Featured player of the World Zone

Ozen, Bahadir TUR
ICCF ID: 490789
ICCF Titles: CCE, 2022
Rating: 2318

For the featured player of the World Zone, I have selected Mr. Bahadır Ozen of Turkey as I
thought he is a good material being a FIDE International Master and relatively new to
correspondence chess. The selection is at random as currently I don’t have any criteria of
selection of who would be the featured player as there are a lot of good players in the ICCF World Zone.

I have sent him some questionnaires about his background, his journey and accomplishments in
chess, his favorite chess players and what he sees as the future of correspondence chess.
Here we go.

Please provide your name, age and country.
I was born in 2000 in Istanbul, Turkey and I am 22 years old. I am studying Exercise and Sports Sciences
at Istanbul Gelisim University. I also give group/individual chess lessons online.


Historical background related to chess – Most chess players learn playing chess early from
watching their father or member of the family play chess. How did you start learning and playing
chess? How was your early training in chess?

I was introduced to chess at the age of 5, thanks to my father. This was the game he played during his
military career. After losing my first game to my father… I remember getting very angry and throwing
pieces to him. I was a very ambitious person, and I couldn’t admit defeat, so I started playing chess
online for hours. Some days even exceeded +10 hours!


Achievements – what tournaments have your participated since learning chess? What were
your accomplishments?

I started to participate in official tournaments from the age of 7. In my time I have achieved numerous
honors in school tournaments. Some of those are:

  • Age Groups Provincial Championship Chess Tournament / 29.10.2007 / Istanbul 1st place with 8/9
  • Turkey Age Groups Championship (U10) / 01.02.2010 / Antalya 1st place with 9.5/11
  • School Sports Junior-Stars-Youth Provincial Championship Chess Tournament (Anatolian Side) /
    09.03.2012 / Istanbul 1st place with 6.5/7
    In my age group, I have won 5x times the Turkish Championship. I won my first FIDE title at Krakow, Poland, World Schools Championship (CM, at 2011).

FIDE accomplishments – what is your present rating and please relate your journey towards
getting the title that you have now.

Currently my FIDE standard rating is 2369, rapid 2349 and blitz 2503. (FIDE ID 6337058).
I won the titles of Candidate Master (CM) in 2011, FIDE Master (FM) in 2015, and International Master
(IM) in 2019.


Who are your favorite chess players – past and present? And why?

In my childhood, I especially admired GM Julian Hodgson. A45 Trompowsky Attack: Raptor Variation,
the system played with h4 seemed very energetic and eager to me.
In the following periods, I gradually started to study more positional chess. I especially liked the plays
of the German Grandmaster, Hickl Georg! He would especially prefer to play 1.g3 with white. The
square/area control and the plans he implemented were interesting. Afterwards, I like Georg Meier, 1.
Nf3 2.g3 and of course Kramnik, Karpov 1.d4 and positional games.


Describe your journey and your thoughts about correspondence chess.

I played my first official game in May 2021. I knew that this organization existed before, but thanks to
the pandemic, my interest in online correspondence chess increased. Previously, I only store machine
chess and correspondence chess games (new ideas and sample portions played in correspondence
chess are very valuable. A good reference tool as the game quality is very high).
I first started playing in ICCF in early 2022 and I also play in sites such as LSS and FICGS. Of course, at
the hobby level, but thanks to correspondence chess, you can have an idea about different variations.
I believe there is a very strong connection between OTB chess and correspondence chess. Especially in
recent years, we have been experiencing the effect of correspondence chess on OTB chess more and
more.

For example: Nepomniachtchi – Carlsen FIDE World Championship 2021, Game 1 – Inspired by
correspondence chess.
In the Italian Opening, the a5 way played with black is more popular nowadays (when we compare
with a6). At the Ruy Lopez opening or at Petroff… There are lots of fresh new ideas we can see. I
believe top OTB players follow correspondence chess regularly. They have to, because time and the
data obtained and the methods applied can change.


Thanks to correspondence chess, I can delve deeper into the openings that I have played and want to

play. I don’t know if it is directly useful for OTB. But it’s definitely worth gold in terms of opening and
positional experience.
Today, we can say that ICCF is the most popular address for correspondence chess. There are many
people working in the foreground and background, and I would like to thank everyone who
contributed to the continuation of this order. I wish I had started playing ICCF much earlier.
And finally, of course, about the future of correspondence chess…
Of course, the quality/power of chess played today is not the same compared to the old games. It is
very difficult to win a match because of the abundance of available information and the powerful
chess software that emerged as a result of technological developments.


Unfortunately, there is not much we can do more than adapting to the times. Really, I understand very
well. The hours spent on analysis and trials in the past may have decreased today, but I still believe
that it has a future. Especially in the coming years, there will be many more pioneers for OTB.


My advice to OTB and correspondence chess players:

For OTB players
You should definitely follow the correspondence games regularly. There is no end to development and
progress. Chess is a game based on experience and knowledge. Don’t stop researching.


For correspondence players

Personally, I am very new to this platform. But I can say that it will be in the direction of developing
the human understanding of chess as much as possible. This becomes even more evident in the
strategic decision-making phase (your expectation from the game, tournament progress, etc.)


Thank you very much to Mr. Arthur Simplina for giving me this chance. I hope it was useful. Good luck
to all chess lovers.


Amici Sumus,


Bahadir Ozen
June 28, 2022


Contributed by:
Arthur Simplina
Philippine Correspondence Chess Association

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