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Chess Pages of Mike Donnelly 


REGIONAL MASTER (BCF 2003, Bcf 185+);


(* denotes new content since the last update.)


Monthly Article 1:

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Monthly Article 2:

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

Old archive (August 1999-December 2016).







Contact details for this top local club can be found here

The club runs several teams in both the Leamington and the Coventry Leagues, as well as Social Chess each week .

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

Archive of book and CD/DVD 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 2454  ICCF rating history  1993-2018). In 2016 I returned to some relatively regular otb chess in local leagues currently playing at about 1950 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 2275 grading history ). After some 25 years of playing National and International level Correspondence Chess I completed my last few games in late 2018 and now just play otb chess.


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.



The ancient King's Gambit Opening is one that even today comes in and out of fashion at the very highest levels. At Club and County level, and in week-end events, the opening has more steadily remained in fashion for  very long time.  For those players defending 1.e4 with 1...e5 clearly there is a need for an effective reply to this gambit otherwise they run the risk of being rapidly demolished. The late Tom Wise and Norman Stevenson (amongst the top 40 or 50 players in the country when I was first starting off)  must have had similar thoughts. Norman tells me that Tom introduced him to the Cunningham Defence to the Kings Gambit some years ago. This defence has at times not had a good reputation, possibly due to the inappropriate use of Bh4+, to displace the White king to f1 and prevent White castling. However, this defence has often been used by GM Mark Hebden, himself a keen KG player as White, and only in more recent years has come to be regarded as one of the more solid replies to the gambit. Very interesting details on this defence can be found in the following link supplied by Norman. 


When played correctly this defence can be shown to give Black a fully viable game as illustrated in the two annotated games played by Norman against strong opponents that are the feature games for this web site this month.


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 (preferably one or two annotated games), 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 (December 20):

(a) Kenilworth Chess Club has had a good start to the season and at present the A team leads the Leamington League Division 1 and the B team Division 2. 

(b) Exactly 20 years ago I played a very interesting game against Roland Smith when we both represented England in a Russian Invitation event. It turns out Roland was a decades long friend of ICCF Senior International Master Trevor Thomas, former England correspondence chess selector now well into his 90s, who had recently lost touch with Roland. The power of internet search engines has now allowed contact to be made and the friendship resumed  

(c) Sutton Coldfield player Marek Soszynski, is now building up quite a reputation as an author and has just published an unusual book about Samuel Reshevsky. This focuses more on the man, his life in and out of Chess, and his personality and the annotated games have been chosen to illustrate various features of his character. A full review is given Section 6 of this web site. Marek is now working on another opening book (see the review section for comments on his earlier opening books).

English Counties Correspondence Championship (Ward-Higgs-Division 1) 2017-18 and upcoming 2018-19 event (December 20): 

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 about 25 titled Correspondence Chess Grandmasters, Senior International Masters, International Masters, CCMs and CCEs (both male and female) spread throughout the various teams.

The Warwickshire team was headed up by SIM J.J.Carlton (2255) on bd 1, IM C.Shephard (2469) on bd2, M.Davis (2294) on bd 3, M.Soszynski (2238) on bd4 and , M.Squires (2314) on bd 5, with many good players on lower boards.

The final positions after an adjudication of the last Warwickshire game (Max Davis v Craig Evans (West Wales) which was drawn )  is Yorkshire A win with 10.5/16 and no loses. West Wales thus finish in second on 10/16 again with no loses. Warwickshire finish a disappointing 6th on 8/16 but lost 2 games by default which if won would have seen the County in joint second place.

Last season's final positions were: West Wales A won with the fine score of 10.5/15 and no losses. Three teams finished on 9.5 points: Surrey A were placed second based on number of wins (although 2 losses), Warwickshire A and Yorkshire A were placed joint third with just 1 loss each..

Postscript 2 (Dec 20): The Warwickshire team for the 2018-2019 event has not yet been announced but is expected very shortly as the Ward-Higgs has usually commenced well before the end of November. In addition, no details can yet be found on the ICCF web server so it is hoped there is not a problem with this long standing top event.

This web site (December 20):  

A number of sections have been updated including various "Chess Sites" links, the "Summary of Results" section (which now lists all Correspondence events including the last to the be completed), the "Memorabilia Corner" section for 2014-to the present, and the "Games for Downloading" section.

Correspondence Chess Olympiad 21-Preliminaries (November 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.

Whilst there are a few games remaining to be completed in this competition the two countries that qualify for the Olympiad Finals have now been determined:

USA (average rating across all boards 2476) finish first equal on 33 points (61%) with Spain (average rating 2444) also on 33 points. England (average rating 2477) lose out in qualifying for the final by half a point in finishing third on 31.5 points (58%). My personal score on board 4 thus ends +2, -2, =5 in this event and a slight rating drop from 2465 to 2454.

Personal Training (October 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 https://coventrychessacademy.wordpress.com/  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.

Next main update due on or about January 25 2019.

(minor updates may occur during each month)