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: 

ChessHere.comChessWorld, Chessmaniac, Stan's NetChess, Gameknot, RedHotPawn, ItsYourTurn, GoldToken, Scheming Mind and of course,

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.

                   Lisa Powell

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:

CEO/TD: Lisa Powell [Internet:] Founder of International Email Chess Group

The IECC defines itself as a small intimate chess club, as was
the IECG when Lisa Powell founded it at the beginning of 1994 with a dozen players.

Please reply with:

1. First Name and Last Name
2. Country
3. Current or past rating, and from what chess organization
-- or your best guesstimate.
4. Activities you elect to participate in.
[IECC Pyramid participation automatically assigned for new members.]

The IECC is free and has a variety of special events including thematic
tournaments, swiss tournaments, round robin, two match pairings, etc.

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 -


Volume 1

No.1 March 1995             No.3 April 1995               No.4 April 1995

No.5  April 1995              No.6 April 1995                No.7 May 1995

No.8 May 1995                 No.9 June 1995               No.10 July 1995

No.11 July 1995               No.12 Sept 1995              No.13 Oct 1995

No.14 Nov 1995               No.15 Nov 1995               No.16 Dec 1995

Volume II

No.17 March 1996             No.18 May 1996

Volume III

No.19 Oct 1996

Volume IV

No.20 June 1997         No.21 July 1997         No.22 Aug 1997

No.23 Sept 1997         No.24 Oct 1997         No.25 Oct 1997

No.26 Nov 1997          No.27 Nov 1997        No.28 Dec 1997    

No.29 Dec 1997

Volume V

No.1 Jan 1998         No.2 Jan 1998         No.3 Feb 1998 

No.4 Feb 1998         No.5 Mar 1998


May, 1995
By Lisa Powell


The inevitable question, which I get asked almost every day by new members joining IECC: "What's the difference between IECC and IECG?"

To friends of mine, the short-form reply is "me."

Although that's an entirely unsatisfactory answer, there's a germ of truth there.

1. Fact: I started IECG at the beginning of 1994 with a dozen players, none of whom are now on the staff of IECG. Some joined before I left; others joined later.

2. Fact: When I relinquished the position of CEO/TD to Franz Hemmer in October 1994, the membership of IECG had passed the 800-member mark. When asked why I surrendered my position as CEO/TD of IECG, I pass. The reasons were personal, and still are.

3. For a time I was permitted to stay of the staff of IECG as "Chairman Of The Board." In the business world, that means something; in the world of chess, it doesn't.

4. Close friends of mine who had belonged to email chess organizations long before I started IECG asked me to get back in the game. Hence, IECC: the International Email Chess Club. The original idea was to keep it small, but when I was told that I could NOT have more than 100 members in IECC, I naturally ignored the prohibition, for all the obvious reasons.

5. Why did I resign from my creation IECG? Basically, to avoid conflict of interests.

6. I have been told by new members that IECC is friendlier than IECG. That has to be categorized as a matter of opinion, of course. This not not a "Who is friendlier" contest -- nor indeed a contest at all, on this side of fence. IMHO, the appropriate place for aggression in the world of chess should be on the battlefield of 64 squares.

I do hope that both my children -- IECG and IECC -- will continue to prosper.