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June 17, 2015  

Chess Phenom Unwinds Grandmaster Capital

Patrick Wolff, a protege of technology investor Peter Thiel, is shutting down his Grandmaster Capital.

The San Francisco firm is expected to finish liquidating its long/short equity fund around the end of this month. Grandmaster Capital Fund had $294 million of regulatory assets, including leverage, as of Feb. 28. The firm employed three investment professionals, with nine staffers overall.

Before launching in 2010, Wolff spent five years as a portfolio manager at Thiel’s Clarium Capital. Thiel seeded the Grandmaster fund in exchange for a minority interest in the management company.

There’s no word on why Wolff is shuttering the operation now, though apparently it isn’t for performance reasons. The fund, which employed a combination of fundamental and macro analysis to pick stocks worldwide, gained 1.5% in the first quarter, compared to a 2.1% increase for the HFRI Equity Hedge (Total) Index.

One source said Wolff simply wanted to take a breather.

Before entering the investment business, Wolff was a professional chess player who won two national titles — hence the name Grandmaster.