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Olaf Ulvestad
Number of games in database: 133
Years covered: 1939 to 1971
Highest rating achieved in database: 2253
Overall record: +51 -46 =36 (51.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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Most played openings
C41 Philidor Defense (5 games)
D37 Queen's Gambit Declined (4 games)
A28 English (4 games)
E11 Bogo-Indian Defense (3 games)
B00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening (3 games)
D02 Queen's Pawn Game (3 games)
C02 French, Advance (3 games)
E90 King's Indian (3 games)
C70 Ruy Lopez (3 games)
E60 King's Indian Defense (3 games)

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(born Oct-27-1912, died Aug-24-2000, 87 years old) United States of America

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 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 133  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. O Ulvestad vs Santasiere 1-0721939Ventnor CityA07 King's Indian Attack
2. M Bain vs O Ulvestad ½-½281939Ventnor CityB02 Alekhine's Defense
3. O Ulvestad vs F Reinfeld ½-½461939Ventnor CityA13 English
4. O Ulvestad vs Reshevsky  0-1311939ACF-ch prelA09 Reti Opening
5. W Adams vs O Ulvestad  0-1231939ACF CongressB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
6. B Blumin vs O Ulvestad  1-019193940th ACF Congress. ChampionshipA52 Budapest Gambit
7. Fine vs O Ulvestad  1-0421939ACF CongressD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
8. O Ulvestad vs Pinkus  0-1381939USA-chD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. O Ulvestad vs Reshevsky 0-1401939New York ch-ACFA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
10. O Ulvestad vs Santasiere  0-1551939New York ch-ACFE90 King's Indian
11. O Ulvestad vs S Bernstein  ½-½641940Ventnor CityA46 Queen's Pawn Game
12. A J Fink vs O Ulvestad  ½-½401946USA-chC78 Ruy Lopez
13. A Di Camillo vs O Ulvestad  1-0451946USA-chD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
14. O Ulvestad vs I A Horowitz 1-0301946USA-chD74 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O
15. J Yeager vs O Ulvestad  0-121194647th US OpenC01 French, Exchange
16. J Rauch vs O Ulvestad  1-029194647th US OpenC07 French, Tarrasch
17. O Ulvestad vs James Cross 1-054194647th US OpenC45 Scotch Game
18. O Ulvestad vs A Elo 1-019194647th US OpenE10 Queen's Pawn Game
19. F Yerhoff vs O Ulvestad  ½-½42194647th US OpenC22 Center Game
20. O Ulvestad vs Robert E Byrne  1-032194647th US OpenA48 King's Indian
21. Seidman vs O Ulvestad  0-153194647th US OpenB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
22. O Ulvestad vs H Steiner 1-033194647th US OpenC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
23. G Katz vs O Ulvestad  0-158194647th US OpenD23 Queen's Gambit Accepted
24. O Ulvestad vs Kupchik  1-074194647th US OpenD90 Grunfeld
25. O Ulvestad vs H Steiner 0-141194647th US OpenA04 Reti Opening
 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 133  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Ulvestad wins | Ulvestad loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-01-07  sneaky pete: Olaf Ivan Ulvestad, born October 27, 1912, in Tacoma, Washington, died August 24, 2000, in the Washington Old Soldiers home in Retsil, Washington. Washington State champion 1934, 1952 and 1956. Scored +1 -1 in Moscow, 1946, against Bronstein in the USSR vs USA team match. The only man who could outtalk Viktors Pupols. Originator of the earthshaking novelty 5... b5!! in the Two Knights Defence (after 4.Ng5? d5 5.exd5 ..).
Aug-01-07  Rolfo: Off topic, his name indicates Scandinavian heritage..
Aug-02-07  sneaky pete: Son of Norwegian immigrants Martin Johan and Hannah Oss Ulvestad. Olaf's father was a publisher by trade and the author of books on Norwegian immigration to the United States. His work <Nordmaendene i Amerika>, published in 1907, and based on 450,000 questionnaires sent out to Norwegians in America, continues to be an important record of Norwegian settlement in the New World. King Haakon of Norway knighted Martin in 1923 in recognition of his accomplishments.

From John Donaldson: <Olaf Ulvestad, An American Original>, Thinker's Press, 2002.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Here is an interesting article about Ulvestad from the Long Beach, CA "Independent":

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: 1970 Siegen Chess Olympiad: According to George Koltanowski, Olaf Ulvestad of Seattle, a well-known theorist in the Two Knights Defense played 1st board for Andorra. Ulvestad told Koltanowski that he expects to play for Singapore next year (1971).
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <wordfunph>1970 Siegen Chess Olympiad: According to George Koltanowski, Olaf Ulvestad of Seattle, a well-known theorist in the Two Knights Defense played 1st board for Andorra.

Ulvestad was involved in an interesting game against Jonathan Penrose:


Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Ulvestad vs Bronstein, from 1946 USSR-USA match:

(From page 32 of the November 1946 Chess Review by way of Winter's CN 4759)

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: For example:

Are we sure he died in the US?

And isn't a variation in the two-knights named after this player?

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Ah, I see, the image I liked was actually from the 1934 Washington State Chess Championship pamplet:

And here is the best source for his full name being <Olaf Ivan Ulvestad>

(But note: the 1934 tournament booklet has his first name as <Olav>!)

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: The bio here is really quite lean, especially given that there are several dedicated chess pages devoted to profiling him.

He resettled in Andorra, Spain sometime ~1960's.

Here's a nice little artistic portrait of him:

From 1940-09-15 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

<Olaf I. Ulvestad of Manhattan, formerly of Seattle, Wash.>

And, according to Tartajubow:

<Ulvestad was champion of the State of Washington in 1934, 1952 and 1956. In the sixties, he went to live in Andorra (a small country between Spain and France), and played first board in the 1970 chess Olympiad in Siegen. He is also famous for the Ulvestad variation of the Two knights defense: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 b5. John Donaldson has published a small (36 page) booklet on Ulvestad, An American Original. >

And for the record, Andorra, nestled between Spain and France in the Pyrenees, is actually an independent country.

Apr-07-15  Boomie: The highest rating given here is a bit deceiving since it comes from when he was well past his prime. Chessmetrics calculates his highest rating at over 2500 (, making him grandmaster strength. He had some impressive scalps hanging from his belt including:

Bronstein vs O Ulvestad, 1946

Portisch vs O Ulvestad, 1964

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <A master sweats and squirms to find the right square for a piece. A grandmaster tosses a piece in the air and it lands on the right square!> - Olaf Ulvestad.
Dec-18-15  Howard: He played in the 1948 U.S. championship only because Reshevsky demanded a special appearance fee, or he wouldn't play. The tournament organizers said "nyet" to his request, so Ulvestad got his place....and he ended up doing pretty well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Olaf Ulvestad.
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