Both philatelic and nonphilatelic media have given much publicity to the apparently never-ending series of chess championship games between two Russians – the current world chess champion, Gary Kasparov and the challenger, Anatoli Karpov.
But how many games did they play by mail that went unnoticed by anyone other than themselves?Yes, chess is unlike any other sport in that it can actually be played by mail. In 1982, Soviet postal authorities issued the stamped postcard, shown above, which reproduces a standard chess board. These cards permit Soviet chess players to play “Correspondence Chess” with chess players throughout the world without having to cope with the USSR’s many travel restrictions.
This may have become a popular collector’s item among both chess players and people who collect stamps and other philatelic items that are related to chess because, to the best of our knowledge, it was the first official stamped Chess-by-Mail postcard to be issued by any governmental postal authority.
If collectors of chess-related stamps can’t locate this Soviet postcard, the collector’s appetite may be calmed by the knowledge that there are over 400 stamps that have been issued worldwide on the topic of chess.
Anatoli Karpov reportedly is a collector of topical stamps, including subjects such as chess and the Olympics. He has more than one reason for collecting chess on stamps – one, his love of chess, and two, the fact that his portrait has been featured on more than 20 issues from several different countries.Herrick Stamp Company has a rather complete offering of chess stamps .