Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

John Grefe
J Grefe 

Number of games in database: 199
Years covered: 1969 to 2008
Last FIDE rating: 2316
Highest rating achieved in database: 2400
Overall record: +70 -56 =73 (53.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (26) 
    B77 B50 B84 B42 B22
 Ruy Lopez (15) 
    C69 C73 C82 C60 C80
 French Defense (9) 
    C18 C12 C10 C02 C04
 Caro-Kann (7) 
    B10 B11 B18
 Ruy Lopez Exchange (6) 
 Sicilian Najdorf (5) 
    B98 B97 B99 B92 B94
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (31) 
    B84 B46 B51 B20 B53
 King's Indian (16) 
    E99 E92 E97 E81 E87
 Sicilian Scheveningen (7) 
    B84 B81 B83 B82 B85
 King's Indian Attack (5) 
 Queen's Indian (5) 
    E15 E19 E12
 Reti System (5) 
    A04 A05
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   J Grefe vs Browne, 1973 1-0
   J Grefe vs Denker, 1979 1-0
   J Grefe vs A Karklins, 1973 1-0
   J Grefe vs Najdorf, 1976 1-0
   J Grefe vs L Gilden, 1974 1-0
   L Christiansen vs J Grefe, 1977 1/2-1/2
   Reshevsky vs J Grefe, 1977 0-1
   J Grefe vs J Tarjan, 1973 1/2-1/2
   J Grefe vs S Rubin, 1971 1-0
   J Grefe vs J Tarjan, 1971 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   US Championship (1973)
   Max Wilkerson International (1998)
   Australian Open (1975)
   United States Championship (1977)
   GRE Islington Open (1973)
   Lone Pine (1971)
   Lone Pine (1973)
   United States Championship (1974)
   70th US Open (1969)
   Lone Pine (1976)
   United States Championship (1975)
   82nd US Open (1981)
   Lone Pine (1977)
   Lone Pine Open (1981)
   Lone Pine (1979)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   US Championship 1974 by Phony Benoni
   US Championship 1973 by Phony Benoni

Search Sacrifice Explorer for John Grefe
Search Google for John Grefe

(born Sep-06-1947, died Dec-22-2013, 66 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]

FIDE awarded him the title of International Master in 1975

John Alan Grefe was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. He and Lubomir Kavalek were co-winners of the 1973 U.S. Championship. FIDE awarded him the title of International Master in 1975.

Grefe and Stuart Rachels are the only players since 1948 to have won or shared the U.S. Championship without already having, or having later achieved, the title of International Grandmaster. Grefe, at the time he shared the championship, lived in Berkeley, California, and was a follower of the Guru Maharaj Ji. For that reason and also because of his hippyish appearance, Grefe was affectionately known as "Gandalf" amongst chess friends.

Before his success in the U.S. Championship, Grefe had been fairly successful in Swiss system tournaments in the United States. He tied for eighth in the 1969 and 1971 U.S. Open, tied for first in the 1971 National Open, finished sixth at Lone Pine 1971, tied for fourth through sixth at Lone Pine 1973, and finished sixth in the 1973 U.S. Open.

Some notable games include a decisive win over Walter Browne, later a six-time winner of the U.S. Championship himself, in the 1973 championship, and a brilliancy against veteran grandmaster Miguel Najdorf at Lone Pine 1976.

He died in San Francisco on December 22, 2013.

Wikipedia article: John Grefe

Last updated: 2022-03-20 21:12:05

 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 199  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. L Williams vs J Grefe 0-123196970th US OpenA01 Nimzovich-Larsen Attack
2. J Grefe vs D Presser 1-059196970th US OpenB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
3. K Fitzgerald vs J Grefe  0-125196970th US OpenA07 King's Indian Attack
4. J Grefe vs O Popovych  0-132196970th US OpenB94 Sicilian, Najdorf
5. J Grefe vs E Pruner  ½-½23196970th US OpenB42 Sicilian, Kan
6. J Dunning vs J Grefe  0-126196970th US OpenA41 Queen's Pawn Game (with ...d6)
7. S Matera vs J Grefe  ½-½30196970th US OpenB06 Robatsch
8. J Grefe vs W Shipman  0-152196970th US OpenC60 Ruy Lopez
9. J L Watson vs J Grefe 0-140196970th US OpenB06 Robatsch
10. R Byrne vs J Grefe  1-03719706th American OpenB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
11. J Grefe vs J Tarjan 1-0301971National opC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
12. J Grefe vs S Rubin 1-0281971Lone PineA07 King's Indian Attack
13. J Loftsson vs J Grefe  0-1311971Lone PineA56 Benoni Defense
14. J Grefe vs A Karklins  1-0251971Lone PineA00 Uncommon Opening
15. D Fritzinger vs J Grefe  1-05219728th American OpenA00 Uncommon Opening
16. J Grefe vs Nunn  0-1251973London-BB06 Robatsch
17. A Kevitz vs J Grefe  0-14019731st World OpenA04 Reti Opening
18. J Grefe vs W Heidenfeld 1-0391973London-BA07 King's Indian Attack
19. P Brandts vs J Grefe  0-1471973Lone PineA56 Benoni Defense
20. J Grefe vs R Ervin  1-0461973Lone PineC12 French, McCutcheon
21. Evans vs J Grefe 0-1351973Lone PineA10 English
22. J Grefe vs A Karklins 1-0301973US ChampionshipC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
23. G F Kane vs J Grefe  ½-½401973US ChampionshipA56 Benoni Defense
24. J Grefe vs L Gilden  1-0251973US ChampionshipB97 Sicilian, Najdorf
25. A Bisguier vs J Grefe  0-1361973US ChampionshipA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 199  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Grefe wins | Grefe loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  naisortep: Sadly, he has passed away. RIP John Grefe.

Dec-24-13  DoctorD:
Dec-24-13  Murky: Good Grief! The passing of my friend John Grefe is rather distressing. I could never win games from John, as he was just too strong. But I always enjoyed his company in and around the cafes of Berkeley, California. He preferred modern set-ups, keeping his pawns and pieces fluid, and excelled at exploiting static weaknesses. He had great results in the mid to late 70's, but he seems to have phased out of chess after that. Rest in peace John Grefe; a disturbance in the 'force' is felt with your departure.
Dec-24-13  andrewjsacks: I am saddened to hear of the passing of a very fine player, very gentle guy, and very unusual character.
Dec-25-13  abcpokerboy: John was a friend of mine. Very gentle, very kind. I haven't seen him in a month or so and wondered what had happened. I hope he is at rest.
Premium Chessgames Member
Dec-31-13  JohnBoy:
Premium Chessgames Member
  gregory2188: I just phoned his best buddy... So sad to hear that...Few months ago I played a couple of blitz games with him, no indication that he'll be leaving us so soon... To a wonderful person and a great chess mind. May you rest in peace.
Feb-04-14  wordfunph: oh ohhh, just learned IM Grefe's passing from Chess Life.

RIP IM Grefe.

Jul-15-14  docbenway: For a more intimate portrait of IM Grefe check out Silman's article at The problem like position that FSR gave the right move to above is there along with the "sockdollager" follow up when white "saves" his queen.
Jul-24-14  TheBish: Why are there no Guess-the-Move games for Grefe? Can this be corrected soon?
Sep-06-14  gars: Were he still alive IM John Grefe would be sixty-seven years old today. In 1983 I bought a copy of his "Progressing through Chess" (Players Press, Los Angeles) and this book have helped me to improve my chess understanding. If a were a bit more strongwilled this book would have helped me much much more.

It is a sad thing that only today I was told about his death. RIP, IM Grefe.

Feb-20-15  Oliveira: This guy dressed smart!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Nice POTD from one of his games today.

J Grefe vs A Karklins, 1973

Aug-24-15  OneBadDog: Does anyone know what are the 35 best books listed in Grefe's Progressing Through Chess?
Dec-22-15  TheFocus: Rest in peace, John Grefe.
Jan-18-17  gars: <OneBadDog>: Here are the thirty-five books John Grefe put in his book:

1) "A Programmed Introduction to the Game of Chess" (Sullivan)

2) "Learn Chess: a new way for all", (Alexander & Beach)

3) "Understanding the Open Games" (Soltis, Mednis, Peters)

4) "The Art of Chess Combinations" (Znosko-Borovsky)

5) "Chess Endings: Essential Knowledge" (Averbakh)

6) "The 1000 Best Short Games of Chess" (Chernev)

7) "The Art of the Checkmate" (Renaud and Kahn)

8) "Logical Chess Move by Move" (Chernev)

9) "1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate" and "1001 Winning Sacrifices and Combinations", both by Reinfeld

10)"An Illustrated Dictionary of Chess" (Brace)

11) "The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings" (Fine)

12) "Better Chess for Average Players" (Harding)

13) "The Tactics of the Endgame" (Ban)

14) "How to Play Chess Endings" (Znosko Borosky)

15) "How to open a Chess Game" (Evans, Gligoric, Hort, Petrosian, Keres, Larsen, Portisch)

16) "Practical Endgame Lessons" (Mednis)

17) "Judgement and Planning in Chess" (Euwe)

18) "A Complete Defense to 1 P-K4"
"A Complete Defense to 1 P-D4" (both by Cafferty and Hooper)

19) "Modern Chess Tactics, two volumes" (Pachman)

20) "Modern Chess Strategy" (Pachman). Here you can choose between Dover short edition or Batsford three-volume edition

21) "The Art of Attack in Chess" (Vukovic)

22) "Pawn Structure Chess" (Soltis)

23) "Grandmaster of Chess: The Complete Games of Paul Keres". Here you can choose between the Arco edition in three volumes (Descriptive Notation) or the two-volume Nunn-Keres, "The Road to the Top" and "The Quest for Perfection", in Algebraic Notation.

24) "500 Master Games of Chess" (Tartakower and Dumont)

25) "Modern Chess Opening Theory" (Suetin)

26) "Chess Informant"

27) "Batsford, RHM opening Series"

28) "Basic Chess Endings" (Fine)

29) "Batsford Endgame Series: Rook Endings"

30) "My Best Games of Chess, 1908-1923, 1924-1937" (Alekhine)

31) "The Best Move" (Hort, Jansa)

32) "Psychology of Chess" (Krogius)

33) "Think like a Grandmaster", "Play like a Grandmaster", "Train like a Grandmaster", all of them by Kotov

34) "Grandmaster Preparation" (Polugayevsky)

35) "Encyclopedia of Chess Openings", Volumes one to five.

Jun-24-17  ColeTrane: At least he got out of Jersey..resting finally in SF no less, great Voyager
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: In 1974, John Grefe was the first American to participate in an international chess tournament in Bulgaria since 1962 (Varna Chess Olympiad). He played at Sunny Beach (Slantchev Brieg), Bulgaria, scoring 8 out of 15 (won 2, lost 1, the rest drawn) and taking 11th place. The event was won by Vlastimil Hort.
Aug-16-18  Howard: And, then, in 1976 Kim Commons took part in no less than three Bulgarian tournaments, and he did quite well in them.

Unfortunately, he's gone too.

Oct-07-20  jingohanson: I saw Grefe playing at a tournament in Mexico in the early 70s. Those games must be lost.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: A fate many games of the pre-computer epoch have shared.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I think I have all the books on Grefe's list except 2 and 12. Obviously such a list, written today, would be much different. It would also be hard to keep the number as low as 35. A hundred would be more like it.
Oct-24-21  Z truth 000000001: <jingohanson> < ... Grefe ... Mexico ... early 70s. Those games must be lost.>

Not all of 'em, at least not on 365chess, at least:

<Mexican op
Zacatecas 1973>

Oct-24-21  Z truth 000000001: (At least one less at least surcease)
Jump to page #   (enter # from 1 to 3)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific player only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!
Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC