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Some points about UltraCorr-2020

This page has additional points to note about the UltraCorr-2020 database, including notes on some doubtful or corrected games. Basically, nothing much about how to use it has changed since the 2019 edition.

The current (version2) file includes ICCF games released up to the end of January 2020, so if you wish to keep your copy up to date you will need to download and add ICCF games from February onwards.

Firstly, we have aimed so far as possible for a standardisation of player names in accordance with ChessBase rather than ICCF conventions.

For example, to facilitate searching, we use only the 26-character A-Z alphabet although some names with umlauts are converted as "oe" or "ue" (e.g., Moeller and Mueller instead of Moller and Muller) in German but usually not in Scandinavian names. It is advisable to use wildcards (*) when searching for those types of names.

Also we have tried to eliminate hyphens from most names as they can cause problems in conversion to PGN, leading to part of the player's name sometimes being lost. We have also truncated many Russian patronymics as ChessBase does not accommodate very long names, and we have dropped titles such as Dr. and Prof. in most cases.

ICCF databases put name prefixes such as De, Der, Do, Von, and Van at the end of the forenames, as library catalogues usually do. We prefer the ChessBase convention where these are part of the surname.

In the case of players with Russian-style names including patronymics (the second forename based on the father's name), CC clubs other than ICCF tend not to include these. We have done our best to reunite such player's games from LSS, FICGS, IECG etc. with the games they played with ICCF. This can be seen by consulting the Player Index.

Some players may ask why they should buy UltraCorr when they can download the ICCF database free? Firstly, we would say that the UltraCorr (formerly MegaCorr) series has been compiled over two decades by an acknowledged expert in correspondence chess, its personalities and its history.

Secondly, there are many players of all strengths who play not only in ICCF but in other organisations, especially FICGS and LSS. We are currently winning an ICCF game which diverged only at move 32 from a theoretically important game we won last year in FICGS; our ICCF opponent evidently had not looked for our games on the FICGS server and was probably lost after the innovation we played at move 23 which is not mentioned in a New In Chess Yearbook article on the variation in question. When we prepare for a tournament we always check what he has played on FICGS and LSS.

During 2017-2019 the Lechenicher Schachserver (LSS) seemed increasingly inactive and did not release a complete database of their tournaments completed in the second half of 2017 or during 2018 or 2019. However it is coming to life again and our version 2 (released tonight) has about 40,000 LSS games which were not previously available.

Hitherto, we had much work trawling through their site, downloading games tournament by tournament. (We did not collect their Chess960 games or those from minor events.) Then, too late for our first version , they published new download files for games finished to the end of 2019. However they seem to have withdrawn some of these files (temporarily?) perhaps because of data errors that we noticed.

There are some interesting stories about players hidden in some of the annotated games. The originally Polish player Ernst Kocem changed his name to Kotzem when he emigrated to Germany and his games can be found under Kotzem.

Most curious, perhaps, was a case we solved many years ago. You will find under the name of Borloy Bata, Zoltan the games played by a man originally named Karoly Androvitzky. See his game against Baturinsky in the first European Team Championship in the 1970s. Puzzled by duplicate games in one of our early databases, we enquired of friends in Hungary. Ivan Bottlik informed us that this was indeed the same person; when he got divorced during the tournament he changed both his forename and his surname.

There may be some problems with female players who married (or remarried) and so changed their surnames; if readers know of such cases please let us know. For this edition, all games previously listed as played by Jurgita Dambrauskite of Lithuania can now be found in the player index assigned to her under her married surname Malisauskiene.

When we compiled UltraCorr-X in 2017, our first update for many years, we were primarily concerned with adding new games from many sources which included the 2012 version of ChessBase's database. Unfortunately this led to many errors we had previously eliminated creeping back into the database.

We caught many mistakes before the release of the revised version in September 2017, but now we found reviews we had written about the 2006 and 2008 versions of CB's database where numerous mistakes and spurious games were identified. In particular, games from a fictitious Munchhausen Memorial tournament (the name is rather a give-away!) and later "Pantos Memorial and "Maturin Gambit-ch" involving players whose names do not appear in connection with any other event. We believe these to have been deliberately inserted to catch plagiarists and we have now deleted them all. (ChessBase have always borrowed extensively from our databases so we don't mind returning the favour sometimes.)

We have deliberately NOT looked at ChessBase's 2017 or subsequent versions to avoid reintroducing errors. We doubt that we have missed many new games that they have and we cannot tell you how many of the old errors still remain there.

Work for this 2020 edition has concentrated almost exclusively on recent games; we only did a little tidying up work on historic games. In the 2019 update, we included many games by the late CC-GM Keith B. Richardson (a former club-mate of ours in London in the 1970s), which have never before been in databases. Thanks to Keith's widow and John Upham, we received an old scorebook and many scoresheets and postal chess cards from among his papers and, after many hours work,it was possible to reconstruct, wholly or partially, games that never found their way into the ICCF archive.

Also for the 2019 edition Paul Brown sent us a file of historic games he had collected and some players, notably Dr. Michael Donnelly, sent us correcions to his games.

A major thing we did for the 2018 update was to go back to the BdF historic and server databases, frustrating and time consuming though it was. Maybe 10 per cent of about 60,000 games were new games or corrections for us (where we did not previously have the full or correct event or player names). That database includes over 10,000 games from ICCF European master class where the years were lacking and often the player names (usually forenames or initials) were wrong. By checking carefully against records of old ICCF events we have now been able to identify perhaps 95 per cent of these and made our best guess on the others.

OTB games in CC databases

One of the most difficult types of error to eliminate is the over-the-board game that makes its way into correspondence databases (and occasionally the reverse occurs). One source of such errors is "CC" (for chess club) being misread by a database compile as "correspondence chess". In particular a lot of late 19thc entury games from Brooklyn Chess Club got into correspondence databases many years ago and some may still be around.

Another source of this error is when OTB games sometimes were cited in notes to postal games in Fernschach or other CC magazines and thus found their way into correspondence bases. Sometimes only the player concerned can inform us of such mistakes.

Apart from that, compared with the 2017 version, we deleted a few games that were played OTB but had crept into the database, including one by the late Walter Browne. Also the games Parr-Wheatcroft, Fairhurst-Alexander and Clemens-Eisenschmidt, all of which we had eliminated many years ago but had crept back in 2017 via a batch of games that somebody sent to me.

Also, the game Reshevsky-Leverett, 1982, is probably not a correspondence game. We have retained it, but with a note that it should probably be deleted after transferring to your OTB database. This Swiss tournament (CCA Summer International, New York) is mentioned in Gordon's book about Reshevsky pages 359-360 but this particular game is missing, so we cannot be certain.

All Reshevsky's CC games in that book are included here but I think Gordon did not know about Reshevsky's CC games with Mordechai Rechtman, at least some of which we also have.These were published many years ago in the now defunct online magazine Correspondence Chess News.

We also checked the book by Aidan Woodger for GM Reuben Fine's CC games so they are all included, we think, and most of the other McFarland collections were also consulted at one time or another.

We have retained Alekhine-Duhm, 1909 but are very doubtful about the date, occasion and identity of the players (possibly the champion's elder brother). The game is not in Skinner & Verhoeven's large book of the world champion's games and nor can we match it to any of A.A. Alekhine's postal tournaments (also researched by Charushin).

Please inform us of any more mistakes or doubtful instances of this kind that you may find.

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