Eros on his win in the 4th chess WCH


Back to forum

Thibault de Vassal    (2011-01-30)
Eros on his win in the 4th chess WCH

Eros Riccio kindly accepted to answer a few questions on his win in the 4th FICGS chess WCH, and explained how one particular game influenced another one that he finally won:

- Hi Eros, first of all congratulations for your latest outstanding results at FICGS, you won the Freestyle tournament, now two chess championships in a row... When the privilege of the champion is to defend his title without playing the preliminary tournaments, you are involved in all championship cycles & a few regular tournaments, do you plan to avoid that anyone can even reach the championship final in the future? :-)

Thanks! I must admit that this is really a magic moment for me in chess... if you consider that despite my recent ICCF Grand Master Title, probably I will also soon win my third italian Correspondence Champion Title out of three participations in the Italian Final Tournaments. And now also this huge satisfaction of being the FICGS Champion! I look forward to seeing a new challenger soon, I wonder who he will be, but let me enjoy the next few months for now ;-)

- What are your impressions on the games? Did you have any strategy from the beginning to the end? Finally did it work or was there another factor? (without revealing your secrets, of course :))

The games in the opening were as I expected, all Najdorf Sicilians except one game where I played 1.d4. My goal was to win at least one game, so I tried different aggressive variations as White (6.Bg5, 6.f3, 6.Be3 and 6.h3) with the hope of catching Edward unprepared on at least one of these, but uff, he was very well prepared on each one of them! A curious thing is that my biggest chance of winning happened in a game where I had the Black pieces! So Edward had to take some risks in one of his games where he had Black (the games where he had White were already finished or all very drawish) he was forced to avoid an easy draw he had (the 6.h3 game) and eventually he lost that game. Happy of having reached my goal of winning at least one game, I accepted his draw offer in that other game (6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7 9.Be2) where I had good winning chances.

- You probably noticed, like many correspondence chess players, that the hardware still fastly improves while chess engines are continuously getting stronger, particularly since that "supposed" clones of Rybka (some may be even stronger than Rybka herself) appeared in the race. Do you think that the rate of draws will be so high soon that it may definitely kill correspondence chess? Do you have any opinion on these new engines?

I think that despite the big improvement of Hardwares and engines, we are still very far (and we will still be in the next 5 years, hopefully) from a situation where all the games will most probably end in a draw. So I think we can enjoy correspondence chess for many more years in the future, even if of course the Draw percentage at the highest levels will be higher and higher.

- I remember that you were surprised to win your match against Alberto in the Candidates Final of the 5th cycle (the reason why you do not even have to defend your title this time), the WCH rules (particularly the co-existence of the round-robin tournament & knockout tournament) are obviously not well understood by all players, what do you think about this system and the tie in 8 games matches? Are there changes you'd like to see in the future?

Yes, I really was! We were both convinced that with all draws, the higher rated player would have won (Alberto was higher rated than me in that match). Anyway it was our fault, as we didn't read the rules carefully. I am not sure what changes could be done in the future... maybe this is anyway the best setup, no new ideas are coming to my mind right now.

- Do you have a few more words for Edward after these nice games? Maybe also for your future opponents? :)

It was a real pleasure for me to play him, not only for the interesting games we played, but also for the friendly chats we had during the exchanges of the moves. I hope to play him again in the future for a rematch.

- Thanks for your answers and congratulations again!

Welcome, and thanks ;-)


It is very interesting to see that a even a player like Eros prefered to minimize the risks (avoiding mouse drops or whatever) as much as possible by accepting a draw in a game where he had winning chances. Correspondence chess is definitely not all about chess, that's probably the lesson.

Also it is reassuring to read that correspondence chess is NOT dead yet, nor soon :)

Kamesh Nookala    (2011-02-01 09:24:31)
Eros on his win in the 4th chess WCH

Watch your back !

Don Groves    (2011-07-30 11:04:13)
Eros on his win in the 4th chess WCH

Congratulations Eros! And thanks for your insights concerning correspondence chess.

Do you see any solution to the draw problem? For example, in soccer, the scoring was changed so that a win is worth more than two draws (two points for a win vs. one point for a draw). Could something like this be done in chess? Would it encourage players to take more chances and resist drawing lines?

Don Groves    (2011-07-30 23:53:42)
Eros on his win in the 4th chess WCH

Sorry, I meant to write 3 points for a win!

Thibault de Vassal    (2011-07-31 03:12:58)
Eros on his win in the 4th chess WCH

Hi Don, you mean the draw problem in chess or correspondence chess? Drawish lines by White or/and Black?

Don Groves    (2011-07-31 10:29:47)
Eros on his win in the 4th chess WCH

I mean the problem of most games being drawn because of ever greater improvement in both hardware and chess engine software. Making wins more valuable could entice players to not settle for draws as easily as they do now.

Gino Figlio    (2011-08-03 19:58:34)
Eros on his win in the 4th chess WCH


It looks like we get to play again but this time it will be for a FICGS championship Final. Hopefully I understand the Semifinal tiebreak rules correctly otherwise this would be pretty embarrassing...

Best of luck,


Thibault de Vassal    (2011-08-03 20:29:36)

Hi Gino, you understand the semi-final tie break rules! Congratulations for another win in the knockout cycle. That will be another interesting match (the 8th FICGS knockout final) to follow! :)

Thibault de Vassal    (2011-08-03 20:37:12)

Well, I guess that players as White do their possible to find bloody lines in order to win, as losing (even in these lines) becomes more and more unlikely due to the recent engines. But I may be wrong, are there obvious counter-examples?

Then should Black be incitated to try harder to win instead of trying to find a quick drawish line?! ... I don't know.

Don Groves    (2011-08-04 03:53:21)
Eros on his win in the 4th chess WCH

I don't know either, Thib, I was just proposing one possibility.

Wayne Lowrance    (2011-08-05 23:18:00)
Eros on his win in the 4th chess WCH

Howdy Eros, my congratulations. I want to get back so badly, but not ready, at least not yet. If and when I make a stab at it, I have a long way to go to get back to the level I am accustomed too,
bfn my friend