International Chess Fellowship

International Chess Fellowship
(compiled and written by Greg Farrell, past Chair of ICFR 2001-2002)
The beginning

The International Chess Fellowship of Rotarians (ICFR), an entertaining and challenging Fellowship authorized by the Rotary International, is organized and exists to promote the international spirit of Rotary and the enjoyment of chess through correspondence chess play among interested Rotarians. ICFR members share a mutual love of chess and an interest in the personal and cultural activities of fellow members through individual correspondence, articles and games published in the ICFR’s semiannual “The Chessarian” newsletter, and personal fellowship and play both at the annual Rotary International conventions and during personal visits to the homes of fellow ICFR members.

The ICFR has been in continuous existence since 1977. Paul Rosamond ( Dallas-Fair Park, Texas, USA) reactivated the dormant ICFR that year, accepting the personal challenge by the Coordinator of Rotary International World Fellowship Activities at the 1977 Rotary International convention in San Francisco, California (USA). As chairman, Paul took quick action to energize and build ICFR. He recruited 2 local non-Rotarian businessmen into his Fair Park Rotary Club to assist him with the ICFR. These men-Wayne Connaway ( ICFR Editor) and James Campion (ICR Secretary) brought considerable experience to the ICFR. Both had a long affiliation with the Dallas Chess Club-Connaway serving both as its President and Newsletter Editor and Campion (past winner of the Dallas Chess Championship) serving at its Treasurer. Rosamond’s small team contacted and reactivated dozens of past members, established Regional Vice Chairmanships (RVC’s) to promote the ICFR throughout the US and worldwide, and began correspondence play-Paul Rosamond personally beginning correspondence with 24 partners.

By April, 1979, the newly energized ICFR published its first issue of “The Chessarian” as a single 2-sided sheet. Making their featured debuts were the first completed ICFR correspondence game (Kauffman v. Rosamond) and the first chess puzzle (mate in 3). In addition, the new leadership used this inaugural issue to state their vision of the ICFR mission, set aggressive goals for the ICFR, and recognize the growing leadership.

The ICFR mission was stated as serving as “an instrument of Rotary to promote and encourage worldwide fellowship among Rotarians while enjoying the age old Royal Game of Chess.”

The young organization established several aggressive goals, including:
1. To keep the ICFR sound through periodic request of small annual contributions;
2. To regularly publish “The Chessarian” both as a fun way for all current ICFR members to keep involved and to help promote new membership growth;
3. To establish correspondence chess ratings or rankings fro active players;
4. To periodically use a portion of contributed funds to award a Paul Harris Fellowship to the best submitted correspondence game by any eligible player as funds become available; and
5. To organize and conduct a variety of chess activities at annual RI conventions worldwide for enjoyment and fellowship, and to promote ICFR membership.

Highlighting the further growth the ICFR leadership, “The Chessarian” recognized 5 new US RVC’s and 5 pending RVC’s in the Bahamas, Costa Rica, India, the Philippines, and the UK.

The soundness of the vision and leadership is demonstrated both by the continued enthusiasm of the ICFR membership over the years and by the remarkable success of the organization in each of these 3 areas. The ICFR has stayed true to its fellowship mission since 1979 and has had the good fortune of seeing its stated goals largely and regularly met.

The ICFR remained on a sound financial footing over the years. Starting with no treasury, the ICFR initially funded its activities through personal investment by the first officers. The ICFR has been kept sound over the years by both the regular contributions and continued invaluable support personal support. Of particular note are ICFR member (and “The Chessarian” printer) Don Powell ( El Paso, Texas,USA) and the many ICFR officers and members who have travelled to the RI conventions throughout the world, staffing booths and organizing and sponsoring tournament play.

“The Chessarian” continues to be published each year (May and November) and has expanded to 4-6 pages per issue. Each issue continues to showcase a number of submitted correspondence games, several mind-bending chess puzzles, and several interesting articles.

Responding to membership interest Herbert Punchard ( first ICFR Game Recorder) began publishing a simple ranking of each submittingyer’s accumulated win-loss-tie percentage in “The Chessarian.” The ranking continues to be updated and published in most issues as room permits.

The awarding of a Paul Harris Fellowship to a qualified ICFR member for his best-submitted correspondence game is still a goal and will be realized as funds permit.

The ICFR has been a regular presence at RI conventions over the years, hosting booths at most all of the US sited conventions( e.g. Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Portland) and many of the internationally sited conventions (e.g. Buenos Aires, Calgary, Glasgow, Melbourne, Mexico City, Nice, and Seoul). To promote interest, the ICFR has hosted simultaneous exhibitions at several conventions (e.g. Chicago and Philadelphia). A number of round-robin over-the-board tournaments have been held at RI conventions (e.g. Calgary, Dallas, Glasgow, Indianapolis, and Nice). Convention activity has proven successful in promoting interest in the ICFR. For example, the ICFR received 91 inquiries and gained 26 new members in the 11 months following convention in Seoul, South Korea. An additional 15 new members joined following the Portland, Oregon (USA) convention in 1990.

As the leadership grew, so did the membership. The initial officers were joined by 10 actual and pending Regional Vice Chairmen in less than 2 years, and an additional 6 Regional Vice Chairmen 8 months later. From its membership base in the late 1970’s, ICFR membership quickly expanded internationally. By 1998, the ICFR boasted 101 members in 16 countries around the world, balancing its 54 US members with 47 international members. Internationally, Canada led in membership in 1998 with 12 ( 6 British Columbia, 4 Ontario and 2 Alberta), followed by the UK with 10 ( 8 England, and 2 Scotland), India with 9, and France with 4. In 1998, ICFR membership in the US came from 27 states, led by California with 6, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia with 4 each, and New York and Oklahoma with 3 each.

The ICFR has proven to be “family friendly” over the years. The first published correspondence win by a female ICFR member was in 1980, as Terry Le Foy ( wife of Rotarian Robert Le Foy, Cleveland, Tennessee, USA) triumphed in 9 moves over Dr. Michael Veglin ( Skokie, Illinois, USA). Likewise, 3 members of the Higgo family of Cape Town, South Africa ( Rotarian Graham, wife Sonia, and daughter Lisa) were all listed as members in 1983!

To promote fellowship and interesting play, the ICFR organized several correspondence tournaments over the years. In 1991, a tournament was organized to test ICFR member Maurice Alberny’s self-styled “Rotary Variation” of the Ruy Lopez ( or Spanish Game). Beginning with a required 1. e4, e5; 2. Nf3, Nc6; 3.Bb5, b6 moves, each participant was free to move as he wished fro the remainder of the games. Each of the 56 participants played several games as white and black against fellow ICFR-member tournament partners. In 1994 Gerard Lepine-Fontes (Perpignan, France) organized a 4 team international correspondence tournament: 4 Canadian players versus 4 USA players and 4 European players versus a second team of 4 USA players. In 1999 Andre Hariman ( New South Wales, Australia) organized an international correspondence chess tournament consisting of 14 USA players versus 14 international players, will play beginning in January, 2000. This newest tournament, the “ Rosamond Cup” is intended to be a permanently repeating tournament, with the winning team being awarded a travelling trophy. (The tournament is named for founder Paul Rosamond in honor of his significant contributions to the ICFR. In addition to his vital role of organizing and financing the ICFR in its first decade. Rosamond also served as a readily available correspondence partner. During the two dozen years of ICFR involvement, Rosamond had partnered with over different active or prospective ICFR members).

After serving 12 years as ICFR Chairman, Paul Rosamond stepped down in 1989, turning the leadership of the solidly established organization to Vice Chairman Dustin Peters ( Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, USA). In 1991, the ICFR began decentralizing the leadership of the organization with the goal of sharing responsibility more broadly and respond quickly around the world.

With an eye toward technology, the ICFR has moved to use the Internet to foster even closer communications among ICFR members worldwide. Recognizing the interest of a number of Internet-capable ICFRR members in the speed and cost effectiveness of e-mail, new ICFR Vice Chairman Carl Ross personally undertook the creation of an ICFR e-mail correspondence group immediately following the 1998 RI convention in Indianapolis, USA. Ross established an e-mail directory, a basic set of correspondence rules, and initial pairings. The new e-mail group quickly grew to several dozen active players. With the elimination of in-transit time, games could now be started and finished in months ( or weeks) instead of the more typical 2-3 years with postal play. Likewise, international play became more feasible with both the increased speed and reliability, and reduced cost. Furthermore, the creation of an ICFR e-mail directory made the communications between fellow members both feasible and cost effective.

An additional step forward in technology occurred with the establishment and design of the initial ICFR website by Brian Clark (Ontario, Canada). Located at , (there is now a new website listed below) the website lists current and past officers, registrations and game requests, and a list of Internet accessible members. Longer-term plans include the creation of additional pages to document ICFR By-Laws, history, membership, games, and articles, and establish links to other Rotary or chess related sites of interest to fellow ICFR members and prospective members.

Addendum below ( by Edgar Calvelo, Napa, California, USA, currently ICFR co-editor)

The new ICFR website:

The past ICFR chairs:
Paul Rosamond- 1977-1989
Dustin Peters- 1989-1992
Brian Jackson- 1992-1995
Wayne Tolbert- 1995-1998
Tim Schober- 1998-2001
Greg Farrell- 2001-2002
Bill Van Bergeyk-2002-2005
Edgar Calvelo- 2005-2008
David Smith- 2008-

Current ICFR officers

At the present time there are no membership dues. The ICFR editors try to publish The Chessarian monthly and sent by email. Previously it is published 2 times a year in May and November and distributed by regular mail. Because of the cost of printing and mailing the newsletter is sent only by email and published in the ICFR website.

One goal of the editors is to get the email addresses of the other past members who only had regular postal addresses in the past.

Rosamond Cup ( 2001) results: Team USA- 8 points and Rest of the World Team- 11 points.
Greg Farrell organized a tournament during the RI convention 2001 in San Antonio, Texas, USA which consisted of seven players: Greg Farrell (Indiana, USA), David Smith (London, England), Dan Crow (San Antonio, Texas, USA), Bill Van Bergeyk (British Columbia, Canada), Sebastian Castellano (Florida, USA), Nigel Mustapha (New York, USA), and Chp May ( Arlington, Texas, USA). Greg Farrel won the tournament with 4 points and David Smith took second place with 3.5 points.

In 2002, Maurice Alberny ( France) organized an ICFR team, Rotary Gambit, consisting of Maurice Alberny, Board 1 ( France,) Frank Goedert, Board 2( Luxembourg), Edgar Calvelo, Board 3 ( USA), and Brian Clark, Board 4 ( Canada), participated in the League of Champions section tournament in the International Chess Correspondence Federation ( ICCF). There were eleven teams in the tournament. Our team, Rotary Gambit scored a total of 15.5 points and placed 8th place. The Chessfriends, one of the 2 teams from Germany, scored 31 points and won first place. The other teams were from Peru, Spain, Italy, Norway, Poland, Great Britain, Germany, other mixture of players from Ireland, Turkey, Lithuania and USA.

Currently ICFR QUAD matches by group of 4 or more are being organized by Brian Clark. Through the effort of Brian Clark ICFR members also had chess matches with members of the Medical Chess Club of America (MCCA). All games by email correspondence. Ed Waldes suggested to play ICFR games through a website: and Brian Clark arranged a tournament consisting of six ICFR players: Brian Clark, Edgar Calvelo, Ed Waldes, Ray Garrett, Mayowa Adeyemi and P.R. Venkatesh.

ICFR had a booth in the House of Friendship during RI conventions in Brisbane, Barcelona, Osaka, Malmo-Copenhagen, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles 2008. We met new members, played chess and enjoyed fellowship during these conventions.

R.K. Chetty ( back, r), Leonard Igini (r), Jorge Cruz, RI photographer ( with brown shirt)
(RI convention 2008)

David Smith ( r ) contemplates his move against P.R. Venkatesh (LA2008)

ICFR members met each other from conventions to conventions. Edgar Calvelo and his wife, Cheri, on their way to Brisbane for the RI convention 2003, had a wonderful dinner with Andre Hariman in Sidney. David Smith and his wife, Jane on their post-LA RI convention 2008 tour of the San Francisco Bay Area had a memorable dinner with Edgar and Cheri in Sonoma, California. While they were having wine and appetizers at the restaurant Edgar had a medical emergency and had to be taken to the hospital.

We will apply for a booth in the House of Friendship at the RI convention in Birmingham, England 2009.

Edgar Calvelo met Leonard Igini and David and Jane Smith in Salt Lake City 2007 and Los Angeles 2008. Also Edgar played chess with PDG Joe Dino at Salt Lake City 2007 and vowed to play with Edgar again at Los Angeles RI convention 2008 which he did.

Joe and Albert concentrate very hard ( right)
Liam Flood & Leonard Igini( left)

Ray Garrett ( l ) joined ICFR after playing at RI convention LA 2008

The International Chess Fellowship of Rotarians promotes the enjoyment of play, fellowship, friendship and Rotary and occasional scary moments.

ICFR want to share the joy of Rotary and chess, fellowship and friendship with the other Rotarians. We invite other Rotarians to join the International Chess Fellowship of Rotarians (ICFR).

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