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Chess Pages of Mike Donnelly 




(* 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, after a period as a consultant, 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 history and culture of the Ancient Greeks, various types of music and until recently Wing Tsun martial art (achieving grade 11).

Just over 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 2016 I returned to some relatively regular otb chess in local leagues playing at about 1850 elo (a somewhat reduced level  from that of a decade or so 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.



Many opening have a set of key ideas or themes that must be understood to play the opening in question effectively. A relatively straightforward example is for the Queens Gambit (exchange variation) the idea of a minority attack on the queens-side.

For this months articles a more complex example is presented from the Sicilian Dragon opening. In this opening black has several squares on which exchange  sacrifices may occur such as d5, g5 and e7 . However, probably the most frequently seen idea in this highly tactical opening is the sacrifice of the exchange on the square c3. This can occur in several variations whatever side White castles on. If this is on the queens-side then the compensation is the weakening of the pawn protection on around the White king. If White castles on the king-side the compensation is a general weakening of the White central pawn structure which may result in the e4 pawn being vulnerable to capture as well as the doubled pawn on c2,  and c3 in particular  being difficult to defend especially from attack by the powerful Bg7. 

Monthly article 1 is a relatively straight forward example of the Rxc3 sacrifice played after White had castled kings-side. Here the conditions were very much ideal for the sacrifice since with a Ba2 and Rb1 in place for White, the threat of Nxe4 and Nxc3 forking two pieces, was an additional powerful factor in favour of Black.

Monthly article 2 is a much more sophisticated example. This occurred in what was possibly one of the most difficult and complex otb games in which I have been involved. The Rxc3 sacrifice could have and did occur in numerous variations after White castled queens-side in both the main game and also in games given in the notes. In some lines it was even possible for there to be a double exchange sacrifice on c3. Sometimes the single or the double sacrifice was sound and on other occasions it was not as pointed out in the annotations. 


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.


Local Players (April 25): Local Kenilworth Chess Club was more than rather unlucky not to win one or even both of the top Leamington Chess Leagues this season.  The A team faltered at the last hurdle in Division 1 hence finished second with a score of 21 points to winners Olton A score of 22 points.  In Division 2 the B team were even closer after "only" winning the last league match 3.5/4, rather than 4:0, to equal the Olton B score of 22 points but finished second on match points by just one point (20 to 19). In Division 2 the Kenilworth C team played well above expectations and had some very good results and could finish 4th pending one last match by other teams.

English Counties Correspondence Championship (Ward-Higgs-Division 1) 2016-17 (April 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 board d 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.

Due to the sudden passing of Craig Bennett (2365) who was representing Hampshire on top board both my games against him were suspended for some time. The games were taken over by Philip Barber (2254) the Hampshire team captain. Philip overcome the chronic time shortage Craig had left the games in and also continued the play at the required standard following Craig's strong and innovative opening play. As both games were thus heading towards an equilibrium situation with neither side able to make effective use of a slight advantage the games have been agreed drawn.

With two wins in quick succession the event looks set for a very close finish as Warwickshire, moving rapidly from bottom place, now join Yorkshire A in joint first position. Both teams have a score of 8/13 with 3 games each remaining.

Correspondence Chess Olympiad 21-Preliminaries (April 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 2016 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. My latest result was a very interesting game against IM van Tricht (Belgium 2349) which was drawn. A tricky to meet pawn storm against my king, aided by a strong pawn on e5, was diffused by allowing a pawn to get as far as f6 and then e7 but via offering the f7 pawn it was possible to reach an unwinnable double rook ending a pawn down or, as in the line chosen, to allow me to sacrifice the exchange to activate a Bg7 when both king would be too open to avoid perpetual check.

Bendana-Aragon (NCA 2277) has just drawn with Dmitriev (EST 2395) hence currently leads with 2.5/5 points.

This web site (April 25):

(a) The article presented in section 10 on The Rise of Women in Chess has been corrected.  Having spoken to Kate Donegan during a recent league match I realised I had slightly misspelled her name. The corrected game is now also available for download.

(b) 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 regularly updated, Welsh Correspondence Chess site ( The link has also been added to the Chess Sites section (section 9. Links).

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

Personal Training (January 25 ) 

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 24 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 May 25 2017.

(minor updates may occur during each month)