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Editor: Dr Tim Harding
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UltraCorr 2024 metadata explained

Building the 2024 edition of UltraCorr involved much re-checking and editing of player and tournament names to improve the consistency, accuracy and of our database.

Much of this work had to be re-done in recent weeks in order to remake the section of the database dealing with games played in IECG and its successor LSS because we found problems with the new version of their database released mid-February.

In particular, we pay a lot of attention to games played in both international and national events under ICCF auspices. Nowadays all ICCF games are played on itrs server and are preserved, but the ICCF game archive (consisting of numerous PGN files) is not a practically searchable database.

If you get the pairings for a new tournament, the first thing you probably want to do is to search for the previous games of your opponents. ICCF certainly do not make it easy to do this, especially if the opponent's surname has an accented character.

Not only is there no ICCF single database file, but also their handling of player names does not conform to ChessBase standard. Not only do many names include numerous accented characters but players whose surnames include prefixes such as "de" and "van" are handled as if they were suffixes - as in library catalogues but not as in ChessBase.

Our proposal many years ago to the ICCF Congress to get this changed was not approved by delegates. We did win one small battle. They agreed to stop using academic and work titles like "Dr." and "Prof." and gender indications like "Mrs." Perhaps they were influenced by the fact that our editor does not insist on being known as Doctor.

Every time there is a new ICCF game release we spend time converting, for example, "Oosterom van" to "Van Oosterom" and "Müller" to "Mueller". Also, because ChessBase's CBH format doesn't allow very lengthy forename strings (typically Russian names with patronymics") we have to shorten many of these. For example, the forenames of Vasily Borisovich Lyukmanov have been shortened to "Vyacheslav Boris'ch."

It remains a problem that players sometimes register for different servers under different forms of their names (e.g., using nicknames or different transliterations from cyrillic), which makes work for us every time we receive a new batch of games from FICGS or LSS. In the worst case, sometimes they have the forename and surname reversed, which at least never occurs with ICCF.

While we have done our best to sort these cases out there may still be mistakes and misidentifications especially of players with common surnames.

It is also sometimes not understood that the first surname in Hispanic names is the father's family name and the last is the mother's family name.

Some players have no forenames in the ICCF rating database but only initgials, but if we can find out a name we have usually inserted it.

A special case causing difficulties is when a player's name changes. Sometimes this is because he or she adopts a familiar or nickname, hence we have cases like "Schakel, Corky (Leonard L)" and "Lumley, Bill (William F)", both of them active players.

Players with similar names may be differentiated in various ways, some following ICCF practice. So where you see a number in parentheses after a name, this is usually the player's ICCF ID number or sometimes their birth year. Or we may specify the country where it differs, as with Lubos, Adam (POL) and Lubos, Adam Bernhard (GER) who may or may not be the same person but have different ICCF IDs.

In other cases, we are sure that a player changed their name, perhaps on emigration or marriage, or (recently) Ukrainians changing the spelling of their names to show they are not Russian.

The main problem we found with the LSS database is that players are identified in the form of their name used when they join the server. We found nunerous cases where players reversed their forenames and surnames (family names) and/or used different versions of their name from what they use on ICCF. We have done our best to reconcile all these but it was very slow and laborious work. In the process we did discover a few previous errors of our own which we have fixed.

Name-change on marriage

When a female player marries ICCF's ratings database changes their surname with no indication of the former name, but the game archive of fomer years has the old name.

We catch some cases when we can, for example some prominent female players:

Karasova, Eva née (??) Fuzikova

Lisitcina, Maria Aleksandrovna née Sukhareva

Malisauskiene, Jurgita née Dambruskaite

Mihai, Narcisa Lavinia née Dragulescu

Pentala , Nadezhda formerly Stojanovic, Nadezhda (presumably marriage again)

Reitner, Alicja née Szczepaniak

The strong and very active English player Toni Halliwell is the widow of CC player A. Brian Halliwell, but her maiden name was (we believe) Loftus and for a time her surname was Binns. Why does it matter? Because in old publications you might find some of her games under those names.

Also Flewelling Swan, Heather (USA) appears to have dropped the "Swan" but we retain it to assist with identification with her earlier games.

More name changes

Occasionally we think ICCF (and sometimes other servers) have two registrations for the same man, though usually these are inactive or low-rated players.

Both ICCF and LSS have registrations for American player Salvador Delgado, Emilio (ICCF ID 514742) but his more recent ICCF games are played as Delgado, Emilio Salvador (ID 514893). Since he has uploaded of a photograph of himself under the entry we are confident it is the preferred form of his name now.

We are fairly confident that 540567 Dimitrijevski, Boris (GER) and 87280 Dimitrijevic, Boris (Serbia) are one and the same. Surely 160860 Hernandez, Basante (Spain) is 670067 Hernandez Basante, Francisco (Costa Rica) and we think that 610257 Boukadoum, Mohamed (ALG) is the same person as 490530 Bokadom, Mohamed (Turkey) unless you can prove otherwise.

We are not quite so sure whether 141818 Vlasov, Andrey (USA) was previously Wlasow, Andrey but ICCF no longer has a database entry under the latter name.

We are fairly sure that 50097 Salimov, Salim (Bulgaria) was formerly known as Tschankov. We also suspect that 421366 Wilcez, Tadeusz (POL) formerly used the surname Wolf, and that 150810 Damgaard (Henrik) formerly went by Damgaard Hansen. On the other hand 150920 Hjorth-Gravesen has gained a name because earlier he was plain Gravesen, Jan Ulrich.

An IECG (not ICCF) player Michael Thomas we believe formerly used the surname Mike Burgin - because his games that used to be under Burgin are changed to Thomas in the final IECG database.

In some cases of players no longer active (and probably now deceased), the strong player Hilding Persson changed his surname to Brynhammar perhaps (we were told) because Persson is such a common name in Sweden. Lajos Eszik became Lars Enterfeldt after moving to Sweden from Hungary and Ernest Kocem became Ernst Kotzem after moving to Germany from Poland. Also a Swedish player named Ulf Palm (ICCF id 450692) formerly sied the surname Svensson.

The most curious case we came across was that of Androvitzky, Karoly who completely changed his name mid-tournament to Borloy Bata, Zoltan. We have this on good authority from the most reliable Hungarian source but if you want to know the story you will have to look at the notes to his game with Baturinsky in our database.

Editing tournament names

There are some ICCF naming conventions we dislike and in some cases of important or multi-section events we have changed the names to something more meaningful. We do understand that they like to have short designations for tournaments in the rating database though sometimes you can find the full name of the event on the crosstable pages.

In our early (20th century) databases we always used CCOL for Chess Olympiad and do not like that ICCF now uses CCO.

The biggest issue we tried to fix in UltraCorr2024 was that "WC" is constantly being used as an abbreviation for both "World Championship" (including the preliminary, semifinal and candidates stages) and for World Cups.

We really think they should find a different designation for the Cup events. It took us many hours to redesignate all these events, using "Wch" for World Championships as we always did in the past.

Some other event designations retained from our original databases stem from the original ICCF names based on German. Thus "EU-FSM" is an abbreviation of "Europa Fernschach Meisterschaft" (European Championships) and "MSM" (for team championships) is an abbreviation of "Mannschafts Meisterschaft".


Back to the UltraCorr2024 introduction page.