Article provided by: Juan Carlos Pérez Rodréguez (ARG); Guillermo Toro Solis de Ovando
Although the “Liga Chilena de Ajedrez Postal” was not officially founded until September 1968, in the earlier years many Chilean chess players became interested in correspondence chess and participated in national and international tournaments. In 1960, a Latin American Championship was organized and the only Chilean player, José Ledezma Alvarez from the northern city of Antofagasta, became so enthusiastic of correspondence chess, that he invited many other Chilean players to join him in international tournaments and started to organise internal CC activities.
The First Chilean Correspondence Chess Championship started in September 1966. After 24 months of play, Osvaldo Latorre Astudillo became the first Chilean CC Champion.
In April 1967, some Latin American countries agreed to found the Confederación Americana de Ajedrez Postal (CADAP, nowadays known as ICCF Zone 2). The idea was to have a Confederation that would group all Latin American national leagues.
As written above, LICHAP was founded in September 1968. The first Directive Board of LICHAP had Sergio Morales Gomez as President, José Ledezma Alvarez as its Tournament Director, Jose Luis Valenzuela as Secretary and Raúl Vargas as Treasurer.
The same Directive Board continued until 1973, with only one change in its composition: Hugo Barrera Valdez replaced José Luis Valenzuela as Secretary.
A few months after its foundation, in January 1969, LICHAP became a CADAP member and was considered one of the founder members. José Ledezma Alvarez was elected as one of the Vice Presidents of CADAP.
The Second Correspondence Chess Championship started in 1969. It had 2 stages. The semi-finals took place during the years 1969-1970, and the Final during 1971-1972. Chilean Champion became a player from the coast city Valparaiso, Aldo Colombo, now deceased. Ricardo Halle Allende tied on points for first place but was placed second, and Guillermo Toro was third.
In 1970 LICHAP started the publication of its magazine, “Ajedrez Postal”. Its Director was Ledezma Alvarez, with editing and printing by Barrera Valdez. Unfortunately, the magazine had a short life, its last issue was number 8, published in 1972.
The Third Chilean Correspondence Chess Championship started in 1973, with 2 semi-final groups. The final stage ended in 1977, and Chilean Champion was Roberto Aravire Flores, from Antofagasta. And for the third time, Ricardo Halle Allende, from Santiago, finished in second place.
During the second half of the 1970s, most of the Directive Board of LICHAP quit correspondence chess as players and organisers, and Ledezma Alvarez had to accomplish all by himself the great task of continuing LICHAP activities. A prize to his efforts came when ICCF awarded him with the “Bertl von Massow” medal, at the 1984 ICCF Congress (Yugoslavia).
After more than 10 years leading LICHAP, Ledezma Alvarez had to give up, because of economic and health problems, and the years 1992 to 1998 were the darkest in the history of Chilean correspondence chess. The historical players quit correspondence chess, not willing to switch to e-mail, and there was no activity at all, either internally or internationally.
The only player that stayed active was Guillermo Toro. He became a member of two Argentinean CC leagues, LADAC and CAPA and took place in various Latin American and international tournaments. In the year 1999, he obtained the Grand Master title and won the XI Latin American Championship. He managed to attend the 1999 ICCF Congress in Thun as Chilean delegate, and had the chance to collect his Grand Master title and the medal of XI Latin American Champion. Since then, Toro has attended ICCF Congresses 2000 and 2001, as Chilean delegate and delegate, by proxy, of other Latin American countries, like Brazil (2000), Nicaragua (2001) and Guatemala (2000 and 2001).
After the 1999 ICCF Congress, LICHAP came back to activity. A new Directive Board was organised, and the number of members and active players has had an important increase since then, most of them coming from e-mail chess.
As previously written, the most important person in LICHAP’s history has been one of its founders and main directive for more than 27 years, José Ledezma Alvarez. He also liked to play correspondence chess, and had some important achievements in that field. He organised the Chilean teams, and competed as a player in the first five Pan-American National Team Tournaments.
In the 1st Pan-American team tournament (1969), Chile finished in second place, behind Brazil. The other Pan-American team tournament were not so favourable for the Chilean teams, but some players had good individual performances and achieved Latin American Master titles and IM norms and titles.
In the 2nd Pan-American team tournament LICHAP finished sixth, but its players on boards 1, 2 and 5 (Jorge Mujica Ascui, Guillermo Toro and Luis Muñoz Vera) achieved the Latin American Master title and ½-IM norm.
In the 3rd Pan-American team tournament, (1979-1983) the Chilean team fell to seventh place, but again some of its players achieved ½-IM norms. Ricardo Halle Allende, the eternal Chilean Vice Champion, obtained his first ½-IM norm in board 2 and Toro the second ½-IM norm (and the IM title) in third board.
In the 4th Pan-American team tournament (1984-1987) LICHAP had a poor performance, but Juan Sanhueza Rivas, Bd 5, achieved one ½-IM norm.
Finally, in the 5th Pan-American team tournament (1988-1992) LICHAP presented the best team it could afford. The team achieved fifth place, and had some very good results. Toro got first place in board one, while Halle Allende achieved his second ½-IM norm and the IM title in board 2 and Alfonso Palma Cádiz a ½-IM norm in board 4.
During the period 1992-1998 could not form a team to compete in the 6th Pan-American, but LICHAP came back to international competition in the 7th Pan-American, (2001) with a team formed by some newcomers who are achieving very auspicious results.
On individual basis, Chile’s strongest player is Grand Master Guillermo Toro, whose current ELO is 2600. His best results have been the first places achieved in the 3rd Pan-American team tournament (Board 3), 5th Pan-American (Board 1), 50th Anniversary LADAC (1992-1995), Alfredo Lewkowitz Memorial C (1994-1997), XI Latin American Zonal Tournament (1996-1999) and Bartolomé Marcussi Memorial (1996-1999). Recently he finished in second place in the XII Zonal Tournament (1999-2002) and in third place in the Amici Sumus A, (1998-2001), a GM invitational tournament. He is also taking part in the current tournaments CXEB 30 Years-A, APA 30 years-A, Jerzy Krzyszton Memorial (a GM invitational tournament organized by the Polish Federation), the ¾ Finals of World Championship 19, the Africa-Asia Challenge A and the Golden group of the Martin Christoffel Memorial.
Some important past players were:
IM Ricardo Halle Allende, recently deceased, had a long, successful career.
Aldo Colombo Bagnara, second Chilean Champion who had a very good performance in the Castiglioni Cup, the monster tournament organized in the 1970s by the Italian Federation. He passed away many years ago.
Latin American Master Jorge Mujica Ascui, who won some Latin American International tournaments before moving to the USA and quitting chess.
Walter Ader, a strong OTB national master, who won the Chilean Championship in 1966 and embraced correspondence chess in the late 1980s.
Nowadays LICHAP has a new generation of players, who are competing in the Latin American and international arena. The players with the most important achievements are:
Marco Bulgarini Torres, second highest ELO among Chilean players, second board of the Chilean team in the 7th Pan-American team tournament. He has recently entered to the Semi-finals of World Championship 26.
José Soza, third highest ELO among Chilean players, who is fighting for first place in board 4 of the 7th Pan-American, has qualified to the semi-finals of XVI Zonal Tournament, and to the finals of the III Copa Peru. Soza has already achieved his first IM norm, for his performance in the semi-finals of Copa Perú.