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Editor: Dr Tim Harding
  Dr. Tim Harding   J. H. Blackburne     Paul Morphy   Correspondence Chess history book   Captain W. D. Evans

UltraCorr 2021: "the best correspondence chess database in the world"

The 2021 edition of our UltraCorr correspondence chess database is still available for download and purchase at the price of 55 Euro.

One satisfied customer, Australian GM Max Illingworth (of the Illingworth Chess Academy), says it is "... the best correspondence chess database in the world."

UltraCorr2021, the latest in a long series dating back twenty years, is an expertly edited database containing over two and a quarter million games played between the years 1800 and 2020, thousands of them annotated, collected from a wide variety of sources. Review by John Elburg.

Please note that UltraCorr 2021 is only available as a ChessBase format database and will not be sold as a physical product. There is just one large file to download and as soon as you have paid and received the password you can start to use the database.

UltraCorr2020 was the first correspondence chess collection to include over two million games! This year's edition is even larger because the Covid-19 pandemic, which has drastically cut back over-the-board competition, led to a great resurgence in CC.

Top correspondence players have introduced many important opening innovations, most of them yet to be seen in over-the-board master play, analysed in depth with powerful chess engines like Stockfish and Fritz.

The resurgence of the LSS server means that we have been able to include many older games played there which were previously unavailable, as well as all the new games played there and on ICCF and FICGS. Many strong players are active on two of these servers or even all three.

Lockdown time has also given us the opportunity to do a lot of work on historical games, improving the metadata quality and adding many more games from the 20th and even the 19th centuries.

If you do not own the full ChessBase program, you can still use the database with the Fritz program interface. In that case, you will first need to unlock the downloaded archive file, which you can do it with the free Chessbase-reader utility.

We wish to advise customers who already bought the database of two corrections. In version 1, game 96367 Gilsky – Rawlings, Alan JC is incorrect and should be deleted. It duplicates the correct version 352153 Gilsky,E – Rawlings,William H.

A few other duplicates and a couple of OTB games that we found were deleted for a later version 2 (28 February) while a few further corrections of metadata and deletions of duplicates were made for version 3, uploaded today.

The only important change, made in version 2, is that in the excellent annotated game Hollis-Baumbach (1974), White's 16th move should be Ra1-d1 not Rf1-d1. (After move 24 the same position arises.) Somehow ChessBase's incorrect version found its way into our database and the correct version had been deleted. This has been corrected in version 2 of the database which we made available for download today.

We also found one historical game, also added in version 2. Here is the PGN so you can add it to your copy.

[Event "NCCU-SCCU second match 1902-3"]
[Site "corr England"]
[Date "1902.??.??"]
[Round "50.1"]
[White "Planck, Charles"]
[Black "Birks, George"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C45"]
[Annotator "Harding,Tim; BCM; Manchester Guardian"]
[PlyCount "46"]
[EventDate "1902.10.01"]
[EventType "team-match (corr)"]
[SourceVersionDate "2021.01.27"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Be3 Qf6 6. c3 Nge7 7. Qd2 d5 8.
Nb5 Bxe3 9. Qxe3 O-O 10. Nxc7 Rb8 11. Nxd5 Nxd5 12. exd5 Nb4 13. cxb4 Qxb2 14.
Qc3 Re8+ 15. Kd1 Qxf2 16. Qd2 Bg4+ 17. Kc2 Rbc8+ 18. Kb2 Be2 19. a4 Rc4 20. Na3
Rd4 21. Qc2 Rxb4+ 22. Ka2 Rxa4 23. Rc1 h6 {Manchester Guardian of 2.6.1905
calling this a game from the North v South postal match of 1904 (think
there wasn't one) and attributing the loss to "J. Berks jnr". A report and complete
list of results appeared in British Chess Magazine 1903 pages 342-345. This shows that Dr Planck's opponent on board 50 was G. Birks of Durham. The problemist Planck
scored a loss and a draw on board 50. Brian Denman tells us that the quite well known expert
James Birks of West Hartlepool had a son named George so it was probably
he who won this game.} 0-1