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Jesse Kraai
J Kraai 
Photo courtesy of "WannaBe"  
Number of games in database: 204
Years covered: 1990 to 2014
Last FIDE rating: 2429
Highest rating achieved in database: 2527

Overall record: +56 -54 =53 (50.6%)*
   * 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 (18) 
    E94 E91 E92 E97 E69
 Reti System (16) 
 English (16) 
    A15 A13 A16 A14
 Slav (8) 
    D11 D17 D14 D13 D12
 Sicilian (6) 
    B92 B90 B46 B48 B84
 Nimzo-Larsen Attack (5) 
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (37) 
    C11 C05 C00 C02 C12
 French (20) 
    C11 C00 C12
 English (12) 
    A10 A14
 Queen's Pawn Game (12) 
    A40 E00 D05 A46
 French Tarrasch (11) 
    C05 C07
 Queen's Indian (8) 
    E15 E12
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   R Burnett vs J Kraai, 2004 0-1
   J Kraai vs Nakamura, 2007 1-0
   J Kraai vs C R Harmon, 2003 1-0
   A C Florean vs J Kraai, 2006 0-1
   J Kraai vs Yermolinsky, 2005 1-0
   J Kraai vs E Schiller, 2002 1/2-1/2
   J Kraai vs S Owen, 2004 1-0
   J Kraai vs A Kobernat, 2001 1-0
   J Kraai vs Seirawan, 2002 1/2-1/2
   J Bloomer vs J Kraai, 2005 0-1

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

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   2011 Saint Louis invitational by gauer
   Kraai's e6 Defenses by fredthebear

   🏆 Simul
   J Kraai vs S Taylor (Jun-02-14) 1-0, exhibition

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Jesse Kraai
Search Google for Jesse Kraai
FIDE player card for Jesse Kraai

(born May-06-1972, 49 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 / Sources

(1) ; (2) (2017 podcast interview with Ben Johnson of Perpetual Chess)

Wikipedia article: Jesse Kraai

Last updated: 2017-11-20 23:00:27

 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 204  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J Bonin vs J Kraai 1-027199018th World OpenA70 Benoni, Classical with 7.Nf3
2. D Gurevich vs J Kraai  0-1671990Master Challenge XIIA70 Benoni, Classical with 7.Nf3
3. D Gurevich vs J Kraai  1-0611990Illinois ClassE00 Queen's Pawn Game
4. R Torregrossa vs J Kraai 1-0341990Twin City OpenA22 English
5. J Kraai vs K Bachler  0-1311990Ken Wallach Make My Salad OpenE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
6. J Kraai vs I Ivanov  0-160199192nd US OpenE91 King's Indian
7. D Gurevich vs J Kraai  1-0411991Chicago Chess CenterA30 English, Symmetrical
8. J Kraai vs Sherzer  0-1291991New York opE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
9. Shaked vs J Kraai  1-050199192nd US OpenB81 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack
10. J Kraai vs D Gurevich 0-1261991New York opE10 Queen's Pawn Game
11. J Kraai vs U Boensch  0-1281998Bundesliga 1998/99D58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
12. S Berndt vs J Kraai  ½-½201998Bundesliga 1998/99B40 Sicilian
13. Nisipeanu vs J Kraai 1-0291998Bundesliga 1998/99B83 Sicilian
14. Peter Schmidt vs J Kraai 0-1331999Bundesliga 1998/99A70 Benoni, Classical with 7.Nf3
15. J Kraai vs P Enders  1-0361999Bundesliga 1998/99E15 Queen's Indian
16. Vaganian vs J Kraai  ½-½351999Bundesliga 1998/99A04 Reti Opening
17. J Kraai vs Unzicker  ½-½481999Bundesliga 1998/99D58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
18. Schmittdiel vs J Kraai  ½-½201999Bundesliga 1998/99C11 French
19. J Kraai vs J Gallagher  0-1841999Bundesliga 1998/99E94 King's Indian, Orthodox
20. J Kraai vs Ehlvest  ½-½322000Koltanowski MemorialA57 Benko Gambit
21. Fedorowicz vs J Kraai  ½-½172000Koltanowski MemorialC11 French
22. V Mezentsev vs J Kraai  0-1392000Koltanowski MemorialC00 French Defense
23. J Kraai vs Shulman 0-1562000Koltanowski MemorialE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
24. J Kraai vs A Tugui  1-0302001Czech OpenA57 Benko Gambit
25. E Hedman vs J Kraai  0-1372001Czech OpenA10 English
 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 204  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: Okay, dumb question time, according to <EmperorAtahualpa> Kraai is quite common in the Netherlands. Perhaps Jesse's (grand) parents came to US from Netherlands...

Is the last name pronounced 'cry' or 'cray-A' ? Or is it something completely different? (e.g. Euwe)

Apr-10-07  Chuckles: <WannaBe> I think that is his USCF rating, not FIDE.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: <Wannabe> That's a pretty cool game. Kraai just strangled Nakamura and didn't get anxious (like us mortals) and didn't rush the win. He just calmly increased the pressure and let the game play itself. Well Done!
Apr-10-07  danielpi: "Kraai" is pronounced like "cry". He's an excellent player, and a fantastic lecturer. I can't compliment his work highly enough! Seeing this picture, though, he's a hell of a lot older than I thought.
Apr-10-07  geraldo8187: i've learned so much about the french thanks to this man's lectures, particularly ideas in the advance variation. he has steadily been getting better over these last few years so i'm curious to see how much further he'll be able to advance his skills.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Congratulations to Mr Kraai on achieveing his final GM norm. Well done.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Finally! we have an active American born GM under 40. Congradulations and good luck in the future.
Apr-11-07  protean: <Joshka> He's not quite there yet.

I think he stands to gain 18.2 rating points (6½/9 v 2461), so he'll be up to 2495. Unfortunately he lost his last round game - a draw would have given him the extra five points.

Apr-12-07  dx9293: He also seemed to gain ~8 points from the 4th North American FIDE tournament.
Apr-12-07  protean: <dx9293> Yeah, my bad. That tournament wont have been included on FIDE's April list so he should be over 2500.

Kraai certainly thinks he's a GM: "I've been trying to get the GM title for four years. Now I don't know what the **** to do."

Apr-12-07  Plato: I'm glad to see all the positive comments about Jesse Kraai, and I would like to add my hearty congratulations for his phenomenal achievement. For many years now it has been clear that it was only a matter of time before Jesse would earn the prestigious GM title.

He is not only a Grandmaster, he also holds a Ph.D in Philosophy! It appears that he decided to pursue the more practical career of a chess coach and player ;-)

I had the privilege of playing against Jesse in a tournament a couple of years ago. He beat me with Black in a very interesting French game (we are both French devotees), and afterwards he agreed to analyze the game and there ensued a fascinating post-mortem session. He is a naturally gifted teacher, and if he offers private lessons on the ICC (which he probably does) I can hardly think of a better instructor for an aspiring player to choose. His alias on the ICC used to be and perhaps still is <Heliopolitanus>.

I played him at least a dozen times in 5-min blitz on ICC before I stopped playing there. I noticed that he <only> played 5 0 or slower, a wise decision and one that I would have done well to emulate. Instead, I got badly addicted to 3 0 or faster (including 1 0, 0 1, etc) and it was only hurting my "real" chess, so I finally decided to quit cold turkey. On the ICC Jesse is just as friendly as he is in real life -- unlike certain GMs who can be real jerks when they lose on the ICC... I'll just say I was happy that Jesse beat one of them at Foxwoods :P

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
May-03-07  pazzed paun: Does anyone know about J.K. early chess development? New mexico does not seem to be a hotbed of chess activity.
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!!
May-16-08  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?
May-23-08  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.
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