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John William Donaldson
Number of games in database: 166
Years covered: 1976 to 2012
Last FIDE rating: 2412 (2397 rapid)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2509

Overall record: +56 -36 =70 (56.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 4 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Reti System (19) 
    A04 A06
 English (12) 
    A15 A13 A10
 English, 1 c4 c5 (9) 
    A34 A33 A37 A30 A38
 Sicilian (5) 
    B45 B52 B40 B39
 Pirc (5) 
    B08 B09
 Queen's Gambit Declined (5) 
    D35 D37 D31 D30
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (27) 
    B32 B27 B22 B74 B21
 Slav (13) 
    D19 D10 D15 D11 D12
 Queen's Pawn Game (5) 
    A46 A45 A40 D02
 English, 1 c4 c5 (5) 
    A30 A37
 French Defense (4) 
    C05 C00
 Semi-Slav (4) 
    D49 D46 D48
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Wojtkiewicz vs J Donaldson, 2001 1/2-1/2
   R Costigan vs J Donaldson, 2005 0-1
   J Sammour-Hasbun vs J Donaldson, 1997 0-1
   P Fricano vs J Donaldson, 2001 0-1
   J Donaldson vs Rodriguez, 2004 1-0
   T Nielsen vs J Donaldson, 1997 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   US Championship 2003 (2003)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   2003 NAO - Oklahoma by gauer

   Fischer vs G Jobin, 1964

   🏆 Bunratty Masters
   J Donaldson vs Hebden (Feb-18-12) 0-1

Search Sacrifice Explorer for John William Donaldson
Search Google for John William Donaldson
FIDE player card for John William Donaldson

(born Sep-24-1958, 61 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
John William Donaldson was born in Los Angeles, California and was awarded the IM title in 1983. He was captain of the USA 2010 Olympiad team.

He is well-known for several books like the two volumes on Akiba Rubinstein "The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein" together with IM Nikolay Minev and his two books on Robert James Fischer ("The Unknown Bobby Fischer" & "Legend on the Road").

Wikipedia article: William John Donaldson

 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 166  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J Donaldson vs J L Watson 0-1401976Paul Keres MemorialB08 Pirc, Classical
2. J Donaldson vs Bisguier  0-1441978Lone PineC77 Ruy Lopez
3. S Taulbut vs J Donaldson  ½-½241978Lone PineC05 French, Tarrasch
4. J Donaldson vs G Ligterink  0-1461978Lone PineB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
5. D Verduga vs J Donaldson  0-1451978Lone PineA15 English
6. H Van Riemsdijk vs J Donaldson  ½-½601978Lone PineC00 French Defense
7. J Donaldson vs Rohde  ½-½281978Lone PineB08 Pirc, Classical
8. H Westerinen vs J Donaldson  ½-½581978Lone PineC05 French, Tarrasch
9. L Christiansen vs J Donaldson  1-0341978Lone PineC00 French Defense
10. J Donaldson vs C Coudari  ½-½241978Lone PineC72 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, 5.O-O
11. J Donaldson vs M Pein 0-14119793rd Lloyds Bank Masters OpenB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
12. H Rothen vs J Donaldson  ½-½731980EksjoA89 Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation with Nc6
13. J Donaldson vs B Tiller  1-0401980Gausdal IntB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
14. J Donaldson vs Miles  0-1351980Gausdal IntB40 Sicilian
15. Soltis vs J Donaldson  0-1431981Lone PineB23 Sicilian, Closed
16. J Donaldson vs Lombardy  ½-½181981Lone PineA15 English
17. Gligoric vs J Donaldson  ½-½231981Lone PineD19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
18. J Donaldson vs Reshevsky  ½-½161981Lone PineA04 Reti Opening
19. I A Dahlberg vs J Donaldson  ½-½291981Lone PineA30 English, Symmetrical
20. J Donaldson vs H Pfleger  ½-½341981Lone PineB08 Pirc, Classical
21. Alburt vs J Donaldson  1-0421981Lone PineD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
22. J Donaldson vs V Liberzon  ½-½251981Lone PineB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
23. J Donaldson vs J L Arnason  ½-½61981Lone PineA34 English, Symmetrical
24. J Donaldson vs Reshevsky  ½-½1619825th Annual CCA Summer InternationalB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
25. J Donaldson vs C Eagle  1-0351983Detroit East opA34 English, Symmetrical
 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 166  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Donaldson wins | Donaldson loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-28-08  whiskeyrebel: Thanks for the link. I love his repertoire book. He's a nice guy too.
Sep-25-09  centercounter: John, happy birthday from the guy you beat in the first round of, I think, the 1990 U.S. Open and whose refutation of the Fajarowicz you published in Inside Chess. I enjoyed analyzing with you and you are a class act.
Premium Chessgames Member
  swordfish: An unpretentious, approachable man who frequently provides free analysis for contestants at a tournament in Chicago--I believe it is the Chicago Open. Happy birthday!
Oct-19-09  Jim Bartle: That's quite an inaugural post, chesssexandfbi.
Oct-19-09  MaxxLange: I actually have, I think, an FBI file because of my chess associates, and the phone calls some of them made on my telephone. Butl, that is another story!

Donaldson was doing the Game Analysis Room chores at the Chicago Open in 1998, yes, and doing them very well. He's an excellent teacher.

Premium Chessgames Member
  pazzed paun: does anyone know if J.D. ever won the
Tacoma chess club championship?
one the website they have gaps in the history and do not even mention donaldson playing there!
Aug-01-13  Karpova: IM John Donaldson's article <The Sincerest Form of Flattery>:

It's about a case where Donaldson's work had been plagiarized and I recommend reading it.

Aug-02-13  Karpova: Referring to the above mentioned case:

Yasser Seirawan: <Keene was caught red-handed plagiarizing copyrighted material from 'Inside Chess' magazine for one of his potboilers ['The Complete Book of Gambits'].>

From page 26 of the Spring 2000 'Kingpin'


Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Karpova>: On reading the link provided, this excerpt was also not without interest:

<The Encyclopaedia of Chess Middlegames (Chess Informant, Belgrade, 1980) was appropriated by Eric Schiller in his volume The Big Book of Combinations (Hypermodern Press, San Francisco, 1994). It is customary for writers of such works to ‘borrow’ widely from each other, but Schiller went far beyond that. He plundered hundreds (many hundreds) of positions, and gave himself away by indiscriminately repeating countless mistakes from the earlier tome.>

That repetition of errors reminds me of a John Steinbeck short story, <Johnny Bear>, which I read as a youth.

Johnny Bear was huge, mute and unprepossessing in every way, except that he was an <idiot savant> who had an extraordinary ability to replay music of any kind which was played before him.

Someone knowledgeable in music played compositions for Johnny in order to test his abilities, intentionally including small errors in each piece to catch him out, but he reproduced the music verbatim.

Aug-02-13  BlackFront: <Referring to the above mentioned case..>

OK, we heard you the first time; no need to labour the point. You only need to visit the relevant page to discover who the toadies and sycophants are.

Sep-03-13  Everett: <perfidious> what is it with Steinbeck and the mentally challenged? Lenny, from "Of Mice and Men," is another... I'm wondering if there was one such character in "Cannery Row." Don't remember...
Sep-04-13  JimNorCal: The plagiarism story is quite interesting. If you ever get a chance to see the letter to the editor in Inside Chess from Ray Keene, do read it! Quite extraordinary how Keene demonstrates unacknowledged material printed by IC. This is not to minimize JDs complaint reported by Winter and others.
Sep-04-13  Karpova: <JimNorCal>

This is also answered here:

Cathy Forbes (page 19 of the June 14, 1993 'Inside Chess'): <In writing my report on Hastings 1990-91, I made extensive use of Ray Keene’s notes from the Hastings Bulletin. I did have permission to use this material, but I neglected to acknowledge the source in the article, which was an error of omission on my part.>

Donaldson in a letter to RK: <The two situations are hardly the same. You gave Cathy Forbes permission to use the material in question in her story and she, in turn, gave us permission to use it and we paid her for it. Case closed.>

For sure, Donaldson was right. Winter closes with <The amount of the final settlement was not the $200 which Donaldson had originally sought. It was $3,000.>

Sep-05-13  Everett: <For sure, Donaldson was right. Winter closes with <The amount of the final settlement was not the $200 which Donaldson had originally sought. It was $3,000.>>

This reminds me of a parenting technique, in reverse. Offering a child juice or milk, they ask for soda. This goes on for a bit, until the parent says "okay, milk or water," to which the child, very upset, starts asking for juice.

"Juice is no longer an option."

I'm all for punishing those who do not come clean immediately, and for those who attempt to negotiate and haggle unreasonably.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Everett>: Most interesting-I have never read anything else by Steinbeck so far as I can remember.
Sep-05-13  JimNorCal: <karpova> Sure, no disagreement. Nonetheless, I recommend reading Keene's response for its erudition irrespective of the plagiarism charge. This is not an assertion of "you're wrong, I'm right", it is an explanation of how he could identify the Cathy Forbes material as his (Keene's) writing. No, it was not from performing a "diff" on 2 blocks of text. :)

I would copy/paste but I don't think it is online anywhere. It's disappointing that Winter did not see fit to include it in his post.

Sep-15-13  Karpova: Edward Winter on 'Alekhine in the Americas' by Donaldson, Minev and Seirawan: <‘The authors of this work are not chess historians’, declares the introduction (page 1), yet within the book’s self-imposed limits they demonstrate more scholarship than do many pretenders to that title.>

Source: Edward Winter, Alekhine Renaissance, 1992,

Jul-06-14  BIDMONFA: John William Donaldson


Sep-24-18  Boomie: Back in the hippie times, I put on a tournament modestly call the Northwest Open. It had a generous prize fund and attracted the best players from the Pacific Northwest. Peter Biyiasas slept on my couch and Robert D Zuk was on the floor. (I had spaced out accommodations.) There were also some youngsters who showed great promise. Among them was Yasser, of course, and John Donaldson. A friend who was a master told me that after playing Neil V Salmon, he realized that the kid knew more about the French than he did. That was a heck of a crop of players.
Sep-24-18  Ironmanth: Happy birthday to you, John. Many more to you, sir!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <Boomie> "hippy times" makes me think 60s, but you are talking 70s and early 80s perhaps? In which case, I was probably bumping around the tables in between games. Those were my years and I played the NW tournament in Tacoma.
Sep-24-18  Howard: He's just come out with an expanded edition of that first volume on Rubinstein, I understand.
Sep-24-18  Boomie: <Check It Out: <Boomie> "hippy times" makes me think 60s, but you are talking 70s and early 80s perhaps?>

It was in the early 70's. The average rating of the tournament was an astonishing 1850. I structured the prizes so it would be easier for the lower and more populous classes to win something. But the lower rated players did not turn out for some reason.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <Boomie: the lower rated players did not turn out for some reason.>

Too bad that was before my time, I could have pulled that 1850 average down quite a bit.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <CIO>, same here: started my career with the first published rating at ~1100 in early 1973.
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