Chess Bits and Pieces
This article and it's sister article "Chess in the Press" are my attemps to preserve some nascent internet chess history as well as to make them available to those who may otherwise never learn of them.
Correspondence or Postal Chess today is generally played through some intermediate group. With the advent of the internet, the days of licking a stamp and sending a move through the mail is as passé as handwritten letters. Today most Correspondence Chess is handled through sites with a board on which the moves can be made and transmitted, where players can meet and match up and where ratings are laboriously calculated and updated.
Some such sites are:
But neither life nor chess were always so easy, not even on the internet . . .
Until the early 1990's the internet, which was government funded and therefore restricted in use to governmental, educational and research purposes, was predominately habituated by professionals in those fields which also happen to be fields where chess is a common pastime. Chess was being played over the internet (in fact, ICS, the Internet Chess Server - the forerunner to ICC and FICS - began in the late 1980's as an ASCII based system) but with the primitive protocols, slow connections, limited availability and nascent technology, chess playing, even by email (which was also rather primitive) was unorganized and haphazard at best.
Toward the mid 1990's things began to happen. The internet opened up commercially, graphical browers such as Mosaic (and graphical interfaces) were being developed while Delphi, followed by AOL, Prodigy and CompuServe started offering personal connectivity. Daniel Dominic Kaplan Sleator, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, re-wrote the ICS code with the intention of commercializing it as ICC and in January 1994 Lisa Powell started a group called IECG, the Internet Email Chess Group. Ms. Powell left IECG in October 1994 and the following year founded IECC, the Internet Email Chess Club actively seeking out members with the following posting to the chess newsgroup:
The IECC also published a regular newsletter called Chess Bits and Pieces from March 1995 until March 1998. With the idea of presenting and preserving these newsletters, they are listed below and reproduced with permission from IECC, the Internet Email Chess Club -
No.19 Oct 1996
No.29 Dec 1997
The inevitable question, which I get asked almost every day by new members joining IECC: "What's the difference between IECC and IECG?"