William John Donaldson

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William John Donaldson
John best (Holly)TURIN1~2.jpg
John Donaldson in Turin
CountryUnited States
Born (1958-09-24) September 24, 1958 (age 60)
Los Angeles
TitleInternational Master (1983)
FIDE rating2394 (May 2010)

William John Donaldson (born September 24, 1958, in Los Angeles) is an International Master of chess. He has been an IM since 1983. He is also an author, organizer, journalist and chess politician. He was Captain of the US Team in six Chess Olympiads from 1986 to 1996, including the 1986 World Chess Olympiad in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and again at the 1988 Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki Greece.

At the Olympiad in Saloniki, Donaldson married Elena Akhmilovskaya, a member of the Soviet team. Afterwards, while the tournament was still going on, the couple immediately travelled to the United States. They divorced approximately one year later.

In 1990, Donaldson was elected to the Policy Board of the United States Chess Federation. He also became an editor of Inside Chess magazine published by Yasser Seirawan. After the magazine folded, he moved to San Francisco where he became chess director of the San Francisco Mechanics Institute. He is constantly writing and producing chess books, mostly biographies of historical chess figures. He qualified to play in the 2002 and the 2003 U.S. Chess Championship. He has achieved two grandmaster norms, Lindsborg 2002[1] and Stratton Mountain 2003.[2]

On the July 2009 FIDE list his Elo rating is 2394.

On December 9, 2006, Donaldson was named USA Zone President in FIDE, the World Chess Federation, replacing Robert Tanner, who resigned on Monday, December 4, 2006.


  • The Life and Games of Frank Anderson.Moravian Chess, 2009 ISBN 978-80-7189-608-1
  • The Unknown Bobby Fischer. ISBN 1-879479-85-0
  • Alekhine in Europe and Asia. ISBN 1-879479-12-5
  • Elmars Zemgalis: Grandmaster without the title. ISBN B0006RZ3N6
  • Olaf Ulvestad: An American original. ISBN 1-888710-11-X
  • Legend on the Road (about Bobby Fischer's 1964 simul tour) ISBN 1-879479-15-X
  • Donaldson, John; Minev, Nikolay (1994), Akiba Rubinstein: Uncrowned King, International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 1-879479-19-2
  • Donaldson, John (1995), Essential Chess Endings for Advanced Players, Chess Digest, ISBN 0-87568-263-4
  • A Strategic Opening Repertoire I.C.E. Publication


  1. ^ Crowther, Mark (2002-12-30). "THE WEEK IN CHESS 425: Lindsborg Rotary Open". London Chess Center. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  2. ^ Crowther, Mark (2003-06-16). "THE WEEK IN CHESS 449: CCA International". London Chess Center. Retrieved 10 May 2010.

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