International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) was founded in 1951 as a new appearance of the International Correspondence Chess Association (ICCA), which was founded in 1945, as successor of the Internationaler Fernschachbund (IFSB), founded in 1928.
The current chairman is Eric Ruch.
Correspondence chess is a variation of chess played between towns, chess clubs and/or individuals, in settings where the opponents are not situated face-to-face. Means of communicating moves include:
In the past, postal chess was the most common appearance of ICCF.
In most sports a player can only play regularly on an international basis when they are a national top-player. One of the charms of correspondence chess (whether playing the email or the postal version) is that players can play at an international level, even when they are starting to play this kind of a game for the first time.
Some sources say that correspondence chess was already played in the 12th century. Most chess historians doubt whether this is true. In the 19th century chess clubs and magazines started to organize more regular tournaments, national as well as international tournaments. Finally in 1928 the first international league (Internationaler Fernschachbund) was founded. Alexander Alekhine, Paul Keres and Max Euwe were well-known enthusiastic correspondence chess players during some periods of their chess careers.
ICCF, the present successor of the IFSB, is a federation of national member organizations. At this moment there are worldwide over 60 ICCF national member federations with altogether more than 100.000 individual member correspondence chess players. Most of them are playing several games simultaneously. Some of them are even playing more than 100 games at the same time. Most strong players think that 15 email games at the same time is the upper limit.
Using its own language-independent chess notation, ICCF organizes all kind of tournaments: individual and team championships, title norm tournaments and promotion tournaments (from Open Class until Master Class) - in postal, email and the ICCF correspondence server versions. Starting from 2011 ICCF organizes chess960 events.
Almost the same kind of tournaments also exists within the four zones into which ICCF is divided: Europe, Latin America, North America/Pacific and Africa/Asia.
ICCF is closely co-operating with the leading world chess organization FIDE. All ICCF titles, championships and ratings are recognised by FIDE.