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Jesse Kraai
J Kraai 
Photo courtesy of "WannaBe"  
Number of games in database: 203
Years covered: 1990 to 2014
Last FIDE rating: 2511
Highest rating achieved in database: 2527

Overall record: +56 -53 =53 (50.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 41 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (17) 
    E94 E91 E92 E97 E69
 English (16) 
    A15 A13 A16 A14
 Reti System (15) 
 Slav (8) 
    D11 D14 D17 D12 D13
 Sicilian (7) 
    B92 B46 B38 B84 B76
 Nimzo-Larsen Attack (5) 
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (37) 
    C11 C05 C00 C02 C12
 French (20) 
    C11 C00 C12
 Queen's Pawn Game (15) 
    A40 E00 A46 D05
 French Tarrasch (11) 
    C05 C07 C08
 English (9) 
    A10 A14
 Queen's Indian (8) 
    E15 E12
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   J Kraai vs Nakamura, 2007 1-0
   J Kraai vs C R Harmon, 2003 1-0
   J Kraai vs Seirawan, 2002 1/2-1/2
   J Kraai vs Kaidanov, 2011 1/2-1/2
   B G Smith vs J Kraai, 2009 0-1
   J Kraai vs E Schiller, 2002 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   32nd World Open (2004)
   World Open (2009)
   US Championships (2010)
   13th Unive Tournament (Open) (2009)
   Foxwoods Open (2007)
   US Championship 2006 (2006)
   World Open: Open Section (2003)
   US Championships 2003 (2003)
   HB Global Chess Challenge (2005)
   Chessmaster US Championships 2005 (2004)
   Berkeley International (2011)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   2011 Saint Louis invitational by gauer

   J Kraai vs S Taylor (Jun-02-14) 1-0, exhibition
   M Brooks vs J Kraai (Mar-08-11) 0-1
   J Kraai vs Kaidanov (Mar-08-11) 1/2-1/2
   A Ramirez Alvarez vs J Kraai (Mar-07-11) 1/2-1/2
   J Kraai vs D Yang (Mar-07-11) 1/2-1/2

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FIDE player card for Jesse Kraai

(born May-06-1972, 44 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Jessie Kraai, 1987 National Junior HS champion and 1988 National High School co-champion, received a B.A from Shimer College in 1994, an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Jena, Germany in 1996, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Heidelberg in 2001. He was awarded the GM title in 2007. In 2013, Kraai published Lisa: A Chess Novel.

References: (1) ; (2) Wikipedia article: Jesse Kraai

 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 203  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. D Gurevich vs J Kraai  0-167 1990 Master Challenge XIIA70 Benoni, Classical with 7.Nf3
2. D Gurevich vs J Kraai  1-061 1990 Illinois ClassE00 Queen's Pawn Game
3. J Bonin vs J Kraai 1-027 1990 World op - op sectionA70 Benoni, Classical with 7.Nf3
4. R Torregrossa vs J Kraai 1-034 1990 Twin City OpenA22 English
5. D Gurevich vs J Kraai  1-041 1991 Chicago Chess CenterA30 English, Symmetrical
6. J Kraai vs Sherzer  0-129 1991 It (open)E69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
7. Shaked vs J Kraai  1-050 1991 Los Angeles USA-opB81 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack
8. J Kraai vs Igor Ivanov  0-160 1991 USA-op Los AngelesE91 King's Indian
9. J Kraai vs D Gurevich 0-126 1991 It (open)E10 Queen's Pawn Game
10. S Berndt vs J Kraai  ½-½20 1998 Bundesliga -9B40 Sicilian
11. J Kraai vs U Boensch  0-128 1998 Bundesliga -9D58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
12. Nisipeanu vs J Kraai 1-029 1998 Bundesliga -9B83 Sicilian
13. P Schmidt vs J Kraai  0-133 1999 Bundesliga 1998/99, GermanyA70 Benoni, Classical with 7.Nf3
14. J Kraai vs P Enders  1-036 1999 Bundesliga 1998/99, GermanyE15 Queen's Indian
15. Vaganian vs J Kraai  ½-½35 1999 Bundesliga 1998/99, GermanyA04 Reti Opening
16. J Kraai vs Unzicker  ½-½48 1999 Bundesliga 1998/99, GermanyD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
17. J Kraai vs J Gallagher  0-184 1999 Bundesliga 1998/99, GermanyE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
18. Schmittdiel vs J Kraai  ½-½20 1999 Bundesliga 1998/99, GermanyC11 French
19. J Kraai vs Ehlvest  ½-½32 2000 Koltanowski MemorialA57 Benko Gambit
20. Fedorowicz vs J Kraai  ½-½17 2000 Koltanowski MemorialC11 French
21. V Mezentsev vs J Kraai  0-139 2000 Koltanowski memC00 French Defense
22. J Kraai vs Y Shulman  0-156 2000 Koltanowski MemorialE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
23. J Kraai vs A Tugui  1-030 2001 Czech OpenA56 Benoni Defense
24. E Hedman vs J Kraai  0-137 2001 Czech OpenA10 English
25. J Kraai vs B Socko  0-140 2001 Czech OpenE93 King's Indian, Petrosian System
 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 203  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Kraai wins | Kraai loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <pazzed paun> ask WBP chessforum he currently resides in New Mexico, may even possibly have contact(ed) Jesse. =)
Sep-25-07  dx9293: It's official! Jesse Kraai is now an International Grandmaster! Congratulations!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: <pazzed paun> Evidently he lived in Germany for quite a while. When I was there people would play in the parks every day but didn't like to play Americans. But since he spoke German he could fit in and there are quite a few strong tournaments.
May-16-08  square dance: why didnt people like to play americans? were they still suffering from fischer fear or something?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: <square dance> I hadn't learned German at that time so maybe it was too much trouble for them.
Oct-17-08  sneaky pete: Wilhelm Müller: Die Krähe

Eine Krähe war mit mir
Aus der Stadt gezogen,
Ist bis heute für und für
Um mein Haupt geflogen.

Krähe, wunderliches Tier,
Willst mich nicht verlassen?
Meinst wohl, bald als Beute hier
Meinen Leib zu fassen?

Nun, es wird nicht weit mehr geh'n
An dem Wanderstabe.
Krähe, laß mich endlich seh'n
Treue bis zum Grabe!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: At the 1990 U.S. Open in Jacksonville, Florida, Jesse Kraai got into a rut. Rated 2300 (at age 17), Kraai suddenly started drawing Experts (USCF 2000-2199) round after round.

The morning after draw #5, I noticed him in the lobby, busily scribbling away on some paper. A few minutes later he was gone, but the paper had been left behind. I was nosy enough to take a look at it.

He had written the following sentence no fewer than 87 times:

<I, Jesse Kraai, hereby swear that I will never draw a low-life Expert.>

It didn't work. He drew #6 that night.

Jul-09-09  myschkin: . . .

"His dissertation examined the influence of Georg Joachim Rheticus on the development of Copernican theory."

Rheticus' engagement with Copernicus is discussed in the light of new documents. In particular it is shown that there were strong astrological motivations behind Rheticus' acceptance of the heliocentric theory.


Daaim Shabazz remembers reading a story on Kraai who was reputed to be a neighborhood troublemaker in his youth. When asked why he chose chess, he said it was the most violent game he could find.


Fide Card:



On the roof:


Oct-17-09  wanabe2000: Jesse just won his 2nd round game against Adrian Clemens in the open tournament at Hoogeveen.
May-14-10  BIDMONFA: Jesse Kraai

KRAAI, Jesse

May-18-10  FHBradley: A nice bio.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Peligroso Patzer: <Seeing this picture, though, he's a hell of a lot older than I thought.> According to the chess column in last Sunday's New York Times (featuring Kraai vs. Nakamura, Foxwoods 2007), Kraai is 34 years old.>

The picture does not do him justice at all. It's an awful shot. In person he looks about his actual age. It's like the picture shows how he will look in 10 or 15 years.

He has a PhD, by the way. Is there any other active GM with a doctoral degree?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Answering my own question: Robert Huebner.
Dec-12-10  Eastfrisian: .. and: Helmut Pfleger
Premium Chessgames Member
  Willem Wallekers: and John Nunn
Sep-10-12  Poisonpawns: I felt Jesse Kraai was being somewhat disingenuous and dismissive when he said that the Tarrach (Nd2) against the French wasn`t "A good move at all." In one of his Instructional videos on the French Defense. My first thought was; "Do you know how many strong GM`s above 2700 play it regularly? Michael Adams comes immediately to mind.Now I check his games regularly to see if was smashed in a French Tarrach yet.
Sep-10-12  zoren: <Poisonpawns> Where did you read/hear that? He has a full lecture series on the French and the venom associated even with obscure sidelines. IIRC he has expressed a small dissatisfaction playing against Nd2 because Black can often be playing against someone whose happy with a small but nagging advantage - perhaps you heard him out of context!
Sep-11-12  Poisonpawns: It is a video presentation of his from from a few years ago that he did. A "contributor" asked him to do a video specifically on the Tarrach variation because he "did not know how to play against it" as Black in the French. Kraai then responded by saying that Nd2 "wasn`t really a good move" without too much explanation, except to say that black can play the Guimard??(really) against it and then taught about Nc3 and thus avoided the request.
Oct-03-12  tarek1: <Poisonpawns> I am also a subscriber. It looks like he changed his mind on the matter because in some later videos he announced that the Tarrasch made him abandon the French... Actually now it seems that he abandoned chess because he didn't play a rated game since around may 2011 and didn't record a single new video, so...
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < zoren: ....IIRC (Kraai) has expressed a small dissatisfaction playing against Nd2 because Black can often be playing against someone whose happy with a small but nagging advantage....>

An approach which suited Karpov down to the ground, though in the first and second of their top-level matches, Korchnoi held the draw in all nine games, despite playing a somewhat shaky line in both 1978 encounters ( In their final match (1981), Korchnoi did not play the French at all, responding to 1.e4 with 1....e5 (Karpov-Korchnoi World Championship Rematch (1981)).

Jul-11-13  The Last Straw: <Fusili: Is there any other active grandmaster with a doctoral degree?>

I think Yona Kosashvili has one

Jun-09-14  pazzed paun: does anybody know how he is doing after his vehicle accident?
Premium Chessgames Member
  JointheArmy: <pazzed paun> He looks better than ever, IMO.

Played him in a simul in Cupertino. He had lots of cuts/scraps on his legs, but other than that he looked good!

Nov-28-14  waustad: He is the author of the novel, "Lisa, a Chess Novel." I for one found it interesting and entertaining. Here is his personal website:
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <The beautiful thing about chess is, it's one of the few places in the world where you are just objectively judged for what you have done last week. There is no boss or someone telling you this, that or the other thing. ... I don't need a boss> - Jesse Kraai.
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