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Alberic O'Kelly de Galway
Pomar vs. O'Kelly, 1962 Olympiad  

Number of games in database: 1,050
Years covered: 1934 to 1978
Overall record: +323 -191 =535 (56.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 1 exhibition game, blitz/rapid, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (82) 
    E67 E90 E62 E69 E81
 Nimzo Indian (59) 
    E59 E20 E21 E42 E37
 Sicilian (56) 
    B92 B51 B73 B36 B83
 Ruy Lopez (48) 
    C64 C83 C99 C84 C97
 English (30) 
    A10 A15 A14 A17 A12
 Orthodox Defense (26) 
    D50 D54 D55 D68 D51
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (92) 
    B28 B93 B97 B92 B80
 Nimzo Indian (79) 
    E41 E32 E54 E26 E59
 Ruy Lopez (70) 
    C64 C94 C95 C85 C90
 Queen's Indian (34) 
    E14 E17 E15 E12 E19
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (33) 
    C94 C95 C85 C90 C89
 Sicilian Najdorf (32) 
    B93 B97 B92 B90 B98
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   O'Kelly vs Denker, 1948 1-0
   O'Kelly vs Ahlbach, 1938 1-0
   O'Kelly vs E E Book, 1950 1-0
   J M Boey vs O'Kelly, 1957 0-1
   O'Kelly vs J Penrose, 1962 1/2-1/2
   H G Matchett vs O'Kelly, 1956 0-1
   O'Kelly vs Golombek, 1950 1-0
   O'Kelly vs Euwe, 1950 1/2-1/2
   O'Kelly vs Unzicker, 1949 1-0
   A Gulbrandsen vs O'Kelly, 1937 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Hoogovens (1946)
   Hilversum Zonal (1947)
   Tarragona (1957)
   Olot (1969)
   Hoogovens (1953)
   Hastings 1950/51 (1950)
   Dubrovnik Olympiad (1950)
   Lasker Memorial (1962)
   Madrid Zonal (1960)
   Belgrade (1952)
   Mar del Plata (1948)
   Zagreb (1955)
   Reti Memorial (1949)
   Oldenburg (1949)
   Amsterdam Olympiad Final-B (1954)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   1963 Capablanca memorial by gauer
   Palma de Mallorca 1966 by Tabanus
   Hastings 1956/57 by suenteus po 147
   1951 Beverwijk Hoogovens by jww
   1962 Beverwijk Hoogovens by jww
   1952 Beverwijk Hoogovens by jww
   3rd World Correspondence Chess Championship by Benzol
   Hoogovens 1946 by Tabanus

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(born May-17-1911, died Oct-03-1980, 69 years old) Belgium

[what is this?]

Albéric Joseph Rodolphe Marie Robert Ghislain O'Kelly de Galway, was descended from John O'Kelly, an Irish-born British army officer who was granted a title of nobility in 1720 in what were then the Austrian Low Countries. He was often called "Count Alberic O'Kelly de Galway." As a youth, he took lessons from the legendary Akiba Rubinstein, who was institutionalized in Belgium.

O'Kelly won the Belgian championships thirteen times between 1937 and 1959. He placed first at Hoogovens (1946). In 1947, he became one of Europe's leading players, finishing first at the Hilversum Zonal (1947), a point ahead of Ludek Pachman and Petar Trifunovic ; tying for first with Pirc at Teplice Sanov; and tying for second at Venice. In 1948, he finished first at São Paulo ahead of Eliskases and Rossetto.

FIDE awarded him the International Master (IM) title on its first title list in 1950. In 1956, he received the Grandmaster title. Chessmetrics ranks him the No. 27 player in the world at his peak in 1953-54.

He placed first at Dortmund 1951. O'Kelly finished first at the round-robin Utrecht 1961 with 6.5/9, followed by Karl Robatsch second with 6 points and Arthur Bisguier and Aleksandar Matanović tied for third and fourth with 5.5. In the Gijon International Chess Tournaments (1949 and 1956), he finished second and fourth respectively.

In 1958, he was awarded the Belgian decoration of the Golden Palm of the Order of the Crown, for his chess successes and the distinction he had brought to the nation.3 He won the third ICCF (correspondence) world championship in 1959-62.

O'Kelly was made an International Arbiter in 1962 and was the chief arbiter of the world championship matches between Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky in 1966 and 1969. In 1974, he was the arbiter for the Moscow Karpov–Korchnoi match.

The O'Kelly Variation of the Sicilian Defense (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6) is named for him. 2...a6 is the only second move in the Sicilian that scores over 50% for Black. This is primarily because Black scores 62% after 3.d4?! (White's most common move) cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5! The alternatives 3.c3 and 3.c4 are more testing.

O'Kelly spoke French, Dutch, German, English, Spanish, and Russian fluently, and some Italian. He wrote many books and articles, in various languages. His books in English include Tigran Petrosian: World Champion (with John Eric Littlewood, 1965); The Sicilian Flank Game (Najdorf Variation) (1969); Assess Your Chess Fast: From Expert to Master (1976); and Improve Your Chess Fast (1978).

Wikipedia article: Alb%C3%A9ric O'Kelly de Galway

Last updated: 2023-05-01 15:48:11

 page 1 of 42; games 1-25 of 1,050  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. O'Kelly vs L Jung  1-0441934BrusselsD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. O'Kelly vs M Engelmann  ½-½341934Belgian ChampionshipD05 Queen's Pawn Game
3. O'Kelly vs A Dunkelblum  ½-½321934Belgian ChampionshipD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
4. E Liubarski vs O'Kelly  1-0501934Belgian ChampionshipB58 Sicilian
5. O'Kelly vs A Gerebtzoff  ½-½411934Belgian ChampionshipD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. O Feuer vs O'Kelly 1-0131934Belgian ChampionshipC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
7. O'Kelly vs M Defosse  1-0291934Belgian ChampionshipA17 English
8. V Soultanbeieff vs O'Kelly  ½-½311934Belgian ChampionshipC49 Four Knights
9. E de Mey vs O'Kelly 0-1141935BEL-chA82 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
10. A Jerochov vs O'Kelly  1-0431935BrusselsE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
11. O'Kelly vs J Mieses  ½-½531935BrusselsA34 English, Symmetrical
12. O'Kelly vs P Devos 0-1271937BELA15 English
13. M Feigin vs O'Kelly  1-0281937Cercle L'ExchiquierD60 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
14. O'Kelly vs M Feigin  1-0321937Cercle L'ExchiquierD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
15. O'Kelly vs J Montgomerie  1-0321937Stockholm OlympiadA12 English with b3
16. A Gulbrandsen vs O'Kelly 0-1281937Stockholm OlympiadD13 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
17. Szabo vs O'Kelly  1-0471937Stockholm OlympiadC12 French, McCutcheon
18. O'Kelly vs J Bolbochan  0-1241937Stockholm OlympiadE17 Queen's Indian
19. Foltys vs O'Kelly  ½-½511937Stockholm OlympiadD13 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
20. O'Kelly vs L Prins  ½-½571937Stockholm OlympiadA04 Reti Opening
21. C H Alexander vs O'Kelly  1-0491937Stockholm OlympiadC12 French, McCutcheon
22. O'Kelly vs Ahlbach 1-0161938Pan European corr - finalB54 Sicilian
23. O'Kelly vs W Hasenfuss  1-0221938Pan European corr - finalC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
24. L Steinkohl vs O'Kelly  ½-½451938Pan European corrA22 English
25. P Berkavicius vs O'Kelly  0-1421938Pan European corr - finalA28 English
 page 1 of 42; games 1-25 of 1,050  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | O'Kelly wins | O'Kelly loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-17-12  LoveThatJoker: Esteemed Alberic O'Kelly de Galway, today you are remembered!


Feb-09-13  Dezaxa: I still have his book: Improve Your Chess Fast (1978). The curious thing about it is that the diagrams were reproduced from correspondence course material created earlier by O'Kelly and follow the French custom of representing the bishops as jesters.
Feb-09-13  parisattack: Assess Your Chess Fast is the companion volume. Similar formatting, identical DJ except for color.

His Petrosian book is also excellent.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: ...And today you are remembered as well. It happens every year.

Over the summer months I am intending to contact O'Kelly through a Ouija board used at midnight beneath a tree in the Warandepark.

If you want me to ask him anything please put your questions here.

May-17-13  Abdel Irada: Here's a link to O'Kelly de Galway's Wikipedia page:

I warn, however, that the information on this page is quite scant. And I still have no idea how he ended up with the "O'Kelly" in his name.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Wasn't Ireland settled as part of the Norman conquest. I believe that O'Kelly is actually of French origin but many of the French invaders actually went to Ireland and went native becoming more Irish than the Irish.
May-17-13  Abdel Irada: The etymology of the name is a bit uncertain, but none the less intriguing for that:

<This interesting surname, with variant spellings Kelley and Kellie, has three distinct possible origins. Firstly, it is an Anglicized form of the great Old Gaelic name "O'Ceallaigh". The Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal byname "Ceallach" meaning "strife" or "contention". The main (O')Kelly clan belonged to Ui Maine (mid Galway and South Roscommon), and the reigning chieftain, O'Ceallaigh (circa 1351), was a renowned patron of the arts. O'Kelly of Gallagh, whose claim to the designation chief of the name is officially recognised is entitled to be called the O'Kelly.>'...

Two points about the above:

•As I understand it, the prefix "O'" specifically means "grandson of," while "Mac" or "Mc" means "son of."

•Fascinating that the geographic origin was partly in <Galway>. This may suggest that our protagonist's family at one time resided there before returning to the Continent.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Abdel> Thanks for the link. Most interesting.


May-17-13  KlingonBorgTatar: Count Alberic O'Kelly de Galway belongs to the group of world class chess playing aristocrats which includes Sir George Thomas, Baron Tassilo Von Heydebrand und Von der Lasa and Mme Chantal Chaude de Silans. His book on Petrosian I believe is one of the best ever written as one could feel the deep strategies and maneuvering genius of Botvinnik's conqueror just by perusing it. The reader is not cluttered with variations. Instead, ideas are clearly elucidated such that only one or two variations would suffice. Each game is prefaced by a backgrounder which captures the drama and tension of the event and titled poetically. Andersen - Petrosian is titled "The Haunted House". On the 20th move Petrosian sacs his Kt and O'Kelly writes, " this magnificent sacrifice is made possible because White's pieces are scattered and his King's side is undeveloped. The ghosts enter the house ..."
May-17-13  Howard: O'Kelly, in fact, made the cover of the February, 1981 issue of Chess Life when he died. That's how I first heard of him.

He played Fischer at the famous 1965 Capablanca Memorial, in Havana. Their meeting wasn't exactly face-to-face though, as is well-known.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Isn't that the swimsuit issue?
May-17-13  brankat: R.I.P. GM O'Kelly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: Wikipedia gives his full name as Albéric Joseph Rodolphe Marie Robert Ghislain O'Kelly de Galway
May-10-14  diagonal: Portret Albéric O’Kelly de Galway:

Excellent dutch page with a full survey of his chess career & results:


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: ¬¬¬
<MR O'KELLY Sr:> So What shall we call our newborn son?

<MRS O'KELLY:> Well, we are both big fans of The Ring by Wagner...

<MR O'KELLY Sr:> You mean Siegfried? Or Gunther?

<MRS O'KELLY:> Actually ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The Wikipedia article has a stupid sentence:

"He was descendent [sic] of Charlemagne."

All Europeans are descendants of Charlemagne!

Mar-05-16  Granny O Doul: We may all be descendants of Charlemagne, but only one of us is rightful ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.
Mar-05-16  Howard: Glad that I'm finally getting the recognition that I deserve ! Thanks, Granny O Doul, for enlightening our fellow chess fans.
Mar-17-16  diagonal: <Sixty years ago, in summer 1956, Albéric O'Kelly de Galway was awarded the Grandmaster title>, after winning the 6th Ostend 1956

Three players were new Grandmasters that same year in 1956, cp. a note in: Hastings (1955/56)

Alberic O'Kelly de Galway was obviously the first Belgium Grandmaster, and <he became the first Grandmaster of over-the-board and correspondence chess in 1962> as winner of the 3rd World Correspondence Championship (1959-1962).

An International arbiter of note, O'Kelly was chief arbiter in the two world championship matches between Petrosian and Spassky (1966 and 1969) plus the de-facto wc match between Karpov and Korchnoi (1974).

A talented speaker and polyglot gentleman, Alberic O’Kelly de Galway spoke perfectly eight languages.

O'Kelly started chess late at 12 and won his first major tournament at 26 and his first Belgian Championship at age of 27. He improved his play, thanks to regular visits to the world class player Akiba Rubinstein from Poland, later living in Belgium, who taught him the magic of chess :)

May-17-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Count!
May-17-16  Hodor: Hodor!
May-17-16  diagonal: Remembering Albéric O'Kelly de Galway:

Winner at Brussels Quadrangular 1937, <Beverwijk (Hoogovens) 1946> (ahead of Stolz), he won the first ever Zonal tournament, played at Hilversum 1947 (ahead of joint Pachman and Trifunovic), Teplice-Sanov 1947, Rio de Janeiro 1948, <Sao Paulo International 1948> (ahead of Eliskases, Rossetto, Engels, Sanguineti, Medina, 14 players), Saarbrücken 1950, <Dortmund 1951> (Prequel, 2nd-3rd Fuderer, Milic, on 7th place Bogoljubov), Dublin 1954, Southdean 1954, Cork 1955, Dublin 1956, <Ostende (6th) 1956> (ahead of Donner, Golombek, Lehmann, Bernstein, etc.), multiple winner at Open Festival of Bognor Regis, in West Sussex on the south coast of England: (4th) 1956, (8th) 1960 (with Darga), (9th) 1961 & (13th) 1965, Ghent 1956, Tarragona 1957 (ahead of Rossolimo), Paris (Christmas) 1959, <Zürich (Nimzowitsch Memorial) 1960> (ahead of Dieter Keller, Fuderer, Gereben, Dückstein, Van den Berg, Paoli, Kieninger, etc.), Eastbourne 1960, Terrassa 1960, <Utrecht (PAM tournament) 1961> (ahead of Robatsch, Matanovic, Bisguier, Langeweg, Donner, etc.), Paris (Christmas) 1961, 1962 & 1963 (shared with Darga), thrice winner at the Costa del Sol series, played in Torremolinos or Malaga: namely Costa del Sol (III.) 1963, Costa del Sol (VI.) 1966 (shared) & Costa del Sol (VII.) 1967, the inaugural edition of the classic <Palma de Mallorca in 1965> (shared with Pomar Salamanca and Darga), twice winner at Olot, Spain 1967 & 1969 (ahead of joint runners-up Marovic, Ivkov, followed by Pomar Salamanca). In addition, O’Kelly finished three times in a row as clear second at Beverwijk from 1951 to 1953.

As mentioned above, O’Kelly played eight Olympiads from 1950 till 1968 and was 13 times the Belgian Champion. A big success came when O’Kelly de Galway won the title of ICCF (3rd) Correspondence Chess World Champion in 1962.


Oct-03-16  TheFocus: Rest in peace, Count Alberic.
Feb-18-21  Darrencstacey: He was a chess student of Akita Rubinstein!
Feb-18-21  Retireborn: Rubinstein was no oil painting, but calling him a Japanese dog is a bit much.
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