CORRESPONDENCE CHESS is a subculture within a subculture. Although a few world-class masters have been avid postal players, including the late Estonian legend Paul Keres, the over-the-board and chess-by-mail types tend to live in parallel universes.

Many of the best correspondence players stick exclusively to the mail game, and some of their greatest efforts go largely unappreciated by the wider chess world.

That’s a pity, as some of the game’s most glorious battles have been fought via the postie’s bag and, more recently, by e-mail. Having a day or two to contemplate each move, paradoxically, can make players take risks they would never try in face-to-face tournament praxis.

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Today’s game, played by Soviet masters Anatoly Rubezov and Georgy Borisenko between 1960 and 1963, can be found in several anthologies of chess brilliance - and rightly so. Black displays fantastic ingenuity here, reviving his attack again and again with minimum of material - a feat that could probably only be accomplished accurately via postal play.

If you are interested in correspondence chess, contact the Scottish Correspondence Chess Association secretary, James Anderson, at [email protected], or visit their website at

A Rubezov - G Borisenko

USSR Corr. Ch., 1960

Sicilian Sozin

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Bc4 e6 7 0-0 Be7 8 Be3 0-0 9 Bb3 Na5 10 f4 b6 11 g4 Bb7 12 Qf3 Rc8 13 g5 Rxc3 14 gxf6 Rxe3 15 Qxe3 Bxf6 16 Rad1 Nxb3 17 axb3 a6 18 e5 dxe5 19 Nxe6 Qc8 20 Nxf8 Qc6 21 Kf2 Qg2+ 22 Ke1 Bh4+ 23 Rf2 Bf3! 24 Rd8 Qg1+ 25 Kd2 Qd1+ 26 Kc3 Qxd8 27 Rxf3 e4 28 Rh3 Bf6+ 29 Kc4 Qc7+ 30 Kd5 Qb7+ 31 Kd6 Kxf8 32 Rxh7 Be7+ 33 Ke5 f6+ 34 Ke6 Qc6+ 35 Kf5 Qc8+ 36 Kxe4 Qxc2+ 37 Kd5 Qxh7 0-1

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