Shortest Correspondence Chess Game Ever Played

Correspondence chess game allows peoples who are far away...

...What is a Correspondence Chess Game?

This is not a normal over the board chess game where both players present at the side of Chessboard at the same time and playing. Both players were using postal ways to communicate and inform their next move to their competitor.

Correspondence chess game allows peoples who are far away from each other like in different countries to play, even if they are not face to face. Such Correspondence chess games could take weeks, months or sometimes even years to complete a single game.

Time limits in a correspondence chess game are normally between 30 to 60 days for every 10 moves. A player can play more than one game at the same time, because of that.

Until 2004, the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) correspondence chess games were played only via email and post.

The historical Correspondence chess game took place in 1990 between James Franklin Campbell and Alan Ehrlich which lasted only 2 moves. It was registered as the shortest Correspondence chess game ever played in the long history of the chess game.

James Franklin Campbell was playing with the White pieces & Alan Ehrlich was playing with the Black pieces. Campbell Started with D4 and Ehrlich replied with G6. It is called the modern defence chess opening. 

Usually White would continue with E4 to solidify his control in the central squares in the board. After which Black would respond with Bishop to G7 to attack the central squares in the board. That is quite straight forward moves which you can e in a chess game.

But there was one problem, when Ehrlich sends not only send the 1st move he sends his 2nd move as well by one single post only. He decided to make 2 moves at once, to save a few time and money for postage. 

On those days, this was quite a common thing to do. For example, you want to say if your opponent pins your specific piece then on the next move you will pin that specific piece with another specific piece of yours. It is something similar to how we play pre-moves in an online chess game nowadays. 

But this time, what happened was not a conditional move. Ehrlich committed his next move without any conditions. He mentioned in his post 1. G6 and 2. ANY BG7. Here any means whatever the 2nd move White plays, Black will play Bishop to G7 only.

He was expecting some standard moves like Pawn to E4 or Pawn to C4 or Knight to C3. But the next move Campbell send to Ehrlich was just astonishing. As Ehrlich had already committed his next move Campbell played Bishop H6. This move loses for White in any other game but here Black has already committed to Bishop G7, Black will lose his Bishop and Rook easily.

Immediately after that, Ehrlich resigned the game and Campbell won the Game. There are many opinions about that game. Many people believe that Ehrlich made a mistake by committing his next move too early. On the other hand, some people believe Campbell went against the spirit of the game by taking unfair advantage of Ehrlich's early commitment.

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