Russell Sherwood

Counties and Districts Update

Russell Sherwood  Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The 2019-2020 C&D CCC is moving towards an interesting finish, with 20 games remaining on the top tier

Hertfordshire top the table, having completed their games but with expected results Essex A look to be heading towards the title chased home by West Wales and Lancashire. The shock of the event is that former powerhouse Yorkshire look to be have been sucked into the relegation battle.

Probably the most interesting game of the event is  

In the 2nd Tier West Wales B look set for promotion 

Euro Team Cup Update

Russell Sherwood  Sunday, June 7, 2020

Following a number of new results our position continues to strengthen in this event.

Currently, we stand at 16-11, with 13 games still in play - so we only need to score 4.5 from 13 to advance, which is looking more than likely

Congratulations to Tony Balshaw, Paul Keevil, Phil Morgan, Fred Clough and Sean Denton in securing wins!

In the other fixtures.

Team AA ScoreB ScoreTeam BRemaing GamesLikely to Advance
Netherlands15.513.5Romania11To close to call
Euro Team Cup

Interesting Annotated Games

Russell Sherwood  Friday, June 5, 2020

Tim Spanton publishes some interesting annotated games from the BWSTT on his blog


Welsh Provisional 2020/3 Rating List

Russell Sherwood  Monday, June 1, 2020

   2020/2ForecastRating Change
ICCF IDTitleNameGamesRatingRank+/-RankRating 
451416IMJohansson, Thomas262578   25780
810209SIMYeo, Gareth3212476101248711
210855IMBalshaw, Anthony525246220224675
810160SIMClaridge, John B.322244530324450
211672IMLockwood, Austin256240140424076
810183IMJones, Ian36423935052392-1
810161CCMSherwood, Russell9902357716238326
810243CCMEvans, Craig18823836-172373-10
810182CCMDean, Philip100234991823556
810212CCMSherwood, Alexander52923568-192351-5
810174CCMBishop, William103232514410234924
810202LGMSherwood, Helen902233013211234818
810208CCMDavies, Adam114233711-11223458
810179 Varley, Peter25233512-11323350
810139CCMAdams, Mark215234210-4142324-18
810163CCMKeevil, Paul17723231511423241
810233CCEScott, Paul34723011601623021
810137 Thornton, John D.2522931701722930
810175 Williams, John L.4422811801822810
810057CCMSinnett, Glyn20622791901922790
810211CCECannon, Dale8822742002022740
810221CCEGibbons, Andrew7422602102122600
810278 Jones, Rhys162149319222258109
810180 Nettles, Paul Eric68224622-12322460
810184 Yüce, Aytaç118223823-12422435
810259CCEDenton, Sean110220728325223023
212222 Morgan, David Philip18222225-12622242
810152 Clough, Fred181221326-12722218
210426 Fordham-Hall, Christopher M.248221326-22822130
810075 Wakeham, Marc R.651223724-5292205-32
810247 Hatchett, Paul6021843003021840
810222 Smith, Andrew173218529-2312173-12
810195 Bevan, Peter M.1272143320322130-13
212420 Thomas, Michael D.132100330332096-4
810061 Griffiths, Martyn J.11220853403420850
212422 Davies, John1220743503520839
810156 Ricketts, Martin88203037136206030
810165 Bailey, Stephen246200438137205046
219118 Robertshaw, Andrew M.239203636-23820360
810248 Hurn, Robert53197441239202450
810256 Jones, Phillip76200339-14020030
810272 Flew, Nick30197441041200026
810189 Alex Bullen29193944242196930
810197 Thomas, Vaughan61191545243194732
810268 McCarthy, Maurice46194043-14419400
810276 Coles, Jon39198340-5451933-50
810204 den Drijver, Danny3519024604619020
810255 Morgans, Justin741893470471880-13
810216 Collins, Eleanor2618744804818740
810133 May, Adam J.5618004904918000
810187 Wilson, Mark3817975005017970
810240 Jones, Dewi1217705105117700
211773 Clark, Richard I.39317705105117700
810237 Rizvi, Nasir2617405305317400
810128 Evans, David R.14167759554171841
810167 McFadden, Wayne4078235517051705
810219 Denham, Colin144170454-25617040
212421 Robinson, Nicola24170454-25617040
810218 Beck, Anthony16169856-25816980
810205 Meara, Paul34169158-15916910
810220 Davies, Jonathan32169856-4601678-20
810251 Soar, Timothy44167660-16116760
810213 Griffiths, Hywel D. R.12167561-16216750
810162 Roberts, David150165362-16316530
810192 Baron, Margaret241162463-1641610-14
810235 Ford, Stephen28158464-16515840
810241 Sipho, Donovan1215706606615700
810257 Burrows, David72158265-2671553-29
810253 Bray, Peter74151469168154127
810198 Thomas, Dennis29152867-2691511-17
810102 Guy, David T.311152168-2701493-28
810181 Hallwood, Reg24148370-17114830
810199 Dahlgren, Paul P.44145671-172147317
810177 Wilding, Arthur83144072-1731425-15
810217 Richards, Michael236133473-17413340
810249 Szakmány, Bence1213077507513070
810254 Jones, Steve74132174-2761299-22
211735 Merrifield, Peter12125876-17712580
810176 Chugg, Malcolm132124577-1781228-17
810293 Jones, Gareth0078-17900
810279 Powell, Andrew0078-17900
810287 Parsons, David0078-17900
810286 Robinson, Josh0078-17900
810294 Walters, Martin0078-17900
810281 Williams, Duncan0078-17900
212907 Dunning, Stephen0078-17900
Rating List

AB & NN - a perfect match?

Russell Sherwood  Wednesday, May 6, 2020

I’ve been working on a number of articles/books/ideas of late. 

One which is close to fruition is guide to engine analysis, which will be published in written and video format for premium members. Any member wishing to get involved for the proofreading of this, please get in touch.

One question I repeatedly get asked is about the difference between the two engines types and their suitability for positions.

As a way of introduction, when we are selecting a move we are broadly examining three characteristics: Tactical, Positional and Strategic.

Tactical:  referring to a sequence of moves that limits the opponent's options and may result in tangible gain

Positional: referring to a sequence of moves, where the structure of the position is examined and improved (e.g. pawn structure and control of open files)

Strategic: referring to the development of a plan, which goes beyond individual moves or sequence of moves.

There is no absolute difference between the characteristics, they should be considered a continuum. In addition, finding a definitive definition is somewhat difficult!

If we attempt to overlay the main engines around at the moment, we find that most of the main Alpha-Beta engines (of which Stockfish is paramount) are excellent in the Tactical sense, weak1 in the positional sense and generally poor in the Strategic sense1

In addition, it is noticeable that some seemingly positional moves are the result of a deep tactical based search!

Many SF clones tend to be slightly stronger in the positional sense, although often as the expense of some tactical benefits.

Komodo (in AB mode) tends to be slightly stronger positionally and slightly weaker tactically and , on occasion , give the impression of playing strategic moves (in the same way that an exhaustive tactical search throws up positional moves, a deeper search with Komodo can throw up moves that appear strategic in nature)

LC0 tends to play good positional moves and many that are almost strategic nature, although much depends on the network in use and the training regime used (which is another article). It is slightly weaker in terms of tactical play (on typical home hardware) Komodo MCTS shows many of LC0’s characteristics but as its evaluation is still “human”, not quite as well.

An aspiring CC player can utilise this to their advantage. Having recently upgraded to fairly high-end hardware I have been observing SF and Neutral Net engines working in tandem. I have tended to observe (assuming I put 3 MPV on the AB engine) four situations:

  1. Both Engines choose the same moves (although not necessarily the same lines)
  2. The AB Engine (Stockfish) finds a good (tactical) move very quickly and the NN engine significantly longer (typically the move starts towards the bottom of the evaluation and slowly improves its evaluation)
  3. The NN finds a good move , which SF either (a) tends to find after only a very deep search or only after it is “shown” the line.
  4. Both suggest a very different set of moves.


If we examine these situations, A happens about 75% of the time, B and C about 10% each and D around 5%. Utilising B and C and checking between the two engines can generate a number of winning “moves”.  D is perhaps the most interesting as this is the area where strategic planning comes into play and is the margin that the highest rated players reside in!

(Note the practical application of this will be covered in the Engine Analysis guide mentioned earlier.

What type of positions do these four scenarios tend to crop up in? We will cover that next time!


(1)It is worth noting that “weak” in this sense tends to be mean about 2400 elo!


A Williams Dragon

Russell Sherwood  Friday, April 24, 2020

Aa annotated game (Paul Scott) from the Evans Tournament. 


Woah, we're half way there (almost!)

Russell Sherwood  Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Latest forecast is Wales 23- Sweden 17 in the Euro Team Cup!  A victory here should lead to a juicy tie with one of the highest rated federations!


(The photo - I did have hair like that in the 80's - a joke you will only get if you are in the know!)


Evans Gambit

Russell Sherwood  Sunday, March 22, 2020

A few people have enquired as to who the William Davies Evans was and why we are running a tournament named after him.

William Davies Evans is known in Chess circles through the Evans Gambit, seen after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4. 

A regular favourite amongst club player’s and still an occasional choice with elite players (as a surprise weapon) in over the board chess, how does it fare in modern correspondence chess?

Looking at the stats:

  • Chessbase online database 57%
  • Megabase 2020 56%
  • Engine only games show White with a sub 50% score.
  • The line is almost unplayed in recent elite level CC – 1 game drawn in recent times.

A rather unclear position! Older engines show the position as significantly favourable for black, yet more modern engines show a close to zero evaluation.

Looking at wider ICCF games (results 2015 onwards and not having both players above 2500) we see a 52% score, with relatively low draw percentage.

So an area worth examination for the ambitious CC player possibly?! 




Evans Gambit

Wales - Sweden Update #2

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Friendlies Round Up

Russell Sherwood  Saturday, February 29, 2020

Excluding the Swedish match we have commenced 33 Friendly matches to date.

29 of these have been completed. Our results have been interesting......I utilise two methods to score matches. The first of these is the simple board score and in the regard we have:

Won 9

Drawn 3

Lost 17

Not too encouraging, although when ratings are taken into account the situation is somewhat different. Here I use an expected score based upon the average rating difference in each game. On this basis our results have been :

Won 17

Draw 0

Lost 12

What is even more interesting is that 6 of these losses were in our first 8 games, giving us a 15-0-6 since mid 2014. 

Why is this? Much has been down to the WCCF attitude to Friendly matches - that they are a training and development event. Almost all of our senior players "earned their spurs" in Friendly events.

So our current 4 events


Wales - Italy 25-55

Here we gave away 120 rating points on average, so the result was always likely to a formality. Congratulations to the 6 players who recorded wins!

Wales - Germany 15.5-25.5

Many games still to play but we suffered on the lower boards here

Wales - USA 11.5-12.5

A close match! The bottom boards have set up the team well, can the Top boards bring it home?

Wales - Czech Republic 6-11

Closer than it seems with a number of "postmen" on the middle boards!










FriendliesTournament Results
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