Albéric O'Kelly de Galway

Albéric O'Kelly de Galway

O'Kelly in 1961
Full name Albéric Joseph Rodolphe Marie Robert Ghislain O'Kelly de Galway
Country Belgium
Born (1911-05-17)17 May 1911
Brussels, Belgian
Died 3 October 1980(1980-10-03) (aged 69)
Title Grandmaster (1956)
ICCF Grandmaster (1962)
ICCF World Champion 1959–62

Albéric Joseph Rodolphe Marie Robert Ghislain O'Kelly de Galway (17 May 1911, Anderlecht – 3 October 1980, Brussels) was a Belgian chess Grandmaster (1956), and an International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster (1962), the third ICCF World Champion in correspondence chess (1959–1962). He was also a chess writer.

Chess career

O'Kelly won the Belgian championships thirteen times between 1937 and 1959. He placed first at Beverwijk 1946. In 1947 he became one of Europe's leading players, finishing first at the 1947 European Zonal tournament at Hilversum, tied for first place with Pirc at Teplice Sanov, tied for second at Venice. The next year O'Kelly finished first at São Paulo ahead of Eliskases and Rossetto. He earned the title International Master (IM) in 1950, the first year the title was awarded. He placed first at Dortmund 1951. O'Kelly finished first at the round-robin Utrecht 1961 with 6½/9, followed by Karl Robatsch second with 6 points and Arthur Bisguier and Aleksandar Matanović tied for third and fourth with 5½.[1]

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.[2]

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 KarpovKorchnoi match.

He spoke French, Dutch, German, English, Spanish, and Russian well, and also some Italian. He published many books and articles, often in languages other than French.

Personal life

O'Kelly was descended from John O'Kelly, an Irish-born British army officer who was granted a nobility title in Belgium in 1720.[3] Consequently, he was often addressed as 'Count O'Kelly de Galway', for example on the front cover of his 1965 book about Petrosian.


The O'Kelly Variation in the Sicilian Defence: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6[4] is named after him.


Notable games



  1. Horowitz, I. A. (February 1962), "The World of Chess: Another for O'Kelly", Chess Review, 30 (2), p. 35
  2. Sunnucks, Anne (1976). The Encyclopaedia of Chess (2nd Ed.). Hale. p. 336. ISBN 0709146973.
  3. Axel Klein, O'Kelly: An Irish Musical Family in Nineteenth-Century France, p24, Books on Demand, 2014
  4. Wall, Bill. "Opening Names". Bill Wall's Chess Page. Archived from the original on 25 October 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2009.


External links

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Preceded by
Viacheslav Ragozin
World Correspondence Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Vladimir Zagorovsky
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