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ICCF tournament play is conducted via three modes of correspondence move transmission.

  • By far the largest and most popular (and nearly exclusive) mode is now Webchess (Webserver chess) with transmission of moves via the ICCF Webserver at a nominal time limit of 10 moves over 50 days.
  • Email transmission is still supported in a limited number of sections (same time limit as Webchess) as email sections are requested by the entrants.
  • Traditional Postal (snail-mail) transmission sections are still available in some tournaments at a transmission rate of 10 moves over 30 days. Due to the limited number of postal players sections will fill very slowly and you may have a long wait for a section to start, if they fill at all.


The rules of play are available at the ICCF Web Site. There are separate rules for postal and email played in individual or team events.

Tournaments for All

Whatever your aspirations in correspondence chess, ICCF has a tournament for you!

Promotion Tourneys provide a chance for players to find their level of play and meet new international opponents while working toward master level. Thematic tourneys allow players to experiment with new openings. Master and Grandmaster Norm Tournaments give opportunities for the serious player to earn the coveted titles of ICCF International Master, ICCF Senior International Master and for the best, ICCF International Grandmaster.

Another path to titles and to the ultimate prize is the World Correspondence Chess Championships (WCCC) where by outstanding results in other tourneys you may qualify to the Preliminary round or Semifinals and win your way into the Candidates where the top qualifiers make the Finals and the ultimate victor is crowned World Correspondence Chess Champion. High rated and titled players may also qualify to directly enter the Prliminary, Semifinal or Candidates rounds. Perhaps you prefer team tournaments or cup tournaments or even prize sections. Throw in a mix of special tournaments as announced and you will find a rich milieu of playing opportunities.

ICCF Open Tournaments

Short descriptions of the major open ICCF Tournaments follow. See the  ICCF New Events  page for current sections forming and official Tournament Announcements with complete qualification and prize information.

    • World Promotion Tournaments - International "class" competition at three levels (Open, Higher and Master) with winners qualifying to the next level.
    • rook LEVELS OF PLAY
      • Master Class - 11 player sections open to winners of Higher Class sections and those nominated as qualified by their national federations.
      • Higher Class - 7 player sections open to winners of Open Class sections and those nominated as qualified by their national federations.
      • Open Class - 7 player sections open to all. (First, Second and Third Classes have been combined as of January 1, 2000)
    • Aspirer Tournaments - 7 player sections for players with ratings 1599 or below.

    • Master Norm – 13 player sections for players with ratings above 2300 Fixed (30+ ICCF games) or 2350 unfixed play for an International Master (IM) [or Senior International Mater (SIM)] norm.

    • Grandmaster Norm – 13 player sections for players with ratings above 2450 Fixed (30+ ICCF games) or 2500 unfixed play for a Grandmaster (GM) norm.

    • World Cup Tournaments – 7-11 player sections open to all players (organized about once a year). Winners advance to Semifinals and Finals. Winners of Finals receive Cup and the IM title. If conditions are met, title norms and qualifications for the World CC Championship Semifinal may be earned.

    • Chess 960 Tournaments - 5 player rated (960 ratings are separate from your "chess" rating) sections for players who want to play the chess variant Chess 960.
    • Thematic Tournaments - Play begins with a fixed opening (click Thematics for current choices) and then the competitors take over from there. This style of competition has been very popular amongst European players for quite some time.

    • World Zone Tournaments - Competition amongst players from the Americas and Pacific area countries. World Zone has been formed to provide new opportunities for the players in these countries to play and achieve ICCF Title Norms. See the World Zone Website for World Zone tournament opportunities. All US citizens are eligible to compete in the World Zone and there is no membership fee.

    • Friendly Team Tournaments -Players get the opportunity to represent the USA in teams of ten to more than one hundred in play against other nations in the ICCF world. Team play consists of two games against a closely rated opponent from the opposing country and offer players a unique opportunity to meet others around the world that share their love of the game.

ICCF-US Invitational Tournaments

ICCF-US will also hold tournaments only open to those invited or otherwise qualified.. The United States Correspondence Chess Championship (USCCC) is the only regularly scheduled such event and crowns the Correspondence Chess Champion of the United States. Other tournaments in this category will normally be International Invitationals aimed at providing opportunities for some of our higher rated players to obtain GM, SIM or IM norms.

  • United States Correspondence Chess Championship (USCCC)-The USCCC will be a 15 or 17 player event (22nd scheduled to start mid-2020). Qualifications for this event will be determined by players' results from any of 3 types of events:
    1. prior USCCC Finals,
    2. the annual USA Invitational tournaments, and
    3. the annual Bringing in the New Year (BITNY) tournaments.
    (The current list of qualifiers is available under "Lists" in the Main Menu.)

How to Enter

Entry into all of the ICCF Open tournaments (except Friendly Team Tournaments) may be made through the  ICCF-US Order form or through  Direct Entry (DE). For NAPZ and non-regularly scheduled tournaments, follow the directions in the announcement for entry.

Please contact the ICCF-US office if you have any questions about tournament entry or player rankings. Remember, you can't get a ranking if you don't join!


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