Someone told me that you can use a chess database for correspondence chess, but this seems a little like cheating. Does anyone has some information on this subject.

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    What kind of correspondence chess do you play? Sep 29, 2014 at 20:04

3 Answers 3


According to the official rules of the International Correspondence Chess Federation, you are allowed and encouraged to. It is regarded as learning an opening. Of course, there are different rules for some sites, but most sites follow the ICCF rules.

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    At ICCF even engine use is fine. Sep 29, 2014 at 20:04

In accordance with the reference to the ICCF, I think that it's also placed upon you and your correspondent to agree to such things: It's not something that should be kept secret from your opponent.

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    I don't agree at all. If something is allowed by the rules, the assumption is that everybody will make use of it. If you want to restrict yourself voluntarily and the game isn't competitive, you may ask your opponent if he wants to as well, but there's no reason for him to agree. Sep 30, 2014 at 7:44
  • I'm not forcing anything with my statement, just saying that some open communication can be a welcome avenue for agreeing about terms. Think of them as "house rules" among gentlemen/women. It's more for further clarification of details and not a base set of rules. And this person asking obviously has some fine tuned questions of said established rules, so a quick banter back-and-forth can easily and quickly set one's mind at ease.
    – Grey Dog
    Sep 30, 2014 at 13:29
  • I took "placed upon you" to mean it was something people should normally do. Nobody starts a normal competitive chess game with a debate about the choice of house rules, and that doesn't happen in correspondence either, in my experience. Sep 30, 2014 at 13:30
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    Fair enough. In my correspondences, we usually have a very simple preamble where we set color, time limits on responses, and the like. In the past, my usual consensus is that you can consult theory (openings, etc) but not feed the board to a chess engine. I could do that on my own, so why would I need/want someone else to do that? Perhaps I misunderstand the use of a "chess database" as an engine.
    – Grey Dog
    Oct 1, 2014 at 1:37

My teacher always said that using engines and suchlike didn't matter, as generally players in correspondence chess can analyse deeper than a computer can. That was a few years ago, so the state of technology might have changed now. Also, this probably only applies if you are above certain level of ability.

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    Everybody in serious correspondence chess relies heavily on computers, but on the other hand, people who only rely on computers don't get very far. Sep 30, 2014 at 7:46
  • So if I relied solely on Stockfish with really good hardware while playing correspondence chess, I would not do well?
    – wired_in
    Sep 30, 2014 at 17:25
  • @wired_in It depends on how good you and your opponent are, how long you have between moves, and how much time you spend on computer analysis. If you have a grade of 1000, and spend 30 hours on computer analysis per move I'd imagine you would do quite well.
    – rlms
    Sep 30, 2014 at 20:15

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