John Donaldson is the New Secretary of the Samford Fellowship Committee

By Allen Kaufman
June 23, 2011

IM John Donaldson, Photo Suzy Gorman

Contact: Allen Kaufman
(718) 544-5036

On July 1, 2011 International Master John Donaldson will become the new secretary of the Samford Fellowship Committee, replacing Allen Kaufman who has held the position since 1987. John will also continue as one of the judges who participate in selecting the new Samford Fellow each year. The other committee members are Frank P. Samford III, son of Frank P. Samford Jr., founder of the program, and Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier. Ms. Barbara DeMaro will continue as financial administrator.

Mr. Donaldson has decades-long experiences in almost every phase of the chess world. A keen tournament competitor, he has played in two U.S. Championships and made Grandmaster norms at Lindsborg 2002 and Stratton Mountain 2003. He is the Director of the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club of San Francisco, a full-time position he has held since October, 1998. John is also a well-known author having written over thirty books, specializing in opening theory and chess history. His best-known works are the two volumes on Akiva Rubinstein he co-authored with International Master Nikolay Minev.

For the past decade he has served as a member of the selection committee for the United States Chess Federation (USCF) Hall of Fame, as a committee member for the Professional Health and Benefits Program and as the Chairman for the USCF Awards committee. The respect John commands among both players and administrators is further indicated by his selection as team captain of the U.S. entry in the last three Chess Olympiads, 2006, 2008 and 2010 and the 2009 World Team Championship. The U.S. teams won medals in three of these tournaments. In July, 2011, he will captain the U.S. entry in the World Team Championship in Ningbo, China.

Mr. Kaufman is retiring after twenty-five years of affiliation with the Frank P. Samford, Jr. Chess Fellowship. He assisted the late Mr. Samford in creating the program in 1985 and 1986 and has continued working with Mr. Samford’s son, Frank P. Samford, III in expanding the benefits of the Samford Fellowship to both individual players and to the game of chess in America. During this period twenty-six young American chessmasters have been chosen to receive the benefits of the two-year program, many of whom have gone on to achieve significant victories in chess competitions. Several are potential challengers for the world chess championship; others have become effective teachers who pass the values of the game on to future generations.

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