This post considers why Correspondence Chess is thought as the scientific side of chess, while Over-The-Board Chess the sportive side of the game, and Chess Problems its artistic side.
Over-The-Board Chess is considered a sport since players fight in matches in which they rely on their memory, physical and mental strength, while Chess Problems explore the qualities and relations of the board and pieces in themselves to illustrate their characteristics and beauty.
Correspondence Chess seeks to apply and prove the game’s truths and laws aided by all support possible including computers, databases, encyclopedias, etc. Correspondence games are thus thought by some to provide a higher level of quality, as they avoid blunders and apply all resources available to the games.
This scientific nature of Correspondence Chess has been part of the game since its beginnings in the early 19th Century. For the famous planned match between Paris and London in 1824, arguably at the origin of modern Correspondence Chess, there was a press announcements in the news stating that:
“Amateurs, no doubt, will be gratified in witnessing this scientific contest, which will display the skill of, probably the first players in Europe” Tim Harding. Correspondence Chess in Britain and Ireland. 1824-1987. McFarland and Company, 2011. Page 9.
As this early announcement at the origin of Correspondence Chess shows, its scientific nature has always been perceived as an integral part of the game. Today, references to Correspondence play as scientific continue in the midst of questions about its reliance on technology.
Correspondence players today need to keep studying chess and generating knowledge through the games played. By engaging in this type of scientific contest we will continue to bring unparalleled insight into chess.