Rumor has it ICCF-US will soon schedule another U.S. Corres. Chess Championship, to be played on the ICCF webserver. Entrants must be FIDE/ICCF-rated Experts and Masters. Interested players may check the ICCF-US web site: http://iccfus.com/.
Did he say "Experts and Masters" only? How can that be of interest to the millions (Ok, I might be exaggerating a little) of chess players who follow this blog? If you're happy playing internet chess against unknown opponents with fictitious names and dubious ranking, then you're probably not interested. But if you're an aspiring player looking to improve, to test your mettle against serious, like-minded opponents, then the above announcement should raise a couple questions. What is FIDE/ICCF and how can I get an official rating?
FIDE (Federation Internationale des Eschecs) is the world-governing body of organized chess competition for the World Chess Championship and related, prestigious events. ICCF (International Correspondence Chess Federation) is the division of FIDE that governs correspondence chess play. Only FIDE/ICCF can grant officially recognized titles. Competitions are governed by stringent rules and administered by skilled arbiters and tournament directors. Each country's national federation is an affiliate of FIDE/ICCF. In the USA, there is one affiliate for over-the-board play: the United States Chess Federation (USCF.) For correspondence play, there are two: CCLA (Correspondence Chess League of America) and USCF. An American player must have membership in one of these two groups, and play in their events, in order to obtain an official rating and compete for recognized titles, whether club-level, national or international.
CCLA has recently enhanced its server chess program with a new web site: http://www.serverchess.com devoted exclusively to server chess. Here you will find the information needed to get started in server play. Officially sanctioned competition is not free and it's not easy. Are you ready for a challenge?