzolari 1997-2002.
The “Associazione Scacchistica Italiana Giocatori per Corrispondenza” (ASIGC), was established in 1951, as a Section of the FSI, by M. Giovanni Ferrantes, the publisher of the oldest Italian Chess magazine, “L’Italia Scacchistica”.
Ferrantes directed ASIGC until 1958; then, Ferruccio Castiglioni followed his steps until 1969, always with Ferrantes’ guidance (the above mentioned magazine hosted some ASIGC pages). In the years 1953/67 ASIGC participated in 11 international matches, with the result + 7, =1, -3.
In 1962 ASIGC had 127 subscribers and became an ICCF Member Federation. At the end of the 1960s the Italian Correspondence Chess players were not overly satisfied with the way their international interests were being managed; therefore, Floro Roselli and Armando Silli began (in 1968) organising some international matches, and to discuss the problems with other CC players as well.
Thereafter, on August 31, 1969, a big meeting of the Italian CC players took place in Rome; the assembly ruled ASIGC complete autonomy, and elected the first Board, led by President Silli, Vice-President Roselli and Treasurer Incelli; some of the participants at that meeting, nowadays, 33 years later, are still very active in ASIGC (e.g. Renato Incelli, Gianni Mastrojeni, Sebastiano Santo).
Among the most important effects of the “new age”, the birth of “Telescacco”, the first (and only) Italian CC magazine, official bulletin of the Association (January 1970); since then, it has been sent 11 times a year to all the subscribers.
ICCF President, Hans-Werner von Massow, acknowledged the (new) ASIGC to be the sole Italian CC Federation (February 1970). A few months later ASIGC already had 400 subscribers.
In October 1970 a meeting of the ICCF Presidium was organised in Rome, in which Dr. Roselli proposed the “Coppa Latina”, an international Team tournament among “Latin” countries. The first edition started in 1971,with 6 Latin European countries participating, and was won by Romania; some years later a (serial) parallel tournament among American countries was born as well (and, thereafter, a Final among the best teams).
ASIGC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2001 and, by happy coincidence, it hosted the ICCF 50th Jubilee Congress, in Rimini in September 2001, which was attended by over 100 delegates, officials and friends from many countries.
In 1974 Dr. Renato Incelli was elected ICCF Vice-President, an office he held once more 15 years later; additionally, the 2001 Congress awarded him as “ICCF Honorary member”. He has also been ASIGC President for nearly 20 years, with some intervals; in the meantime, the Association prospered, increasing both the number of subscribers and their activity. Since 1986 the ASIGC Board is elected, every 4 years, by mail, thus all the subscribers can judge the executives and their work. Current Board: G. Bresadola, President; G. Mastrojeni, ICCF Delegate and International Secretary; M. Caressa, P. Cimmino, A. Lannaioli, F. Mecucci, M. Sampieri, G-M. Tani.
In 1982-86 Italy played a 12-board match against DDR for Ladies only (DDR won 16-8).
In 1989 ASIGC reached 1,666 subscribers, including 1 GM and 6 IMs. Over the last decade ASIGC has obtained its best international performances, both in individual and in Team events, increasing considerably its international prestige. At team level, ASIGC nowadays attains medal places in almost all official events (see achievements): EU Championship IV Final, Latin Cup Final 4, Ladies Olympiad VI Preliminaries, Latin Cup EU 5. The same occurs with friendly teams, unbeaten in the period 1994-1999 (+21, =1, -0).
Individually, in the last few years seven players were awarded with the Grand Master title: Alberto Zanetti (our first GM 50 years after Mario Napolitano), Angelo Peluso, Maurizio Tirabassi, Fabio Finocchiaro, Claudio Casabona, Vittorio Piccardo and Massimo De Blasio; there are 10 Senior International Masters, 36 International Masters, 5 International Arbiters, and 3 International Lady Masters. IM Vittorio Zanetti achieved silver medal in the ICCF Cup IV (10/10 Preliminaries, 9/10 Semi-final, 9/10 Final, unbeaten), out of 3,289 participants, and 5 players recently won the EU individual Championship (see below).
The number of Italian players participating in international individual tournaments is the second in the world, both by email and by normal post.
Besides, several Italian officials were entrusted with important tasks at international level. Some of them as Office controllers: Leonardo Madonia in Thematic Tournaments, Gian-Maria Tani as World Tournament Office Controller; some as ICCF Tournament Directors: Gianni Mastrojeni as TD for Ladies World Championship Finals and Semifinals, Marco Caressa as TD for World Championship 25 Semifinals, Guido Bresadola and Rubens Battistini in promotion tournaments; and finally some as ICCF Assistant Web-Masters: Luz-Marina Tinjaca’ and Marco Caressa.
ASIGC organises, besides the Italian Championship, many other tournaments, both “snail” and “e-mail”: invitational, promotional, Cup, thematic and special tournaments, Senior and Team championships, country matches; continues to publish “Telescacco” 11 times a year.
ASIGC, since 1997, has had its own Internet site, ASIGC On Line <www.asigc.it>, managed, for the last two years, by SIM. Maurizio Sampieri; it has become one of the most interesting in the CC world, and at the 2001 Congress it received a “Friend of ICCF” award.
ASIGC has won five international official tournaments, and obtained two very important silver medals:
1st Coppa Latina, Europe/America (Final), 1982-85: 1st place Italy 53.5; 2nd/3rd Romania and France 50.5; 4th Argentina 46.5; 5th Brazil 30; 6th Peru 6. Italy drew with Romania and won all the other matches. Winning Team: Pipitone 7, Bassoli 6, G. Santoro, Celli 5.5; G. Siviero 7, Finocchiaro 8.5, Telemacchi 5.5, Trabattoni 7.5, Captain Floro Roselli.
3rd Coppa Latina, Europe/America (Final), 1992-1998: 1st place Italy 50; 2nd France 43; 3rd Switzerland 38; 4th USA, Argentina 37; 6th Canada 35. Italy won all the matches. Winning Team: Pizzuto 4; V. Conti 7; Poli 6.5; Caranzano 4,5; Lubrano 6; Rinesi 6.5; Gatto 8.5; Minerva 7; Captain IA Gianni Mastrojeni.
X Olympiad, Preliminaries, 1982-87: 1st place Norway 48.5; 2nd Italy 47; 3rd Germany 44. Italy thus qualified for the first time for an Olympiad Final (wherein it played quite well, finishing 8th). Italy lost vs. USA, drew with Norway, won the other 9 matches. The Italian Team: Santoro 6.5; Venturino 8; D’Adamo 8; Casabona 8.5 ; David 5; Tirabassi 10; Captain M. Floro Roselli.
4th EU Team Championship, Final, 1995-1999. 1st place Germany 92; 2nd Italy 82.5; 3rd Switzerland 72. The Italian Team: D’Adamo 5; Cimmino 6.5; David 6.5; Tirabassi 9; Conti 6.5; Peluso 7.5; De Blasio 8; Calandri 6; Poli 7; Frilli 7; Celli 6.5; Diotallevi 7. Captain: GM Maurizio Tirabassi.
5th Coppa Latina EU, 1995- 2000. 1st place Italy “A” 89.5; 2nd Italy “B” 84.5; 3rd France 83.5; 4th Belgium 69; 5th Spain 66; 6th Portugal 64; 7th Switzerland 60; 8th Romania 42.5. Italy “A” won all seven matches (+62, = 55, – 23).
Winning Team: Colombo 10 (in 14 games); Guerrini 7; Moncher 8.5; Nitti 7.5; Bascetta 10.5; A. Castellano 5; Calzolari 9.5; Lotti 8.5; Maffei 12.5; Toscano 10.5; Captain: IA Gianni Mastrojeni.
4th Coppa Latina Europe-America, Final, 2000 – (current). The tournament is almost finished, but it has been already won by Italy, followed by Brazil, Argentina, France, Belgium, and Peru. Tournament Director: Nol van ’t Riet. Winning Team: De Blasio 8/10, Calzolari 7/9, Colombo 5.5/10, Pavoni 8/10, Vassia 8/10, Maffei 5.5/10, Moncher 7/9, Guerrini 3.5/9; Captain: IA Gianni Mastrojeni.
6th Ladies Olympiad, Semifinal 2, 1997 – (current). The tournament is almost finished, but it has been already won by Italy, followed by Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, USA, and Argentina. Winning Team: Francesca Capuano 3.5/5; Laura Tamborini 4/6; Maria-Angela Fonio 6/7; Luz-Marina Tinjaca’ 5/7; Captain: IA Gianni Mastrojeni.
Of course, many Italian players have achieved remarkable results. The best individual achievements were obtained by GM Mario Napolitano (1910-1995): first World CCC runner up in 1950-53; he obtained 10 points, only half a point behind the winner Purdy (Australia). Napolitano’s games were published in a nice booklet, written by Napolitano himself, in 1953. Besides, Mario Napolitano arrived 7th in the second (1956-1959) and 4th in the third (1959-1962) World Championship Finals; then he won the “2nd Swiss International Tournament” in 1973.
In World CC Championship Finals, the following players have also participated: IM Giorgio Porreca (9th World Championship Final, 5th place) and IM Fabio Finocchiaro (15th World Championship Final, still in progress).
Six Italians have been European Champions (5 in the last decade!): Bela Toth (11th Championship), Alfio Scuderi (47th), Giampiero David (48th), Ugo Fremiotti (49th), Gabriel Cardelli (57th), and Ettore D’Adamo (62nd).
Finally, ASIGC recently achieved several remarkable records:
MATCH2000 (1996-2000): a friendly match played by more than 2,000 players: 1,111 Italians vs. 1,111 Germans. Jointly organised by ASIGC and BdF, it was recognised by the “Guinness Book of Records” as the international team chess event with more participants of all time.
Team Matches: from 31.3.1994 to 23.8.1999 the Italian teams have never lost an international (friendly) match, by snail mail or e-mail. Since then, ASIGC’s results were 1 draw and 21 victories, vs.: Switzerland, England, Israel, Zimbabwe, Peru, Northern Ireland (1994); France, Netherlands (1995); Uruguay, Algeria, Ukraine, Wales (1996); New Zealand, BCCA (1997); Scotland, PCSI, IECC, CIF, “Columbus Memorial” (1998); Canada, Austria (1999).
Italy-Scotland: the first international Team Tournament ever played by E-mail (February 1997) by official Federations (that is, recognised by the ICCF).
Italy–Rest of the World (2001–current): a friendly match over 149 boards (112 email and 37 snail); ASIGC plays vs. 70(!) National Federations. Among the participant players: 4 Grand Masters, 1 Lady Grand Master, 10 SIM, 31 IM; TD: IA G. Mastrojeni.
International tournaments organised
ASIGC organised several international invitational tournaments in which ICCF titles could be achieved. Below you will find the final results of the most important events.
Armando Silli Memorial (1990–1995)
1. GM G. Österman (FIN) 10; 2. GM M. Rüfenacht (SWZ) 9.5; 3. GM P. Boll (HOL) 9.5; 4. GM H. Rittner (GER) and A. Zanetti (ITA) 9; 6. GM F. Baumbach (GER) and M. Tirabassi (ITA) 8.5; 8. GM M. Jovcic (YUG) 8; 9. IM W. Maillard (USA) 7; 10. GM H. Sarink (HOL) and IM J. Bohak (SLO) 6; 12. IM A. Pipitone (ITA) 4.5; 13. GM O. Koskinen (FIN) 3.5; 14. IM G. David (ITA) and GM P. Diaconescu (ROM) 3.
ASIGC 2000 Jubilee tournament (1995-2001)
Group A: 1. GM C. Casabona (ITA) 9.5; 2. GM F. Finocchiaro (ITA), GM M. Tirabassi (ITA), GM A. Peluso (ITA), GM H. Rittner (GER) and C. Meleghegyi (HUN) 9; 7. GM J. Morgado (ARG) and IM G. Baiocchi (ITA) 8; 9. S. Brzozka (POL) 7.5 ; 10.IM M. Petrillo (ITA) 6.5; 11. R.A. Redolfi (ARG) and M. Gudjev (BUL) 6; 13. C. Del Vasto (ITA) 4.5; 14. IM S. Pizzuto (ITA) 4; 15. A. Miotto (ITA) 0.
Mario Napolitano Memorial (1.11.1998 – current)
Participating players: V. Piccardo (ITA), M. DeBlasio (ITA), G. Calzolari (ITA), G. Toscano (ITA); G. Grasso (ITA), B. Zlender (SLO), M. Jovcic (YUG), S. Mirkovic (YUG); J. Bohak 5 (SLO); V. Conti (ITA); N. Kalinichenko (RUS), A. Tsvetkov (RUS), H. Sarink (NLD), K. Nienhuis (NLD).
Finally, ASIGC organised the “Targa Ing. Ferruccio Castiglioni”, started June 15, 1972 with 752 participants from all over the world; the Final ended in 1979, won by M. Casas (ARG). And the IV ICCF Cup (on behalf of ICCF), 1977-1989, 3,289 participants (from 58 countries), winner A.E. Popov (URSS).