FAQ - Chess over the Net

First, some definitions

Correspondence Chess
  Chess played by transmitting and receiving moves, in contrast to "real time" play where 2 players are engaged at a board with clocks (either OTB or online).
  Receiving / transmitting moves: People have used telegraphs, radio, and postcards in the past. The trend is to use email today, although postal remains the official medium for the "highest" play, unless both players agree to email.
Email Correspondence Chess
  All Correspondence Chess has TD support. The difference in email correspondence is the record keeping by player. There are two types:
    Player responsible for records
      The most common form, and the form demanded by "official" organizations
      The records kept are the game score, times for moves sent/received, etc. In international chess it is common to use a numeric notation, else English PGN (unless both players agree to other common format). Both individual matches, and tournaments. Rated only.
    Website responsible for records
      Newer, just a few sites support this. Both in individual games, and tournament format.
      There is a website where moves are entered, and an email is sent to the other player. The website keeps moves times, etc. For these sites, the play is organized as individual games, or tournaments. Rated and unrated.

One "over-the-net" players recommendations are:

    1. If you want fun and convenience, try Playchess.
    2. If you want moderately serious chess, try IECG or IECC.
    3. If you want very serious chess and ratings that are recognized, try CCLA (not US CHess).
 
Organization   Type Rated TD Support Records Format Member
ICCF
International Correspondence Chess Federation
"the official correspondence chess org"
Email, Postal yes, recognized
by ICCF
yes by Player Int'l Numeric thru country org
ICCF-NAPZ
North America / Pacific Zone of ICCF (Zone 3 admin purposes only)
no website, admin only
n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a thru country org
ICCF-US
US branch of ICCF-NAPZ
(official US organ of ICCF)
Players enter through participating US organization
Email, Postal yes, recognized
by ICCF
yes

 

by Player Int'l Numeric thru country org
CCLA
Correspondence Chess League of America (member of ICCF-US) Email, Postal yes, recognized
by ICCF
yes by Player algebraic $25 USD/yr
APCT
American Postal Chess Tournaments (member of ICCF-US) Email, Postal yes, recognized
by ICCF
yes by Player algebraic

 

$24 USD/yr
US Chess
US Chess Federation (member of ICCF-US)

 

mostly Postal,
email not well organized
yes, recognized
by ICCF
yes by Player algebraic $40 USD/yr

Note: Free for USCF.members

IECG
International Email Chess Group Email yes yes by Player algebraic Free
IECC
International Email Chess Club Email yes yes by Player algebraic Free
Playchess
(email tournaments via website) Web
(notified by email)
yes no by web use web board $25 USD/yr
It's Your Turn
(email single games via website Web
(notified by email)
no no by web use web board Free