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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 *

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Number 2 View now *

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Old archive (Aug 1999-July 2003).






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. Now working just part-time. 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 some otb chess in local leagues playing at about 1950 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.



In March 2014 two annotated games were presented which showed the creative and dynamic style of Mikhail Tchigorin. Not only has Tchigorin left a legacy of many such games but he also made a significant impact on the development of several major openings.

For instance there is the Tchigorin variation of the Ruy Lopez in which Black plays a6, Nf6, Be7,  b5 and d6 as a solid and flexible method of dealing with the often termed "Spanish Torture". The theory and praxis of this opening has continued to be investigated for well over a century. Another opening that has been investigated deeply and become quite popular in recent years is the enigmatic Tchigorin Defence to the Queens Pawn opening (1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6). 

Yet another line played by Tchigorin that also seems to lack logic at first sight is the move Qe2 versus the French Defence.  When first seen back in 1969 in the famous book by Kotov and Yudovich (The Soviet School of Chess),  which had been discarded in the chess set cupboard of Middlesbrough Chess Club, the move just seemed eccentric. Did it not develop the queen far too early and also block the development of the Bf1? In addition, perhaps the queen could easily be attacked by Nc6-d4 ideas and might not Nc6-b4 also be potentially problematic since the queen no longer guards c2?.

Later in 1977 I obtained a copy of this excellent book and  after studying games with this line could then see the benefits of the queen move. Firstly, it inhibits the natural d5 move. This is characteristic of Black's play in the French Defence hence the game can take on a very different nature from that normally encountered. The bishop on f1 is not in fact difficult to develop. It can be played to g2 which also puts pressure on d5 and can support White playing e4-e5 as a prelude to a powerfull kings-side attack. Finally, the knight moves to d4 can be answered simply by Qd1 (as can Nb4), or on occasion Qd3, then a tempo re-gained by pushing the knight back with a3 or even better c3. In the latter case White may be able to build a strong centre with a subsequent d4.

Many years later the opportunity arose to play this interesting line in both correspondence and over-board games and two of these are annotated as this month's articles.


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 Player News (September 24):

(a) Paul Lam has done an outstanding job of promoting and raising funds for the Coventry Chess Academy.

More than double the target has been just been reached . Several players from the Academy have done extremely well in National Chess Competitions recently. The funds raised will greatly help train and support financially several very promising young children who will need to travel to distant events to gain beneficial experience.

(b) The England Team for the Olympiad 21 Preliminaries event has just been announced. and play has just commenced.

 Only the top two teams qualify for the Olympiad final. The team comprises 4 very experienced titled players players (Grandmaster or Senior International Masters) 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).

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.

English Counties Correspondence Championship (Ward-Higgs-Division 1) 2015-16 (September 24): 

This event, the premier correspondence team  event in the UK, has just finished after a very close finish indeed. The event was won by a very powerful Yorkshire A team (headed up by GM Hall (2620), GM Brooks (2522) and SIM Williams (2418) on the first 3 boards) with an unbeaten excellent score of 12/16. Also unbeaten were Essex A who finished runner up on 11/16. Yorkshire B finished in third on 10.5 points and only on loss. Warwickshire, who are often in contention for this title and have won it on a number of occasions, finished in a disappointing 8th with 8 points.

Adrian Hollis Memorial 2014-16 (August 23):

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).

Personal Training  

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

Next main update due on or about  October 25 2016.

(minor updates may occur during each month)