Correspondence players – a potent chess playing entity!

by ChessBase
3/17/2009 – "With all the super-tournaments going on nowadays, it's easy to forget that there are other great players producing work of art." Our Playchess lecturer Dennis Monokroussos is referring to correspondence players and shows us an impressive example. Be there at 9 p.m. ET.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

With all the super-tournaments going on nowadays, it's easy to forget that there are other great players producing work of art. Some of them make their achievements in over the board action, but many more do so in the comfort of their study. I'm referring, of course, to correspondence players. Many of them are accomplished in tournament chess, and when we add comparatively unlimited time and the chance to consult with computer engines, the result is a potent chess playing entity!

Case in point: the ongoing Simon Webb Memorial, an all-star correspondence tournament that started in 2007. Arno Nickel clinched clear first, and the tournament is shot through with beautiful games. We might look at one of his games later, but this week we'll look at Michiel Plomp's victory over former world correspondence champion Grigory Sanakoev.

The opening was an English Attack in the Najdorf/Scheveningen, so if you're expecting a sharp game, you're right. It's not just rock 'em sock 'em robots, though: there's a clear, logical thread that runs throughout the game. If anything, the most confusing moment is the end: why does Black resign? Sure, White's attack looks dangerous, but he's down a rook and a bishop and his only big threat can be easily met.

We'll puzzle it out, along with some of the other subtle points in the game, when we look at it tonight (Wednesday night) at 9 p.m. ET (that's 2 a.m. CET for you Europeans – insomniacs and early risers are welcome). The show is free. Just log on to the server, go to the Broadcasts room and select Plomp-Sanakoev under the Games tab. See you there!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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