This site has been reviewed and given a Golden Web Award by the International Association of Web Masters and Designers.


Chess Pages of Mike Donnelly 


REGIONAL MASTER (BCF 2003, Bcf 185+);


(* denotes new content since the last update.)



Download as Word doc.

Download as PDF file.


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 2463  ICCF rating history *). 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 ).


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.



Recent years has seen an exponential increase in theoretical studies on openings, often aided by computers and large databases, which has led to some opening texts becoming huge. A few featuring no less than 500-600 pages, and several main lines have even been analysed to over 25 moves deep.  Clearly a daunting task even professional players!    

In conversation during a recent correspondence game with Pavan Kumar, a former Correspondence Champion of India and currently representing that high chess standard nation in the Olympiad Preliminaries, revealed that he has already made an effort to address this issue. He recommended that Indian players in particular should investigate and play so called Irregular Openings, where White does not play the Classical 1. e4 or 1.d4 for instance, so as to enrich chess and opening theory on a broader front.  The review he complied contains much sensible advise regarding these openings  and some very pointed comments on chess in general. A copy of the article is available to download as a zipped Word document or as a zipped PDF document from  section 1 of this web site.

Postscript: It is interesting to note that in analysing one of my recent otb games I was surprised to find that even Carlsen has adopted irregular openings (such as 1.a3) on more than one occasion in recent times and against some very strong players too.


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.


English Counties Correspondence Championship (Ward-Higgs-Division 1) 2017-18 (January 25 2018): 

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 is 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.

East-Wales A now take a more commanding early with 3 rapid wins to move to 4/5 points. Yorkshire B have 2.5/5 and Warwickshire A are leading a group of counties in third place with 1.5/3.

Last seasons 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..

Correspondence Chess Olympiad 21-Preliminaries (January 25 2018):

 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.

 Latest results are :Dmitriev (2395 EST) beats Ikegami (1903 JPN) to finish all his games unbeaten and scoring an IM norm with 6/9; SIM Reinhart (2469 USA) beats Kumar (2352 IND) to move to second place on 5.5 points but then loses to Bendana-Aragon (2277 NIC). After several events without a win I suddenly win two in short order in beating Ikegami and also SIM Vohl (2396 SLO). I now also draw against former India Champion Kumar (2353) so have 4.5/7 with 2 games remaining.

The battle for the two qualifying places is very tight with England having 30 points (and 6 games remaining), Spain 29.5 points (5 games remaining) and USA 28 points (8 games remaining) so all leading teams are well above the others and currently all scoring in the narrow range 60-62%.

Local Players (December 2017):

(a) It was good to see former England International Peter Gibbs playing otb chess again in the local league. He seems to have lost little of his touch and has won many games on the run for the Nuneaton club team.

(b) Kenilworth top player Mark Page wins the Best Game Competition for the Leamington Chess League 2016-2017 season;

(c) Paul Lam heads up one of several teams featuring young players from the Coventry Chess Academy (and a few parents) which have now been entered for the first time in the local league.

(d) My unbeaten run of 48 games (39 over-the-board and 9 correspondence games) does not quite reach a year as I lose to Mark Cundy in the key Kenilworth-Olton Leamington Chess League Division 1 match.

Personal Training (November 2017) 

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.

Next main update due on or about February 25 2018.

(minor updates may occur during each month)