Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2014 arrow April arrow US Champion John Grefe Dies at 66
US Champion John Grefe Dies at 66 Print E-mail
December 24, 2013
John Grefe, Photo Burt Hochberg
International Master and US Champion, John Alan Grefe, died on Sunday, December 22nd in San Francisco of kidney cancer at the age of 66. Grefe was born on September 6, 1947 in Hoboken, New Jersey. He tied for first in the 1973 US Chess Championship with Lubomir Kavalek.

Grefe is fondly remembered by many prominent members of the American chess community, several of whom shared their thoughts with CLO.

Dr. Anthony Saidy told CLO, “ When Grefe won the US Championship in 1973, he did it before computers. He analyzed deeply the Najdorf Variation, and brilliantly defeated its No. 1 student in the western world, Browne.”

Six-time US Champion GM Walter Browne, a friend of and collaborator with Grefe called him: “A person of rare moral fiber whom I will miss. He was my 2nd at the 1976 Manila Interzonal and we exchanged invaluable analysis over the years. In the 1990's he analyzed dozens of  top level international games in Blitz Chess. His help in the analysis of 19 games in my recent book was a wonderful contribution.”
Grefe & Edmar Mednis, Photo Jerry Bibuild

Dr. Steven Dowd remarked, “With Grefe's passing we have only Stuart Rachels left as an IM that won the US Championship, and it’s interesting that both men also gave up competitive chess at their peaks.” Dowd said he was reminded of Grefe most often through his book, “The Chess Tactician’s Handbook”, where he quoted Grefe on a win vs. Arnold Denker in Lone Pine.

"I had White and the game began 1. e4 c6 (the tactician's nemesis) 2. d3 d5 3 . Nd2 Qc7 I had actually been toying with this line in my pre-tournament preparation and couldn't resist the temptation to play the gambit idea I had come up with. 4. f4?!! It's probably completely unsound, but not totally ridiculous. After the further 4. .. Qxf4 5. Ngf3 Nf6 6. Nb3 Qc7 7. e5 I won rather easily and was awarded the prize for best-played game of Round One."

Feel free to share your memories of Grefe as a comment to this article and check back for updates.

April - Chess Life Online 2014

USCF Customer Service SurveyTales from Atlanta: Advait on a Perfect Score Qualifiers for 2014 Pan American Youth [UPDATED DATES] 12 Ranks of Pawns: Strong Turnout at Junior High Champs National Junior High Begins in Atlanta Li, Chor Headline 2014 ChessKid Online Championship Timur Gareev Wins in Reno World Chess Hall of Fame Inductions Set for May 7 182 Players Qualify for 2014 World Youth Bill Mason (1964-2014)Kamsky Tops Philly on Way to Saint Louis Quest to the First GM Norm Philadelphia Open Underway Texas Beats Poland in Friendly Match US #1 Nakamura Signs with Red Bull Four GMs and a NM Top Bill Wright Saint Louis Open Ellen Xiang Wins Top Section at Record Breaking All-Girls California vs. JerusalemField, Commentators Set for 2014 U.S. ChampionshipsGM-elect Kayden Troff: A Case Study by Kenneth Kiewra [EXCERPT] USCF Joins the Party, Supports Millionaire Chess Neil Falconer 1923-2014All-Girls Nationals Kicks Off Friday San Francisco Scholastic Attracts Hundreds Yang & Catalina Foothills on Top in San Diego Sixth in San Diego: Homidan on his Final Scholastic Levon Aronian Headlines Metropolitan Chess CampMillion Dollar Chess Tournament Makes First Move 2014 Scholar Chess Player Award WinnersWebster Wins Again: Final Four of College Chess Sunday in San Diego: Yang Leads Among Flurry of Upsets High School Champs in San Diego Draws Star PlayersFinal Four Underway in New York The Road to the Blind World Champs: Interview with Alex Barrasso Kostya's New Venture: Metropolitan ChessLenderman Wins Long Island Open Melinda Turns it to Nicholas: On the Way to San Diego Troff, Yang & Abrahamyan Earn New TitlesUSCF Obtains 501 (c)(3) Status Deepak Aaron Gives Charity Simul at Georgia Tech