The International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) held their 49th meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida from September 18-22, 2000. This was the first time ever that the ICCF Congress was held in the United States. Several months prior to the meeting, Allan suggested to the meeting organizer, Ruth Ann Fay, that it might be appropriate to arrange for a special commemorative cancellation with the U.S. Postal Service. After all, traditional correspondence chess requires a postmark!
The ICCF logo was used and enhanced with the words "Millenium Congress Station" (unfortunately, Millennium was misspelled) and made available at the main Daytona Beach Post Office during the Congress and for one month following by special order. The following image is from the U.S. Postal Bulletin 22032 (9-7-00) p.69.
The cancel itself was dated September 16-22 and was made available on Saturday, September 16, the first day of the Congress. We showed up at the Post Office on Monday, September 18 and discovered that the postmark had not previously been used. The actual first day of use of the postmark was therefore September 18. To our knowledge, eight covers were sent by registered mail on that first day and those received a backstamp bearing a specific date.
We also know of a few registered covers mailed on September 19 and also a few mailed on September 22, the last day of the Congress.
As in obvious from these images, red and black ink were available for the cancel, though the post office usually applied the cancels in red ink unless black was requested. At our request, the post office applied the black cancel to about 20 of the post cards prepared for general mailing. Of the eight registered covers mailed on the first day, four bear red ink and 4 black ink.
These two covers bear the signatures of many of the Congress attendees. The cover above is a special prize because it bears the names of four World Correspondence chess champions! These covers were, however, never placed in the post!
These final two covers were carried through the post. Note the additional postmark from the Daytona post office
Regular letters and postcards were delivered to the post office daily from the Congress by courier. We estimate that 75-100 were posted each day during the event beginning on September 18. The vast majority received the special postmark in red ink and were also postmarked with the normal black postmark bearing the specific date. Jon Edwards, and perhaps others, mailed in requests for postmarks ahead of the event. All of these received the red postmark, but without the additional black postmark. Rather, the Daytona Post Office placed this group of envelopes within an official envelope and returned them through the post in that manner.
In sum, the vast majority of special ICCF Congress postmarks were cancelled in red ink and those that were actually mailed received an additional regular postmark in black with the date. There were a limited number of registered covers prepared. We cannot know for sure but we estimate a total of 12-15 in total.
* This article first appeared in the Chesstamp Review, October-December, 2000, pp. 132-133.