In 1978 Walter Muir convinced me to try international chess play. Thus I made my first tentative attempt at competition in the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF). I was the only player from the USA. The transmission time between moves was very slow. This was my shortest game. My first opponent was Ing. Jozef Spanik whom I think was from Czechoslovakia. That was a country made up of what is today the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I wore out my copy of the book Bishop's Opening by Tim Harding. Probably we were still in the book when my opponent failed to reply to my 14th move.
In ICCF, if you did not receive a move from your opponent within say 2-3 weeks, then you were to send a repeat of your last move via registered mail and notify the tournament director. If your opponent did not reply to your repeat move, then eventually you were awarded a forfeit win. In most countries, the cost of registered mail was a slight increase in normal mail prices. In the USA registered mail was like 10 times the cost of a normal postcard. I found myself spending a lot of money in the late 1970s. Those were my early poverty years. I was trying to support my family.
The US economy was terrible back at that time 1978-1980, leading Jimmy Carter to be voted out of office by a landslide. Almost every state voted for Ronald Reagan and the economy turned around. Like most people, I voted for Jimmy Carter the first time, but would not make that mistake that second time. I voted for Reagan in 1980 and 1984.
For my game vs Ing. Jozef Spanik, I was awarded a win. The process annoyed me. I decided to spend my money on my family. That worked. I am still married to the same wife! I quit my 1978 ICCF section. In future years I returned to ICCF and sometimes played well.
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Sawyer - Spanik, corr ICCF, 1978 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nxe4 [After 3...Nc6 I played what I called the "Chicken King's Gambit". I would back into that opening via 4.d3 Bc5 5.f4 d6 6.Nf3 King's Gambit Declined, when White does not actually sacrifice a pawn.] 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 [5.Qxe5+ Qe7 6.Qxe7+ Bxe7 7.Bb3=] 5...Nc6 [5...Be7 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Nxe5=] 6.Nb5 g6 7.Qf3 f5 8.Qd5 Qe7 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 b6 11.d3 [Another way to play this is 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.Qf3 Bb7 13.d3 Nd4 14.Qh3] 11...Bb7 12.h4 h6 [The more popular way to stop the threat of 13.Bg5 winning the Black queen is by 12...f4 13.Qf3 Bh6 14.Bd2 Nd4=] 13.Qf3 Nd4 14.Qg3+/= Black stopped playing. 1-0
Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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