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Chess Pages of Mike Donnelly 

 Senior International Master (ICCF); Regional Master (BCF).

(* denotes new content since the last update.)


Number 1 View now *

Download now *


Number 2 View now *

Download now *



2. ARCHIVE OF MONTHLY ARTICLES (from January 2017)*

Old archive (August 1999-December 2016).






5. COVENTRY CHESS CLUB (formerly Whoberley CC) The club has teams with a wide range of strengths in the various local leagues and has won every Cup and League competition at some point in the last few years. Contact details.

6. BOOK AND SOFTWARE REVIEWS (from 2007 to date)

Archive of book and CD reviews 1998-2006.


8. MY STUFF  Games, results, chess offices held and chess problems. *


Chess sites  *

Chess problem sites


11. NEW AND SECOND- HAND CHESS BOOKS Tony Peterson. Specialist in rare and secondhand chess books and magazines. Very large stock . Contact details. 

  IM Sergey Bystrov.  Specialist in a wide range of Russian books plus some non-Russian books. Now offering a greater range. Contact details.


(a) Correspondence Chess News (CCN).


(c) Thomas Johansson's site


13. PERSONAL TRAINING BCF Regional Master Andy Baruch (formerly Whoberley board 1) is now available for face to face personal training in the Coventry, Warwickshire and surrounding areas. Players ranging from beginner to County level who wish to improve should contact Andy by clicking here



 Wing Tsun Kung Fu (Coventry).


Wing Tsun in the Midlands




I little bit about myself: I live in the historic town of Kenilworth (very close to the medieval castle) in Warwickshire, England. I have just retired early from full time work as a Technical Manager at a biotechnology company that manufactures hydrogels for woundcare, monitoring electrode, and cosmetic applications. Previously I was a research scientist working in a diverse number of scientific areas (science publications, committees, science journal refereeing etc). In my spare time I enjoy chess, the culture of the Ancient Greeks, Wing Tsun martial art (currently grade 11), and various types of music.

About a  decade ago I shifted from playing over-the-board (otb) chess as well as correspondence chess to playing only correspondence chess (current rating of 2465  ICCF rating history * ). In recent months I have returned to regular otb chess in local leagues playing at about 1850 elo (a somewhat reduced level  from that of a decade ago (approximately 2090 elo) and also from my highest many years ago of about 2300, grading history ).


I will attempt to offer a wide range of chess material on this site including game and opening based articles, games for downloading from famous players I have known or competed against, chess problems and some current and past results. This will include both otb and correspondence play.

In addition to more advanced articles I will also occasionally provide articles for beginners to mid-club strength of player.



Returning to over-the-board chess after nearly a decade playing only correspondence chess shows some features of the game have changed dramatically whilst some have remained pretty much the same. It has already been mentioned on this site that opening knowledge and standard of opening play has risen dramatically at all levels of the game due to the availability in electronic study material such as databases and DVDs as well as a number of very good opening books  (written by GMs aided by computers). Playing conditions and financial rewards, at least for top players, have also improved dramatically over the last decade or so. Bobby Fischer demanded good money and playing conditions over 40 years ago but it has took some time for this to occur. Sadly at that time these demands were often seen by the media and even by many chess players as Bobby being "difficult" or even somewhat paranoid. Nevertheless it seems a simple fact that good conditions and financial rewards make for a better quality game. A personal case in point was a game I played against the young Nigel Short then rated about 240 and "only" an IM. The game was played in an upstairs room of an near derelict old pub in a small run-down town in Manchester in what was essentially a cleaners/pub equipment store room. Having just come from playing a high profile elite GM event in London Nigel was clearly unable to motivate himself fully. Despite outgrading me by some 50 BCF points he was lucky to eventually dig in and escape with a draw from a very inferior opening position.  

 Since the Fischer era, on the other hand prize money for amateur week-end tournaments and playing conditions for some local clubs have frequently remained rather poor. For some local clubs nothing has changed at all as regards playing conditions since then or over the last decade either. Inadequate conditions are each somewhat trivial and can include grubby ill-matched chess pieces, use of unreliable chess clocks over 40 or 50 years old, use of too small tables with board and pieces precariously over-hanging the edges and no room for score-sheets, unheated rooms rather cold in a typical English winter or in contrast stuffy over-crowded rooms, use of beer stained tables and so-on. Combined they could may well make for a unnecessarily sub-standard event.

 For this months articles I describe in some detail, in hopefully an entertaining manner, the tale of two chess games played some years ago under rather more than adverse conditions. The conditions were in fact far, far worst those detailed earlier in this summary or at least seemed so at the time.    


All material for downloading from this site is zipped. Use WinZip or similar to extract. Monthly articles are in .pgn format (from May 2000, previously in .txt format) whilst games for downloading are in .pgn format (or .cbv occasionally). 

Contributions, suggestions for articles and comments to improve this site are welcome: mail me!

SCCA Magazine

The SCCA magazine is published quarterly and consists of 24xA4 pages packed with correspondence chess news, articles, reviews and games.

SCCA members receive the magazine as part of their annual subscription (8). This entitles them to download pdf files (the e-mags) from a secure area of the SCCA website.

If you prefer to receive a printed copy of the magazine, an extra 5 per annum covers print costs and UK postage and you get the four issues mailed directly to you.

The SCCA magazine is unbeatable value! You can try a complimentary copy by contacting the membership secretary.


This web site (January 25):

(a) The annotated games from the Nov-Dec 2016 monthly articles of this web site have now also been published on the excellent, completely revised and regularily updated, Welsh Correspondence Chess site ( The link has also been added to the Chess Sites section (section 9. Links).

(b) The archive section of the site has been restructured. All past articles from the years 1999-2016 are now in a single archive.

Correspondence Chess Olympiad 21-Preliminaries (January 25):

 The England team comprises 4 very experienced titled players players (Grandmaster or Senior International Master) in the following board order: SIM Harvey Williams (2537), SIM Nigel Burne (2488), GM John Pugh (2468), myself (2465), SIM Ajoy Mukherjee (2456) and SIM Dr John Wharam (2449). Only the top two teams playing qualify for the Olympiad final.

On board 4, I face players from across the globe including Japan, India, North and Central America, as well as major European countries. The opposing teams on this board include two Senior International Master and two International Masters with a board average rating of 2340. Play commenced in September and  takes place on the ICCF web server thus allowing fast play.

Very fast play for some competitors (but very slow for a few others) seems to be the unusual theme of this event. 3 games have been completed quite quickly: IM van Tricht (Belgium 2349) and Dr. Szabo (Hungary 2339) drew and the latter also drew with Bendana-Aragon (Nicaragua 2277). I also drew with Bendana-Aragon as Black when a GM Chris Ward recommendation in a "Dangerous Weapons" series book turned out to far more complex, and only sufficient for a tricky  draw, than originally expected. I have also drawn as White against SIM Reinhart (USA 2469) in which battling against some recent detailed analysis by GM Boris Avrukh I had to produce an innovation late in the opening just to keep the game level and up with a perpetual check or dead drawn position with opposite coloured bishops.

English Counties Correspondence Championship (Ward-Higgs-Division 1) 2016-17 (January 25): 

This is the premier correspondence team event in the UK. Many of the highest rated correspondence chess players represent their county in this event and also quite a few highly rated otb players also play. There are over a dozen correspondence chess Grandmasters, Senior International Masters and International Masters (both male and female) spread throughout the various teams. Strong otb player such as Susan Lalic and Peter Batchelor are also playing.

The Warwickshire team is headed up by myself (2465) on bd 1, SIM J.J.Carlton (2255) on bd 2, M.Davis (2296) on bd 3, M.Soszynski (2215) on bd4 with many good players on lower boards. I face Craig Bennett (2365) who is representing Hampshire.

Fast play is also evident in this event too with a significant number of games already completed .Yorkshire A, always a contender for winning the event, have 5/7 with Hampshire in second on 3/4 equal in points to Hertfordshire with 3/6. Remarkably Warwickshire, also a several times winner of this event, is the only county as yet without a completed game.

Personal Training (December 2016) 

Players wishing to improve should now contact Regional Master Andy Baruch on his new e-mail address (see section 13 of this site).

Young players also wishing to advance should contact Paul Lam at  Paul has just completed a very successful fund raising campaign for this academy which will be used to fund promising players attendance to distant chess events and other supportive functions.

Adrian Hollis Memorial 2014-16 (December 2016):

This is the strongest correspondence chess event I have played in and features 4 Grandmasters including two current ICCF World Championship Finalists in GM Richard Hall 2640 (runner-up in the last World Championship) and also GM Nigel Robson 2602  (also a former IECG World Champion) as well as a previous ICCF finalist in GM John Brooks 2511. All other players in a field of eleven players are ICCF Senior International Masters and the tournament average rating is 2504. The event is now being billed as the strongest ever all British Correspondence event according to the BCCA.

This event has just finished with the last prolonged game now being completed. The event was won by GM Nigel Robson with the remarkable score of 8/10 and who has now moved on to playing in the ICCF World Championship Final. Second equal were SIM Richard Beecham and GM Richard Hall on 5.5 points. I finished 8th (one place above rating expectation) on 4.5 points (9 draws and one loss to GM Robson).


Next main update due on or about  February 25 2017.

(minor updates may occur during each month)