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Patrick Wolff
Number of games in database: 264
Years covered: 1982 to 2013
Last FIDE rating: 2564
Highest rating achieved in database: 2595
Overall record: +81 -75 =96 (51.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      12 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (55) 
    B89 B90 B57 B33 B62
 Ruy Lopez (22) 
    C84 C60 C65 C76 C85
 French Defense (14) 
    C05 C09 C01 C03 C07
 French Tarrasch (11) 
    C05 C09 C03 C07 C04
 Sicilian Najdorf (11) 
    B90 B99 B94 B96 B92
 Caro-Kann (10) 
    B17 B14 B19 B12
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (32) 
    B90 B63 B22 B50 B65
 Grunfeld (16) 
    D76 D85 D87 D91 D78
 English, 1 c4 e5 (12) 
    A20 A29 A28 A22 A21
 Modern Benoni (9) 
    A57 A56 A58
 Sicilian Najdorf (8) 
    B90 B96 B93
 Benko Gambit (8) 
    A57 A58
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Kasparov vs Wolff, 1988 0-1
   Wolff vs T Wall, 1985 1-0
   J Hohmeister vs Wolff, 1993 1/2-1/2
   Wolff vs I Sokolov, 1987 1-0
   Wolff vs O Adu, 2001 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   US Championship (1991)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   New York 1996 (Chess-in-the-Schools Festival) by Phony Benoni
   Pan-Pacific GM Tournament, San Francisco 1991 by wanabe2000
   US Championship 1991 by Phony Benoni
   US Championship 1991 by suenteus po 147

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FIDE player card for Patrick Wolff

(born Feb-15-1968, 48 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Patrick Gideon Wolff learned chess from his father at the age of five. In 1984, at the age of 16, he won the U.S. Junior Championship. At the age of 19, he earned the GM title. He won the US Championship two times, in 1992 and 1995 One of Patrick's proudest moments was when he participated in a simultaneous exhibition in 1988 and, with the black pieces, forced world champion Garry Kasparov to resign in a mere 25 moves.

He has written many articles and books, made numerous contributions to chess video projects, and for many years maintained a website dedicated to chess learning at

After several years as a professional chess player, Wolff went to work in the finance industry. Since 2005 he has been employed by Peter Thiel, and is now the managing director of Thiel's Clarium Capital hedge fund.

Wikipedia article: Patrick Wolff

 page 1 of 11; games 1-25 of 264  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Wolff vs J A Curdo 0-128 1982 Franklin K Young MemorialC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
2. D Griego vs Wolff  1-024 1983 US Junior ChampionshipA97 Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky
3. Wolff vs D Glueck  0-135 1983 US Junior ChampionshipC04 French, Tarrasch, Guimard Main line
4. Rachels vs Wolff  ½-½51 1983 US Junior ChampionshipC42 Petrov Defense
5. Dreev vs Wolff 1-023 1983 Bucaramanga (South America)C42 Petrov Defense
6. J Litvinchuk vs Wolff  1-046 1983 US Junior ChampionshipA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
7. Wolff vs M Ardaman  0-124 1983 US Junior ChampionshipB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
8. Wolff vs J Yedidia  0-130 1983 US Junior ChampionshipC05 French, Tarrasch
9. Joel Benjamin vs Wolff  1-060 1983 US Junior ChampionshipA80 Dutch
10. Wolff vs M Ginsburg 0-140 1983 New York OpenB06 Robatsch
11. Dlugy vs Wolff 0-165 1983 US Junior ChampionshipA57 Benko Gambit
12. Wolff vs V Genfan  1-042 1983 US Junior ChampionshipC05 French, Tarrasch
13. P K Wells vs Wolff 1-048 1984 Wch U20D85 Grunfeld
14. Kasparov vs Wolff 1-034 1984 LondonC42 Petrov Defense
15. Wolff vs J A Rizzitano 1-029 1984 Massachusetts Open ChampionshipB99 Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line
16. Wolff vs J A Rizzitano 0-150 1984 Rhode Island State ChampionshipB94 Sicilian, Najdorf
17. Joel Benjamin vs Wolff  ½-½42 1985 12, Estes Park ch-USAA48 King's Indian
18. Kudrin vs Wolff  1-022 1985 Estes ParkC42 Petrov Defense
19. Igor Ivanov vs Wolff  1-038 1985 New York opA57 Benko Gambit
20. D Gurevich vs Wolff  1-033 1985 Estes Park ch-USAA58 Benko Gambit
21. C Hertan vs Wolff  0-141 1985 Pugi memA46 Queen's Pawn Game
22. D Gurevich vs Wolff 0-132 1985 BermudaA57 Benko Gambit
23. Wolff vs Kavalek  0-138 1985 USA-chC85 Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation Doubly Deferred (DERLD)
24. Wolff vs T Wall 1-021 1985 Lloyds Bank opB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
25. Wolff vs Alburt  ½-½35 1985 Ch USAB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
 page 1 of 11; games 1-25 of 264  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Wolff wins | Wolff loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-05-12  drkodos: ^ This is a ridiculously spartan database in some areas ... make generalizations at your own peril .... :-)
Feb-05-12  King Death: < drkodos: ^ This is a ridiculously spartan database in some areas ... make generalizations at your own peril ....>

And one of those areas is any player from the pre computer period that isn't at the very highest level. If I remember right Wolff used to play a lot of open Swisses so there'll be a lot of games missing from those.

Feb-05-12  Isolani: << drkodos: ^ This is a ridiculously spartan database in some areas ... make generalizations at your own peril ....> And one of those areas is any player from the pre computer period that isn't at the very highest level. If I remember right Wolff used to play a lot of open Swisses so there'll be a lot of games missing from those.>

I was already well aware that the database does not encompass every played game during his lifetime, but thanks for pointing that out anyway. Nevertheless there may be enough games included to conduct a non-scientific litmus test.

I just made an off-hand observation that this GM who almost exclusively played 1.e4, not to mention was also partial to main Sicilian lines as white as well, seemingly had difficulty playing against a rather common variation as that color.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy Birthday Wolff!
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: I had the privilege of meeting & talking to Patrick @ a chess tournament in new orleans back in '92 when he was the reigning US chess champion. (He also won it in '95). Unfortunately he's not playing in tournaments now but he did come back briefly & play in the US chess league in '08. Happy birthday Patrick!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: User: PatrickWolff
Dec-30-12  happyjuggler0: Here is an extremely rare 1)d4 by Wolff. If memory serves it was from the US (closed) championship and had a TN in it...although I don't play the QGA myself so I can't be sure.

Also, if I recall correctly, in Inside Chess Seirawan commented that Rachels should have played *anything* but 1)...d5 in response because it was clear opening prep by a player who only play[s] 1)e4.

Dec-30-12  Jim Bartle: I remember Seirawan's comment, but I thought it was not to play the QG accepted.
Dec-30-12  happyjuggler0: <Jim Bartle> You might be correct; memory can be a murky thing.

Anyway, I am a bit surprised that the game is not (yet) available here at cg.

Dec-30-12  Jim Bartle: Well, my memory was it was against Dlugy, but they never played a qga, so...
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: What <happyjuggler0> states is correct-that game was from the US Championship. The TN was an improvement over White's play from a Miles-Rachels game.

It was only the second time Wolff employed 1.d4 in his life, the first being when he had illegally set up the board, according to notes I once read from Inside Chess.

In the numerous tournaments Patrick and I played together, I never saw him open with anything but 1.e4, and his repertoire at any given point in those early days tended to be fairly narrow.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I really don't follow this. The only opening novelty possible in a Queen Pawn game is in a QGA? If a d4 player happened to open e4, would that mean you should play anything but e5?
Dec-30-12  Jim Bartle: Ocf: Rachels almost always played the qga against d4. So Seirawan was saying, if Wolff played d4 for the first time, Rachels should have switched to some other opening.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Thanks, that makes sense.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Jim> As Fischer should have found something other than his beloved Two Knights vs the Caro-Kann when Keres tried that in the '59 Candidates (which had to be a complete shock).

The next year, however, Fischer was shrewd enough to vary against another player who was not known to specialise in the Caro in Fischer vs Ivkov, 1960.

Apr-14-13  Eopithecus: Did Wolff ever play Seirawan or Christiansen?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Eopithecus> Our database, which is incomplete, has five games between Christiansen and Wolff:

We have none between Seirawan and Wolff, but this database indicates they played at least twice:

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <perfidious> Unfortunately (for Fischer's chess results at least), Buenos Aires 1960 was the tournament where he got laid. He got f***ed in more ways than one:

<Fischer struggled in the later Buenos Aires tournament, finishing with 8½/19 (won by Viktor Korchnoi and Samuel Reshevsky on 13/19). This was the only real failure of Fischer's competitive career. According to Larry Evans, Fischer's first sexual experience was with a girl to whom Evans introduced him during the tournament. Pal Benko says that Fischer did horribly in the tournament "because he got caught up in women and sex. Afterwards, Fischer said he'd never mix women and chess together, and kept the promise.">

Benko, OTOH, claimed that he got crushed in Fischer vs Benko, 1963 because he <didn't> get any action the previous night:

<Everyone thinks that this Rf6 game against me was something special, but I don't know what's so great about it. I was exhausted for this game. I was up all night necking in a car with a young lady...kissing and kissing. But it didn't go beyond that, so the combination of no sleep and frustration led to me losing badly to Bobby.>

-Pal Benko, My Life, Games and Compositions

Nov-09-15  zanzibar: His bio should probably be rewritten to decouple his post-chess financial activities.

By that, I mean to write about his activities in such a fashion as to allow the bio not to depend on his actual current non-chess activities.

He is in the process of shutting down the hedge fund we don't even mention in the above.

(No, he is not "now the managing director of Thiel's Clarium Capital hedge fund". And he soon won't be managing GM Capital either.)

Nov-10-15  zanzibar: Ugh, rereading my note above...

But the idea is right, just leave his bio open-ended (people can always go to wiki to see what he's doing post-chess)

* * * * *

From the NYTimes article, as to why he decided not to become a full-time professional (even if qualified):

<Unlike Wilder, Wolff spent several years as a professional player. He had enrolled at Yale, but after being awarded a Samford Fellowship in 1989 — which is usually given to one top young player each year and comes with a $32,000 annual stipend for two years — he took time off to purse chess full time.

“I never expected to be a professional indefinitely,” he said. “But it was fantastic fun.”

A turning point came in 1992, when he was hired to help Viswanathan Anand, the current world champion, to prepare for a match. The experience tipped him over the edge, he said.>

Although he did compete in Biel 1993. Soon afterwards he returned to college, graduating from Havard in 1996.

* * * * *

<RE: shhh....> If you watch the video you'll see that Rachels might not even be fully aware of who's talking. He intently staring at the board and doesn't even look up. Seemed just instinctive to me.

Nov-10-15  Howard: That match in 1992 was against Ivanchuk.

By the way, I never heard of a school called "Havard". But you probably mean a certain institution located just outside of Boston.

Nov-10-15  zanzibar: Ha!

We're somewhat infamous for dropping r's round these parts.

Nov-10-15  Retireborn: <z> A visit to Scotland would cure you of that. They really love their "r"s up there :)
Feb-14-16  zanzibar: Is this website (from the intro) active anymore?

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, GM Patrick Wolff.
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