I have decided to try postal correspondence chess this year. There are a variety of small tournaments available through USCF for their members, so I registered for a round robin quad. Since I will be playing six simultaneous games over a period of many months (probably more than a year), I figure the I will need some sort of system to keep organized. Here is what I have come up with.


My first exposure to the idea of postal chess was while watching “Dennis the Menace” reruns as a young boy. In one episode, “Dennis’ Obligation” I believe, Mr. Wilson is playing a game of chess by mail. I don’t know why, but that just sort of stuck with me and I’ve always wanted to try it. So I guess that this year I will finally get that off of my bucket list. Who knows, maybe it will be enjoyable enough to stick with. We will see… By the way, I do not earn any money from the links in this post.

Since I plan to pursue this for awhile, I figured that I had better find a way to get organized (chess is hard enough without making it worse with clutter). I found references to an old organizational system called the “Postal Chess Recorder Album”. They seem to be out of print for several decades and old copies sell for hundreds of dollars online. I’m not a collector, so that is out as an option. So here is what I came up with instead.

Compondents that make up my system

  1. Postcards: The first thing that I got was several hundred postcards to send my moves to opponents. I suppose that I could have just made a form in Word and printed a bunch. But, this seemed like more fun. I purchased from mine USCF on their online store.

  2. Stamps: Gotta have some stamps to send those postcards, right? I purchased at my local post office as books of 20 coral reef stamps for $7.00 (35¢ each). There is a disappointingly restricted variety of postcard stamps. I plan to shop online to see if I can find more patterns.

  3. Magnetic travel boards: I want to have some sort of physical board to look at for each of the games during the tournament. However, keeping six full sets up in my house for more than a year would not be very popular with my wife. Therefore, I purchased from six magnetic travel sets from ChessHouse. They are a simple and portable way to keep track of games without requiring too much space.

  4. Chess scorebook: I want to keep a long-term record of all my games played. To do this, I ordered a scorebook on Amazon from WE Games. Is is very well-bound and the paper quality is nice and heavy. I should be able to play in a dozen tournaments before needing another.

  5. Postcard storage box: I also want to keep all of the postcards and/or letters that I get from my opponents. To store them, I bought an index card box from Office Supply online. I figure that I can store about a thousand cards in there. That would be about two dozen games (or four tournaments) at about 40 moves per games.

  6. Storage bag: I needed something to keep everything together. So I purchased some really nice canvas bags on Amazon from Kernowo. This bag’s canvas is very hefty and the zipper is very strong. I actually got three in the set and am using the others to store tools.

  7. Hiarcs Chess Explorer: Finally, I have set up a database set up for all of my current and future correspondence games. Moves are logged and commented during the game. I use comments to record my thoughts and plans as I go. After the tournament is over, I plan to use chess engines to analyze my play (and my opponents’ too) to find out what I did right or wrong.

Well that is what I am trying out for now. If you play chess by mail, I would be interested in hearing about what sort of system you use. Thanks for reading.

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