As a member of the French chess federation, I am somewhat disheartened to see that the only way to play for an official rating is on ICCF. I do not wish to play on ICCF as I dislike the use of engines and tablebases in correspondence chess.

Is there a place that I can play for official ratings that does not allow engine use? USCF springs to mind, but I am not sure I can play there while being associated with the French federation. Is this at all possible?

1 Answer 1


I have been an International Chess Correspondence Federation (ICCF) delegate of a country for 20 years. So, the answer to your question is that you cannot transfer from France to USA in the ICCF without the approval of the French federation. But, in general federations would accept a transfer. You would have to contact the French Federation. However, the United States Chess Federation (USCF) accepts members even if they are not U.S. citizens. So, you can play in USCF tournaments. Note that USCF and US ICCF are not the same. USCF belongs to FIDE, but US ICCF belongs to ICCF. If you decide to do that, check that some U.S. tournaments do not allow chess engines, but others do because the U.S. is also a member of the ICCF. A good question is what is an official tournament? ICCF is the elder correspondence chess federation, but ICCF and FIDE are not 100% connected anymore. My suggestion would be that you play correspondence chess on lichess.org. Lichess do not allow the use of chess engines. Is it official? Why do you care about that? Lichess is the main chess server because it is 100% free. 250,000 members!!! For me that is an official system. Lechenicher Schach Server offers correspondence chess games without engines as well. Even they offer their website in French: https://www.chess-server.net/fr/ Lechenicher is also 100% free. However, be careful because they also have tournaments where the use of chess engines is allowed. Just register in the right tournament. My guess is that there are many other websites that offer correspondence chess without engines. Just do not limit yourself with the requirement of "official." At the end of the day, nobody cares about our chess rating except ourselves. Good luck with your chess journey! Hugs!


LSS now has a rating list for correspondence chess for players that do not use software programs (chess engines).

LSS is 100% free. An excellent server that I highly recommend.

LSS Non-engine list

  • 1
    For correspondence games, Lichess provides access to databases of previous games. Users can compare historical lines until a new position is reached. Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 13:36
  • Excellent comment! However, nothing is perfect. I still consider that Lichess and Lechenicher Schach Server are good options if you want non-engine correspondence chess
    – Beginner
    Commented Nov 4, 2022 at 5:08
  • 1
    thank you for your answer. Really I just wish that the French federation, to which I belong, had their own correspondence section, a bit like USCF do.
    – Owen Rees
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 19:03
  • @OwenRees You are very welcome! We need to adapt. I have a couple of friends who like to play against the computer. For example, Lichess engine has eight levels. They started with level 1 (the easiest), after some time they continued with level 2, etc. I am planning to do that. As computers are cheaper now than before, I am sure that the same can be done with correspondence chess. What do you think about the idea? I noticed that Shredder has the option to set the engine based on ELO. I am sure that you can do the same with other engines.
    – Beginner
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 19:47
  • 1
    @OwenRees Also, do not be too hard with your correspondence national federation. It is not easy to decide who is cheating and who is not. Once I proposed an idea based on the U.S. correspondence chess tournaments without engines for the entire continent, and the project did not move forward because of the cheating issue that requires a lot of effort and people. In that aspect, Lichess already has a big team managing that kind of situation. However, even for them it is not easy because they do not want to have too many false positives and/or false negatives. It is really a statistical puzzle.
    – Beginner
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 4:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.